Monday, January 21, 2013

Recent Nature Outings

Winter really settled into Ohio today with some cold temperatures: tomorrow's high is 9 degrees Fahrenheit!  It's really about time though given our geographical placement.  Prior to this week, the temps were fairly balmy and we made sure to capitalize by getting outdoors.

Jennifer assisted Steve with stewardship on one of his far flung preserves in southern Ohio on a warm 50 or so degree day. A combination of geology, topography and geography result in a spectacular natural area with everything from dry oak uplands to hemlock-lined canyons to yellow buckeye-dotted valleys.

There is a memorial on the preserve: this speaks for itself!

Green stink bug, leaf litter and deer scat play their part in the a complex world underfoot - the forest floor.

Awesome foliose lichen with marginal cilia (resembles eyelashes - look closely at Jennifer's left index finger.)  

Sprouting yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava)...

We both loved the hemlock lined gorge.

Steve noted a warbler nest over this gorge last summer.  What an incredible place for a nest - attached to the very tips of a flimsy branch and over water for protection, with more than adequate food present, no doubt.  

Can you say moss?!  This moss was at least an inch thick.  Jennifer couldn't stop touching it...the squishiness was just too cool.

Another warm day took us over to Lawrence Woods, a large (1,035 acres!) state nature preserve known for its red-headed woodpeckers, short-eared owls and...  

one of our most favorite ecosystems ever...wooded wetlands.

This oak tree amazed both of us.  Surely it was a Native American trail marker tree.

One of our favorite books helped us identify cool invertebrate signs.  Here's a promethea moth cocoon, which will metamorphose in the spring into one of our beautiful large silk moths.

Bagworm cocoon, which also yields a type of moth...

Blister beetle (Meloe sp.)...

Often animals shy from humans, but the signs left behind say enough...

Sunset always comes too soon when we are on nature outings! We'll have to plan a backpacking trip soon so that we can stay outdoors past sundown...


  1. I envy this outing! I feel overloaded right now and a Nature break is what I need! Amazing stuff everywhere you look! That tree is SUPER!

  2. Hi J&S....As I type this I hear the weather on the TV, so I guess it is a good thing that you guys was out when you where!! BRRRRRR!!
    I see those eyelashes how wonderful..I will have to remember to check for some here!! : )
    I think we have that couchy moss here, and I know why Jennifer couldn't keep her hands off ; )
    Enjoyed your day, and love that
    "big old tree" amazing!!

  3. Looks great! I especially love that last photo:)

  4. Hey Jennifer and Steve,
    Looks like good adventures! Wondering what type of bird you think the gray with orange tipped feathers came from? We had the same here under our bird feeder, which means something probably got chomped by one of the many preying birds here. We thought it might a female cardinal? What do you think? ~Vonnie

  5. Hey Vonnie! We agree the feathers are cardinal....probably male due to the real red tips. More snow here today!

  6. That looks like a lot of fun. I need to come over and visit your place before Summer kicks in. Am I still invited?

  7. We love visitors! Message us some dates!


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