Thursday, December 4, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
All of the birding was done along the Appalachian Discovery Birding Trail http://www.appalachiandiscovery.com/Birding_Trail.htm
We started out along State Route 41, birded the Wheat Ridge fields, headed down to Adams Lake State Park and ten went down the river and birded along it. I would recommend the trip to anyone who wants to experience the diversity of the county.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Vultures are scavengers. Their main niche is that of "clean-up crew". Consider the countless hapless creatures who lose their lives to our poor response time along the roads of America. If we imagine the reek of all of those decaying bodies lying in the humid Ohio River valley, we can finally appreciate the service vultures provide by clearing away that carnage. C.J. Maynard is quoted in "Life Histories of North American Birds of Prey" (Bent, 1961) as saying, "[Black Vultures] will seldom eat fresh meat but prefer to wait until decomposition has set in before beginning their feast... when the odor from the decaying mass became insufferable to human nostrils, they would eat to repletion."
Black vultures also possess traits normally attributed to better-loved species. Black vultures are extremely attentive parents. Both male and female help incubate the speckled eggs, which are laid on the ground in old buildings or in caves. The adults keep their young "gorged with food continually, the distended stomachs being plainly visible" (Bent, 1961). After fourteen weeks, the young vultures are finally able to fly. Until then, their best defense is to feign death if approached by a possible predator. If harrassed, vultures will regurgitate half-digested food. Considering the state of such food when it was eaten, the shock of its reappearance would certainly be enough to frighten away most creatures.
Black vultures are fascinating birds undeserving of their grotesque reputation. Hopefully, others will be able to forgive this bird its flaws and accept it for the natural - and helpful - janitor it is.
- Jessie Huxmann
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
As Tom has mentioned in his latest blog, the fish are swimming, the spring wildflowers are blooming, and the birds are migrating through. I experienced all of these spending time in Adams County this weekend.
Walking through the woods and driving various roads this weekend, I saw various blooming wildflowers. Everything from late blooming Hepaticas to early blooming Grandiflora Trillium. Other flowers that were blooming included Bloodroot, Wild Ginger, Bellworts, Virginia Bluebells, Blue-Eyed Marys (pictured above), Spring Beauty, Springcress, Sensille Trillium, Dutchman's Breeches, Wild Blue Phlox, Pennywort, Rue Anemone, and Cutleaf Toothwort. there were a lot of other plants who are just beginning to "spring" forth from the ground and others whose buds are starting to show. The Redbud trees are almost at their prime color right now!
As for the birds, I saw or heard this weekend they ranged from the early nesters to the migrants. They included Bald Eagles, Osprey, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Ovenbird, Prothonotory Warblers,Bluebirds, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Eastern Phoebes, Red-Tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered hawks, Great Egrets (pictured above), Green Herons, Great-Blue Herons, Kingfishers, and Wild Turkeys. (By the way the youth turkey season started this past weekend with the adult season starting today continuing through May 18th. I am sure Tom will have more to say on that subject shortly.) There were plenty of other birds that I saw or heard that I haven't listed here. What I would suggest is to take a walk in the woods, taking your time to look, listen, and observe. You might be amazed at what you will see.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Black Rat Snakes are extremely beneficial in the control of rodents, although birds and eggs are also part of their diet. This one probably just emerged from hibernating in one of the rock crevices that was nearby. They are also known to hibernate in cavities of trees (they are excellent climbers) and old buildings. They are constrictors which means they wrap their body around their prey until it suffocates. Usually when encountered they will "freeze" and if disturbed will hiss, rattle it's tail and bite (although it is not venomous). They have also been known to release a bad odor from scent glands if handled. Unfortunately because of it's tendency to rattle it's tail, it is also killed quite frequently.
The one pictured here was about 3.5 feet long. They can get as long as 8 feet. As they get older and larger, they will lose the pattern that you see here and will become darker and darker.
Since they start to breed in Spring, this might make sense why this one was venturing out. Although as I continued on and looked back at it gleeming in the afternoon sun, the cry of a Red-Tailed Hawk sounded overhead. I never stayed around to see if the snake survived another day.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
certain set of creatures inhabiting my neighboring natural areas. I
then descended on Adams County about a year ago, and with this move
came a whole new set of plants and animals with which I'm now slowly
being familiarized. It's hard to absorb all this new information, so
it was a treat to hear the haunting cry of a Common Loon echoing from
the foggy darkness out on the Ohio River. The Loon is one creature
I've seen and heard many times out on the lakes of the Northwoods.
And the Loon I heard tonight is probably headed there, or even
One thing I have yet to decipher is whether the cry of this Loon was
to relay its coordinates to an incoming mate, or if this was a cry of
bewilderment - at how fast it was floating down the river. With heavy
rains today, and more predicted tomorrow, the Ohio River is swelling
with runoff. Loons nest within a few feet of lake water levels. While
the Ohio River would make miserable nesting habitat for loons because
of water levels that rise and fall 18 feet regularly, the Ohio River
is a regular Loon stop-over during migration. The Loon I heard
sounded off at about 9:15 PM and was between Brush Creek and Manchester.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
reading this new Adams County, Ohio Nature & Outdoor Notebook. Please
ask them to bookmark http://adamscountyohionature.blogspot.com/ so
they can return to this page and learn the latest natural happenings
in Adams County!