Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Box turtles 4/23/08

While turkey hunting I came upon three box turtles this morning. I actually saw one drinking water from a hillside seep. I never saw a box turtle drink before and these were the first box turtles I have observed this year. I suspect they have just come out of hibernation.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Barn Owls in Adams County?

On Monday evening I received a phone call from a local farmer who had observed a barn owl in his barn this afternoon while getting out hay. Possible nesting? I'll check it out later this week. Stay tuned.

Wild Turkeys

Today's was opening day of Ohio wild turkey season which will continue until May 18. This morning I probably heard about a dozen gobblers, two of which were directly in front of me. I obliviously sat down right under a small roosting flock because as daylight appeared, three hens were sitting on limbs high above me.
    Shortly after daylight the two gobblers flew down and started walking an old logging road right toward me. They were big, long bearded gobblers too. The hens flew down in three different directions around me and started clucking. The gobblers responded by gobbling and strutting their way right toward me. A hen that was with the gobblers walked within 20 yards of me but the ol' gobblers hung up on a knob about 75 yards away and strutted and gobbled but did not follow the hen. Another hen appeared from out of nowhere in the woods and walked right up to the gobblers and led them off away from me. Imagine that! 
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Flora and fauna abound!

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

White Bass on Brush Creek

The white bass are running on Ohio Brush Creek. Saturday, April 19, several anglers were taking advantage of the nice day and catches of white bass were reported by all. I took 5 white bass that afternoon and a small KY spotted bass, the biggest white bass a whopping 16-1/2 -Fish Ohio size female that hammered a chartreuse Mepps spinner. The best fishing was from the SR 125 bridge downstream to the Beasley Fork bridge. If you found a pool with fish, the action was good. Fish seemed to be holding in the current. I expect the fishing to hold up for at least another two weeks, probably longer. Next week should be prime. The stream is in beautiful shape, While I was fishing I watched two wild turkeys fly over. Wildflowers are also blooming along the stream. It was great day to be out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

canada goose nesting above cedar falls

two weeks ago i saw a pair of geese acting oddly about 200 ft upstream from cedar falls. a few days ago returned to find one on a nest hovering above the falls.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring Ephemerals Pollination

Usually the weather in the early spring is still too cold for most flying insects, and because of this, ants and small insects pollinate some of the Spring Ephemerals and disseminate their seeds. Certain species - such as bloodroots, trilliums, trout lilys, and violets - produce seeds that are coated by elaiosomes, which contain attractive oils and maybe sugars. Ants will take these elaiosome coated seeds into their colonies to feed their larvae. However they end up eating the coating and leaving the seed somewhere in their nest. This action not only protects the seeds from other insects , rodents or birds that would feed on them, but are they usually are left in areas that help promote germination. The ants have a great food source and the plant's seeds are hidden, planted, and germinated to bloom another year. This symbiotic relationship is called "Myrmecochory".
For Dutchman Breeches and Squirrel Corn, pollination usually takes place by bees. Bumblebees will force apart to sip the nectar with their long tongues. However most of the time, their cousins the honeybee will just bore a hole in the side of the flower to accomplish the same action.
As Rich has said with the weather turning warmer each day, there is more and more going on out in the woods. Take the time to explore and you will be amazed at what you see and learn!

Friday, April 11, 2008

spring things

The last few days temperatures have really felt like spring. Spring happens fast and offers more color and variety in a limited number of days than any other time of the year. There are many great reasons to go outside and catch up on whats happening out there. Some of which include, singing prairie warblers, northern parulas, ovenbirds, yellow throated warblers, brown thrashers, chipping sparrows and yellow rumped warblers. An osprey that has been seen a couple of times near the office on Waggoner Riffle road. Tiger Swallowtail and falcate orange tip butterflies appeared this week. Spring flowers such as bloodroot won't last much longer, so if you plan to enjoy spring you should get out there. Migrating birds, emerging butterflies and spring flowers provide an opportunity to see the unexpected. What more should a person hope for?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spring Ephemerals

Walking around the woods this past weekend, I couldn't help but notice that the Spring ephemerals are starting to show up and bloom. An ephemeral is a plant which grows stems and leaves, blooms, is pollinated, goes to seed, and dies back to it's roots, rhizomes, or bulb very quickly. Sometimes this happens in the matter of days, but mostly it is over in a matter of weeks. This happens every Spring all around the deciduous forests of Adams County. Being ephemeral gives these plants the time to grow and reproduce utilizing the strength of the sunlight and the large amount of rain that falls at this time of year. As the leaves start showing up on the trees, the ephemerals will start dying back until next year. The leaves on the trees help protect these plants from the heat and evaporation of the summer sun. And come Autumn when the deciduous trees' leaves fall, the leaves protect and nuture the ephemerals through the Winter until the cycle starts over again.

Some of the commonly seen ephemerals around Adams county include: Trillium (of which there are 5 species in Adams County), Spring Beauty, Twinleaf, Trout Lily(there are two species found in Adams County, one, the White Trout Lily , is pictured) Cut-Leaved Toothwort, Dutchman’s Breeches, Virginia Bluebell (also pictured), May Apple, Bloodroot, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Ginger, and False Rue Anemone.