Monday, October 20, 2014

 Meanwhile...back on the mainland...
 The dreams of Kelleys Island are fading and we're back to reality, or as close to it as I can get. We decided to chuck gardening and chores for a trip out to Sandy Ridge Reservation. It was a little chilly and very cloudy that morning. It's autumn in Ohio and you never know how the weather will be from minute to minute. It turned out that we over dressed a bit as it became sunny and very warm. Ya never know around here...

 Frogs like this bull frog were still active and hopping about.
We're still seeing a few green frogs in our little pond at home too!

Neither one of us can remember ever seeing a Double-crested Cormorant out here on our past trips.
He was all alone and far out in the marsh.

 There's always a few flycatchers like this Eastern Phoebe here.

 This pair of grasshoppers (differential sp.) were a little too busy for this time of year.
I guess there's not much else to do if your a grasshopper though...

 This is a Peeping Tom Grasshopper. Really, that's what he's called.
He was watching the grasshoppers from the above pic.

When ya got an itch, scratch it!
This Great Blue Heron had plenty...

A master stalker...this Great Egret had his eye on something under water...

I think he found it!

 A little fishy snack...I'll stick with my granola bar...

 Way off in the back are a couple of duckies...

 Oh look...a couple of Green-winged Teal butts.
They were too busy eating to be bothered by me.

 I'm amazed at the number of Large Milkweed Bugs we've seen this year!
We have them at home in our butterfly garden on common milkweed that we planted for the monarch butterflies.

 Finding this Lincoln's Sparrow was a nice surprise!

 And there's always a gang of Mallards...

 Another good find was a lone Rusty Blackbird along the side of the trail.

 We saw the Sandhill Crane pair wandering and feeding through the back of the marsh.
 This is just past the Cranes...beautiful place for a walk!
Just left of center, all the way on the other side is where Bald Eagles have been nesting and raising their family.

White-crowned Sparrows are here for the winter... ick...winter.

 I moved around for a better shot of the sparrows and this is what I got...

 Wood Ducks nest in this area.
Soon, we'll see flocks of migrating ducks of all sorts out here.

 Since I said the "WINTER" word, I thought I better leave you with the last of the wildflowers that bloom at Sandy Ridge...

Until we meet again...toodles!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Island Twitch that never seems to end...part...uh...3?

 This is a very angry Blackpoll Warbly in his fall finest.
He will eat your face.

Meanwhile...back on Kelleys Island...
Hard to believe how many places we visited on our short weekend visit! We hit four spots on the Lake Erie Birding Trail, that puts us at 38...only a "few" more to go... 

We also went to see our friend, Tom Bartlett's bird banding operation at Long Point, part of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History's preserves. Tom enjoys teaching visitors and residents of the island about the wonders of these birds and their amazing migratory adventures. Folks come away with a much better appreciation of our tiny friends and what they go through twice a year. Thanks Tom!

If you ever have the opportunity to meet Tom, do it! He'll be banding northern saw-whet owls sometime this month on the island, and he does the "Big Sit" every year(20 years in a row!) at The Biggest Week in American Birding.
 This is Tom talking nicely to a bird.
Sometimes he doesn't...

 Tom kindly showing off the butt of this American Redstart.
He's so helpful!

 Don't worry, The Doodles didn't kill that bird.
It's just tired from his flight and is resting.
Within a few moments, off he flew and on to South America!
And that's why he needed a little rest.

 Lincoln's Sparrows are much more comfortable skulking around in the leaves and debris than in your hand.

 Did I mention that there are a few Grove Snails on the island?

 Back to birds...
Swainson's Thrushes are much calmer than sparrows.
 Black-capped Chickadees were abundant...and fast today!

 In between banding, we wandered around a few of the other parks and preserves.
We found this Least Flycatcher on the North Pond Preserve.

 Yep, that's a Magnolia Warbly hiding in the leaves.
They would not come out.
I even said please!

 You never know what you'll find in the woods...
Like an old truck from the 30's or 40's with trees growing through it.
I checked the spark plugs, they looked okay...

 And of course...just a few more Grove Snails.
If only I liked escargot...

 There were still a few butterflies like this Pearl Crescent floating about.

 Have you ever had a berry so tart that it made your head spin?

 This Philadelphia Vireo avoided that sour berries that made the others head spin.

 So...I was looking at the fruit on this flower and couldn't believe how bright they were.
"What is that stick on top?" I said as I was looking at the photo on my computer...

 Funny how you get so focused on one thing when you're out in nature and sometimes miss the bigger picture.
When I looked closer and followed the "stick" up the frame, I found that it was attached to something!
A Katydid!
What a surprise...The Doodles didn't notice it either, even when she was looking at the same thing with her 10X50's!

 The Doodles did spot this Wilson's Warbly hiding in the branches.
He never did come out to say hello.

So sad, we had to leave the island BEHIND!
Ha! Gotcha on that one!

There may be one more part to this island adventure...stay tuned!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Island Twitch...part 2!

 What do you do to a terrible photo?
I heard that! So, Besides deleting it, you make it infrared!
I know...just delete it next time...

 Meanwhile back on Kelleys Island...
The friends that we stayed with are connected to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and had access to a new preserve still closed to the public. Shhhh! The Huntley-Beatty Quarry has globally endangered Great Lakes Alvar habitat with a dozen state endangered plants growing among the rocks and scrub. Special thanks go to the Ohio Wetland Association for discovering these plants hidden away here. These quarries haven't been used in decades, but in the past produced much of the limestone used in a number of the great public buildings in northwestern Ohio.

The museum is protecting 800 acres of habitat on Kelleys Island and we'll have more in upcoming episodes! In the mean time, enough talk, let's see what there was to see...

 That's a Carolina Locust hiding in there.
We saw plenty of grasshoppy things hopping among the rock.

 Double-crested Cormorants are goofier looking!

 Everyone walked right past this Drone Fly looking for pretty flowers and plants.
Gotta give equal time to all the insects that keep the world going!

 This Eastern Carpenter Bee in having a wonderful time on this unusual Goldenrod.
They must be a dwarf species as they were only a foot or so tall, compared to normal goldenrod which is about 4 to 6 feet tall.
More fun facts you will never use...I'm here for you!


Don't be scared, it's only an  Eastern Hognose Snake or heterodon platirhinos.
Fancy , eh?
It's only a baby snake, less than a foot long.
Attitude makes up for his size!

This is Green Milkweed, one of the rarities on the preserve.

This Hackberry Butterfly has lived a rough life.
You can see his proboscis sucking up minerals from the rocks...

 Our co-hosts grandson and his friend found a number of fossils in the rocks, but this was a special find for them!
They also found the pelvis and it looked like it may have been a squirrel once upon a time...

Stoopid Merlins.
ALWAYS flying away from me!

 Hmmm...we can't remember what the name of this rare Orchid is...
We'll call it "Pretty White Orchid."

Yea! Another bird!
The birds were few and far between today.
There was a small flock of Palm Warblies that zoomed through.
A day with warblies is always a good day!

 This is a cut running down the center of the quarry.
We didn't see a single fish or frog in there.

 You want to know an easy way to identify this butterfly?
Besides looking in a field guide...

 See that little silvery spot?
Use your imagination looks like a question mark!
Therefore this is a Question Mark Butterfly.
A comma Butterfly would have a smaller mark without the dot at the end.
Really and for true, this time I'm not making things up!
Maybe later though...

 Another rare milkweed, a Whorled Milkweed.
I dream of whorled peas.
One day.

This is a flower.
Yep, it is.
Which one you ask?

So, until next time...have a peachy swell day!