Monday, April 20, 2009

An afternoon at Oak Openings

A controlled burn was performed in the dunes area earlier this year.

Birders from behind, pointing at sand. Exciting, eh?

What a fantastic place! We stopped by Oak Openings Preserve back on the 12th of April to track down the Mountain Bluebird of a couple of posts ago. What a great sight to see!

We saw many Eastern Bluebirds, though none very willing to sit for a portrait.

Here's a view of the sand dunes and the woodland in the background.

I thought I would post a few more photos, not the highest quality, but at least I saw a few birds, right?, and that is the point of all this you know. Get out there and SEE, enjoy and experience nature and all it has to offer us.

A new theme! "Black-capped Chickadees from Below."

This Eastern Towhee did not want to cooperate. We followed him hoping he would walk into an opening, he just laughed at us silly humans.

Oak Openings Preserve is a very unusual place in northwestern Ohio. Located near Toledo and not too far from Lake Erie, it has a very varied habitat. I'll bet you guessed that it had Oak savannas and woodlands which are full of many species of woodland birds such as Red-headed Woodpeckers and Scarlet Tanagers.

Field Sparrows are another one of those birds that taunt you from afar. This is blown up A WHOLE LOT!

I cheated on this Pine Siskin. I shot through a one way window behind the nature center. Shhhh!

We were lucky enough to catch this Red-breasted Nuthatch taking a bath. He must have forgotten on Saturday night.

It also has low, wet swales with Snipe and Swamp Sparrows, tall grass prairie with Eastern Bluebirds (and one Mountain Bluebird!), and the very odd looking sand barrens. The sand barrens (not to be confused with the Sand Baron, distant cousin of the Red Baron) are dunes left over from the glacial retreats of 12-14,000 years ago. You just don't think of northern Ohio as the proper habitat for Prickly Pear Cactus or a state with sand dunes. Not to mention Oak Openings is one of the very few places the endangered Karner Blue butterfly still survives. Visit their web site for more details of this diverse area.

Kimmay, Judy and Kenn laughing at my 'anti-aircraft gun.' Shoot them birdies!

This Scarlet Tanager wasn't there this weekend. I just like this photo and REALLY want the warm weather he brings along!

The Nature Conservancy lists Oak Openings among the 200 "Last Great Places on Earth."

And I'm lucky enough to live so close.


  1. Fun post (as yours always are)! I think your chickadee is doing yoga to try the whole standing on his head thing, and a great catch on the bathing Red-breasted Nuthatch. Your birders from behind photo and caption made me laugh...

  2. Hey Dave-
    Great post! There is always something exciting happening at the Oak Openings and Kitty Todd!

    Folks will want to attend the OOS Conference May 16th (and see our vendors-like DAVE!) and spend some time in the Oaks afterward. Three great programs and a dinner with friends-all for $50.00. See

    See you there- Cheryl