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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slate Run Historical Farm



The Columbus Metroparks' Slate Run Historical Farm is a gem of the Columbus area.  It's close enough to the city to not be too far away, but distant enough that you feel like you're in another world.  An 1880's world. It's one of our favorite places to visit.  If you go now, you'll see a bunch of baby lambs- they were certainly the highlight of this trip.

-Tom

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Let's Reset

This is the kind of stuff we do on a cold winter evening!
When I started writing here, I was dating Megan.  We've now been married for 7.5 years.  Brody, our youngest, just turned 3 and Weston will be 5 on Sunday.  I had my 35 birthday on February 16.  How's that for numbers?

As I wrote about here, in 2010, I accepted a position with our state's wildlife agency after seven years with the Ohio Natural Heritage Program.  Although this move was not a move that I chose to make, I set out to make the best of it. Ultimately, my body could not hold up to repeated 2 a.m. wake-up calls and in February 2013, I accepted a position with Ohio's State Nature Preserves.  Remember all the Delaware County posts? I'm now back in the central office surrounded by late 1960's era apartments which have turned into quite the melting pot of Columbus.  

The bottom line is that I am quite happy to be with Ohio's State Nature Preserve System.  I manage its Facebook Page.  I've taken my blogging expertise and poured it all into growing that page.  Ultimately, it fulfills my need to share writings and photographs of nature in the great State of Ohio as well or perhaps better than this blog once did.  

After honing my photography skills, I have finally got my online galleries up and running- I'm quite proud of this body of work. In addition, I have developed a Facebook page that features my photography- please visit and like if you want to see more. 

I'm not slamming the door shut here.  But I want to at least put something here, and let you know where you can see my more recent work.  Thank you for reading.

-Tom

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Piping Plover - Litchfield Beach - South Carolina


This past August during our vacation to coastal South Carolina, I awoke early one morning to walk the mile and a half or so to an inlet where a great amount of birds hang out.  I didn't come back with great pictures for my effort that morning, but as I was reviewing my work last week, I stumbled across this banded shorebird.  It was mixed in with a bunch of other things, including many semi-palmated plovers, but this bird looked different.

I'm not up on piping plovers all that much, but I do know they are listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the endangered species act.  It turns out that there are two listings for the species- The birds that nest along the Great lakes are listed as endangered, while the rest of the birds, including the prairie nesting birds of the northern great plains and those that next along the Atlantic shore are threatened.

Now, if you look at the bird above, it's a bit of a crap shoot trying to discern what exactly the colors are on the left leg.  Purple?  Blue?  Orange?  Red?  The green on the right leg is a little easier.  Being fairly uncertain that this even was a piping plover, I sent the above image to researchers at the University of Minnesota.

Sure enough, I received an e-mail back from Alice Van Zoeren, and after a few exchanges, she did confirm that this bird was a piping plover from the Great Lakes Population.  By identifying the color band combinations, she was able to tell me that this bird, a female, was hatched at North Manitou Island in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 2012 and returned and returned to breed in Leelanau State Park in 2013, a site which had not seen breeding activity for Piping Plovers in 10 years.

It's always a good idea to pore over all your bird photographs, even those that normally wouldn't be a keeper, to check for bands.  You never know what you might find.  And now, three months later, I can add another bird to my life list.  Plus, I've added just one more bit of information to help the researchers understand more about the Great Lakes populations of this tiny little bird.

-Tom

Want to take a look at the whole uncropped image?  How many species do you see?  Which ones?


Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Wider View - Purple Pitcher Plant


July 2013

Looking down into a purple pitcher plant growing in a sphagnum hummock.  Otisfield Maine.

-Tom

A Wider View- The Crooked River


July, 2013

Still shot at 10 millimeters, but without any subject close to the lens.  Yesterday's pickerel frog lived in the woods just above the Crooked River, a fine babbling river in western Maine, just down the road from my in-laws's place.

-Tom

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Wider View - Moving to Maine


Perhaps the best test of whether an ultra-wide photograph is successful is if it looks like an ultra-wide photograph.  Here's an image from the Crooked River in Otifisfield Maine that I took this past July.  While going through my images to create blog posts for this series, it isn't all that difficult to pick out my ultra-wide images.  With this one, however, I had to check the metadata to ensure that it was shot at 10 mm, the widest possible angle of view I can capture with my current camera setup.

Do you know pickerel frogs?  They seem to inhabitat cold places- think headwater streams and cold, boggy forests in Maine, like where I found this young frog hopping about on a rainy July day.

-Tom

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Wider View - Wood Frog


June 7, 2013

While visiting Tummonds State Nature Preserve in Portage County last June, I didn't have my ultrawide angle lens with me, but that didn't prevent me from using the wide-angle closeup technique.  The so-called "kit lenses" that come bundled with digital SLR's can focus quite closely.  With my lens dialed in to its widest setting, I moved in on this frog as close as I could.  The end result is an image that shows the wood frog and its habitat.  To me, this picture provides much more information than a tight shot of the frog only.

-Tom

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Wider View- Common Lupines

May 16, 2013

Burying the camera in a clump of lupines gives us the view that a Karner Blue Butterfly might have as it searches for a mate.  Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve lies in Ohio's Oak Openings Region (which extends into Michigan), one of the the Great Lake's most fascinating ecosystems.

-Tom

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Daughmer Bur Oak Savannah


May 8, 2013

Can you see that small house on the horizon to the right?  What a spectacular place to live, eh?

-Tom

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Daughmer Savannah State Nature Preserve


May 8, 2013

White this is just on the far edge of being a wide-angle closeup, I'm going to count it because I just really like this photo.  The closeup subject in to the right is a type of sedge, possibly Carex lacustris.  Daughmer Savannah is a true gem of Ohio that was dedicated as an Ohio State Nature Preserve in 2012.  A remnant of the Sandusky Plains, a visit here will give you some idea what Ohio's prairie areas looked like at one time.



-Tom

Friday, November 22, 2013

Taking in a Wider View - Large White Trillium


Taking in another ultra-wide angle view at Collier State Nature Preserve in Seneca County.  The large white flowered trillium is our official state wildflower.

-Tom