Saturday, August 29, 2009
Shawnee- Baby Herps and an Orange Orchid- Camera Critters
Almost one week ago, I started this little adventure to Shawnee State Forest with the Ohio Heritage Naturalists, so I better finish it up- I'm sure most of you forgot where we left off- with the Liatris aspera, a beautiful blazing star.
We walked down and back a grassy forest trail that was full of the liatris, when I spotted a few of our naturalists on their knees, hunched over looking at something. Sure enough, it was a tiny, newly hatched five-lined skink, with a bright blue tail. We saw several of these tiny lizards throughout our adventure. Ray was kind enough to hold the skink for the camera.
I had noticed that not all of our naturalists joined us for this little side trip. Mind you, it was getting ridicuously hot by this point, and the humidity was up there as well. Jason and Weedpicker Cheryl said that it was actually cooler on the ground in this position. I'll let them explain it, but they were lined up like they were going somewhere on an imaginary roller coaster ride or something like that. I snapped the picture quickly, they were up and with us again in a flash.
Ahh, the beautiful view from picnic point. From this vantage, theOhio valley can be seen- Ohio on the left, and Kentucky on the right. You can just barely make out the river city of Portsmouth, Ohio, now a shadow of its once former self. It actually was home to a National Football League Franchise called the Portsmouth Spartans. The team left for Detroit in 1934- they're now known as the Detroit Lions.
In addition to the grand vistas, there was plenty of interest at a much smaller level at picnic point. A tiny eastern fence lizard was basking on one of our van's Goodyear tires. The "r" in Goodyear gives quite a size reference- these newly hatched lizards were really, really little.
Jenny Richards, the naturalist at Shawnee State Park, found several other eastern fence lizards, and as I promised Kelly, here she is holding one of these little reptiles. I'm sure we could have found many more, but we needed to pack up our vans and head back to Columbus.
However- We couldn't miss the opportunity to stop and see this botanical wonder- the yellow fringed orchid, thanks again to Jenny. I've seen this species one other time, I believe, in the Oak Openings west of the Toledo. What an amazing plant. More orange than yellow, it was a great way to end our day of botanizing and naturalizing.
See what we found during the first part of our Shawnee Trip
This is my Camera Critters post for this week.