Thursday, July 30, 2009

My First T.V. Interview- Gypsy Moths at Highbanks Metropark Revisited

Well, this video pretty much tells it all. Thanks to our local Metropark District and Peg Hanley, whom happened to see my writeup of the Gypsy Moth infestation at Highbanks Metropark, The Ohio Nature Blog and I were featured last evening on our local T.V. Station. Ben Gelber, a fine meteorologist with Channel 4, does environmental stories- stories that typically don't get airtime on the local news.

Anyways, this all happened very fast, and I was pretty nervous and excited all at the same time. I think the video footage from June really added to the story, since quite a bit of the forest has started to leaf out once again, plus, the defoliation is best appreciated on a sunny day. Yesterday was gray and rainy.

Here's the the footage that I took that was featured on Channel 4:

The bottom line here? What we nature bloggers do is really important- In the past week, two stories have made it to the mainstream central Ohio media. First it was Pinky, then this story about the gypsy moth defoliation at Highbanks Metropark. Thanks Ben for taking an interest in environmental news and bringing it to the mainstream.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pinky Is Dead

Yes, my nature loving friends, Pinky has died.

More from the Columbus Dispatch (Notice the URL- katy_didnt, isn't that clever? Thanks to Colin for pointing that out to me) and Weedpicker Cheryl Harner.

UPDATE: Jim has posted the necropsy photos (an animal autopsy) on his blog. Beware, they are gruesome.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Young Wheel Bug with a Meal

I captured these images just before we left for Maine, and tonight is the perfect time to share these with you. Wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus) are amazing, and I've photographed them several times before. For more about them, including information about their painful bite, check out my post from last November. Maybe this little bug is descended from the one that just showed up on our doorstep (in a peanut butter jar!) last year.

Anyways, you can imagine if their bite is extremely painful to humans, it would probably completely paralyze a small insect, like this pollen covered bee. I'm sure the bee was merrily going about its gathering when this wheel bug snatched it and pierced it with that long proboscis as it hid behind the face of a sunflower.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Bigelow Cemetery, Smith Cemetery, Two of Ohio's Remnant Prairies

Only tiny remnants of Ohio's prairie past, these two cemeteries in Madison County are ablaze with glory right now. If you haven't seen these pioneer cemeteries, they are worth the drive.

Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve

and Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve

Although I have lived in Central Ohio for six years, I have not yet adequately examined Central Ohio's natural remnant prairies, but I'm going to start now. They are just fantastic places.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Up Close and Personal with the Famous Pink Ohio Katydid

You may have seen this female katydid by now, either on a blog, in the Columbus Dispatch, or maybe even in person. I had the opportunity to observe this shockingly pink insect yesterday, courtesy of Cheryl Harner and Jim McCormac. This creature was originally found by Jan Kennedy at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Thanks Jan for a wonderful eye, what an amazing bug!

This is my contribution to this week's Camera Critters meme.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sky Watch Double Rainbow

There's nothing like a double rainbow at Little Pond, Maine. July 13, 2009

Happy Sky Watch, everyone.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fly in Skewer Hole

Fly in skewer hole. This was part of my shish-ka-bob tonight, I was full and didn't eat this last bit of red pepper. Fortunately, this fly enjoyed what I left. Another shot in my wacky picture series, expect more. It's been that type of month folks.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Christmas in July

Someone's way of selling more products, I'm not sure where the idea came from, but it seems as if the shopping channels always celebrate Christmas in July. Well, why not us nature bloggers? I couldn't help snapping this shot of a table decoration of a party I went to last december. I spotted it tonight as I was trolling through my catalog for potential stock images. Christmas balls give you an instant fish-eye lens.


Long Range Cannons Trump Short Range Cannons- A Tour of Portland Harbor

Just in case the whales weren't candy enough to get you to Portland, Maine.

New Harbor Protection.

Old Harbor Protection

Interestingly, our guide explained that Portland's Civil War forts were built and quickly abandoned one year later. Why? The ports were installed with SHORT range cannons, and it was quickly discovered that "the enemy" was equipped with LONG range cannons. Couldn't they have just swapped in new canons??

Back on shore, the tide is up, and diners feast on the deck of the Portland Lobster Company.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

There She Blows!

Like most young people interested in biology from an early age, marine mammals always grabbed my attention. If you like nature, I'm not sure how they can not. I got my marine mammal fix by working at Sea World of Ohio as a teenager. It's not there anymore, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

But dropping the whole marine mammals in captivity argument, which we could talk about forever, let's move on to the open ocean. We are fortunate enough to live in a time in the earth's history during when with two of the largest animals that have ever lived on the earth, as far as our best science tells us. To think of all the gigantic dinosaurs that once roamed around the continents, and to know that the whales of the ocean today rival them in sheer size, is fairly spectacular. And it really isn't that all that difficult to see one of these species-
one of the best ways to see whales from southern Maine is a berth on the Odyssey, a whale watch vessel that sails right from the Old Port.

Which brings us to Portland, Maine. If you've never visited, it is one of the east coast's little big cities. A major port, it boasts a mix of the very old and very new. The picture above is of the US customs house, built in 1874. It is one of my favorite buildings in Portland, and I can't seem to photograph it enough.

Portland is ultimately a port city, and the seafood that can be had along the old port is fresh and delicious. It is captured daily along the coast by people like this man, heading down to the docks to begin a day on the water.

The dock along which the tour boats park was full of people on this Friday morning. I'm glad Megan and I had a reservation. Several other people were taking harbor cruises rather than the four-hour whale watch. In my opinion, you get your best bang for your buck with a whale watch. Built in harbor cruise, sea birds, and whales. What more could you ask for?

So let's just cut to the chase. It seemed like hours (well, that's because it was two hours) but we cruised out into the ocean, at what seemed like full throttle, for a LONG time. On the way out, we saw these creatures:

Two harbor porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, a mother and calf.

Several common eiders, Somateria mollissima.

The greater shearwater, Puffinus gravis

And several northern gannets, Morus bassanus:

Then, finally, after two hours heading straight out into the Atlantic Ocean, the blow of a finback whale, Balaenoptera physalus, the world's second largest living animal, ever. And not only one, but two, a mother and her 30 foot long calf.

These animals are amazingly long- the woman's head in this shot provides great scale.

And that was our whale watching experience on the Odyssey. If you're in Portland Maine, I'd recommend it highly. $45 gets you a four hour adventure, full of whales, porpoises, pelagic birds, and the sights of Portland Harbor.

This is my contribution to the July 18th edition of "Camera Critters"