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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Catching Up


Whew!  It's been quite a week.  Between trying to watch all 13 episodes of AMC's Mad Men: Season 3 on DVD before it was due back to the library (check!), and opening a photo exhibit here in Worthington I'm ready for a break.  But oh wait-  Flora-quest starts tomorrow  I've never participated in this really awesome two day event, but I'm looking forward to it, I think it will be an absolute blast.  The Shawnee and Edge of Appalachia Regions are just amazing at this time of year- I hope warblers are dripping from the trees and the ground is exploding with blooms.

In preparation for the trip, I popped the memory card from my Canon d10 into the computer, an all conditions, waterproof camera affectionately dubbed "the blueberry".  I've since learned that its design was inspired by a cartoonish chubby polar bear wearing  a blue shirt riding up with an exposed belly button-  I'm not making this up- only our friends from Japan could come up with this stuff. Go here to see what I mean and click on the blue camera.

Anyways, I popped in the card, thinking I would find only photos that I took- but this one just made me grin ear to ear.  Great shot Megan

Now you know the camera that took the picture, and the person who took it, but just look at him.  It's been a while since I've posted images of Weston here, and that might be too long.  Look at that hair, the maturity, the desire, the will, the upturned collar.  We've got a little boy on our hands- no longer a baby.

Tom

Next Wednesday, from 6-8, there will be a reception for myself and Mike Heisey, the other photographer featured at "the mac"  Everyone is invited. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Nature Blog Network

A few years ago, I added my blog to a fledgling site called "The Nature Blog Network".  When I first signed on, about 50 or so nature bloggers were listed in this directory of nature enthusiasts.  Since that time, over 1000 blogs are listed and the site has grown to include its own blog.  This week, my blog is featured at the Nature Blog Network-  If you haven't visited or registered your blog with natureblognetwork.com, what are you waiting for? 

Tom

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Caltha palustris & Predator


A marsh marigold flower frequented by someone looking for a meal-  In our backyard on a plant I recently purchased from Scioto Gardens

Tom

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yellow-throated Warbler


Back when Megan and I lived a mere one minute walk from the Olentangy River, this was a bird that I got to know well.  When I visited my old stomping grounds on Saturday April 10th, this male yellow-throated warbler was calling incessantly from the branch tips of a towering riverside sycamore.

Super Warbler!

Tom

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why YOU Should Love Sedges Too!


They're beautiful!

Carex emoryi, Emory's sedge

Tom

Urban Bullfrog


Bullfrogs and American Toads are the only anuran species I've found at Kenney Park.  In a small stream like this, I would expect to see green frogs as well, but they just aren't around.  The bullfrog is king.  This is probably North America's most resilient frog species-  they can eat just about anything and they have even been introduced to areas of the country and are now considered invasive in those places

Tom

Monday, April 19, 2010

Eyes of a Naturalist- featuring Tom Arbour & Mike Heisey


As I briefly mentioned in a previous post, I've been extremely busy working on something, and now, I can finally make the announcement.  I was asked to participate in a two person photography exhibit entitled "Eyes of a Naturalist" at the Peggy McConnell Arts center here in Worthington beginning at the end of April.  I am SUPER PUMPED about this exciting opportunity.  I welcome you all to come take a look at my passion for the last few years- documenting Ohio's natural world.  And thank you to everyone who has inspired me as a naturalist, an artist, and a person- you are why I'm here doing what I'm doing.

Tom

Help! I've got a Thrush.

Although I haven't been widely advertising this, 2010 is the first year that I'm keeping a list of the birds that I see.  Right now I sit at 100 species, and that includes a trip to Puerto Rico.  The new cool thing to do here in Ohio is to see how quickly it takes to rack up 100 birds beginning in January, and some people get that a few weeks into the new year.

This is bird #101 for my 2010 list.  It's a thrush, but which one?  I photographed this in a Amur honeysuckle bush in Kenney Park last Saturday in Columbus.  My best guess?  A hermit thrush, judging by the reddish tail, but this bird just doesn't seem to have much of an eye ring.  Help!

Tom

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dicentra cucullaria


Here you can see how the older, lower flowers on the Dutchman's breeches go to fruit more quickly than the upper flowers.  Watch how the "pants" wither away, revealing the ovary containing developing seeds.

Today I'm participating in the "Today's Flowers" meme, for more flower images, go here. 

For those of you from around the world that aren't familiar with this plant, it grows in rich woodlands mostly in the eastern North America, although there are disjunct populations in Oregon, Washington State, and Idaho. This flower blooms in the spring time before the trees towering above it get their new leaves.

Tom

Saturday, April 17, 2010

And the Challenge Continues! Metroparks Challenge #7


Mom! I lost my shoe!
Last fall, you might remember that Megan, Weston and I had set out to visit all of the central Ohio Metroparks before the snow fell- we titled it our "Metroparks Challenge". We set our goals high- and we simply didn't meet it in the time allowed. That doesn't mean we have given up on the goal! Last week, we went to Highbanks Metropark, located about 2 miles north of our home, for a quick walk around the dog friendly trail, which led us through young woods and old farm fields.
In one of the fields is a prehistoric earthwork, often known as an "indian mound". There are several other interesting earthworks at Highbanks Park.
One of the reasons we chose this particular trail was the opportunity to see birds we had not yet encountered in 2010- birds that frequent open fields and similar habitats. The trail didn't disappoint. We first heard this field sparrow with its dropping ping-pong ball call, and after several minutes of scanning the field, I spotted its pink bill through the binoculars.

And finally, just before we arrived back to the parking lot, we spotted a pair of eastern bluebirds. The female is pictured above.

The lack of posts this week was with reason- I've been busy working at something, something that I'm extremely excited about, which I'll soon announce here.

Tom

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Lesser Celandine

Just when I thought my invasive species illness from the lesser celandine couldn't get any worse, I read this post from the

First Ohio Nature Photographers Photowalk!

You are invited to the very first Ohio Nature Photographers photowalk.  Come join me and Steve Wolfe ( a participant of the 2009 Everest Trek with Chris Marquart and Jon Miller) at Kenney Park this Sunday morning at 9:00 am. 

All the details can be found in this post at the Ohio Nature Photographers group at FLICKR.  Everyone is invited, just let me know if you can come, it will be fun.

Tom

Sunday, April 11, 2010

When Plants go Wild


I returned to my old stomping grounds this afternoon, and to my foolishness, I was shocked to see how much more lesser celandine, Ranuncus ficaria, there was along the floodplain of the Olentangy River.  In this area alone, there were at least 30 virginia bluebell plants just two years ago.  Today?  There was ONE PLANT.  This species is such a nasty, agressive invader of floodplains, it just makes me sick.

Tom

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Love is in the Air, it Must be Spring!


'Nuf said for a Wordless Wednesday.

Tom

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Ospreys of Hoover Reservoir

There's an amazing nature viewing area in Columbus that practically nobody knows about-  the boardwalk at the top end of Hoover Reservoir near the tiny village of Galena.  It's a place where rafts of hundreds of ducks float about in the spring, and shorebirds of all kinds poke and prod muddy flats in the fall.  I went there armed with my camera only two weeks ago.  What's amazing is how the march of spring has progressed since I took these images- we're really greening up here quickly in Ohio with several days in the lower 80's.

But I digress.  I have been to Hoover boardwalk before, seeing the two Osprey nesting platforms, but no sign of Ospreys.  A few days before my visit, I read a tip posted to the Ohio Birds Listserve that a pair of ospreys had been sighted in the area, so my recent visit was to specifically to see and possibly photograph the ospreys. 

The ospreys did not dissapoint.  Although there wasn't any activity at the platform closest to the boardwalk, the platform furthest from the boardwalk to the south was flanked by two ospreys.  These birds were FAR from the boardwalk, not much more than specks when viewed with 10x binoculars.  Still, I was able to get a few shots of the birds in flight, and when I got home and examined the images on the computer screen, this osprey was carrying a gigantic fish- perhaps a large gizzard shad.

And there was some evidence that the ospreys may be building a nest on one of the platforms.  After a brief absence, they flew right over me, both carrying sticks and headed to the nest platform.


I uploaded this image at 2000 pixels.  Click for a much larger image, and see if you can find the osprey in the tree.

So that was my thirty minute adventure with the Ospreys of Hoover Reservoir, located right here in Central Ohio on property owned by the City of Columbus.  Maybe they'll lay eggs?  Maybe they already have eggs- I'll be back soon.

Tom

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Bats!

Birds weren't the only thing Megan and I saw in Puerto Rico-  Unbeknown to most of the vacationers at our villa, several trees in the playground area housed colonies of these bats during the day.  They were really pretty big.  Puerto Rico is known to be home to 13 different bat species- including the big brown bat.  Perhaps this is what these are, but really, that's just a guess.

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

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Strange Lawn Creature



I don't want to ever sound like I'm a know it all, but quite frankly, there just aren't that many creatures in Ohio that really get my mind spinning.  However- yesterday after work, I spotted this really weird thing in our front yard, and I just had to take pictures.  What the heck happened?  Did someone let out their red-eared slider and it happened to find a female robin and chase it down?  To be quite honest, this thing is still puzzling me, perhaps I should contact some of my birding friends to see if they could possibly offer up an explanation.

Tom