25.4 F
Garrettsville, OH
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Nearby Nature

Home Columns & Editorials Nearby Nature

Minks and Otters

As promised, we will continue up the family tree of the toughest family on the block, the Mustelids.

As promised, we will continue up the family tree of the toughest family on the block, the Mustelids. This week we will be discussing the “middle “children of the family. But make no mistake, they are just as tough, fearless, and bloodthirsty as their siblings. Next time we will discuss the big boys, the Martens, Fishers, and Wolverines. Now...

Stuck in Ohio…And Proud Of It!!

During my lifetime I have been blessed with many opportunities to experience nature and our natural world. I have been to National Parks from Maine to California, talked to God in a grove of Redwoods, touched sequoias, climbed to 14,000 feet in the Rockies to sooth my feet in a cold alpine lake, hiked part of the Appalachian Trail...

Smooth As Silk

Within the natural world there are many spectacular things. But none more spectacular than to find the ethereal Luna moth or the massive Cecrcopia or Polyphemus moth. Theses giant moths can have a wing span of up to six inches or more. Not only are the adults spectacular, but so are the caterpillars. Some get to be the size...

“It is not fit for man nor beast outside”

Mice and voles live in the “subnivean” zone. The area between the snow pack and ground. The snow acts as an insulator from the cold temperatures and it also provides protection from predators.

The first time I heard that saying was when I was a little kid, it was 15 below, the wind howling, snow blowing and I was freezing. I wondered how the animals, insects, and plants were able to survive these harsh conditions. I was able to bundle up in layers, go inside and sit by the fireplace, or get...

The Golden End of Summer

Signs of fall abound, a chill is  in the air,  you can see and hear the familiar V formation of geese flying south, Monarchs flit among the flowers making their way to Mexico, and  the woods are becoming quiet as many songbird species leave for winter. The autumnal equinox announces fall is officially here on September 23, 2014. But...

Bald Eagles In Ohio

Since 1782, the mighty Bald Eagle has been the national emblem for the United States of America. Long before that it represented, and still represents, a spiritual symbol for Native Americans. Now that our July 4 celebrations are over, I thought we should learn a little more about this spectacular bird that reminds us of independence.

I’m Batman

Unfortunately when most people think of bats they are horrified with images of Dracula sucking the blood out of some poor woman’s neck.  They think of the caped crusader in the Bat Mobile saving Gotham City once again from the evil clutches of the Joker, a nocturnal creature flying  into your hair and getting tangled up in it, or...

TrekOhio

I can assure the readership that this will not be a critique of the famous Dickens novel of the same name, but a few ideas on how to make the most of your adventures when exploring Nearby Nature. When you go to the zoo you want to see the animals, the same can be said about hiking, camping, or fishing; you want to see and experience nature first hand. When the sun is shining, birds chirping, and you go out to experience nature, one of the most disappointing things that can happen is that by the end of the day all you have experienced is tired/aching legs and bug bites from your hike.

A Walk in The Park

If you are anything like Joe and me, we are big supporters of our county park systems. County parks provide us with beautiful natural places to hike, bike, canoe, picnic, sled ride, fish, bird watch and much more. They also help to preserve habitats for plants, animals and other living things. As a result, the air we breathe and...

Harbingers of spring…The Great Morel

Wow what a winter! It is like the children’s fairy tale “The Never Ending Story” instead we should call it “The Never Ending Winter.” To date, 93% of the Great Lakes are frozen and some say it is the coldest since the winter of 1977-78. Believe it or not, spring IS on its way. Hopefully this is the last...

The American Woodcock

Have you noticed? It’s getting lighter closer to breakfast and is still light out after supper! The temperatures have warmed (albeit very slowly) but you know spring is around-the-corner now that the sap buckets are hung and local breakfasts are serving hotcakes and maple syrup. March 20 is a special day in our calendar year: the Spring or Vernal Equinox....

Favorites of the Feeders

This has been a good winter for those of us who love cold and snow. It has also been a good winter to observe birds at the feeder. Winter birds are some of my favorite and I enjoy watching them steal seeds from the feeder and hang upside-down from the suet block. Tufted titmouse. Northern cardinal. Downy and Hairy...

The Ghost of Christmas

As we reflect on this past Thanksgiving holiday and get ready for the coming Christmas season, we want to begin this week’s segment with some reflections of our own; we are truly thankful for the opportunity to write Nearby Nature and the Weekly Villager for printing our articles. It is hard to believe that this is article #56. We...

Beavers

As I write, the full Beaver Moon is dancing brightly behind passing clouds on a blustery Sunday (November 17) evening. Known as the Beaver Moon because this is the best time to set traps prior to the marshes freezing and because beavers are actively making preparations for winter. To celebrate the November full moon, let’s learn a little about...

Rocky Mountain High

With school now well underway, this will be the last of our articles in our series of getting out and experiencing Nearby Nature. As Matt indicated in the last article when he took us north to Pictured Rocks, I will take us west to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Yes, we know they are both a little more than...

More One Tank Trips

In the last installment of Nearby Nature we discussed the Portage Park District and the idea of one tank trips where you can go out and discover and explore some of the plants, birds, or trees we have highlighted in the past year and a half. A few months ago, we also talked about “special places” and the memories...

Goldilocks in Reverse

We all remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the bears come home to find “someone has been sleeping in my bed.” Well, during the months of June and July in Northeast Ohio, some night you might come home to find a bear sleeping in your bed! At a recent ODNR presentation, it was noted that...

Beyond the four walls

High school classrooms tend to follow a similar pattern: students arrive to class, sit in rows, listen to the teacher and take notes, memorize the information, and take the test. All of this is usually accomplished in periods lasting about 45 minutes. At the end of the period, the bell rings and students move en mass to the next...

Will that incessant noise ever stop!

As we make the transition from spring into summer, the wildflowers are fading, flowering trees and shrubs are ablaze in color, and the mosquitoes, deer flies, and other insects are making their presence known in one way or the other. We are all too familiar with the biting and blood sucking insects that cause us so much irritation, but...

Special Places

What makes a person care for and be good steward of the land? Connections with special places are a result of frequent visits over a long period of time. Whether it is a farm, woodlot, backyard, or fishing hole, you really have to know and understand the land. This doesn’t happen after one visit. Often times it takes years,...

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

By this time of year the seed catalogs, fruit tree catalogs, and various outdoor planting publications are all dog eared, paper clipped, or marked in some fashion. You have been working on re-doing your landscape, making sketches, imagining what this would like here, and that there. Is this shrub or tree going to have the desired effect? The sun...

Stewardship

Last article, we learned that those squishy, pink earthworms that we adore in our gardens are invasive and capable of dramatic changes in our natural habitats. We also learned what can be done to help the situation. This started a series of upcoming articles designed to inform our readers about opportunities to be good stewards of the environment.   stew·ard·ship ...

Who would have thought…

Since the inception of Nearby Nature, we have discussed many subjects relating to natural history, geology, plant and animal identification, places to experience nature, and many others. Like huge puzzle pieces so to speak, we have tried to create an awareness of how everything “fits together” and works in harmony creating sights and experiences we enjoy every day. Beginning...

“WILMA” where did all this ice come from!

Remember Fred Flintstone, he was always blaming poor Wilma for all the stupid situations he and Barney had gotten themselves into. Well, unfortunately Fred can’t blame the Ice Age on Wilma this time.  As we discussed in Part One of the geology of Ohio, the concept of geologic time was explained as well as the “Periods” that led to...

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but having new eyes.”

In many of our articles we hope to give our readers a new set of eyes so as they can discover “nature” as they have never seen it before.  Most of our readers have been to Nelson Ledges State Park and are struck be amazing rock formations, but who would have thought that if you stand in the parking...

Delightful and Sometimes Dangerous Decomposers

Since mushrooms have been in the news of late, we thought we would try to enlighten our readers about one of the most unusual and extremely important organisms in nature. Ominous sounding names like Destroying Angel, Deadly Galerina, and Poision Pie, are obviously poisonous; but Sulfer Tuft,  Jack O’Lantern, and Fly Agaric are equally as dangerous. However Morels, Meadow...

What’s in a name? “Geography 101”

We all know the three most important factors in real estate: Location, location, location. What stories can the names of geographic locations tell? Most of our county names in northeast Ohio derive from significant geographic features in the area and their Native American names.  What’s in a name? “Geography 101” Our state name is derived from the Seneca word ohi-yo’, meaning...

Lions and Tigers and Bears oh my….no dear it’s just a coyote!

I can still vividly remember the first time I saw a coyote; it was at the gravel pit where I worked during the summer behind the Red Fox housing development in Shalersville. The game protector informed the plant manager that a coyote had been killing young calves on a neighbors beef farm. He gave us permission to kill the...

Has this fall been more vibrant than others?

Has this fall been more vibrant than others? The leaves have been changing colors since the last week of September and for the past three weeks have created the backdrop for truly breathtaking views of our surrounding landscape. We are blessed to live in Northeast Ohio this time of year and have our climate and biome to thank for...

Bloodsuckers abound!

We all know there are no such things as vampires. However, bloodsuckers exist and you should be alert to their presence. They can be very sneaky. Mosquitoes, three-corner flies, horse flies and many other insects want to make a meal out of you. One of the creepiest and most repulsive bloodsuckers isn’t even an insect! Instead, this organism has...

Summer Beacons of Joy!

Close your eyes and think back to a warm summer night, the smell of a camp fire, roasting marshmallows or eating s’mores; when all of a sudden, a young voice yells out, “There one is” and all the kids run to the blinking lights slowly rising into the moonlit sky. We all can remember the endless summer nights as...

Summer is not over! There is still time to plan another one-tank trip!

During the summer months, our Nearby Nature articles have provided suggestions of favorite places to visit within 150 miles of Garrettsville (all right, some have been outside of the distance limit, but certainly worth the extra miles). The articles have included unique natural areas throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania that can be visited in a day or a couple of...

Where the rubber meets the road…….

Since the inception of the Nearby Nature column, we have strived to enlighten our readers with what is going on in the natural world around us.-- trying to point out why certain events happen, what to watch for during the various seasons, how to identify what you see with useful references or field guides, and interesting bits of trivia...

Let’s Hear It For The Trees!

"May the trees continue to thrive and flourish on this earth, filling our hearts with joy and inspiration." -- Stephanie Kaza “Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come."-- Chinese proverb "He that plants trees loves others beside himself." -- Thomas Fuller To many, sitting in a forest surrounded by the glory and majesty of the...

Ready or not here they come!

We thought we would begin this article with a few of  questions….What bird has breeding grounds in the Arctic and flies to its non-breeding grounds in Antarctica and then returns to the Arctic to nest again year after year?  How high is the highest altitude a bird can fly? Do birds use the stars to navigate? Do birds use...

Nearby Nature

Global climate change on your mind lately? Several days in the 80’s in March might cause you to consider its validity. Well, it shouldn’t because the unseasonable warmth we have experienced throughout March (actually all winter) is just variation in our weather. The saying goes ‘if you don’t like NE Ohio weather, wait a day and it will change’....

Creatures from the Black Lagoon…..

No this is not a B rated movie review from the 50’s, but a way to alert our readers that spring is well on its way! Turkey vultures, crocus, red-wing blackbirds are a clue; however, a sure sign of spring that we are all familiar with is the sound of spring peepers and wood frogs. As the temperatures rise,...

Vernal Pools: Murky Puddles of Fascinating Life

The word vernal is Latin from “vernus,” meaning “belonging to spring.” Vernal pools refer to any wetland that fills annually from snow melt, spring rains and rising groundwater. They usually do not have an outlet stream and therefore most years dry out during the hot summer months or early fall. But don’t let these vanishing pools fool you. Vernal pools...

Nearby Nature

Finally some snow! How does the old song go “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go”….well something like that. Since we discussed the Christmas tree in our last article, we thought it would be fitting to discuss two other traditional botanical icons of the season, the poinsettia and holly. Sorry mistletoe…maybe next year. Did you Know!   • ...

Hibernation

The first frost of the fall occurred on October 27 at my house. This was considerably later than in past years. Since then, we have had several more heavy frosts but the recent warm and sunny days of “Indian Summer” may have pushed the thought of winter from your mind (technically, Indian Summer is a warm and dry period...

Starlight, Starbright the First Star I See Tonight

We have all heard or told childhood nursery rhymes, but what are we really looking at? Suffice it to say the sky has played a major role in civilizations from the beginning of time. From the ancient Aztec, Mayan and Incan cultures whose daily lives revolved around celestial events to the time of the great philosophers Aristotle, Plato, and...

Damsels & Dragons

Recently my son was photographing nature by our pond; he photographed several different types of dragonflies. This got us wondering just how many different types there were. So the search began. When you see a dragonfly, the images of a large fierce flying insect quickly flitting from place to place come to mind. Though dragonflies/damselflies are excellent predators and...

Nearby Nature: Holiday Edition

As we prepare for the upcoming holiday seasons much of what we enjoy in Nearby Nature has either migrated, gone dormant, burrowed into the mud, or found a warm place to overwinter. So we thought we would get into the holiday spirit with topics relating to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sorry,  Aunt Bee,  no stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, or...

Delightful and Sometimes Dangerous Decomposers

Since mushrooms have been in the news of late, we thought we would try to enlighten our readers about one of the most unusual and extremely important organisms in nature. Ominous sounding names like Destroying Angel, Deadly Galerina, and Poision Pie, are obviously poisonous; but Sulfer Tuft,  Jack O’Lantern, and Fly Agaric are equally as dangerous. However Morels, Meadow...

Mobile Banking from Middlefield Banking Company