Tuesday, August 30, 2011



I'm reposting an interesting blog from Richard Louv, the author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle. I'd love to hear your comments on this idea, relative to Ohio. Let's hear what you think!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ohio in Seasonal Transition

I can't believe it's almost fall! It seems like I say this every year, but where on earth did this summer go?  I had to get a blanket out last night for the first time.  It is a bittersweet feeling.

There were subtle reminders of the looming fall that I chose to ignore.  Things like an uptick in the numbers of hummingbirds coming to my feeders.  I know they are getting ready for their big migrations.  So I need to keep on top of my feeders.  By the way, don't believe that old wives tale that if you don't take the feeders down, hummingbirds won't migrate.  It's not true.  Leaving them up can provide valuable nutrition to those slow to migrate.  But nature's migratory urge is much more powerful than any tempting treat we can put in our feeders.  They'll go when they need to.

I've also noticed more spiders in the yard, much to my chagrin.  I am not a lover of spiders, to be sure.  But, I do appreciate their role in the food chain.  And, I've even been able to muster up enough nerve to observe a few of these creatures to see what type of web they weave, physical characteristics, etc, before I get the willies and have to walk away. :-)  If you'd like to learn more about Ohio's spiders, the Division of Wildlife has a very nice new field guide that you can order by contacting 1-800-WILDLIFE.

Another sign of the coming fall is the explosion of blooms seen in my flower beds.  It seems like they are trying one last ditch effort to attract as many pollinators as possible before that first frost.  And they make excellent table bouquets.

Then there is the bane of most birders, fall warblers.  As if these little birds aren't hard enough to identify in spring when they are in their full color glory.  In the fall, the males and females are both drab olive brown and you really have to get a good look at them to pick out any distinguishing field marks.  It is quite a challenge if you're up for it.  Shorebirds are migrating through as well.  With some species having to cross two continents in their journey south, they are some of the earliest migrants.  Local lakes and rivers are at their low water points this time of year and their mud flats are exposed.  Scan any of these flat, damp spots and you'll likely find several different species of these long-legged waders.  Sometimes collectively known as sandpipers, some species you might see include sanderlings, dowitchers, plovers, yellowlegs, and, of course, multiple species of sandpipers.  You'll find them actively searching for aquatic invertebrates deep in the mud.  You can find photos and order field guides for both warblers and shorebirds on our website at http://www.wildohio.com/

These transitional times of year are when I think nature is at its most interesting.  Some careful observations around your schoolyard, backyard or local park can yield some wonderfully curious sites, smells and sounds that may not be around in the middle of a season.  Take a moment to discover Ohio in her seasonal transition.