If you have some good wildlife photos, by all means send them in stat. The tank grows ever lower. . .
Today’s photos are from reader Bob Placier. His narrative and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
In response to your request for photos, thought I would change it up a bit with my submissions. Before becoming a bander, I would have described my field as being a forest ecologist and especially a dendrologist—still perhaps my strongest area. I still spend lots of time in the woods. so here are some non-avian photos I hope will be of use and interest to readers.
While still teaching Dendrology – I retired in 2015 – I took my lab to a nearby Ohio state forest to introduce them to our native American Chestnut (Castanea dentata). All trees of any size have been gone for many years, but the root systems keep on sending up sprouts in our highly acidic sandstone derived soils. When we reached the sapling I had in mind, we encountered this Gray Treefrog trying to remain inconspicuous. This is one of the two cryptic species (Hyla versicolor or H. chrysocelis, which are impossible to separate in the field, except by voice. And this one remained mute.
American Chestnut foliage. These are native. Efforts have been made to breed blight resistance by crossing with the Chinese Chestnut (C. mollissima), eventually producing 15/16 American individuals possessing the Chinese genes for resistance. Out-planting has begun in recent years.
Same forest, but in very early spring. Trailing Arbutus (Epigaea repens) is a member of the Ericaceae family, mostly found in highly acidic soils. It’s easily overlooked since the flowers are often hidden under the leathery evergreen leaves. And they bloom before most wildflower lovers have ventured into the woods.
Another acid soil denizen, called Teaberry, Wintergreen, or Mountain-tea (Gaultheria procumbens). Its leaves taste just like Teaberry gum. Both this species and Trailing Arbutus are woody plants, so I got to cover them in Dendrology.
A bit later in the season, and not confined to acidic soils. Showy Orchis (Orchis spectabilis). Happily common in my woods.
My lips are sealed about the location of these beauties, within easy walking distance of my home. Pink Lady’s Slipper or Moccasin Flower (Is that cultural appropriation?) (Cypripedium acaule). It’s in a very acidic oak forest.