Wildside

Woodland Plants of this Week: The Other Impatiens

   Two species of impatiens have carried on in eastern woodlands despite the roar of impatiens downy mildew on bedding impatiens in our landscapes.

There are some reports of their susceptibility to the downy mildew pathogen Plasmopara obducens, but it has not been reported on these species in Ohio. Woodland walkers are sure to recognize these other impatiens, though you may know them by other names, such as jewelweed or touch-me-nots. Their given Latin names are: Impatiens capensis, with orange flowers and Impatiens pallida, with pale yellow flowers....

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Authors
Jim Chatfield

Wee Beasties

  During the course of this summer a number of beasts of various sizes have passed by my lens. These often turn into bygl-alerts, for example 17-year cicadas and monarch butterflies. A few have not qualified – until now. Here are just a few beauties of the summer bestiary.
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Authors
Jim Chatfield

Milkweeds: Asclepias and Asclepius

  I was moved by my friend Joe Boggs post about oleander aphids on milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) to add a little to the mix, mainly because I wrote earlier about butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and because I took a number of pictures of milkweeds in the past few weeks and in previous years. They are quite beautiful with their reflexed corolla (group of petals) and elaborate horn and hood structures, their silky fibers (coma) used for life preserver flotation in World War II and pillows and comforters today, and for their relationship with Monarch butterflies.

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Authors
Jim Chatfield

What Is In My Bluebird House??

Despite the name 'bluebird house', eastern bluebirds are not the only species that call those little wooden boxes home. Bluebird houses (hereafter called bluebird nest boxes) are also used by tree swallows, chickadees, house wrens, and house sparrows. All of the aforementioned species are cavity nesters, meaning they build their nests in cavities, whether naturally occurring (in trees) or man-made (in nest boxes).
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Authors
Marne Titchenell

The Table is Set and the Birds are Feasting!

While spending some time earlier this week at Sharon Woods Metro Park, one of the Columbus and Franklin County's Metro Parks, I had the opportunity to capture some shots of a downy woodpecker flittering about in an small alder tree. I was playing around with a new camera and was 'zoomed' in rather far when as I took the pictures. It wasn't until I returned to the office that I realized the downy woodpecker was doing much more than 'flittering about". It was actually feasting on woolly alder aphids!

 

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Authors
Marne Titchenell

Got Bats in the Belfry? Here's What to Do!

March through September is the active time for bats in Ohio.  Ohio’s 11 species spend their summer hours like every other species in Ohio – feeding and reproducing.  There is no question Ohioans benefit from the feeding of bats – a single bat can consume over 1000 mosquito-sized insects in one night. 

The reproduction side of things however, can sometimes cause an issue…especially if the result is a colony of bats in the home.  Two Ohio bat species will commonly share living space with humans; the little brown bat and the big brown bat.  The females of both of these species form...

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Authors
Marne Titchenell

Turkey Tales

My wife and I live in the country in Wayne County in northeast Ohio, and enjoy the sights and sounds of wild-life.  Coyotes provide their weird series of moans, whistles, yips, and howls – truly cool.  Equally cool we have a turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) hen and two poults that waltz through our yard periodically this summer. This is much to our delight, except for areas of the lawn (such as it is with our dry period this summer) that they ruffle up, presumably in their omnivorous belief that “We Have The Meat” (insects and millipedes) and vegetables (acorns, roots, almost...

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Authors
Jim Chatfield

Squirrels Debarking Trees

Earlier this week, Dr. Mike Klahr (Extension Agent, Horticulture, Boone County Cooperative Extension) shared photographs sent to him by a homeowner of bark stripping damage caused by squirrels on a honeylocust in a landscape in Boone County, KY.  Thanks to Mike, he and I were able to visit the site yesterday so I could take photos to illustrate this report.  We found that all of the debarking damage seemed to be focused on a single tree; we could not find damage on other trees on the property as well as on trees in neighboring properties including on a large oak that had a squirrel leaf-...

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Authors
Joe Boggs

Goose No Fly Zone During Molting

At the end of June and into the first few weeks of July, something happens to Ohio's goose population. Homeowners that have been harassing (or scaring) geese off their property may notice that now, the geese just aren't flying away. There is a reason your property has become a no-fly zone - the adults are molting their flight feathers. This process takes a few weeks during which, the adults are unable to fly. Couple that with a clutch of young goslings that are not able to spread their wings yet, and you have several sitting ducks (or in this case, geese!). Unfortunately, damage (and the...

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Authors
Marne Titchenell

Sssssssnakes in the Garden

 

SSSSSSSSSNAKES IN THE GARDEN. It is not uncommon this time of year to encounter a slithery visitor in gardens, landscapes, and backyards. There are several species of snakes happy to live their lives in backyards, but one of the most common is the eastern gartern snake. Named for the 3 light stripes that run along the length of its black, brown, gray, or olive body, the garter snake is sometimes nicknamed the 'garden' snake because that is where unsuspecting gardeners often encounter them. The stripes running vertically along the length of the snake's body resemble the once...

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Authors
Marne Titchenell