Category Archives: Outdoors


I’d secretly hoped that it would be pouring rain this morning, so that plant monitoring would be canceled. Unfortunately, it’s a lovely clear day, if hot and humid. Also unfortunately, when I got to the park after only five hours of sleep, no one was there. So I went for a walk and came home.

Saw a bird, possibly a towhee, an unidentified butterfly, an ebony jewelwing damselfly, and something else that I’ve forgotten. The trail I took went through an EFP-land forest, with widely spaced trees and little undergrowth, though parts of it had lots of ferns to hide fallen logs and rabbit holes from unsuspecting heroes. After a slippery climb up a sandy hill, the trail emerged onto sand dunes, sunny and hot while the forest had been cool and smelling of mildew. I preferred the dunes.

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Puccoon, Thimbleweed, and the USDA Plants Database

Today we visited the Girdham Dunes, hunting for puccoon and thimbleweed. I think the links I have go to the correct varieties of each:

Plains Puccoon, or Lithospermum caroliniense (Walt. ex J.F. Gmel.) MacM.

Prairie Thimbleweed, or Anemone cylindrica

In googling, I discovered the very useful National PLANTS Database. (Ohio plants at

Non-plant sightings:
A tree frog. A very patient tree frog: the two people with me used their camera phones.
A bluebird on the road while I was driving away. I didn’t get a good look at all, but I don’t think we have any other birds here that are that blue.
An Eastern Towhee eating the blackberries on the dunes.

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Racemed Milkwort

Rare plant monitoring for the day: racemed milkwort (photo) (info)

This is much smaller and harder to find than the lupine we looked for last time. Plants were fairly scattered, and some were only a few inches tall, which made them hard to see, even when there wasn’t a lot of stuff growing. We did two areas, and I think I counted fewer than 20 total.

Other sights: a frog hiding in the duckweed, several huge carp, a bluebird, and a baby turtle sunning on a log.

And at least a dozen Great Spangled Fritillaries on thistle. The naturalists said they must have just emerged; they were bright orange, undamaged, and flapping their wings slowly. Also a painted lady and a spicebush swallowtail.

The morning also raised thoughts of all those fantasy novels in which characters stroll through the trackless wilderness with no problems. Notes on terrain: Not level even though region is flat. Logs – maybe rotten or loose. Smaller branches. Raspberry brambles. Other shrubs with prickers.

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Your lupines or your life

Rare plant monitoring at Oak Openings. Many many lupines. Three of us counted about 4000.

There’s a photo on this brief page about the habitat from the Nature Conservancy.

My legs are very tired from bending over to count plants for three hours. They’re tricky because they send up shoots and it’s hard to tell where one plant ends and another begins.

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