Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Announcing a New Book "Pocketguide to Eastern Streams"


Ryan Ankeny was gracious enough to suggest that I do some shameless self-promotion of a new field guide to eastern streams written by my wife and myself (Thanks Ryan!). It's entitled "Pocketguide to Eastern Streams" and is available from Amazon and through virtually any bookstore.

Here is a link to one source:

Pocketguide to Eastern Streams

Streams are natural attractants for a lot of animals and are excellent places to find tracks, flowers, birds, and a lot of other cool things. The basic idea behind our book is that there are a variety of plants and animals that tend to catch your eye as you hike, fish, play, or work in and around streams. Our guide is meant to give you a means to identify those things and some of the other organisms that you are likely to encounter by flipping rocks, fishing, or using a dipnet. The guide provides an introduction to stream ecology, the different kinds of streams found in the eastern U.S., and stream/watershed restoration. However, the bulk of the book is dedicated to helping you to identify most of the common plants and animals found in and along streams.

This book would be an excellent resource for anyone who works in and around streams or just loves to go creekwalking. It contains information that is useful even to experienced stream ecologists, but is written to be interesting and understandable to the novice naturalist. The guide is a great resource for anglers, educators, naturalists, stream managers, restoration ecologists, and wildlife professionals. It is most applicable to small streams that are easily explored by wading and canoeing, but many of the taxa and concepts apply to larger rivers. The guide covers 225 different kinds of plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds.

Here are a few examples of things covered in the guide:

Chrosomus erythrogaster (southern red-bellied dace)

half underwater stream with crayfish2

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Plecoptera (stonefly larva)

Freshwater mussel colors

American Beaver

Arundinaria gigantea (giant rivercane)

Great Blue Heron With Fish


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kentucky Hunter's Moon

On the drive home from work I couldn't help but notice how large and beautiful the moon was coming up from the horizon.  I've never seen the moon so big and low in the sky, it almost looked like a second sun.  It turns out this moon is known as the Hunter's Moon which follows the Harvest Moon.  It is so named because the light given off from the moon's reflection of the sun would allow hunter's to stalk their prey into the night.  The full Hunter's Moon isn't until tomorrow so you still have a chance to see it tomorrow evening.  Be sure to be on the lookout at sunset because it was one of the prettiest moons I have ever seen!

I hope everyone appreciates the lengths I went to to get this picture.  :)  I could see the moon for the trees so I had to go upstairs, pop out the screen, and hang halfway out the window to snap this shot.  I am probably getting quite a reputation with my neighbors.  I cranked the ISO up to 3200 which is why it is so pixelated, but that was about the only way I could get a shot.  By this time the moon had risen pretty high in the sky, when it was just coming over the horizon it was huge!  Try to spot it tomorrow at sunset as it comes over the horizon, you will not be disappointed!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Moments in between

We're at a moment in between seasons, where mother nature hasn't quite let go of summer yet. I went on a little walk today and found a little bit of summer, a little bit of fall...

A wild flower still giving food to beautiful green bees (Halictid Bees):
Bee on Flower

Black Walnuts all over the ground:
Black Walnut

Leaves still changing colors:
Fall leaf changing colors

Hedge apples all dropped from the trees:

And Goldenrods that have lost their color. Which many of us are grateful for so we can stop sneezing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sabine's Gull

A few weeks ago, one of my flickr friends, nsxbirder, discovered a rare gull in south east Ohio! Looking for a new adventure, I decided to drive up there on Oct. 22, 2011.

Sabine's Gull

The Sabine’s Gull is a small gull, discovered by Sir Edward Sabine, an explorer & astronomer, while on an arctic expedition in 1818. This bird breeds along the northern coast of Alaska. They are also known to nest in Greenland, Norway & even Russia. So you can see why this gull is such a rare sighting in South east Ohio! Here is a link to an awesome map, courtesy of natureserve.org that shows the normal migratory pattern of this gull to South America.

Sabine's Gull

They have a black, white & gray triangular pattern on their wings, apparent in flight, that helps give a definitive ID.

Sabine's Gull

This particular visiting gull is a juvenile. The adult breeding Sabine’s Gull has a charcoal-gray hood ringed with a thin black line at the base. They are also only one of two gull species with a yellow-tipped, black bill & a notched tail. Click here to see further information about Sabine’s Gull on Whatbird.com

While visiting East Fork State Park, I also got to observe several other gull species, including, Bonaparte’s, Ring-billed, and Laughing gull. Another birder mentioned that there were two loons out in the middle of the lake, but they were too far for me to get a good look.

Bonaparte's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull

Laughing Gull
Juvenile Ring-Billed and Adult Laughing Gull

Juvenile Laughing Gull
Juvenile Laughing Gull

Ring-Billed Gull
Adult Ring-Billed Gull

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