Sunday, May 18, 2008

Here is a red-tailed hawk nest that is in West Lafayette. It is at the top of a power line tower near the Wabash. You can easily see it from State Road 26 at the approach to the Wabash Bridge. Look for it south across the railroad tracks. The picture was taken Saturday May 17, 2008.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here is a photo taken from an old aerial photograph of the land that is now called Celery Bog. This photo was taken about 1954. You can see Lindberg Road across the bottom of the pic. Purdue Golf Course is already in existence. The only natural area that exists is Scifres-Maier Woods, in the top left of the pic. This probably shows the land at its most devastated point in its history. It would have taken an extensive and deep tiling system to drain the low land enough to try to farm it like this. Some time after 1954 the attempt to farm this land was abandoned, probably too tough to keep it dry enough. The natural area we have now is the result of this land being left alone for fifty years. The land where the clear-cutting was done between the golf course and the pond has been recovering nicely with trees until 2008. The clear-cutting is just the latest event in a long history of insults to this land.

Monday, May 12, 2008

At Celery Bog Park, May 7, 2008. Here are some birds that were noticed there.

Behind the nature center

Tennessee warbler
White throated sparrow
Downy woodpecker
House wren
Yellow throated vireo

At the edge of the pond

Blue winged teal
Pied billed grebe
Canada goose
Palm warbler
Solitary sandpiper
Baltimore oriole
Tree swallow
Prothonotary warbler
Double crested cormorant
Yellow rumped warbler
Cape May warbler
Rose breasted grosbeak
Blackpoll warbler
Red headed woodpecker

Observed from the wooden deck on shore

Rough winged swallow
Great blue heron
Indigo bunting
Blue grey gnatcatcher

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Here’s an orchid growing in the Scifres-Maier Woods of the Celery Bog Park. It’s Aplectrum hyemale, or puttyroot. All you see is the broad green leaf. This leaf stays green like this all winter, curiously they disappear in the summer. I took this picture April 10, 2008 with a camera that is not too very good. I tried to find this plant again another day as I had a better camera but I had no luck finding it. You should be able to find it somewhere west of the swampy area on dry ground.
Sometimes this plant is called toothwort. The current botanical name of this plant is Cardamine concatenata. The picture was also taken April 16, 2008 in the Scifres-Maier Woods of the Celery Bog Park. It's a common spring wildflower in these woods.

Some wildflower guides call it by its synonym, Dentaria lacinata, it's the same plant.
This plant is Allium tricoccum, also known as ramps. The picture was taken April 16, 2008 in the Scifres-Maier Woods of the Celery Bog Park. Earlier that day I had been in a woods in Henry County and also found ramps. I tasted a leaf of these Celery Bog ramps, they seem to have more zing in them. You can find these in the Purdue Hort Park woods too.
Sunday, May 4, 2008, at the Granville Bridge access to Wabash River.

The access road crosses a stream, the water in the stream looks fairly clear. In open area near river, an unknown grass is about a foot high, giant ragweed about 4 inches high, also Rumex. Trees here are mostly silver maple. Also cottonwood, mulberry. The mulberry is flowering. Under the trees are polygonum, blue violet, giant ragweed. Jeeps have been running on the trail, slopping through mud. On river bank, poison ivy with young leaves. Along gravel road is rorippa, dandelion, blue violet. Under power lines are young trees dead from spraying last year or earlier. Amongst them grows poison hemlock, nettles, rumex, unknown grass. A great blue heron flies west.
Blue phlox (Phlox divaricata) at Purdue Hort Park woods, May 4, 2008.
Trillium flexipes at Purdue Hort Park woods, May 4, 2008.

This is Mertensia virginica in Purdue Hort Park woods, May 4, 2008.
Sunday, May 4, 2008, in the Purdue Hort Park woods, also called Stewart's Woods.

Sunny, cool, very slight breeze. Redbud flowering. Bush honeysuckle leafed out.

Mertensia blossoming. Just like at Celery Bog yesterday, cast off tree flowers scattered dead on ground, possibly from ash trees, I don't know. Unknown brown mushroom. Trillium flexipes. Most of the spring flowering is past. Still flowering now, blue phlox, prairie trillium. Tall yellow violets are flowering. Mayapple is flowering. Two morel mushrooms found at foot of beech tree. The beech tree with beech drops (Epifagus virginiana) at the base. They are parasitic on the beech tree roots. Also ramps, jack-in-the-pulpit. Some rust on mayapple. In swampy area, swamp buttercup (probably Ranunculus septentrionalis), unknown whorled-leaved lily (possibly Lilium michiganense), rattlesnake fern (2 plants seen, Botrychium virginianum).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some notes on the natural world around here Saturday.

May 3, 2008 at CBNA. It was blustery, unseasonably chilly. I went into the park. Where the paved trail ends there are two bicycle racks. A mulched trail leads to the pond. A fallen oak tree lies here slowly decomposing. The land around this fallen oak is recovering woodland. A large oak tree stands to the north, surrounded by a colony of mayapple. A few years ago the understory here was dominated by bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). This has cleared out mostly, and a strong population of spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) and blue violet (Viola sororia) is here. A few ramps (Allium tricoccum) and solomon’s seal are here too. New ash trees are replacing the forest. Poison ivy is leafing out. Medium size black cherry trees (Prunus serotina) are here. To the south the hawthorn trees (Crataegus) are flowering. Their white flowers appear in distinctive umbels. Wild garlic (Allium vineale) is here in patches. Last year’s pokeweed stem is here. No sign of the new poke sprout, it is sure to appear very soon. A few garlic mustard are here, not too many. Dentaria is past flowering and is showing seed capsules. Jewelweed here showing just the first two leaves past the cotyledon stage. The plum tree thicket that grows at the woods’ edge are at the end of the flowering stage. Jack-in-the-pulpit is showing flowers. The mulch trail is spotted with the brown cast off floral remains from some sort of tree, I don’t know what kind, maybe hickory or ash? In the mowed area, dandelion and ground ivy are flowering. Some of the cherry tree leaves have mite galls.

At the edge of the pond, frogs jump into the water. A bird smaller than a sparrow with a little streak of yellow on the sides is here. Possibly it is golden-winged warbler. Numerous swallows are skimming over the surface of the water. Wolffia floating on the water, or maybe it’s duckweed. Four Canada geese fly by here headed southeast. A great blue heron flies south and lands in the clear cut area. Unknown grass about 10 inches high. Delicate looking galium here. A few wild mustards (yellow flowers), dandelion, garlic mustard (white flowers) here. Moving on, prairie trillium, Virginia creeper, a few patches of day-lily (maybe). The flowering stage for redbud is almost over, leaves are the size of nickels now. Moving on, bloodroot in leaf, unknown sedge. Greek valerian (Polemonium) is flowering. On fallen tree at shore of pond, unknown grey shorebird drinks water, has white breast. Another fallen tree, bark falling off, shows extensive bark beetle galleries. Some blue phlox flowering. Moving on, some Sambucus (elderberry). New hackberry trees. Persicaria (lady’s thumb).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale) The tiny blue-flowered plant is Veronica hederifolia. Picture taken April 20, 2008.