This past weekend I participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count put on by Audubon & eBird (Final count 27 different species - I only got out one day). While I was out, this belted kingfisher made certain I didn't miss him!
These medium size birds spend most of their time perched alone along the sides of bodies of water in search of small fish which they swoop down to gather. Ohio is an area where they can be found year round - in the winter near moving bodies of water where the water doesn't freeze.
This project has been such a great learning experience for me, I started it on a whim in March 2016 while out watching for wildflowers (which in and of itself turned out to be an amazing independent study for me). I walked the same trail every day for a full month observing changes, growth, erosion, watching how winter changes to spring, spring to summer, summer to fall, and fall back to winter. It opened my eyes to the life-cycles of plants - what ones bloom and die (like the dutchman's breeches), what ones stay long after their blooms (like the bloodroot and wild ginger leaves), what ones come along much later in the season but certainly claim their place (like the bedstraw, nettles, and goldenrod). It amazed me just how abrupt the seasons do change, from May to June the whole forest turned green, then from October to November it all disappeared.
Below is a collage of each month's view of the trail - click on each picture to be taken to that month's post.
I want to thank you all for following along on this project, I hope you got as much out of this as I have (or even if it merely inspired you at all to go outside and explore your world, I'd call that a win!).
February's hike was a fantastically snow covered one,
the early morning snow still clinging to the trees,
for just one moment the world was quiet and calm.
February is a tough month (at least for me) it's still cold, dark, and not much seems to be happening. I'm still challenging myself to get outside at least three times per week during the months I'd most rather stay indoors and read, it's been tough but there have been some wonderful moments I've experienced just by being out.
The photos below are from just one day's adventure, I found a flock of Tundra Swans hanging out in Funk, the first shoots of the Skunk Cabbage, I watched Harriers hover and dart over a meadow, a nesting pair of Bald Eagles worked to find just the right nesting supplies, and found a great variety of mosses and lichen while enjoying my stroll.
February is modest, it brings the birds back, the buds on the trees, the earth starts opening once again - all without the grandiose and flourish of March & April's wildflowers or May's blooming trees.
February, I appreciate you.
It's February first and that means its time for some much needed inspiration to get through this cold, cold, month. I'm feeling extra inspired this month so I'm giving you not one, but three quotes to contemplate as we watch the snow fall.
This month brings so much anticipation - the gardening catalogues have arrived in the mail, soon ordered seeds will follow, then begins the starting of seeds mid/late Feb! It's the first tiny hint of a glimmer of warmer days and at this point, i'll take it!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.