Channel Catfish

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While doing a little summertime fishing, I hooked one of these fine creatures. Channel Catfish are North America’s most numerous catfish species. In the United States, they are the most fished catfish species; their popularity for food has contributed to the rapid expansion of aquaculture of this species.

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Like other catfish, they have no scales, a single bony spine in each pectoral fin and the dorsal fin, and 8 barbels (whiskers) around the mouth.

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Channel Catfish live in a diverse array of habitats, including four of the five Great Lakes (Lake Superior excluded), inland lakes and medium to large rivers. Adult catfish typically inhabit deep pools with log jams or rocks for cover during the day and move into shallow water at night.

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They are capable of living more than 15 years, and individuals up to 24 years of age have been reported. In ideal habitats, Channel Catfish often grow to over 30 inches and weigh more than 10 pounds.

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Like all catfish, they will eat pretty much anything. Their diet includes insect larvae, crayfish, mollusks, small fish and clams, snails, worms and seeds. Channel Catfish mainly feed at night, and use their barbels to find food in the deep, dark water. Their impressive size and high quality flesh make these catfish deservedly popular as a sport fish.

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Silver-spotted Skipper

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This is Ohio’s largest skipper. It is long-winged and brown, with band of yellow-orange rectangular spots on forewings and unique, silver-white patch at center of hindwings.

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These butterflies are named for their quick, darting flight habits. Most skippers have antenna tips modified into narrow hook-like projections.

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The Silver-spotted Skipper is found throughout most of the United States and into southern Canada. In the West, it is more restricted to mountainous areas.


The odd-looking caterpillar has an enlarged head capsule and a pronounced neck collar, making it look a bit like a cartoon alien. When disturbed, the caterpillars regurgitate a greenish, bitter-tasting, defensive chemical.

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Silver-spotted Skippers frequent edges of forests, swamps, brushy areas, and other open areas where nectar plants are found. We often have them visit our deck garden. Adults have long “tongues” and feed on nectar from a variety of flowers.


I enjoy seeing these summertime creatures both at home and while out hiking.

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Cooper’s Hawk

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While doing yard work this week, I noticed this creature perched on a tree in my front yard. Copper’s Hawks often visit suburban homes to pick off songbirds from feeders.

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I have also seen them in Brecksville Reservation – they among the bird world’s most skillful fliers – their short wings allow them to navigate through cluttered trees at high speeds in pursuit of other birds.

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Cooper’s Hawks are forest and woodland residents, but suburbs with enough trees are a favorite habitat as well.

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These crow-sized raptors mainly eat birds. Small birds tend to be safer around Cooper’s Hawks than medium-sized birds. They sometimes rob rodent nests and mammals are more common in diets of Cooper’s Hawks in the West.

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While they can soar in classic hawk fashion, when in pursuit of prey, their flight changes. It becomes becomes powerful, quick, and very agile, allowing the bird to thread its way through tree branches at top speed.

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Other common names for the Cooper’s Hawk include: big blue darter, chicken hawk, flying cross, hen hawk, quail hawk, striker, and swift hawk.

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This tree often goes by the alternative common name American Larch. It is the only deciduous conifer that is native to Ohio, and it strongly prefers moist to wet sites in acidic soils.


Tamarack’s green needles turn a showy yellow in Fall before dropping to the ground as Winter approaches. This is a medium to large sized tree that usually grows to 40-60 feet tall with an open pyramidal shape and horizontal branching.


Its slender green needles grow in brush-like clusters which appear at the ends of short spur-like shoots spaced along the branches.


Tamarack produces tiny rounded cones up to 1 inch, that start off red and eventually mature to brown. The bark on mature trees is a scaly, reddish-brown.


Tamaracks are very cold tolerant and able to survive temperatures down to at least -65 °C (-85 °F). They commonly occur at the Arctic treeline at the edge of the tundra. It is one of the northernmost occurring trees in North America, as well as the world.

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