I don’t usually think of Ohio when I think about carnivorous plants, but we have two types in Wooster, this one and the Pitcher Plant.
The insect-eating lifestyle of the Round-leaved Sundew makes this plant a fascinating species. The round three-quarter inch leaves have sticky, tendrils with droplets of “dew.” This tempts unsuspecting prey.
The main habitat for this plant is bogs and their acidic habitat doesn’t provide enough nutrients., so it catches and eats insects.
Round-leaved Sundew’s droplets are very sticky and this traps insects; when the presence of its stuck prey it detected, its leaf curls inwards to engulf it.
Its scientific name is Drosera rotundifolia. The term “droseros” is Greek for “dewy” and refers to the moist, glistening drops on the leaves. The term “rodundifolia” means “round leaves.”
Though tiny and easy to overlook, this is a really cool plant to encounter in the wild.
Third Eye Herp
While hiking at Hinckley Reservation, I noticed a group of baby birds that were just starting to leave the nest. They were fun to watch, as they hopped from branch to branch.
One of the easiest bird calls to learn is the call of this creature. It gives a vocal clue to its identity by softly uttering its name — “fee-bee,” with the first syllable accented, slightly longer and higher pitched.
This sparrow-sized bird appears remarkably big-headed, especially when it puffs up its small crest. It is a dark, drab gray-brown on the back, with a light breast and belly that is often washed with yellow.
The Eastern Phoebe belongs to a family of birds known as flycatchers. Like most small flycatchers, it has a short, thin bill that it uses for catching insects.
This bird often perches low in trees and is very active, making short flights to capture insects and repeatedly returning to the same perch, where it characteristically wags its tail up and down frequently.
The Eastern Phoebe often nests around buildings and bridges where it is easily observed. It is speculated that its population has increased as buildings and bridges provide additional potential nesting sites.
Despite its plain appearance, this flycatcher is often a favorite among eastern birdwatchers. It is among the earliest of migrants, bringing hope that Spring will soon be at hand.
Third Eye Herp
The white cross-like marking on the back of this arachnid led to its common name and is its main identification characteristic.
Originally from Europe, the Cross Orbweaver Spider was transported to North America and has settled in nicely because of the similar environment.
Cross Orbweaver Spiders are found in a variety of habitats including meadows, gardens, woodland clearings, hedgerows, semi-arid deserts and evergreen forests.
It is steadfast sentry in my gardens that I look forward to seeing every Summer. Females of this species are almost twice the size of the males.
Like other orbweavers, this spider sits in the center of its web with its head down. During times where it perceives danger, it may sit on the edge of its web with its legs tucked under itself.
In late September, females leave their webs and search for protected locations to deposit between 300 to 900 eggs. The eggs are enclosed within a cocoon of yellow, silken threads. The usual egg deposition sites are under tree bark and in cracks and crevices.
Although I usually tend to see them in the same spot day after day during the warmer months, this spider creates a new web every day.
Third Eye Herp
While driving around northeast Ohio, it seems that this small perennial flower is lining just about every roadway.
Birds-foot Trefoil belongs to the same family as pea and bean plants. Its showy, pea-like flowers are only about a half an inch across.
This plant was introduced from Europe as a cultivated forage crop. It is widely planted for erosion control along newly built roads.
Although its flowers start out as a bright lemon yellow, over time they can turn red-orange with age.
Birds-foot Trefoil common name refers to its seedpods, which when grouped together look like a bird’s foot and are slender and purple. Five leaflets are present, but with the central three held conspicuously above the others, hence the use of the name “trefoil.”
This plant can survive fairly close grazing, trampling, and mowing. Birds-foot Trefoil is most often found in sandy soils. It flowers from June to September and is a source of nectar for several different kinds of butterflies and bees.
This plant is also known as Bloomfell, Cat’s Clover, Crowtoes, Eggs and Bacon and Birdsfoot Deervetch.
Third Eye Herp
While at an outdoor summertime party, the event was “crashed” with the arrival of this distinctive insect. I had never seen one previously and decided to investigate its life cycle and habits.
These bulky beetles grow to an inch-plus in length. According to a paper published in 1939, the adults “conceal themselves during the day in the crevices and hollows of trees, where they feed upon the sap that flows from the bark.”
It belongs to the genus Osmoderma (from the Greek osme—smell, and derma—skin). When captured, the beetles emit a very strong, but not unpleasant odor. Some say the scent is beetles smell “peach-like” or “plum-like.”
The scent is a pheromone that attracts females to the tree hollows where the males hang out and where eggs will be laid. The larvae reside in decaying wood, often in apple or cherry trees. They take three years to reach maturity, and are freeze resistant in the Winter.
They are one of the scarab beetles, with the typical scarab’s short antennae with a set of finger-like appendages at the end. This beetle was an unexpected guest that certainly added to the festivities.
Third Eye Herp