01 Ironweed_8109

I’ve been seeing a lot of this plant while out on my hikes in recent weeks; it’s kind of hard to miss.

02 Ironweed_5624

Named for its tough stem, this plant has excellent posture. Its flowers of are like purple torches in the late Summer landscape and when blooming next to Goldenrod, it creates a picturesque scene.

03 Ironweed_2238

This plant prefers to grow in areas such as meadows and pastures where the soil is fertile and conditions are moderately damp. I photographed these at Canalway Center and along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath.

04 Ironweed_8113

Ironweed has a highly visible dark red stem and grows over seven feet tall. It is widely branched at the top. Loose clusters of quarter-inch flowers give it a burst of vibrant color.

05 Ironweed_8102

Attached to the stem are lance-shaped, pointed leaves that have short downy hairs on the lower surface.

06 Ironweed_5627

This species flowers in July to September. Not only is it nice to look at, it is also an excellent nectar plant and is visited by many species of butterflies and bees.

Third Eye Herp

White Crappie

01 White Crappie_4111

While fishing in the Ohio & Erie Canal this Summer I caught a few of these fish. They are of a silvery color with green or brown shades along their back and dark lateral bars along their sides.

02 White Crappie_3054

White Crappies can be found in large rivers, reservoirs and lakes. They are more tolerant of murky waters than their relatives, Black Crappies. As adults, this species is generally about 9–10 inches in length.

03 White Crappie_3053

These fish are neither cruise- nor ambush-feeding strategists. Instead, they swim intermittently and only search for prey when stationary. This strategy is energetically favored to reduce search time for this species.

04 White Crappie_3050

As juveniles, they feed primarily on small invertebrates during their first year of life. As adults, they are largely minnow feeders, though their diet can vary based on location and food availability.

05 White Crappie_3057

White Crappies are native to the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi River basins expanding from New York and southern Ontario westward to South Dakota and southward to Texas.

06 White Crappie_3060

These fish were a fun summertime encounter in Northeast Ohio.

Third Eye Herp


01 Chanterelle_6858

While hiking at Hinckley Reservation, these eye-catching fungi attracted my attention. Their yellow-orange vase-shaped caps were hard to miss on the dark forest floor.

02 Chanterelle_2960

This is among the most popularly eaten species of wild mushrooms. There are many species of edible Chanterelle; the most well known is the Golden Chanterelle Mushroom.

03 Chanterelle_2969

They are often bright in color and funnel-shaped. On the underside, most species have gill-like ridges that run almost all the way down to their stem.

04 Chanterelle_7101

Chanterelles tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests. In addition to North America, they can be found in Eurasia and Africa.

05 Chanterelle_7099

They are mycorrhizal, which means they have a beneficial, symbiotic relationship with the roots of trees. In Ohio they tend to fruit anywhere from June to September.

06 Chanterelle_6888

The flavor of Chanterelles is often described as fruity or peppery. They’re excellent with meats, fish, or as an entrée topping. They’re also very popular with eggs or as a filling in crêpes.

Third Eye Herp

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

01 Six-spotted Fishing Spider_5593

This is a cool spider that I often find while exploring the edges of ponds and canals. It is easy to identify because of their distinctive pattern of two white stripes on their front section and 12 white spots on their abdomen. They are named for the six black spots on their underside.

02 Six-spotted Fishing Spider_5592

This species is active in the daytime and waits patiently for hours at a time for prey to come by. Not only can it walk on water, but it can also dive several inches underwater to catch food, which consists mostly of insects, small fish and tadpoles.

06 Six-spotted Fishing Spider_2398

These creatures can walk on water using the properties of surface tension and by spreading their body weight equally where each of their eight legs contacts the water. This arachnid can stay submerged under the water for 30 minutes or more. The hairs on their bodies trap air and provide a protective “diving suit.”

05 Six-spotted Fishing Spider_0333

Spider legs have delicate hairs called trichobothria that respond to vibrations carried through either the air or the water. These hairs provide information to the spider about the presence and location of prey. Six-spotted Fishing Spiders also have excellent eyesight.

04 IMG_2390

This species belongs to a group known as Nursery Web Spiders. A female will lay her eggs and wrap them in a silken sac. She will carry this sac around in her jaws for protection until the eggs are ready to hatch. Then she builds a nursery tent with silk which she guards to protect her spiderlings against attackers.

03 Six-spotted Fishing Spider 5601

The Six-spotted Fishing Spider is a truly fascinating creature that often goes about its life unnoticed.

Third Eye Herp