8/16 I Take Pictures To See


There is nothing ordinary about the predatory Robber fly (this one is in the genus Diogmites). But I did not realize they had such amazing feet – spiny with claws and fleshy pads called pusilli.

But of course, everyone takes pictures to see something. Kids, cars, dogs, houses, birds, landscapes, cats, babies, sunsets, ourselves – we are endlessly saturated with images of what we like (and what we don’t). Our first response to most anything is to point a phone at it, but could it be this habit is actually lessening our powers of observation? Read More

7/23 She’s a Survivor


The first time I met this turtle was about eight years ago. We were walking in the forest with our then pre-teen children and trying to get them to take an interest in their surroundings. So we offered five dollars to the first one who spotted a Box turtle. I already knew a goodly number of boxies lived in this little forest, and was not surprised when ten minutes later my son yelled in triumph upon finding this big old female. Read More

7/5 Spring is a Birdy Memory


Young male Indigo bunting in a grapevine tangle

It was a glorious spring, long and cool as it rarely is in the Ohio valley. The woods were filled with singing birds and families with nothing else to do. Warblers, thrushes and other neotropical travelers rested and foraged, affording a rare chance to see the many birds that don’t nest here. Read More

6/10 The Very Crowded Nest


What felt like a warm and cozy cradle only a week ago, has now become a prison cell for the gnatcatcher nestlings. There isn’t enough room in the little nest for all four of them, so the oldest ones are continually squirming and stretching and hanging over the edge. Read More

6/6 The Nest, Continued


Eleven to fifteen days – that’s how long Blue-gray Gnatcatchers incubate their eggs. The nestlings were hatched right on schedule; the one above likely is the firstborn of the brood. Read More

6/1 Done


Male turkeys don’t gobble all the time. Sometime around now they pack it in for the season, and spend the summer relaxing in the shade. I learned this, and many other fascinating turkey facts from a forest friend who’s also a hunter. Though I did notice big Tom’s gobbling was becoming less frequent, and he wasn’t hanging out by the trail anymore, I didn’t know his looks were changing too.

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5/27 Invasion of the Cuckoos


For the past few weeks, neotropical migrants have moved through the forest in waves. They pause for a few days of food and rest, then one fine night they’re up and out. By morning a host of new arrivals is busily feeding in the same trees. A group of hungry Yellow billed Cuckoos arrived last week, allowing me the chance to view up close these usually furtive birds. Read More

5/20 The Nest


It’s baby bird season, and walking down the trail I hear them shrilling all around me from their little nests. Seldom do I actually see the nest; the parent birds are good at making it invisible. Though every spring I usually come across a Cardinal, Robin or Carolina wren nest, that’s about it.

But yesterday I got to see a nest I’ve never observed before, in a place where it was quite unexpected. Read More

5/6 Killer



By now, my readers must think this little forest is an earthly paradise, packed with native plants and animals. The truth is rather different – I’ve only been showing you the good bits. The 20 acres or so now relatively free of invasive plants have been hard won, and some will not agree with our methods. Every acre restored has first been subjected to intensive “management” of the chemical sort, year after year. And there’s a lot more left to do. Read More