I know this blog waxes and wanes like the moon when it comes to new posts. There is never a shortage of ideas, topics, treatments etc. to write and share but the free time and energy to do so fluctuates greatly. It can be related to a small part-time job whose only compensation is comments, page views, and emails. There's little guarantee all those long hours of creative writing and carefully planned words will even be read. Your blogger certainly isn't selfless in his blogging though. I do this for many personal reasons with none being more prevalent than treating this like a journal. I thoroughly enjoy going back and rereading old posts and topics that I forgot I wrote about. Re-experiencing those days in the field and the exciting discoveries and chance encounters remind me why I take the time to write and keep this blog running. I hope to continue this new year's current trend of consistent posting and new publications but would be a fool to make any promises. That being said I can promise to give it a legitimate effort and try! I hope to continue to bring my faithful readers more and more original and engaging posts for as long as I have the fire burning inside me to do so!
I'd like to continue with the theme of reminiscing for this 100th post and count down (in no particular order) ten of my favorite posts and topics from the past. Each one was a blast to write up and put together and are something I can fondly look back on. Each photograph is accompanied with a link to the corresponding blog post for those interested! So without further ado here they are:
|Federally threatened prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea)|
It's only appropriate I start off with my favorite of all our native orchids: the eastern prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea). This great rarity is so scarce across its range it's been listed as a federally threatened species and is at continued risk of extinction from habitat loss and alteration. I finally got to see this spectacular plant in bloom a few summers ago and it was an experience I will never forget.
|On the limestone alvar shores of the Bruce peninsula, Ontario|
A couple summers past saw your blogger visit a small spit of limestone known as the Bruce peninsula in Ontario, Canada. This fascinating landscape is home to many rare species of plants and widely known for its picturesque rocky shores and sheer cliffs along the brilliant aqua waters of Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay. If you look carefully in the foreground of the photo above you can make out tiny yellow patches of the globally rare lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea) growing in the cracks of the alvar limestone pavement.
|Grove of old-growth tuliptrees in Davey Woods nature preserve|
Few other ecosystems amaze and excite like those of old-growth forests. The ancient, leviathan trees stand testament to what mother nature can do when time and opportunity is on her side. This particular photo is of your blogger's father standing in an exceptional grove of tuliptrees in Davey Woods nature preserve in west-central Ohio. Another exciting example of an old-growth woods featured on this blog is the unique sweetgum/beech flatwoods of Tribbett Woods nature preserve in southeastern Indiana.
|Stunning rosebud orchid (Cleistes bifaria) in southern Kentucky|
I could just as easily make this entire blog devoted to my orchid forays and endeavors. It seems like every other post is dedicated to their complex beauty and intriguing life histories. The rosebud orchid (Cleistes bifaria) was another long-awaited life species I finally got to mark off in southern Kentucky. I find it to be one of the most tropical looking of our continent's indigenous orchid taxa and just too stunning for words.
|Red-tailed Hawk patiently waiting for its next meal|
Some of the best and most rewarding of moments in nature are those you come across by complete chance. While out for a drive through the countryside of my home area of Ohio, I stumbled upon a gorgeous red-tailed hawk in the midst of hunting. I pulled off the side of the road and proceeded to watch him successfully catch and eat a couple mice from his wooden perch. They are such majestic creatures who live out their lives without even a passing thought from most people too busy to pay attention.
|The timeless showy lady's slippers (Cypripedium reginae) of Cedar Bog|
Ah, no orchid freak's life list would be complete without the timeless splendor of Cedar Bog's showy lady's slipper (Cypripedium reginae) display come June. The largest of our native orchids and arguably the showiest (pun intended), these floral wonders need no introduction and can certainly speak for themselves. If you've never caught them in bloom before you must mark down early June on your calendars for 2013!
|Lesser fringed gentians (Gentianopsis virgata) of Betsch Fen|
There's no better way to close out the growing season each autumn than to witness the electric blue display of the lesser fringed gentians (Gentianopsis virgata) in Betsch Fen. It has become an annual pilgrimage for this botanist to close out another exciting and successful year of botanizing with their unbeatable exhibition. This past season was exceptionally spectacular and choked the fen with hundreds of gentians in full bloom under the waning sun.
|Famous dunes of the Sleeping Bear Dunes national lakeshore|
Few other places are as heavenly and ingrained in my memory as northern Michigan during the summer months. From South Manitou Island and its virgin grove of enormous white cedars (Thuja occidentalis), to the federally endangered Michigan monkeyflower (Mimulus michiganensis) that exists nowhere else on the planet; the flora and sights of this area are nigh on unbeatable. If you've never experienced Sleeping Bear Dunes national lakeshore you really must add it to your list of must-visit places! You will not be disappointed.
|Calm waters of Pyramid Lake in the mountains of the southern Adirondacks in upstate New York|
The Adirondacks of upstate New York. Hands down one of the most gorgeous and incredible places I have ever laid eyes on and a time and experience I will never, ever forget. If you haven't checked out the three part series from this past July on the flora and landscape of the area, you can find them here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.
|Stunningly tiny small white lady's slippers (Cypripedium candidum)|
It's only appropriate to end with an orchid after starting out with one! Another of my absolute favorites are the diminutive blooms of the small white lady's slippers (Cypripedium candidum). I will never forget my shocked expression upon seeing these beauties for the first time; they are beyond tiny! If you are wise and lucky enough to attend Flora-Quest this spring you may just get to see these wonders in person.
I would like to close with another sincere thank you to all the readers and followers who have kept this blog alive and the passion within me to keep it going. It hasn't always been easy or the top priority but without you I can't say I would be in the same place and shoes I'm in today. This blog has been an amazing resource and I have all you to thank! So here's to another 100+ posts on the Natural Treasures of Ohio and beyond!