Back in Ohio Nature Journal — Beaver Marsh

So I just moved back to Ohio after about a decade away and decided to start keeping a Nature Journal, which I’ll occasionally post to this blog. I’m shocked at how little I remember or bothered to learn in the first place about my native Ohio landscape.

Around 5pm, Beaver Marsh in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
90F, 51% Humidity, West Wind 1mph
Sunrise 6:09, Sunset 8:55
Pressure 29.95

Ohio Buckeye

Rain forecasted, but never came. Moderate drought conditions.

Stopped at Lock 26 along the Towpath Trail, which follows the Ohio & Erie Canal. The trail served as a path for the horses and mules pulling the canal boats, and was built to create a link between Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

The canal runs along the Cuyahoga River in this section, and was flooded in the mid-1980s by beavers that moved back and created a wetland after being extirpated a hundred years before.

Concrete walls crumbling, overgrown, and give way to a lily pad choked pool. Small largemouth bass and bluegill fin between clumps of weeds. Two larger bass take turns smacking what I assume are bugs off the surface. The black stripe on the tails make the bass jump out. The small bass seem to be having fun, chasing things, chasing each other. The bluegills seem almost dour.


There are several large blue dragonflies, landing on lily pads. Flirting with disaster. Redwing blackbirds land in the lily pads and disappear, land in the cattails. Grape vines climb all over the trees. The buckeye trees are growing nuts, but seem to be hurting from the drought – browning leaves. Blackberries ripe. Something is chewing on the sycamore leaves. Chewed walnut husks, pine cones on the ground. Chipmunks?

Squirrel Food

Positive IDs:
American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) – Native
Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) – Native
Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) – Native
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) – Native


About mstansberry

Matt Stansberry currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and son.
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