Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve

Johnson Woods, 8pm
80s, sun setting

The sound of frogs, woodpeckers and robins. Captured a Katydid – always assumed they were predatory, but apparently they eat leaves. Big insect – 2.5 inches. Its wings look exactly like folded leaves. A bulbous, ribbed abdomen, tapering to a spiked horn that curls back over itself.

Johnson Woods

I let it go the next day with a little dab of water. Watched it jump, open its wings. It’s a powerful insect. Also kept a small button shaped beetle with very fine black and yellow striped carapace (no apparent wings) and a bright yellow abdomen with bright green stems of its legs, black from above.

We spotted what I think is a downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) but have a very hard time determining whether or not it might be a Hairy Woodpecker instead – market almost exactly the same with a slightly longer bill. What I’m assuming are bull frogs (Rana catesbeiana) gathered in muddy puddles. Mostly smallish specimens. You could hear them from a ways off, then they jumped into the water as we approached.

Huge oak trees. Some of the last Ohio old growth, spared from clearing by the boggy nature of the land. Maples and beeches becoming more prominent as the old oaks (White and Red) die out – natural succession. I spotted for the first time, a wilted mayapple and just learned from Ohio Flora that:

The stalk of a flowering specimen splits midway up, with both stalks developing leaves of a more fan-like shape that attach at the base of the fan. The single flower emerges from the fork in the stem. Non-flowering plants usually dominate in any population, but plants with flowers should still be present. In tightly packed stands, the flowers are often overlooked because they are hidden beneath the leaf canopy.

Wikipedia notes that “The ripened fruit is edible in moderate amounts, though when consumed in large amounts the fruit is poisonous.” Take that with a grain of salt.

I’d never noticed the fruit, though I remember this plant so well from my very young days and always really loved it. Funny how little I actually knew about it.

Baby Boy in the woods

Downy Woodpecker

Cardinal Flower

Positive IDs:
Katydid Pterophylla camellifolia
Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum
Bull frog Rana catesbeiana
Cardinal flower Lobelia cardinalis


About mstansberry

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