Monthly Archives: May 2012

Isle Royale National Park: Day 1

Continued from Isle Royale National Park: Prologue On Friday we strapped on our 36-pound backpacks and headed to the Houghton County Memorial Airport for our 30-minute seaplane ride to Isle Royale National Park. As is often the case, transportation was delayed because … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Entomology, Fungi, National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Isle Royale National Park: Prologue

I’ve been absent for the past week because I was in the UP (upper peninsula) of Michigan with my friend Jim. Although we visited several places, the focus was on a four-day trip to Isle Royale National Park. Isle Royale … Continue reading

Posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Plant: Tulip tree

One of the tallest trees in eastern North America is the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnoliaceae).  These giants regularly exceed 150 feet, and some have been measured at nearly 200 feet.   In addition to their great height, these trees are also … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, National Parks, Random Plant | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

More Turkeys Than a Thanksgiving Buffet

I often see wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo, Phasianidae) in wooded areas and open fields here in southeast Michigan. Until now I’ve never taken a decent photo of one. Here they tend to be very skittish, running away well before I … Continue reading

Posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Plant: Sweetgum

When visiting my wife’s family in southern Indiana this weekend, I noticed this tall, straight sweetgum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua, Hamamelidaceae) growing in her grandma’s yard. I’ve never seen one of these here in Michigan, and with good reason. The native range … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Random Plant | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Above and Below Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is situated in an area of west-central Kentucky famous for its textbook karst topography. This landscape is characterized by sinkholes, springs, rivers that disappear below ground, and extensive caves. The formation of these features requires a … Continue reading

Posted in Geology, National Parks, Paleoecology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Random Plant: American beech revisited

Early last spring I wrote about the winter foliage of young American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia, Fagaceae). A couple of weeks ago I came across a mature beech that was displaying a greater variety of characteristic traits. This tree demonstrated … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Random Plant | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Random Plant: Paurotis/Everglades palm

The main road through Everglades National Park ends at Flamingo, and outside the visitor center are a number of interesting palms. One that I found particularly striking was the Paurotis or Everglades palm (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii, Arecaceae). While present in the … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, National Parks, Random Plant | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Florida Panther

When I visited Everglades National Park a few weeks ago, this was unsurprisingly the closest I came to a Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi, Felidae): With fewer than 100 individuals left in the wild, this distinct subspecies of cougar now … Continue reading

Posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Plant: Florida royal palm

Close to the eastern entrance of Everglades National Park is a location called Royal Palm. This spot hosts the trailheads for the Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo trails. Fittingly it also hosts a number of Florida royal palm trees (Roystonea elata … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, National Parks, Random Plant | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Basking Cooters

While walking along the Anhinga Trail at Everglades National Park there were many cooter turtles (Pseudemys sp., Emydidae) basking on the rocks along the waterways. Some were doing so in a rather amusing fashion: In these waters there were both Florida … Continue reading

Posted in National Parks, Vertebrate Zoology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Plant: Ohio buckeye

The other day I was exploring a wooded area here in southeast Michigan that I hadn’t visited before.  In a low, moist area near a creek, this location had a number of trees I see all the time near rivers, … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Random Plant | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Plant-Insect Interaction: European snout beetles feeding on a sugar maple

While out in a nearby southeast Michigan hardwood forest, I came across a number of European snout beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Phyllobius oblongus) on a sugar maple host (Acer saccharum, Aceraceae).  I observed the beetles mating and feeding on the foliage, and … Continue reading

Posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment