Picture Ohio! – Signs of an Early Spring

Great Blue Herons, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

It’s been one of the mildest winters we’ve ever had in northeast Ohio, and in late February signs of an early spring are everywhere. Male Red-winged Blackbirds have arrived in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where they are beginning to set up their breeding territories in the marshes. On warm, sunny days with temperatures in the fifties, painted turtles have been seen sunning themselves on logs in ponds and along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath. Great Blue Herons have returned to claim their nests in the heronry along Bath Road at the southern edge of the park, and snowdrops have been flowering recently along the towpath trail just south of Lock 29 in Peninsula.

Yesterday I joined a friend for a hike from the youth hostel on Stanford Road through the woods to Brandywine Falls. At the top of the falls, the furry rear end of a sleeping raccoon protruded from a hole in an old tree. As we hiked back on Stanford Road, coltsfoot was flowering on the banks along the roadside.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyamelis), Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

After our hike, while driving back along Stanford Road, I noticed what looked like another large colony of coltsfoot flowering on a hillside above the road. Closer inspection revealed it to be winter aconite (Eranthis hyamelis), a Eurasian perennial plant that has established itself in parts of the Midwest and eastern United States.  The plant looks like a miniature buttercup and prefers well-drained, sunny or partly sunny locations on hillsides.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyamelis), Cuyahoga Valley National Park

During the next few months, dozens of species of ephemeral wildflowers will emerge in woodlands throughout the Buckeye State. Many of the best places for finding and photographing wildflowers in Ohio are described in my latest book, A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio.        



This Post Has One Comment

  1. lovely photos. thank you from Cheryl’s mom.

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