Monday, November 29, 2010

Tall trees

Yesterday we enjoyed another short but greatly satisfying hike in Ohio, this time at Goll Woods in Northwest Ohio. Goll Woods is the least disturbed woodland in the area and includes some of the tallest trees in Ohio. It's rather surprising to discover this place amid the pancake-flat agricultural fields of this part of Ohio. But the Great Black Swamp used to be located here, along with many habitat types and many deciduous trees. Thankfully the Goll family protected these big woods in the 19th century.

We hiked the one-mile bur oak trail from the east parking area. The 200 to 400-year-old oaks themselves were spectacular--stretching more than 120 feet into the sky. We saw several birds--both kinglets among the highlights, including a golden-crowned kinglet that landed just a few feet away. But the faunal highlight had to be the squirrels. We saw and heard red squirrels soon after arriving on the trail, then we saw a fox squirrel. Next we saw a black squirrel. For a moment I believed we recorded a rare sciurid sampler, but I'm pretty sure it was a black form of a fox squirrel--not a gray squirrel. Still, this area likely falls into the section of the country that includes these three tree squirrels.

All in all, another unexpected gem, which is the best kind of gem there is.

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