Wow! Wine for Wildlife at Mon Ami was a fantastic way to help support Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. We were so excited to have members of our group and our community join us. Our Friends group is absolutely devoted to helping Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge with all of its conservation, restoration, and educational goals- from providing funds for major purchases to operating the Nature Store. It was such a great feeling to have so many of our Refuge staff members support us at this event.
We just have to say a huge THANK YOU to Mon Ami Restaurant & Winery for having us! This was such a perfect venue for what will hopefully become an annual event. In case you missed it, we just posted a photo gallery on our website. You can view it here.
Thank you to all who enjoyed the event, sponsored a table, donated or purchased silent auction items. We truly could not do it without you!
"There was a snake in my yard and it rattled at me, so I killed it."
We have heard this same story quite frequently so far this spring. Chances of there being a rattlesnake in your backyard in NW Ohio are very slim, but there are some impostors out there that look and act similar to rattlesnakes.
EASTERN FOX SNAKES have been very active with the warm temperatures and are frequent visitors at the refuge and in backyards throughout the area. They will coil and vibrate their tails like a copperhead when threatened, but are nonvenomous and harmless to humans. They are a misunderstood snake with a similar pattern and coloring to their venomous cousins.
Fox snakes tend to be a docile species when left alone. You may remember that Ottawa NWR had an eastern fox snake for years as an education animal as he was not able to be released back to the wild. They are a species of concern in Ohio and listed as threatened in other states due to habitat loss and mistaken identity.
A gorgeous fox snake was spotted just off of the patio at the Ottawa NWR Visitor Center today and showed off to a small crowd by climbing on the rocks, drinking from puddles, and demonstrating its fine camouflage in the rock garden. Next time you see a snake, we ask that you admire it from a distance, and take a few pictures to share! From winged to furry to scaled, we love all critters here at Ottawa.
Walking through the South Woods at Ottawa NWR is always an interesting experience- but lately, the trails are bursting with Eastern Pondhawk Dragonflies!
These mid-sized dragonflies are quite appropriately named- eating anything they can catch from butterflies and other dragonflies to those pesky deer and horse flies!
Young males and females will be green (below) and males will turn blue with age (left). These dragonflies are usually found in ponds and slow-moving rivers.
Dragonflies spend part of their life cycle underwater in a state called a dragonfly nymph. They look really different from the dragonflies we see flying around!
Ottawa NWR is offering a series of summer camps this year for kids ages 8-12. Wetland creatures like these will be a topic to explore. If you can't make it, we also offer equipment to borrow including sweep nets to catch butterflies & dragonflies. Stop by or call the Visitor Center for more information (419-898-0014).
Marsh Mondays: June 20 - August 15
Aqua Adventure Day Camp: June 21 - 24
Refuge Ranger Day Camp: July 5 - 8 and August 9 - 12
Expedition Photography Day Camp: August 2 - 5
Have you been to Ottawa NWR this week? For several days, the marsh has been literally covered in wading birds! There have been dozens of Great Egrets with Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons and even a couple of cattle egrets mixed in along the road near the Trail head parking lot. The water in the marshes here is the perfect depth to catch fish, frogs, reptiles, and invertebrates.
Great Egrets are quite unique. They were hunted to near extinction in the 19th century for their feathers, sparking some of the earliest bird conservation efforts and organizations such as the National Audubon Society. The birds have made a resounding come back and are amusing to watch as they stalk their next meal. Right now, a patch near their bill is a beautiful neon green for breeding season, and creates a striking contrast against the once sought after white plumes.
Did you know that egrets and herons are colony nesters? The largest Great Blue Heron and Great Egret rookery (nesting colony) in the US Great Lakes is on West Sister Island NWR, part of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The water right around the island is too deep for wading birds like these to hunt for fish, so they fly back to shoreline beaches and inland marshes to feed. Completing an 18 mile round trip, they fly back to West Sister Island to regurgitate their catch to feed their chicks. Those are some dedicated parents!
West Sister Island is a designated wilderness area and wildlife refuge, meaning it is only open to permitted researchers. Later this summer, you can get a great look at the island from the Jet Express on our West Sister Island Sunset Cruise with special guest Teddy Roosevelt. This will surely be a trip to remember!