Quarry Farm Friday with Tyree the Corn Snake

This morning, a very wiggly Tyree the Corn Snake (also known as a Rat Snake) represented his beautiful reptilian kind during the “Quarry Farm Fridays with the Bluffton Public Library”. As Steve notes in the video, Tyree was bred in captivity and was placed here by someone who wished to find him a new home. Tyree does not look like a corn snake that you might find in the wild as he is what is called a “morph“, but he does eat small rodents just as his wild relatives do, making his kind popular with farmers who want to keep mice and rats out of corn cribs.

Read more about snakes and the wonderful role they play in a healthy environment by contacting the Bluffton Public Library and requesting a Quarry Farm Fridays/Summer Reading book bundle.

Summer 2020 Newsletter

The following is an excerpt from the Summer 2020 Quarry Farm Newsletter. Click on the cover to the left to download your complete copy, including scheduled events and activities for the season.

As it did for everyone, March 2020 threw The Quarry Farm for a loop, upending plans for programs, school group visits and public workshops. But we know this is nothing compared to what others have gone through. Indeed, the nature preserve has been a refuge with ample opportunity for social distancing.

Just before the State of Ohio announced stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus, The Quarry Farm Board of Directors was able to conduct the annual meeting on January 16. A major goal for the new decade is to develop a clearly marked trail system on the nature preserve, complete with directional markers and trailhead signage that includes a map. Board member Paul Nusbaum went to work this spring on a new trail that loops through the north eastern floodplain. This low scrub area is perfect habitat for migratory warblers. Board member Deb Weston, an avid birder, discovered the value of the new trail along with fellow birder David Smith. On one birding venture on the new path, they found themselves spinning in circles to identify all of the different species of birds singing their travelling hearts out. On that May morning, just one of the early-rise walks Deb spent here with her binoculars and eBird app, they identified and recorded 57 avian species.

“That’s the beauty of The Quarry Farm,” she said. “You don’t have to walk 20 miles to be in the different habitats and see the birds that utilize them.” During this “Stay Home” time, The Quarry Farm has provided a place for a lot of people to social distance while volunteering their time and talents to help out here. Just before local schools shuttered doors in March, Miller City-New Cleveland High School student Emma Barlage registered as The Quarry Farm’s Spring intern. From March through May, Emma spent up to 20 hours per week lopping and pulling bush honeysuckle saplings and seedlings. Findlay’s Rich and Nora Park offered to help out, too. With Emma assigned to the northwest hillsides and floodplain, the Parks’ to the uplands east of the old stone quarry, and David Seitz continuing his work in the south (see back page), we are watching native trees and wildflowers emerge along the trails almost overnight.

As noted above, this season has not gone according to plan. However, with social distancing and sanitizer at the ready, we have continued to provide tours and offer programs for individual families and small groups, by appointment. In early May, a Girl Scout troop from Leipsic came here to earn their hiking badges. As they climbed out of the Riley Creek floodplain toward the grass prairie, two large fluffy feathered great horned owl fledglings bobbed in a black walnut at eye level. In June, a Bluffton Boy Scout Troop came to hike. Hike they did, down, up and around almost every trail, including those not traversed by most visiting groups. We looked for the nesting pair of Scarlet Tanagers with no luck, but we did see a male Baltimore Oriole bobbing amongst the aquatic plants on the quarry wetland.

There is a tremendous amount of golf cart traffic in front of the farm animal sanctuary fence. Chablis the Llama sits placidly under the pines at sunset, blinking her long lashes at the onlookers. If you wish to schedule an outdoor visit onsite during Summer 2020, send an email to thequarryfarm@gmail.com.

Deb and David’s Ultimate Bird List (for now)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Quarry Farm Nature Preserve and Conservation Farm

May 21, 2020
7:56 AM
Traveling
2.41 miles
222 Minutes
All birds reported? Yes
Comments: Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 2.0.13 Build 2.0.1222 Canada Goose
1 Wood Duck
1 Mourning Dove
3 Chimney Swift
1 Killdeer
1 Great Blue Heron
2 Turkey Vulture
1 Belted Kingfisher
3 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Hairy Woodpecker
2 Northern Flicker
3 Eastern Wood-Pewee
1 Willow Flycatcher
1 Least Flycatcher
2 Eastern Phoebe
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Blue-headed Vireo — Wingbars, blue head with very distinct bespectacled eyering.
1 Red-eyed Vireo
4 Blue Jay
2 Carolina Chickadee
2 Barn Swallow
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
2 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
6 House Wren
2 Carolina Wren
4 European Starling
8 Gray Catbird
1 Swainson’s Thrush
2 Wood Thrush
6 American Robin
1 House Finch
4 American Goldfinch
2 Field Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
1 Eastern Meadowlark
5 Orchard Oriole
3 Baltimore Oriole
4 Red-winged Blackbird
6 Brown-headed Cowbird
7 Common Grackle
1 Prothonotary Warbler
1 Tennessee Warbler
3 Common Yellowthroat
3 American Redstart
1 Cape May Warbler
1 Northern Parula
3 Magnolia Warbler
5 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Blackburnian Warbler
4 Yellow Warbler
2 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
1 Scarlet Tanager
4 Northern Cardinal
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
2 Indigo Bunting
Number of Taxa: 57 (plus Mr. Muskrat)

Deb and David and the Giant Avian Adventure

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Quarry Farm Nature Preserve and Conservation Farm
May 20, 2020
8:44 AM
Traveling
2.77 miles
281 Minutes
All birds reported? Yes
Comments: Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 2.0.13 Build 2.0.122

2 Canada Goose
1 Mallard
2 Mourning Dove
1 Common Nighthawk
1 Ruby-throated Hummingbird
2 Great Blue Heron
4 Turkey Vulture
1 Cooper’s Hawk
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Red-headed Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpecker
1 Downy Woodpecker
1 Northern Flicker
1 Willow Flycatcher
1 Least Flycatcher
1 Eastern Phoebe
1 Great Crested Flycatcher
1 Philadelphia Vireo
1 Warbling Vireo
2 Red-eyed Vireo
4 Blue Jay
1 Carolina Chickadee
1 Barn Swallow
2 White-breasted Nuthatch
4 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
4 House Wren
4 Gray Catbird
3 Swainson’s Thrush
2 Wood Thrush
4 American Robin
1 American Goldfinch
1 Chipping Sparrow
1 Field Sparrow
1 Song Sparrow
1 Orchard Oriole
1 Baltimore Oriole
2 Brown-headed Cowbird
2 Common Grackle
1 Golden-winged Warbler
2 Black-and-white Warbler
2 Tennessee Warbler
1 Nashville Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroat
6 American Redstart
1 Cape May Warbler
1 Northern Parula
2 Magnolia Warbler
1 Blackburnian Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
1 Blackpoll Warbler
3 Scarlet Tanager
2 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 Indigo Bunting

Note: An additional sighting, a Gray-cheeked Thrush, was confirmed this evening, bringing today’s birding boo-yah! to 56 species.

Global Big Day 2020

Orchard oriole

May 9 is the biggest day in birding this year. As it’s just 9:30 p.m., it still “is” even though the wind tonight is wild and wooly and no self-respecting owl is going to land in the bowed cottonwood outside the window before midnight.

Female cardinal

I don’t know birds. Rather, I have met a few and we got along well. I could pick them out in a crowd. But I don’t recognize many wild birds by call or even by sight unless they are posing neatly at eye level. For the blessed luck and good of all, Deb Weston is a frequent Quarry Farm flyer who helps us see beyond the cardinals, chickadees and house finches at the bird feeders and into the high canopy for warblers, kinglets and other birds who are presently passing through these parts.

Black-throated blue warbler

Not that there is anything less than splendid about the birds we are most familiar with. Deb shared a stunning shot of a fluorescent-beaked female cardinal gathering nesting material from a clutch of honey locust thorns. On the same day, however, she photographed a black-throated blue warbler perched on a rope of grapevine. Along the way, she digitized an orchard oriole singing it’s heart out and a mourning cloak butterfly. Because butterflies are seemingly as confused by climate change as humans are, they are arriving here or emerging from their winter quarters with no food in sight. When Deb shared the butterfly photo, it was a sight for sore eyes.

Mourning cloak butterfly

Just as nature around the world is reveling in the cleaner air and water that’s a result of human lockdown, wild things are going about their business unimpeded here in the Back 40. On Friday night a small group of Girl Scouts spread out along the trails to earn their trailblazing badges. As they climbed out of the Riley Creek floodplain toward the grass prairie, two large fluffy feathered great horned owl fledglings bobbed in a black walnut at eye level. Their parent murmured a short distance away, waiting for us to move along our earthbound way.

Check out eBird for a complete list of bird species identified here on The Quarry Farm.

Duck Duck Group!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Donkey from Pandora sanctuary now taking virtual meetings (also pigs, peacocks and more)

PANDORA—Does your virtual office need a captivating key-note squeaker? The Quarry Farm Nature Preserve & Conservation Farm, Pandora, is inviting business, organizations, schools and senior living facilities to pull out a virtual chair at their video conference meetings and events for one or more of our farm animal sanctuary residents. We call this fun experience “Duck Duck Group” even though our peaceable kingdom is also home to donkeys, pigs, goats, turkeys, ducks and chickens. None of them wear pants, so the will fit right in at your next webinar.

Are your whiskers twitching? Call 419-384-7195 or email thequarryfarm@gmail.com to schedule the time and date of your “Duck Duck Group” experience. We can use any virtual meeting software you prefer. You will be asked to send us a link during the scheduling process. We will join your call and do a quick introduction of The Quarry Farm. You can ask us questions about particular animals or experience a virtual gallop through the whole herd.

The cost is $50 for a 10-minute “Duck Duck Group”. All “Duck Duck Group” proceeds support the work of The Quarry Farm by:

· Making it possible for the sanctuary animals, many of whom began their lives in fear and neglect, to reside here in peace with proper shelter.

· Providing species-specific food and bedding for sanctuary farm animals and fostered wildlife.

· Maintaining the nature preserve trails and control invasive plant species on the preserve and in the Red Fox Cabin gardens.

· Helping to provide quality educational programming in science, the arts, Ohio history and critical thinking.

· Contributing to the development and installation of interpretive signage.

The Quarry Farm Nature Preserve & Conservation Farm is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.thequarryfarm.org and The Quarry Farm on Facebook and Instagram.