Fall Caterpillars

Recently we decided to visit Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park hoping for fall color and landscapes and perhaps some inspiration for a poem about autumn. Fall colors in central Ohio’s natural areas are always a challenge, plenty of yellows and browns, but due to the lack of maples not many bright reds and oranges. Interestingly, autumn color within the city is much better because humans like and plant a variety of trees.

.

Despite the lack of spectacular fall color our walk was not without it’s rewards. The weather was perfect, there was some color, and unbeknown to us “Darby Days” a wonderful celebration, with displays and exhibits, of the plants, insects, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, and other wildlife that call the park home was being held.

IMG_7103

A hint of fall color along the trail, Battelle Darby Creek

.

But for us the caterpillars discovered along the way turned out to be the real stars of the day. What makes most caterpillars interesting is wondering what moth or butterfly they will become. The caterpillars we saw were undoubtedly looking for a place to pupate in anticipation of that transition next spring. Unlike many moths which may require special techniques and equipment to photograph as they are only easy to find and attract at night the caterpillars almost posed for us requiring no specialized equipment other than reasonably good eyesight.

Woolly Bear - Isabella Tiger Moth 101214 Battelle Darby cp1

Woolly Bear – Isabella Tiger Moth, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

Isabella Tiger Moth

Isabella Tiger Moth, Wikipedia

White caterpillar, Hickory Tussock moth 101214 Battelle Darby cp1

Hickory Tussock moth caterpillar, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

Hickory Tussock Moth

Hickory Tussock Moth, Wikipedia

Giant Leopard moth 101214 Battelle Darby cp1

Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

Giant_leopard_moth

Giant Leopard Moth, Wikipedia

.

A little further, just off the trail, my wife noticed some interesting fungi.

Yellow stemmed tan fungi 2 101214 Battelle Darby cp1

Small yellow stemmed fungi, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

Mushroom family 2 101214 Battelle Darby cp1

Larger fungi family, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

.

While she was capturing that action I decided to relax on a park bench but was soon awoken by incessant pecking overhead.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker (male), Battelle Darby Creek

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker (male), Battelle Darby Creek, study 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker (male), Battelle Darby Creek, study 3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker (male), Battelle Darby Creek, study 4

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Downy Woodpecker (male), Battelle Darby Creek, study 5

.

Finally, nearing the end of our hike we felt as though we were being watched. Other than an occasional deer, most of the critters we see (or see us) when visiting the metro parks are small, but this guy, one of several in the park, is an exception. Fortunately he was on the other side of the fence.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

American Bison, an integral part of the Ohio landscape prior to European settlement, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

.

8 Comments on “Fall Caterpillars

  1. I didn’t know there were bison in Ohio. What a surprise that must have been. Interesting how the caterpillars give no clue as to what they will look like when they become moths / butterflies. That giant leopard moth is a beautiful thing!

  2. Thank you for pairing up the caterpillars and moths that they become, I’ve often wondered about that.

    It would be great if they could re-introduce bison in some areas of the eastern US, but there’d be so many people injured by the bison, as they don’t like to have people close to them, that the Bison wouldn’t last around here. That, and how far the herds would want to roam, makes it just a wish that they could survive east of the Mississippi again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: