Early Autumn Wonder

Nature in central Ohio looks different this time of year. The midday sun, now lower in the south, results in a much bluer sky. There’s just a hint of fall color among what is still mostly green.

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Northern end of Griggs Reservoir

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Heading south on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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Griggs Reservoir landscape, Griggs Park.

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Cooler weather has resulted in better fishing. Amazing results are sometimes achieved, especially when one considers that that the reservoir is right in the city.

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A nice size Griggs Reservoir Smallmouth.

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During a recent visit to Blendon Woods Metro Park looking for migrating fall warblers, the same light that creates the blue sky finds it’s angled way through tree branches creating patterns not usually seen in mid-summer.

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Blendon Woods Metro Park trail,

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Shadows, Blendon Woods Metro Park

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A shaft of light, Blendon Woods Metro Park

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.   .   .   and closer to home a shaft of light illuminates my favorite stump..

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Griggs Park

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Early autumn wildflowers are dramatic and on a sunny day, birds and butterflies also seem to be celebrating the moment.

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Rush Asters, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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Calico Asters, (Donna)

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Tickseed Sunflower, (Donna)

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Bottle Gentian, (Donna)

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Hummingbird, Blendon Woods (Donna)

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Clouded Sulphur, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Cedar Waxwing, juvenile, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Cabbage White, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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12 Spotted Skimmer, Griggs Park

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Monarch, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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New England Asters, Blendon Woods

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Female Wood Duck, Blendon Woods

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Immature male Wood Duck, Blendon Woods

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Pileated Woodpecker, Blendon Woods

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Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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A more whimsical pose, (Donna)

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A Great Blue Heron casts a reflection as we paddle closer, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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A hint of autumn color, fall wildflowers, cooler nights, and warm sunny days, and places of wonder.

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Walk In The Smoky Mountains

Recently we got together with friends for a few days hiking in the Smoky Mountains near Ashville, North Carolina. Basecamp was the Sourwood Inn located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many things of the seen are not unique to the area but put together they do paint a beautiful picture of one of the more interesting natural areas in the US. Our hikes were typically long, 6 – 10 miles, with a fair bit of climbing so camera equipment consisted of an Panasonic Fz200 and a Canon SX260.

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On the Looking Glass trail.

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Some of our group.

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The mountains of North Carolina are a great place for fungi so it always gets quite a bit of our attention. Unfortunately, based on visual characteristics alone, it can be very hard to ID so we’re always open to corrections and clarifications.

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A unidentified type of bolete.

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Turkey Tail

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Old Man of The Woods, (Donna)

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Bolete with a horizontal orientation which we had never seen before.

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Pestle-shaped Coral, (Donna)

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Shaggy-stalked Bolete, (Donna)

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Shaggy-stalked Bolete, a little older.

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Unidentified Mushroom

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Firm Russula, (Donna)

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Sharp-scaly Pholiota, (Donna)

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Crowded Parchment

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Sulfur Tuft, (Donna)

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Unidentified emergent mushrooms

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Tinder Polypore

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Fungus and moss.

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Mushroom Family

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Coral Fungus

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Rag-veil Amanita emerging.

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Rag-veil Amanita, too big to stand.

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Another type of bolete.

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Polypore on a fallen log.

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Puffball family.

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A view from the top during the Looking Glass hike.

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A great place to take a break before the trip down.

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Where there’s fungus there’s moss and lichen.

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Lichen and leaf abstract.

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Lung Lichen

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Lichen?

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Hanging garden.

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Old Man’s Beard

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Reindeer Lichen

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Parasitic plants, Beechdrops (Epifagus americana) along the Snowball Trail.

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The Mountain to Sea Trail is up and down with few long climbs.

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Mountain to Sea Trail

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Fascinating plants and flowers punctuated fungus and lichen sightings.

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Partridge Berry

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Aster

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Snakeroot and Alanthus Webworm Moth, (Donna)

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Foxglove?, (Donna)

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Coral Root, (Donna)

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Indian Pipe

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Late summer color

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Small Blue Flowers

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Butterfly Weed

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Lobelia?

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Aster

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Turtlehead

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Berries and Color

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Autumn Design

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Aster

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Some trails are easier than others.

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Just kidding.

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A few of our insect friends were also seen.

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Mating, (Donna)

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Red-spotted Purple

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It never hurts to be aware of your surroundings when your head is close to the ground looking for mushrooms .   .   .

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The first Black Bear we ever encountered on the trail, (Donna).

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We zoom in, (Donna).

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He’s curious, we’re curious.

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That’s close enough!, (Donna)

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The type of sign that most of us pay little attention to.

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When not running away from bears there are also reptiles to be seen.

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A Rat Snake checks us out.

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Then decides to wander off, (Donna).

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A skink plays hide and seek, (Donna)

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The group at the trail head after a long hike.

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Looking Glass trail head.

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The NC mountains are a wonderful place just to be.

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Sunrise from Sourwood Inn.

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The area around Ashville, NC is a hiker and nature lovers mecca. There are an almost infinite number of trails of varying degrees of difficulty to choose from. You may even get to see a bear!

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Thanks for stopping by.

Late Summer at Prairie Oaks

The last few days we’ve spent some time at Prairie Oaks Metro Park looking for early migrating warblers that are now making their way south through central Ohio.  We’ve heard them, even seen them, but their constant movement and the leaf cover have foiled most attempts at pictures. However, as is usually the case, there were plenty of other things that capture our imagination.  The fact is, it’s also a great time of the year for insects, and with recent rains that includes the biting kind, the price of admission.

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Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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As we walked, we couldn’t help but notice the abundance of wildflowers.

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Jerusalem Artichoke, (also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour), is a sunflower native to eastern North America. Cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable tasting something like an artichoke.

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Virgin’s Bower has an attractive flower,

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Virgin’s Bower

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.   .   .   but it’s appearance after it goes to seed may be more fascinating.

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Virgin’s Bower gone to seed, (Donna)

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Great Blue Lobelia

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Evening Primrose

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Daisies

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A wooded trail offered the opportunity to see fungi.

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Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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.   .   .   and it’s not long before some is seen.

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Wood Ear, (Donna)

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A type of polypore, (Donna)

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Orange Mycena, (Donna)

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Along the park’s meadows we were fortunate to see a few butterflies, Monarchs and a few other suspects.

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Viceroy

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A small tussock moth caterpillar levitates.

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Female Monarch

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Black Swallowtail

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Common Wood-nymph

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The water’s edge of a park pond is home to frogs and turtles.

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Eastern (Northern) Cricket Frog, is one of North America’s smallest vertebrates, 0.75–1.50 in long. diet is small insects, including mosquitos. They are preyed upon by birds, fish, and other frogs. To escape predators, they are capable of leaping up to 3 feet in a single jump and are excellent swimmers. (from Wikipedia)

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Red-eared Slider. The box turtle shaped shell is interesting for an animal that spends much of it’s time in the water.

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Painted Turtle reflection.

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Along with being excellent frog and turtle habitat, it’s a great place to see dragonflies.

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A pond at Prairie Oaks.

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Widow Skimmer

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Female Eastern Pondhawk.

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Halloween Pennant, (Donna).

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Halloween Pennants mating.

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Three’s a crowd.

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Common Whitetail, (Donna)

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Not far from the dragonflies .   .   .

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Garden Spider, (Donna)

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Garden Spider, (underside)

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Another view of the Big Darby as it runs through Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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A few birds that managed not to elude the camera’s lens.

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Immature House Finch

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Red-headed Woodpecker A rare sighting but a little too far away for a great picture.

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Another view, (Donna)

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Ground squirrels beware! Across a park meadow a Red-tailed Hawk surveys it’s realm.

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Bay-breasted Warbler

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Just one more look at the river.

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The Big Darby

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Thanks for stopping by.

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