Bees and Blue Jays

It started with report of sightings at other nearby locations so we thought we’d check out Griggs Park to see if we could spot any Yellow-throated Warblers. Sure enough there they were high in the tops of various Sycamore trees too far away for a photograph but visible through our binoculars.


We waited for a while hoping one would descend from the treetops but no luck so we decided to see what wildflowers were in bloom in the wooded area below the dam as well as other areas in the park.

Dutchman’s Breeches, Griggs Park.

Sometimes they’re pink, (Donna)

Purple Cress, Griggs Park

Emerging Bloodroot, Griggs Park, (Donna).

In full bloom, (Donna).


Toadshade Trillium, (Donna).


Twinleaf, (Donna)

Emerging Butterweed, Griggs Park.


While the Yellow-throated warblers eluded the camera’s lens other birds were more cooperative. Song sparrows, never far away, entertaining us with a spring rendition of their beautiful song. Chickadees in the middle of nesting activities expressed their disapproval when we got too close.  Nuthatches chased each other about. In small shoreline trees and bushes Golden-crowned Kinglets busily looked for insects among the small branches. Meanwhile a pair of blue jays were just starting work on their new nest. The bluebirds seemed content to watch the activity unfold while enjoying the warmth of the spring sun. Further down the trail a robin looked on with disinterest appearing as though lunch had gotten the better of him.

Song Sparrow, Griggs Park.

Chickadee, Griggs Park

White-breasted Nuthatch, Griggs Park.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Park.

Blue-jay with nesting material, Griggs Park.

Let see, is this how it goes?

That looks about right.


Bluebird, Griggs Park.

Enjoying the warm spring sun.

Robin, so many worms so little time, Griggs Park.


When out in nature one thing a careful observer can almost always count on is seeing something new. That was certainly the case a few days ago when my wife observed a large number of bees engaged in some very curious behavior.

Across a fairly large area bees were flying about going in and out of many recently dug holes.

At one point we observed a ball of bees tumbling across the ground seemingly in the process of trying to kill something.

They continued to attack what ever it was. This when on for some time and we never got a good look at what the object was.

Despite what it looks like the bees may have been trying to protect not kill what ever it is they are crowding unto. In this case it may be the queen.


Spring with all it’s activity is definitely a favorite time of the year. In the days to come the Yellow-throated warblers will undoubtedly be more cooperative as they are joined by other migrants from the south either taking up residence or just pausing for a while as they continue their journey north. Thanks for stopping by.




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Spring Wildflowers? Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

The whole idea was to look for early spring wildflowers at one of our favorite Columbus metro parks. As you’ve probably remember us mentioning in the past, one of the good or bad things about looking for very small flowers hiding in last years leaf litter or in amongst other much larger plants is that you find other things, usually trash, but sometimes something very special, something you’ve never seen before. Such was the case yesterday on what turned out to be a seven mile ramble around the trails of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.


Many folks come to the park to see the bison, once native to Ohio.


We hadn’t gone far when my wife spotted a very curious object. Arriving back home and checking was our rather limited guide to north American fungi we were able to come up with a fairly educated guess that it was Devil’s Urn, one of the earliest fungi to emerge in the spring.

Devil’s Urn

A little further on another unusual looking fungi was also spotted but this one’s identity remains a mystery.

Some type of polypore?

Turkey Tail, an example of a commonly seen fungi.


Of coarse the real reason for the hike was the flowers and they didn’t disappoint.

Virginia Bluebells

Purple Cress

Sharp-lobed Hepatica

Pink Rue Anemone

The easily overlooked very small flowers of the Harbinger-of-spring, (Donna).

Spring Beauty, (Donna).

Toadshade Trillium, (Donna).

Yellow Corydalis, (Donna).

As pretty as any flower, Virginia Waterleaf.

Due to it’s fragile and fleeting nature the flower of the Bloodroot is one of the more difficult to capture.

Immerging Bloodroot


Take 2, (Donna).


It’s hard to simultaneously look for wildflowers and birds but a few were hard to ignore, either because of their number or their song.


An Eastern Towhee in full song is hard to ignore.


At one point a large group of Golden-crowned Kinglets flittered about overhead.

Take two.

Several White-breasted Nuthatches provided a welcome diversion as they chased each other around the tree, (Donna).


Anytime we discover something that we’ve never seen before it makes for a very special day. Thanks for stopping by.




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Wishing for Green But . . .

Recently we visited one of our local metro parks for what turned out to be a more difficult than expected hike. The idea was to look for spring wildflowers and migrating warblers. A few days later, after recovering from the hike, we found ourselves paddling the shoreline of a local reservoir again looking for signs of spring.


Most trees have yet to leaf out which, as the days slowly go by, leaves us wishing things would hurry up. It’s hard not to embrace the idea that nothing says spring like green translucent leaves “stain glassed” by the shadows of branches and light from a low morning sun. However, if one is a wildflower enthusiast you want those ground dwelling plants to have their time in the sun, so no leaves for awhile please. Besides, the bare branches also make migrating birds easier to spot.


Bare branches mean that plenty of sunlight is reaching the ground. While it looks only to be covered by last year’s fallen leaves there were small green and flowering things to be seen. Clear Creek Metro Park


We have started hearing, and sometimes seeing, warblers along with a few of the other small migrants.


Yellow-throated Warbler, Kiwanis River way Park

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Yellow-throated Warbler, Kiwanis River way Park, (Donna).

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Donna finally got her kinglet! Golden-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Park.


There were also other suspects:


Carolina Wren, Yellow-throated Warbler, Kiwanis River way Park


Tree Swallow, Kiwanis River way Park

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Creeper, Griggs Park, (Donna)


Larger birds were also in attendance.


Red tail Hawk seen along the shore of Griggs Reservoir while paddling.


Double Crested Cormorants and Great Blue Herons occupied the trees on a small island, while paddling the north end of Griggs Reservoir.


One heron appeared to be eating something.


Female Mallard with ducklings, , Kiwanis River way Park


Warmer midday temperatures mean more butterflies. They are also seen earlier in the day, defying what seem like way too cool temperatures. Below are three of the many species seen in recent days.

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American Lady, Griggs Park, (Donna)



Dusky wings and fly an scat, Clear Creek Metro Park

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Morning Cloak, Clear Creek Metro Park, (Donna)


While the canopy is still bare there are things to be seen on the forest floor.


Moss, Clear Creek Metro Park


Reindeer Lichen, Clear Creek Metro Park

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Bloodroot can still be found in shaded locations, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Bluets, Clear Creek Metro Park, (Donna)


Trout Lily, Griggs Park


Trout Lily couple, Griggs Park.


A dandelion goes to seed, Griggs Park.

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Large Flowered Trillium, Griggs Park west, (Donna).


Unknown flower, perhaps an escapee, Clear Creek Metro Park


Wintergreen, Clear Creek Metro Park


Club moss, Clear Creek Metro Park.


Today, a hike in Clifton Gorge treated us to more beautiful wildflowers, but they will have to wait for another post.


Until next time, thanks for stopping by.


Cabbage You Wouldn’t Eat

In the last week or so migrating birds have started to move through central Ohio. While there have been reports of early arriving warblers we have yet to see any. That may have more to do with our approach to nature, which at any moment in time focuses on the “low hanging fruit” rather than expending effort to see something that may or may not be there. It’s quite possible that as we were fascinating over a wildflower one of those little buggers flew right over our head. Oh, well.


So with that in mind this post is mostly about those early spring plants and wildflowers that every year usher in the magic of spring.


One of the first to be seen is Skunk Cabbage which due to it’s capacity to generate it’s own internal heat, often emerges by melting it’s way through the snow. It’s name comes from it’s skunk like smell. In contrast to it’s smell we’ve always thought it’s appearance to be quite attractive. It almost looks good enough to eat.


Skunk Cabbage, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park


Take 2.


Take 3, almost looks good enough to eat (not recommended!).


Skunk Cabbage habitat, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park, (Donna).


Not far from the skunk cabbage it was hard to miss this Eastern Towhee.


Eastern Towhee, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park.


Another early arriver is Dutchman’s Breeches. It continues to do well against the onslaught of Lesser Celandine in the many areas we visit. Lesser Celandine was introduced into the United States as an ornamental and is now considered invasive.


Dutchman’s Breeches, Griggs Park, below the dam.


We did manage to see Swamp Buttercup which is often confused with Lesser Celandine. Note the difference in petals and leaves. It seem less common each year which may be due to the aforementioned invasive.


Swamp Buttercup, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park


Lesser Celandine, (web pic)


We always get excited when we spot the beautiful flower of the Bloodroot. Although not uncommon, it is very fragile and doesn’t fair well against the early spring wind and rain.

Bloodroot group 1 032916 Griggs cp1

Bloodroot, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).



Bloodroot, Griggs Park below the dam.


With the rain not every interesting thing on the forest floor is a flower.


Wood Ear fungus, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park


Seeming to defy the temperature, early moths and butterflies made an appearance on the few “warmer” days we’ve had.


Geometer Moth, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Grapevine Moth, Griggs Park west shore, (Donna).


Red Admiral, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.


The flowing water of early spring inspired a beaver’s creativity.


Beaver dam, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park.


Sometimes a sound overhead pulls us away from the wildflowers.


Northern Flickers, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.


Northern Flicker, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.


Male Cowbird, Griggs Park.


Fox Sparrow, Prairie Oaks Metro Park


Tree Swallows, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).


Male Downy Woodpecker, Prairie Oaks Metro Park


Other flowers also fascinated.

Twinleaf buds and leaves 2 040616 Griggs west cp1

Twinleaf buds and leaves, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

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Cutleaf Toothwort, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

Violet 2 duo 1 better 1 040616 Griggs west cp177

Violet, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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Spring Beauties, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).


A lone hepatica brings delicate color to it’s otherwise dreary early spring world.


Round-lobbed Hepatica, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.


Other plants were also flowering under the still open tree canopy.


Toad Shade Trillium, Griggs Park below the dam.


Virginia bluebells, Griggs Park below the dam.


Trout Lilies, Griggs Park below the dam.


Ever feel like you’re being watched.


Cooper’s Hawk, not far from Griggs reservoir.


Some plants still have a way to go before their often missed flowers emerge.


May Apple, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).


A little further along, (Donna).


In the days to come we’ll be keeping track of the progress of the May apples while out of he corner of our eye watching for those sneaky migrating warblers.


Thanks for stopping by.

A Rare Flower

After several weeks birding, hiking, and paddling in warm and sunny Florida fifteen hundred miles to our south, we’ve returned to early spring in Ohio.


Fortunately the welcoming committee was out when we decided to get reacquainted with some of our favorite places.


This year our timing was just right to see a number of rare Snow Trillium along Griggs Reservoir. This made the day because in past years we often waited too long and missed them. This smallest of Ohio’s trilliums typically arrives in middle to late March and doesn’t hang around. That fact coupled with their small numbers makes them a challenge to find.


Snow Trillium


This one’s looking up.


It’s very unusual to see a group like this, (Donna).



Bloodroot were also out but the previous night’s heavy rain was hard on their fragile petals.




Some show color before the flower opens.


Crab apple blossoms in early spring are always a delight.


Crab apple Blossoms


As though pretended to be flowers, spring leaves emerge.


Leafing out.


Turkey tail joins in on the competition for the camera’s lens.


Turkey Tail


Along Griggs Reservoir Cedar Waxwings announce spring’s arrival.

P1090349 waxwing griggs

Cedar Waxwing


On the reservoir, marking the time of year, a lone Ruddy Duck seems to be on it’s way to somewhere further north.

P1090327ruddy duck griggs

Ruddy Duck


I apologize for the longer than normal absence of posts. To compensate we hope to have some interesting shots of things seen in Florida in the coming weeks as we continue to celebrate spring in central Ohio.


Thanks for stopping by.

Between The Spring Rains

The last few days have brought a lot of, sometimes very hard, rain. We wondered what condition the spring wildflowers would be in as we ventured into the woods along Griggs reservoir and the Scioto river during the few dry spells.


Below is some of what we found:


Virginia Waterleaf was just about everywhere.


The Bluebells are coming along.

Fungus flower side view best 2 041015 Griggs west cp1 (2)

Encouraged by all the rain an Oyster mushroom makes an appearance, (Donna)


Eastern Comma head on 040815 Griggs cp1

An Eastern Coma getting ready for take off, (Donna)

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The Dutchman’s Breeches have really come into their own, (Donna)

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Dutchman’s Breeches

Cutleaf Toothwort 2 040815 Griggs cp1

Cutleaf Toothwort, (Donna)

a P1010937use

Bloodroot was found in large groups on the west side of the reservoir.

a P1010881use


Twinleaf group with buds 1 041015 Griggs west csb1

Twinleaf group with buds, (Donna)

Twinleaf Group 3 041015 Griggs west cp1

Twinleaf, (Donna)


Twinleaf group


While looking for wildflowers we were fortunate to see Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a White Crowned sparrow but none was willing to pose for a picture.


Tufted Titmouse 1 041015 Griggs west cp1 (2)

A Tufted Titmouse watches from above, (Donna)

Red leaves flower 041015 Griggs west cp1

“Red leaf flower”, (Donna)


Meanwhile in our back yard a Chickadee continues to work on it’s nest.


Taking a break.


Donna photographing Mayapples



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A Coot doesn’t seem quite sure what to do with the muddy water of the reservoir.

P1010951 (2)



With an improving weather forecast for the next few days we are looking forward to venturing further afield in our search for spring warblers and wildflowers.


But before we leave I thought I’d include a cute pic of a Grackle enjoying a bath.

Grackle bathing c

Not content with just the rain, a Grackle enjoys taking a little bath, (Donna)


Thanks for stopping by.

Looking For Spring

Some out of town travel has resulted in fewer posts in the last couple of weeks but now we’re back searching for plants, animals, and birds that will encourage us that spring, which so far has been too slow to green, leaf, and flower, is not that far away. Based on things seen while walking along the river recently, which included Turkey Buzzards, Double Crested Cormorants, and Tree Swallows, we are encouraged.


Below are some things seen along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River in the last week:


Bluebell emerging plant 4 closer 1 best 032815 Griggs   cp1

Along the Scioto River some area Bluebell plants are just emerging, (Donna)


A few days later we see progress, (Donna)


Cutleaf Toothwort is getting ready to bloom, (Donna)


Virginia Waterleaf doesn’t need to bloom to be beautiful, (Donna)


A very close look at Harbinger of Spring reveals it’s beauty, (Donna)


A solitary Trout Lilly bloom leads the way, (Donna)


Spring Beauty does it’s best to add some color, (Donna)


The Toad Shade Trillium are very close to blooming, (Donna)

Mystery green plant 032815 Griggs cp1

An island of unidentified green, (Donna)

P1010813 (2)

A Brown Creeper doing what it does best.

P1010822use (2)

Along the Scioto an Eastern Phoebe eludes a good picture. The first one seen this year..

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Eastern Phoebe along the Scioto.

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A White breasted Nuthatch finding lunch among the still bare branches

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White breasted Nuthatch


Bloodroot, beautiful and one of the earliest wild flowers.


Bloodroot, (Donna)


Coltsfoot almost seeming to smile.


Another view, (Donna).



Buds getting ready to leaf out, (Donna)


Common Chickweed is a welcome sight as it gets ready to bloom.


We found still green Dutchmen’s Breaches along the river, (Donna)


The fact is, if spring progressed any faster we would surely miss a lot. That’s something that undoubtedly happens anyway but at what seems like spring’s usual snails pace it feels like we at least have a chance to see it’s wonder.


Thanks for stopping by.

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