A First Sighting

Each year it’s a happy time when we again realize that while increased leaf cover and more secretive nesting behavior may make birds harder to observe other beautiful and fascinating things have taken their place. The other things that enchant, as we explore area parks, are the butterflies and dragonflies.

These creatures are a lot like small birds in the sense that you must get close up and personal in order to really appreciate them. At a distance they look like just another LBFI. For starters an essential tool is a pair of close focus binoculars, minimum focus distance of 6 – 7 ft. If you are like me that may soon give way to the desire to photograph them either as an aid to identification or for the record. That’s when you really start to notice how fascinating and beautiful they are. The next thing you may notice is their behavior like the pond surface tapping of a female dragonfly depositing eggs or the unique flight patterns of various butterflies. The more you observe and learn the more enchanting it all becomes.

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Dragonfly heaven, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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That’s not to say that we’ve given up on the birds. During recent insect outing I was hoping for a good shot of an Indigo Bunting but the one seen was just a little too far away.

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Again too far away for a good picture but it is an Indigo Bunting.

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A few other birds were a little closer.

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A Brown Thrasher plays hide and seek in the leaf cover.

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Certainly not trying to hide, this singing Protonotary Warbler was amazing hard to find but once spotted hard to ignore. It’s cavity nest wasn’t far from this perch.

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Gradually as we work our way through June the bulk of nature’s activity increasingly revolves around the insects. A major menu item for many of the now stealthier birds, it’s impossible to ignore them while exploring areas such as Darby Bend Lakes in Prairie Oaks Metro Park. On a recent outing dragonflies and damselflies seemed to be everywhere and was made all the more exciting when a dragonfly that my wife spotted turned out to be the first recorded sighting in central Ohio!

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Double-striped Bluet, (Donna).

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Smaller than a Halloween Pennant a beautiful Calico Pennant poses for the camera.

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Damselflies often are seen flying among the leaves of low lying bushes making them easy prey for the orb weaver spider.

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Female Blue-ringed Dancer

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Damselflies can be friendly.

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Powdered Dancer

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Blue-fronted Dancer.

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Male Ebony Jewelwing, (Donna).

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Halloween Pennant

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Mating Halloween Pennants.

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Female Widow Skimmer

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A male Widow Skimmer dining on what appears to be a damselfly.

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Male Eastern Pondhawk

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One of the larger but very common dragonflies this female Eastern Pondhawk dines on a small insect, (Donna).

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Fawn Darner

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The Swift Setwing is one of the larger dragonflies and this sighting was the first recorded in central Ohio. Over the past few years it has slowly been working it’s way north perhaps due to such factors as global warming, (Donna)

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Butterfly Weed

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And as if the dragonflies weren’t enough during the past few weeks we’ve been treated to sightings of an amazing variety of other insects. So much so, that at times it was a bit overwhelming!

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The medium size Eastern Comma Butterfly.

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Eastern Comma another view, (Donna).

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The medium size Great Spangled Fritillary, (Donna).

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Another view of the Great Spangled Fritillary.

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Virginia Ctenucha Moth

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Red Admiral.

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On a warm day the medium size Hackberry Emperor often lands on exposed skin to take advantage of the goodies in ones perspiration.

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The beautiful marking on the underside of the Hackberry Emperor’s wings.

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Monarch Butterfly.

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A Monarch Butterfly shows the underside of it’s wings.

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As far as we can remember this is the first time we’ve seen a Delaware Skipper, (Donna).

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A very rare view of the top side of the very small female Eastern-tailed Blue Butterflies wings, (Donna).

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A very common medium sized Orange Sulfur Butterfly.

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Sometimes it’s hard to believe your eyes, such was the case a number of years ago when we saw our first hummingbird moth. We continue to be amazed.

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Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Donna

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Another view, (Donna).

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Pearl Crescent, a common, beautiful but smaller butterfly, (Donna).

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Duskywing, a fast flying smaller butterfly.

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The Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly is one of the larger skippers that at times we’ve observed to have an rather fearless attitude toward other flying insects. (Donna).

 

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A Hoverfly pollenates on a Black-eyed Susan.

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A very small long legged fly taxes the closeup capability of a Tamron 18-400 mm zoom.

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Recently not far from our house we were thrilled to see Michigan Lilies in bloom

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It’s always hard to know when to stop as there are always more pictures that could be part of the post based on their merit. However, realizing that the photographer is usually more excited about pictures taken than those looking at them I’ve decided to show some compassion and stop here. At the very least I hope this post inspire nature lovers to get out and take a closer look and find that which enchants.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Hey wait, what about me!

 

 

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It’s Their Eyes

We continue to see Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and other birds in the parks near our home. However, this post celebrates the wildflowers, butterflies, and other insects seen recently.

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When presented with two equally good photos, one of a bird and the other of a insect I usually find myself more attracted to the bird. It’s not to hard figure out why, a bird’s eye more closely resembles our own, they are vocal much like ourselves, and often seem to have better parenting skills than we do. The world of insects is not as easy to understand, and when it is, it can be annoying, destructive and sometimes even painful. When I was young, undoubtedly because I was much closer to the ground and spent a considerable amount of time outside, I had a greater curiosity about “bugs”.  Now, years later, retired with more leisure time, my interest has been rekindled as I take a closer look at the plants and flowers that, to a large extent, comprise the insect’s world.

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The flowers of early summer seem to do most of their celebrating in meadows and along roadsides. Some like Bee Balm and Jewelweed venture into the woods if sun light is available and Lazard’s Tail is never far from the water.

Bee Balm, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Rattlesnake Master, a rather rare plant in Ohio. O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Saint John’s Wort, (Donna), O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Swamp Milkweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Common Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Jewelweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Poke Weed is not an uncommon sight this time of year, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Gray-headed Cone Flower, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Easily overlooked Hairy Wood-mint, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Shadows from an adjacent plant decorate a Wild Potato Vine blossom, Griggs Reservoir Park,

Donna checks out some Lazard’s Tail, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Lazard’s Tail, (Donna).

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With coneflowers and milkweed in full bloom, insects seem to be everywhere. Many leaves, pristine and virgin a month ago, now soldier on with portions missing giving further evidence of the insect’s industry. Spiders and assassin bugs wait in ambush.

Donna takes aim on an unsuspecting butterfly, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Common Wood-Nymph, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Blue-fronted Dancer, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Busy backyard Bumble bees.

A Female Eastern Pondhawk keeps an Eyed Brown Butterfly company, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Paddling is a great way to see all kinds of wildlife, including dragonflies. Getting a picture of one is another matter. O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Eversole Run.

That is, unless one lands on your finger, Eastern Amberwing.

Ebony Jewelwing, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Little Wood Satyr, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Clymene Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

It’s easy to be thankful you’re not a small flying insect when you stare down a Female Widow Skimmer, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

An Assassin bug nymph lurks in the leaf cover, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Red Admiral, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 2.

Green bee on Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Pearly-eye, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Emerald Jumper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Take 2.

Great Spangled Fritillary, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Bumble Bee on milkweed blossom. It’s amazing how many insects make a living off this plant, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Meadow Fritillary, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The very small but beautiful Summer Azure, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black Swallowtail in our backyard.

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After the many years since my youth, when they were an almost integral part of each summer day, I’m again starting to “warm up” to the bugs. We don’t always understand each other and need to work on our communication skills, but I think there’s hope. However, one area that continues to be a challenge is their eyes. I’m okay until I take a picture and blow it up. That’s when I find my brain being stretched a bit, partly in awe, if I was a lot smaller it would be fear, but in any case all of the sudden these guys seem very different almost alien bringing back thoughts of 1950’s Sci-fi movies. Fortunately that’s when I catch myself, realizing that most of them bare me no ill intent.

Cicada, Cedar Bog, (Donna).

Sunglasses anyone?

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

 

Autumn’s Color

Usually when we think of autumn color we’re thinking about leaves but recent outings in central Ohio have revealed that in the autumn color can come in many different shapes and sizes. The pictures below celebrate things we’ve seen in the last two weeks hiking and paddling. While peak color is still about two weeks away, it’s hard not to be charmed by the splashes of color amongst the predominately green landscape.

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Exploring Alum Creek Reservoir north of the Howard Road bridge.

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The green corridor along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River is still providing opportunities to view migrated birds as well as local residents.

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The portrait of a Cape May warbler gets photo bombed by a pair of amorous ladybugs, Griggs Park.

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Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Yellow-throated Warbler, Griggs Park.

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A Blue-headed Vireo makes an appearance at Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Song Sparrow, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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A pair of Northern Flickers, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Juvenile Green Heron, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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A pair of Carolina Wrens, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Female Belted Kingfisher, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Sparrows going for a swim, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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.   .   .  and plenty of insects, spiders, and flowers too!

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Variegated Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Monarch, Griggs Park.

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Mating Blue-fronted Dancers, Griggs Park, Donna.

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A Praying Mantis pays us a visit, (Donna).

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Calico Asters, Griggs Park.

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Corn Earworm Moth, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Wandering Glider, Griggs Park, (Donna, she wouldn’t tell me how long she waited to get this pic).

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Pearl Crescents, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Seemingly unperturbed, a Grey Hairstreak shares a small flower with a bumblebee, (Donna).

 

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Variable Orb Weaver, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Common Checkered Skipper, Griggs park, (Donna).

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Orange Sulfur, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Mudflats and logs exposed along Alum Creek due to slightly lower water levels provided an opportunity to see a few shorebirds.

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Spotted Sandpiper along Alum Creek north of the reservoir.

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Solitary Sandpiper along Alum Creek north of the reservoir.

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Alum Creek.

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The little bit of rain we’ve had recently brought out some fungi.

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Unidentified, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Non-inky Coprinus, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Witch’s Butter, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Unlike two or three weeks ago when there were Ospreys everywhere, when we paddling the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir last Thursday none were seen.  However, there were a lot of cormorants and gulls.

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Along the shore of Alum Creek Reservoir.

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A Doubled Crested Cormorant takes flight as we paddle north on Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna).

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Looking for Ospreys, Alum Creek Reservoir.

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Along Alum Creek

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As if sensing the warm weather won’t last forever .   .   .

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Basking in the morning sun, Griggs Reservoir.

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The amount of insect activity we’ve seen in the last two weeks has been been truly amazing. We haven’t had our first frost yet so I’m sure a lot will change once that happens. Meanwhile we’ll continue to enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

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Early autumn on Griggs Reservoir.

xxx

Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

 

 

Little Things and The Whole

Sometimes when in nature it’s not about a new discovery to photograph,  it’s about being in the moment, awake, content with the “usual” flowers, insects, or birds, their motion, colors, sounds, feeling the cool early morning air, drawing it into our lungs, aware as treetop leave rustle and small ripples appear along the reservoir shore.

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Reflection of a small branch breaking the water’s surface.

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But even during those times, in that experience, we do see things that draw us out, that asked to be photographed, and in doing so embrace us in a feeling of oneness with something that is part but also beyond ourselves.  In that moment time, as if also captured by the photograph, stands still.

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Recent dry weather has resulted in low water levels.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Flower’s continue to be a part of the wonder.

Moth mullein, an invasive species native to Eurasia and North Africa, it has naturalized in the US.

Moth mullein, an invasive species native to Eurasia and North Africa, it has naturalized in North America..

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White Mulberry, Griggs Park.

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Scarlet Pimpernel, probably an escapee, (Donna), Griggs Park.

 

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Backyard Day Lily.

Thimbleweed, Griggs Park

Thimbleweed, Griggs Park.

 

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Park.

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Park.

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Motherwort, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Chicory, Griggs Park.

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Pokeweed, Griggs Park.

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Wild Lettuce, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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When looking at flowers other things are seen.

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Female Powdered Dancer, (Donna) Griggs Park.

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Female Blue Fronted Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Stream Bluets, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Blue Fronted Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Powdered Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Dusky Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Widow Skimmer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Question Mark, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Question Mark, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Bronze Copper, Griggs Park.

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Hackberry Emperor, Griggs Park.

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Crane Fly along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Black and Yellow Wasp, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Canadian Petrophila Moths, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Black Swallowtail caterpillar, (Donna) Griggs Park.

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On a recent walk an Osprey was spotted in what appeared to be an agitated state.

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Osprey being dive bombed by a Baltimore Oriole. Along the Scioto below Griggs Dam

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The oriole kept at it.

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The Osprey finally flew away.

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We’ve also been fortunate to enjoy a few other birds.

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Eastern Phoebe, (immature), Griggs Park.

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Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park.

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With an insect.

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Prothonotary warbler, (immature) Griggs Park. We have at least two nesting pairs along the reservoir and river just below the dam.

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Griggs Reservoir nature.

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There seem to be lots of chipmunks right now.

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Chipmunk, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Being a mom isn’t easy.

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All right kids could you swim the other way I’m getting dizzy.

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That’s better!

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Sometimes being in nature just means relaxing.

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Not a lunker but a nice Smallmouth Bass that went swimming right after this picture, Griggs Reservoir.

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Sometimes the opportunity to reflect on what’s been experienced is as good as reliving it a second time.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Dazzled By Dragonflies at Prairie Oaks

So far it’s been one of the wettest summers in recent memory but finally a day with morning sunshine and no threat of rain until things warmed up in the afternoon. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, off we went to Prairie Oaks Metro Park, one of our favorite places to look for dragonflies, damselflies as well as butterflies and moths in central Ohio.

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We were not disappointed. For a day’s outing, this one probably holds the record for the number of species seen and photographed. Some of the cruisers alluded us but anything that would perch, even if only for a second, was fair game.

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However, not long after arriving we saw this guy and depending on your point of view, it may or may not have been the encouragement needed as we started our quest.

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Red-winged Blackbird, Beaver Lake Area

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Are you really going to eat all that?

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But not long after, our faith in the balance of nature returned as continuing to explore we checked out the Darby Bend Lakes area.

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Ebony Jewelwing, female

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Blue-fronted Dancer, female

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Blue-ringed Dancer, male

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Blue-fronted Dancer, male

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Teneral (just metamorphosed), damselfly.

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Teneral (just metamorphosed), damselfly.

 

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Common Whitetail, (Donna)

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Calico Pennant, (Donna)

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Blue Dasher, female, (Donna)

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Eastern Amberwing

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Great Blue Skimmer, male

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Widow Skimmer, male

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Ruby Meadowhawk, male

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Halloween Pennant, female

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Halloween Pennant, male, note red spots near leading edge of wing tips, (Donna).

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Widow Skimmer, female, (Donna)

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Eastern Pondhawk, male, (Donna)

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Eastern Pondhawk, female, (Donna)

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.   .   .  and there were wildflowers.

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Phlox

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Catnip

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Blazing Star

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Teasel

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Different strokes . . .

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White Phlox

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Jewelweed

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A few butterflies were also seen.

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Sliver Spotted Skipper

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Another view.

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Red-spotted Purple

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.   .   .   and even a spider.

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Fishing Spider

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Each time we go out there always seems to be something new to see.

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Beaver lodge, Darby Bend Lakes.

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While hardly an original thought, it’s worth being mindful that every day can be an adventure if we choose to make it so.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

No Longer “just another bug”

The last couple of weeks we’ve done a few walks and paddles. Along the way we’ve managed to take pictures of some of the insects that might be seen if one ventures into the woods, or unto rivers and lakes in central Ohio this time of year.

To be honest; I get a little more excited about the opportunity to photograph a Mink, Bald Eagle, or Blackburnian Warbler. Looking at the following images it’s hard to understand exactly why that is. I guess it’s understandable that we might have a greater sense of kinship with feathery fury things than something with an exoskeleton. Certainly if we think of a Common Sanddragon the same way we do a mosquito the dragonfly doesn’t stand a chance. How many of us have been out photographing mosquitoes lately. It goes without saying that when we consider how a dragonfly makes it’s living it’s significances, as well as that of all the smaller insects it feeds upon, become much more apparent.

So having decided to quit disrespecting the “bugs” we find ourselves making more of an effort to learn about them. However, having made such a commitment there’s always the chance that after we’ve spent quality time observing, photographing, and being fascinated by the behavior of an insect like a dragonfly, a sense of kinship may develop where there was none before. Not long after that, down the trail, we might see a Great Crested Flycatcher enjoying one for breakfast. If it hadn’t happened already, at that moment, courtesy of the flycatcher, our perspective changes, an unavoidable sense of remorse may ensue, the dragonfly no longer seems like “just another bug”.

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A great place for bugs. Prairie Oaks

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Red Admiral, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Cone Flower, Battelle Darby Creek

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Backyard Bee Balm

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Viceroy, Prairie Oaks

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Band-winged Meadowhawk, Prairie Oaks

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Blue-fronted Dancer, Prairie Oaks

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Blue-ringed Dancer, Prairie Oaks

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Silver Spotted Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Red-spotted Purple, Prairie Oaks

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Hummingbird Moth

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Widow Skimmer, (female), Prairie Oaks

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Powdered-dancer, female, Prairie Oaks

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Ebony Jewelwings, Prairie Oaks

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Eastern Amberwing, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Eastern Pondhawk, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)

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Eastern Comma, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)

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Common Sanddragon, Prairie Oaks

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Clouded Sulfur, Prairie Oaks

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Calico-pennant, Prairie Oaks

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Buckeye, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Mosquitos, Prairie Oaks

 

 

A Summer Walk at Prairie Oaks

It’s the 23rd of July and it feels like the middle of summer in central Ohio. The landscape usually starts to dry out by now with brown tones freely combining with greens. However, this year the rains have kept the browns at bay and small creeks have continued to flow. Dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies now catch our attention as bird songs and activity become less noticeable.  Wild flowers no longer populate the woods but instead the fields and meadows as sunlight has long since disappeared from under the forest canopy.

So if today’s walk is any example, below are some of things you might see in mid summer at Prairie Oaks.

Creek 1

Creek 1

C0mmon Whitetail (F)

C0mmon Whitetail (F)

Creek

Creek

Eastern Comma

Eastern Comma

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus 2

Fungus 2

Golden Winged Skimmer (F)

Golden Winged Skimmer (F)

Gray Comma

Gray Comma

Hackberry

Hackberry

Halloween Pennant

Halloween Pennant

Iron Weed

Ironweed

Pond

Pond

Queen Ann's Lace

Queen Ann’s Lace

Red Belly

Red bellied Woodpecker

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail

Summer Azure

Summer Azure

Tall Bellflower

Tall Bellflower

Teasel (Inv)

Teasel (Inv)

Widow Skimmer

Widow Skimmer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Sneeze Weed

Sneeze Weed

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography

Mike Powell

My journey through photography

The Prairie Ecologist

Essays, photos, and discussion about prairie ecology, restoration, and management

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Cat Tales

Mike and Lori adrift

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Exploring Nature in New Hampshire

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog

Quiet Solo Pursuits

My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Seasons Flow

Everything flows, nothing stands still. (Heraclitus)