Posted on July 10, 2020
One of the wetlands in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, a park located not far from our home, is easy to pass right by as you drive into the west entrance. Unlike the grand vistas of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon that overwhelm one’s senses making it hard to look away, wetlands speak with a quiet “voice”. A voice that can only be “heard” if one gets close, stops, listens, and looks. Usually at first little will be seen, but as one waits life will slowly announce it’s presence.
It was a hot steamy early July morning that, given the recent prolonged hot spell, possessed nothing to set it apart from the day before or the day after. With the warm temperatures the goal was to see what we could see during a relatively short visit.
The wetland is an oasis for dragonflies.
Bull Thistle adds color to the wetland environment.
With the prolonged hot spell and little rain the wetland’s days may be numbered which may pose a challenge for this painted turtle.
Milkweed flowers and leaves attract numerous insects not the least of witch is the Monarch Butterfly.
Perhaps to become a gray tree frog, a tadpole rests near the water’s surface.
A Green Heron lands in a tree overlooking the water. We wonder if he sees any tadpoles.
Nearby it was hard to ignore the striking color of a male American Goldfinch.
The Big Darby flows through the park not far from the wetland.
Water Willow, with it’s small but beautiful flower, is a very common aquatic/semi-aquatic plant in Ohio and can be found along most reservoirs and rivers. “Habitats include sandbars, gravel bars, or mud bars of rivers, low islands in rivers or ponds, shallow water or muddy banks of ponds and rivers, shallow water of rocky upland streams, shallow water or wet areas of swamps, and sandy marshes. Water Willow occurs in wetlands with either stagnant water or slow to moderate currents of water. The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bees. Other floral visitors include various wasps, flies, small butterflies, and skippers. These insects obtain primarily nectar from the flowers, although some bees collect pollen and some flies feed on pollen. Water Willow is one of the host plants for the caterpillars of Hydrangea sphinx moth which feed on the foliage. This plant is also a minor source of food for muskrats“. Ref: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info
We hope you enjoyed this brief early July visit to Prairie Oaks Metro Park. The wetland left us with the heightened realization that nature contains universes within universes, all interconnected, but each with a magic and beauty all their own.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, flowers in central ohio, Nature Photography, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Wild flowers Tagged: American Goldfinch, Blue Dasher, Blue-fronted Dancer, Bull Thistle, Cricket Frog, Green Heron, Lizard's Tail, Milkweed, Painted Turtle, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Water Willow, White Wild Indigo, Widow Skimmer
Posted on June 27, 2018
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.
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.
A few other birds were a little closer.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Birding in Ohio, butterflies, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir Park, Kiwanis Riverway Park, Nature Photography, O'Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Ohio Nature, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Wildflowers Tagged: Blue-fronted Dancer, Blue-ringed Dancer, Brown Thrasher, Butterfly Weed, Calico Pennant, Canon 60D Tamrom 18-400, Delaware Skipper, Double-striped Bluet, Duskywing, Eastern Comma, Eastern Pondhawk, Eastern-tailed Blue, Ebony Jewelwing, Fawn Darner, Great Spangled Fritillary, Hackberry Emperor, Halloween Pennant, Indigo Bunting, Michigan Lily, Monarch Butterfly, Orange Sulfur, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 Leica 100-400mm, Pearl Crescent, Powdered Dancer, Prothonotary Warbler, Red Admiral, Silver Spotted Skipper, Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Swift Setwing, Virginia Ctenucha, Widow Skimmer
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