Cliff Swallow Close Up

We often see Cliff Swallows when paddling central Ohio’s reservoirs. While seeing them is not rare, getting a good picture of one is. During a recent outing on Griggs Reservoir we had the opportunity to use the canoe to our advantage. We positioned ourselves so that, sitting motionless, a light breeze propelled the canoe toward swallow nests located on the bridge support structure. By being very still we were able to get much closer than we had previously. Once the paddles were picked up to reposition the boat, the birds flew.

Typical Cliff Swallow nest location, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic ZS50.

Cliff Swallows, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

A closer look, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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North end of Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic FZ200.

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During our trip, which covered the length of the reservoir, there were plenty of things to see. This was a good thing because I was testing a new Sigma 18-300mm lens. The hope is that the lens, mounted on my DSLR, will do most of what my Panasonic FZ200 does, landscapes, close-ups of insects, and to some extent birds, but with more creative control and exposure latitude while still having the convenance of not having to switch lenses. In harsh light DSLR APS-C sensors tend to do better with highlights and shadows (exposure latitude) when compared to the much smaller sensor used in the FZ200. The Sigma lens is a story of compromises given that it goes from extreme wide angle to telephoto. It’s not a macro lens but will take reasonable pictures of “bugs” while at the same time doing a decent job with landscapes and birds that aren’t to far away. Overall I’m satisfied with it’s performance realizing it will never compete with fixed focal length lenses for ultimate sharpness. For those not familiar with sensor sizes see the chart below. I’ve also included the type of camera used for each picture should the reader be curious.

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It’s the insect time of the year along the reservoir ensuring that there are plenty of fascinating subjects.

Fragile Forktail, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Eastern Forktail (F), Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Familiar Bluet, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Widow Skimmer (F) not fully developed, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Eastern Pondhawk (M), Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Familiar Bluet, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Bee on Milkweed flower, Griggs Park, Panasonic Zs50.

Eastern Amberwing, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Happy Milkweed Beetles, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

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Reptiles and amphibian greeted us during our journey.

Bullfrog, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Hiding, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Very small Map Turtle, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Looking at the other side, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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Other things also watched our passing.

White-tailed deer along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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At the very north end of the reservoir, Kiwanis Riverway Park, we pulled the boat out for a snack break and spent some time checking out the area birds. Hopefully a few more challenging subjects for the Sigma lens would be found.

Great Egret and Cormorant north end of Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

A closer look at the Great Egret, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Tree Swallows, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, cropped.

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls out, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Northern Flicker, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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The below picture is interesting because this Wood Duck duckling, along with three of it’s siblings, was reacting to the presence of our canoe. We never chase birds but these guys shot out of the shoreline brush and took off across the water. Sadly, as we watched them head for another hiding spot, one duckling suddenly disappeared not to be seen again. The victim of a Large Mouth Bass or Snapping Turtle perhaps?

Wood Duck duckling, Griggs reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

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Recent wildflowers seen.

Water Willow, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, cropped.

Butterfly Weed continues to make it’s presence known in Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Along the water’s edge the flowers of the Button Bush have just started to bloom, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic ZS 50.

Looking into the woods, a Day Lily stands out, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Spiderwort, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Moth Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Catnip (non-native), Panasonic ZS50.

Wild Rose along Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Trumpet-creeper along Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Coneflower, backyard.

Black-eyed Susan, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

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Often we find ourselves enchanted by a new view of something seen before. Such was the case with our close up encounter with the Cliff Swallows. Their nest building and graceful flight, what amazing birds! On the same day the celebration may be interrupted by an occurrence, like the sudden disappearance of a duckling, that is hard to watch.

Paddling into Kiwanis Riverway Park, Panasonic FZ200.

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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.

 

Late Spring Celebration; A Warbler and Much More

Nature unfolds and reveals itself like a flower, first reluctantly and then with grace. Armed with just a little curiosity, looking with intention, and allowing yourself  to be in the moment and place, rewards one with new wonder. Seeing and appreciating more each time.

<<<>>>

In the past few days, still interested in finding warblers, we visited Prairie Oaks Metro Park and closer to home Griggs Reservoir Park in the hopes of seeing a few stragglers. With the exception of the Prothonotary, the warblers didn’t cooperate but fortunately other things did. Whether it’s warblers or “other things” we’re always amazed by the celebration of life this time of year and the beauty that’s often found in the ordinary. The pictures below were taken over just a few outings, typically involving walks of at least two or three miles, sometimes longer, as we search for birds, bugs, and plants. It is a source of continuous fascination that so much can be found so close to home in central Ohio.

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A shaft of light finds grass along a stream, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

<<<>>>

It’s always nice when “the reptiles” decide to join the cast.

Next to the path a turtle acts none to happy about our presence, Prairie Oak Metro Park.

A Bullfrog shows a nice profile, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

<<<>>>

Still in “warbler mode” on a recent outing, we weren’t prepared for all the insects we would see.

Familiar Bluet, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Inch Worm, (Donna).

Daddy Longlegs, (Donna)

Spicebush Swallowtail

Silver Spotted Skipper, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

A very common Cabbage White, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Virginia Ctenucha, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Viceroy, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Eight-spotted Forester Moth, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Large Lace-boarder Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Milkweed Beetle, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Silvery Checkerspot, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Green Bee on Coneflower, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Hackberry Emperor, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

<<<>>>

Where there are bees and butterflies there will be wildflowers or maybe it’s the other way around.

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In grassy areas and meadows English Plantain is everywhere, Griggs Reservoir Park is no exception.

Very small bees visit the very small flowers of the English Plantain.

Hairy Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis), Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black-eyed Susans, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Thimbleweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Early Meadow Rue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Day Lily, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Goatsbeard, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Moth Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park.

<<<>>>

While we were excited to see Prothonotary Warblers nesting so close to home there was no storage of other birds to fascinate.

We’d been seeing this nesting Prothonotary Warbler for a few weeks in Griggs Reservoir Park. We finally were able to get some pictures.

It must be nesting nearby because at one point it was observed taking food to it’s young.

Preening.

No spot is missed!

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is not common this time of year in Griggs reservoir Park.

A Downy Woodpecker making effective use of it’s tail, Griggs Reservoir Park.

An adult Killdeer tries to get our attention, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

It tries a little harder, something must be going on.

Sure enough!

A male Baltimore Oriole makes it’s presence known in Griggs Reservoir Park. It’s been a great year for these birds in the park.

This Northern Flicker, often seen in a fairly localized area, must have a nest nearby, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Numerous Catbirds continue to entertain in Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Mallard keeps an eye on us as we walk along the water in Griggs Reservoir Park.

<<<>>>

A stream benefits from recent rain in Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Nature unfolds and reveals itself like a flower, first reluctantly and then with grace. May you be rewarded with new wonder, seeing and appreciating more each time.

Chipmunk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Turtles, Snakes, Hawks . . . , Oh My!

Recent explorations in the central Ohio natural places have been good to us. As mentioned in previous posts the warblers are becoming quieter and much harder to find but as is often the case we find other things to fascinate. Below are some discoveries from the past week.

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Early summer wildflowers and flowering trees and bushes.

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Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

 

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Squaw Root, Highbanks Metro Park. Never what one would think of as attractive this example is a bit past it’s prime

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Purple Rocket, Griggs Park.

 

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Flower of the Tulip Tree, Highbanks.

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Fire Pink, Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

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Spiderwort, Glacier Ridge.

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Hairy Hawkweed, Glacier Ridge.

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Squarrose Sedge, Glacier Ridge.

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Mystery flowering bush, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

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Goats beard, non-native, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

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Blue Flag Iris, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Virginia Waterleaf, Highbanks. It’s unusual that the leaves are still variegated. The variegated leaves are one of the beautiful things to look for on the forest floor in the early spring.

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Closer look at a waterleaf flower.

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While we’re not seeing the warblers now other birds are still cooperating.

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Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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An easy to hear hard to see Red-eyed Vireo, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.

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Great Blue Heron takes a momentary swim in Griggs Reservoir, Canon SX40.

 

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The Prothonotary Warblers continue their nesting activity below Griggs Dam along the Scioto River, SX40.

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In the Scioto Below Griggs Dam a Great Blue Heron waits for a lunch delivery, Canon SX40.

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Eastern Phoebe, Highbanks.

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Song Sparrow, Glacier Ridge.

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Barn Swallow, Glacier Ridge.

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Field Sparrow with a mouthful, Glacier Ridge.

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This past week it was fascinating to see Snapping Turtles laying their eggs at Griggs Park.

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Snapping Turtle, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Snapping turtle nest. This one may have already been raided by a raccoon.

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Other reptiles and amphibians also made an appearance.

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Rat Snake high off the forest floor in a tree hole, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50).

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Bullfrog tadpole, Glacier Ridge.

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Bullfrog, Glacier Ridge.

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We’re heading into the insect time of year. Confirmed by the number seen recent walks.

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Bumble Bee, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Zabulon Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Cabbage White Bouquet, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

 

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Tawny-edged Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Common Whitetail, (F), Highbanks, ZS50.

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Common Whitetail (M), Highbanks, ZS50.

 

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Female Blue Dasher, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200)

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When you’re looking for interesting insects and flowers other things magically appear.

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Bleeding Tooth, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50)

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Dead tree, the victim of “bootstrap fungus Bootstrap fungus is caused by honey mushrooms, which are parasitic on live wood and send out long root like structures called rhizomorphs between the wood of a tree and its bark”. (thanks NH Garden Solutions for the ID help!), Highbanks.

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Hope everyone enjoyed our nature menagerie.

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Fishing on the Scioto below Griggs Dam, SX40.

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Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

xxx

 

Central Ohio Springs Ramblings

In the last few days we’ve been on hikes with friends as well as dedicated birding trips to various parks in Columbus and central Ohio and even when we weren’t trying real hard we’ve seen some amazing things. Hope you enjoy this early May photographic journey through spring in central Ohio.

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Hobblebush, Glenn Echo Ravine, “the shrub forms large clusters of white to pink flowers in May–June. Flowers provide nectar for the Spring Azure butterfly. The large showy flowers along the edge of the cluster are sterile, while the small inner flowers have both male and female parts”.

 

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Hobblebush flowers

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Spring in Glenn Echo Ravine

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Jack-in-the-pulpit, Glenn Echo Revine

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Glenn Echo Ravine

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Fleabane, banks of the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Swamp Sparrow, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna).

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Swamp Sparrow, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Solomon Seal, Glenn Echo Ravine, (Donna).

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Green Heron, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna).

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Green Heron, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Spring Crest along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

 

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Spring Crest, (Donna).

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on nest, Kiwanis Riverway Park

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Red-eyed Vireo, Battelle Darby Metro Park

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Blue jay, Glenn Echo Ravine.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam.,

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White-eyed Vireo, Glenn Echo Ravine.

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Take 2.

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Palm Warbler, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Bullfrog, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Big Darby, Battelle Darby Metro Park.

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Northern Parula Warbler, Glenn Echo Ravine.

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Take 2.

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Black-throated Green Warbler, Glenn Echo Ravine.

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Swainson’s Thrush, Glen Echo Ravine.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Spiderwort, Battelle Darby Metro Park.

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May Apple, Battelle Darby Metro Park.

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Northern Flicker, Battelle Darby Metro Park.

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Barred Owl, Battelle Darby Metro Park. Spotted while looking for a noisy Great Crested Flycatcher.

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Red-eyed Vireo with Yellow-rumped, Battelle Darby Metro Park.

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Large flowered Valerian, “habitats include floodplain woodlands along streams or rivers, shaded ravines, and bottoms of rocky canyons. This species is found in high quality habitats that are moist and shady”. Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Big Darby, Battelle Darby Metro Park.

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I apologize that some of the bird pics aren’t up to “bird photography” standards, severe crops and adverse lighting, but hopefully they still tell the story.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Butterflies and Wildflowers at Battelle Derby Creek

Late July and early August is a great time to grab your camera and binoculars and go for a hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. The park has reestablished extensive areas of prairie containing many types of native wildflowers. With the flowers come butterflies and other types of insects. Eastern Meadowlarks, Indigo Buntings and other birds are also attracted to the area. If you ever questioned the value of native prairies in promoting biodiversity visit Battelle Darby and take a close look. You’ll be amazed at what there is to see.

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Prairie in early morning, Battelle Darby Creek

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Some parts of the prairie contain ponds, Bullfrog, Battelle Darby Creek

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Bullfrog, study 2 (Donna)

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Cardinal Flowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Tufted Titmouse along the Big Darby River

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek

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Making friends with a butterfly.

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Hackberry Emperor, Battelle Darby

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Sunflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Catapillar, Battelle Darby

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Male Goldfinch, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Coneflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Red Admiral, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

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Red Admiral, study 2, Battelle Darby Creek

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Red Milkweed Beetle, Battelle Darby Creek

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Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

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Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, study 2, (Donna)

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Blazing Star, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie, (Donna)

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Walking through the prairie, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Fungus, along the river, Battelle Darby Creek

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Familiar Bluet, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie, (Donna)

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Tall Bellflower, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

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Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek

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Daddy Longlegs with prey, Battelle Darby Creek.

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Silvery Checkerspot, Battelle Darby Creek

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Spicebush Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek

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Curious Cardinal, Battelle Darby Creek

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Zabulon Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek

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Turtles, Big Darby Creek

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Prairie, Big Darby Creek Metro Park

Thanks for stopping by and checking out some pictures of nature in central Ohio. We hope you’re inspired to get out and explore nature wherever you live.

 

 

A Prayer for Other Living Things

A Prayer for Other Living Things

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Winter struggles to become spring

summer comes easily

then fall

as it has for me many times before.

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Big Darby - Battelle Darby Creek

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Looking back

to time spent in wild places

and

quiet morning walks,

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Forest trail - Michigan

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I now, slowly, finally, realize

it’s not only about us

our dreams, desires, and wants.

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*****

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In the woods,

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a sycamore stands

years longer than I

it’s tall white branches

bright against a winter blue sky

speaking in a voice I cannot hear,

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Sycamore - Griggs Park

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a butterfly

it’s quiet beauty

of

yellow, orange, blue

moves from flower to flower

not asking my permission,

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glistening in the sun

a dragonfly passes

as it earns it’s living

flying forward, backward, sideways,

my presence is of no concern,

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a thrush in a nearby tree

with an ethereal song

calls for it’s mate

not for me,

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along a path beside a pond

I pause

a bullfrog croaks

then splashes.

                                             rsp

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