No Expectations

.

Walking in the wood’s morning stillness,

Click on any photo for a better view.

.

on late autumn fallen leaves

that recent rain left damp with saturated color,


.

as kinglets with their quiet sounds

teased

flitting from branch to branch

never pausing quite long enough,


.

I found myself with no expectations

content to listen to the voice of the day.

.

***

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

IMG_4856fix

Dragonfly heaven, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

.

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.

IMG_4709

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

.

A few other birds were a little closer.

IMG_4540fix

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

IMG_4698fix

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.

  .

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!

DoubleStriped Bluet1 LR1 061918 Prairie Oaks fz200 fix

Double-striped Bluet, (Donna).

IMG_4899fix

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

IMG_4703fix

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

IMG_4872fix

Female Blue-ringed Dancer

IMG_4865fix

Damselflies can be friendly.

IMG_5016fix

Powdered Dancer

IMG_4861fix

Blue-fronted Dancer.

Ebony Jewelwing4 LL3 best1 061918 Prairie Oaks birdcam fix

Male Ebony Jewelwing, (Donna).

IMG_4761fix

Halloween Pennant

IMG_4848fix

Mating Halloween Pennants.

IMG_4787

Female Widow Skimmer

IMG_4775fix

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

IMG_4677fix

Male Eastern Pondhawk

Eastern Pondhawk2 LL w bug1 062618 Twin Lakes birdcam fix

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

IMG_7604fix

Fawn Darner

Dragonfly1 mystery1 061918 Prairie Oaks fz200 fix

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)

.

img_4888-e1530098863505.jpg

Butterfly Weed

.

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!

IMG_4743fix2

The medium size Eastern Comma Butterfly.

Eastern Comma1 LR1 061918 Prairie Oaks birdcam fix

Eastern Comma another view, (Donna).

Great Spangled Fritillary1 LR1 061918 Prairie Oaks birdcam fix

The medium size Great Spangled Fritillary, (Donna).

IMG_7644fix

Another view of the Great Spangled Fritillary.

IMG_4842fix

Virginia Ctenucha Moth

IMG_5054fix

Red Admiral.

IMG_4718fix

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

IMG_4753fix3

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

IMG_4838fix

Monarch Butterfly.

IMG_4943fix

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

Delaware Skipper2 LL2 WF1 061918 Prairie Oaks birdcam fix

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

Eastern Tailed Blue1 female WFO1 061818 Griggs N birdcam fix

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

IMG_4795

A very common medium sized Orange Sulfur Butterfly.

.

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.

Hummingbird Moth1 Lup1 062618 Twin Lakes birdcam fix

Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Donna

Hummingbird Moth3 LL1 062618 Twin Lakes birdcam fix

Another view, (Donna).

.

Pearl Crescent3 WFO w shad1 062618 Twin Lakes birdcam fix

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

IMG_7609fix

Duskywing, a fast flying smaller butterfly.

Silver-spotted Skipper1 LR1 062618 Twin Lakes birdcam fix

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).

 

IMG_4955fixs

A Hoverfly pollenates on a Black-eyed Susan.

IMG_5039fix

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

IMG_4921fix

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

.

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.

.

IMG_7653fix

Hey wait, what about me!

 

 

.

 

 

An Early June Paddle On Griggs Reservoir

A few days ago while fishing I was fortunate to see two Black-crowned Night Herons. Such a sighting is always a treat in Ohio as, unlike Great Blue Herons, they are only found in a few isolated locations with Griggs Reservoir being one. As you might expect most of their activity is a night so during the day they are usually found perched quietly in trees at waters edge.

 

P1030260fix

Fishing rig for the reservoir.

IMGP0233fixtext

P1030255fix

Black-crowned Night Heron

.

Given my good fortune the day before, my wife expressed the desire to do a paddle, bird camera in hand, with the express goal of seeing and perhaps photographing the herons. Of course as most birders know there is an element of uncertainty to these endeavors. After eight miles of paddling no Black-crowned Night Herons were seen much less photographed but as is often the case other things made up for it.

.

Fawn3 LR best1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

As I moved the canoe closer a very young White Tail fawn at waters edge tries to remain unnoticed, (Donna).

.

Turtle2 map baby1 LR1 060618 griggs paddle birdcam fix

An also very young Map Turtle, about the size of a fifty cent piece, enjoys the morning sun, (Donna).

.

Wood duck mom and babies2 LR2 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

We catch a rare glimpse of a female wood slinking along the shore with young ones. Usually by the time we get this close they’ve scattered. An outcome we try to avoid, (Donna).

.

Wood duck mom1 LL dashing1 060618 griggs paddle birdcam fix

Typical evasive “wounded” maneuver by a female with young when you get too close, (Donna).

.

Mink2 LLheadon1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix2

In a second he was gone but that was all the time my wife needed to catch this Mink. Pretty exciting as it had been a while since we’d seen one, (Donna).

.

Turtle red-eared slider1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

A Red-eared Slider poses for a picture. It may now be more common in the reservoir than the Map Turtle, (Donna).

.

Mallard ducks and mom1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix

Usually several groups of mallard duckling are seen during early June paddles, (Donna).

.

IMG_4611Fix

IMG_4603fix

Like all youngsters this immature Red-tailed Hawk was making a lot of noise, demanding to be noticed.

****

Given the number of nesting boxes Prothonotary Warblers are certainly not rare in central Ohio. However, whenever we find one “setting up housekeeping” in a natural tree cavity it’s particularly exciting. Such was the case with the below female at the north end of Griggs.

Prothonotary5 LR gath mat2 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix2

Prothonotary Warbler, (Donna).

Prothonotary2 leanL1 headon1 060618 Griggs paddle birdcam fix2

Another view, (Donna).

IMG_4579fix

IMG_4575fix

IMG_4584fix

.

We were almost to the 161 bridge and Kiwanis Riverway Park when we saw the prothonotary and usually go just a little further before turning for the journey home. However, on this particular day it was hard to imagine what would be discovered that would top that already seen so with a fair breeze off our stern we somewhat reluctantly pointed the bow south and headed home. A wonderful way to finish the day.

.

Thanks for stopping by

 

 

Late May At Cedar Bog, a Celebration of Biodiversity

It was not an ideal day for a nature outing with the temperature forecast to reach 90 F with matching humidity. However, after three days of suffering with what appeared to be a case of food poisoning and feeling restless, I convinced my wife I was feeling well enough to take a trip to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve a pleasant back roads country drive from Columbus just a few miles south of Urbana off route 68.

.

.

.

.

It’s one of Ohio’s unique natural areas and given the timing of our trip there was a good possibility of seeing a showy lady’s slipper. It’s a flower that’s much more common in states north but is also seen in a few Ohio locations. By itself the flower might not have been enough to justify the drive but we were also enticed by the preserve’s biodiversity and the fact that it was home to other rare things such as the endangered spotted turtle. The bog (not really a bog), is said to be the largest and best example of a boreal and prairie fen complex in Ohio. Walking slowly and looking intently no spotted turtles were seen the day of our visit but other things made up for it.

A small stream flows through the fen. In fact the whole fen is really flowing.

.

Upon entering the preserve we were immediately greeted by a indigo bunting singing from what seemed like the highest branch in the tallest tree.

Indigo Bunting

.

Amazingly, while others were seen throughout the preserve, we didn’t have to travel far to come across our first showy lady’s slipper.

Capturing the fen’s unique beauty.

Showy Lady’s Slippers

A closer look, (Donna).

Not fully emerged.

Blue Flag Iris were also present. Unlike yellow irises they are native.

Sometimes leaves, in this case those of a young tulip tree, are as fascinating as any flower.

.

Not to be outdone by the flowers a little further along a large dragonfly performed it’s aerial display before finally posing for a picture.

Brown Spiketail, (Donna).

 

Another view.

Others were also seen.

Painted Skimmer

Another view, (Donna).

Female Common Whitetail

.

Where there are dragonflies there are usually damselflies.

Mating Eastern Red Damselflies, (Donna).

Female Ebony Jewelwing

Male Ebony Jewelwing

.

During our admittedly short visit only one species of butterfly cooperated for the camera.

Silvery Checkerspot

Another view, (Donna).

.

Usually we find ourselves drawn to butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies but when looking for them it’s hard not to notice and appreciate other insects.

Golden-backed Snipe Fly

Crane Fly

Flowers were particularly fragrant which wasn’t lost on this hover fly.

Daddy Longlegs

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, (Donna).

Mating bee-like robber flies.

.

The preserve is also known to be home to a population of mississauga rattlesnakes and while none were seen we did see a northern water snake as well as the broad headed skink which we have not seen elsewhere in Ohio.

Northern Water Snake

Broad Headed Skink

Another view.

.

Considering the wet environment and amount of fallen trees it was somewhat surprising that only one type of rather plain fungi was spotted.

An unidentified fungi.

.

As if it had been inspired by the indigo bunting, a common yellowthroat made it’s presence known just as we were about to leave the preserve reminding us not to wait so long before our next visit.

Common Yellowthroat

.

When we visit islands of unique diversity like Cedar Bog it’s hard not get swept up by the thought of what Ohio was like before Europeans settled the area and, with the aid of the industrial revolution, transformed much of the land into a monoculture of corn, soybeans, or wheat.

Now, when diving through rural Ohio on a late spring day the landscape seems permanent, natural, and right, and painted with the new green of crops and freshly leaved trees often beautiful to our 21st century eyes. However, a very short 250 years ago it would have looked very different and been home to many more diverse living things. Just as we, with first hand knowledge of what was there before, may morn the loss of a farmers field to a new strip mall or housing development such things become legitimate, right, unquestioned with the passing of time once the land has been transformed. The march towards less and fragmented islands of biodiversity continues.

It is true that change is inevitable but how much biodiversity do we and other living things need to thrive ten years from now, one hundred, how about in one thousand years when our sun will still be warming the planet much as it does today? Cedar Bog both delights and challenges us with it’s beauty and it’s questions.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

***

 

.

 

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

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)