Six Weeks in Florida, Part 1, Snapshots

Below are a series of shots taken during our recent stay in Florida. They are images that spoke to me in ways the transcended the subject and evoked feelings of joy and wonder. Hope you enjoy.



Tree, Ochlockonee River State Park


Morning sunlight in Long Leaf Pines, Ochlockonee River State Park


Pond, Ochlockonee River State Park


Leaves, Torreya State Park


Kayaks, Manatee Springs.


Long Leaf Pine cone, Ochlockonee River State Park


Sunlit, Bald Point State Park.


Long Leaf Pine bark and fungi, Ochlockonee River State Park


Designs, Ochlockonee River State Park


Low tide, Bald Point State Park.


Saw Palmetto, Manatee Springs


Grass, Ochlockonee River State Park


Boardwalk Manatee Springs State Park.


Atsenia Otis Key, off Cedar Key


Six Mile Cypress Slough, Ft Meyers


Saw Palmetto, Manatee Springs


Atsenia Otis Key off Cedar Key


Turtle, Six Mile Cypress Slough, Ft Meyers


Shells and driftwood, Lovers Key.


Swamp, Manatee Springs


Spring, north Georgia.


The next Florida post will be about the birds we were able to photograph as we explored some of the state’s trails and waterways. Thanks for stopping by.



Shadows and reflections, Six Mile Cypress Slough, Ft Meyers.


November Dragonflies

Yesterday we thought a visit Prairie Oaks Metro Park was in order to see if the park ponds were home to any migrating waterfowl. After checking out the ponds it was hoped that the nearby woods might contain other migrating birds.

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Oak leaves provide a splash of autumn color.


The ponds did produce a few Pie-billed Grebes   .   .   .   ,

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Pie-billed Grebes.


and turtles,

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Red-eared Sliders enjoy the autumn sun, (Donna).


but not much else.


In the woods birds were heard but few would pose for a photograph.


Hairy Woodpecker


While I was looking up, my wife was looking down. Fortunately, recent rains made the fungi a little more cooperative.

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Bearded Tooth, a type of fungi we don’t often see.

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Oyster Mushroom, (Donna)

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Changing Pholiota, (Donna)

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Resinous Polypore, (Donna)

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Orange Jelly, (Donna).


While I missed out on most of the fungi, I did manage to photograph a rather illusive stump.

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An old stump surrounded by fallen leaves always causes one to wonder what the area was like years ago.


By November we’ve pretty much stopped thinking about insects. Even on a warm day one doesn’t expect to see much so we were pretty excited when dragonflies and butterflies started to appear. Apparently, even after a number of freezing nights, some just don’t give up easily.

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Eastern Comma

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A female Green Darner blends in, (Donna). These dragonflies are some of the first to appear in the spring and the last to be seen in the fall.

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Autumn Meadowhawk, (Donna), As the name implies another dragonfly that is seen late into the year.


Another view, (Donna)


There were spots, mostly near low lying creeks, where the water’s surface reflected autumn color as sunlight found it’s way through the few remaining leaves.

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But mostly it found it’s way around the many now bare branches without much trouble.

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The Big Darby


Even at less generous times of the year, we’re almost always amazed by some unexpected discovery when in the woods. Today it was the dragonflies and butterflies. Something I need to remind myself of when I’m having one of those “hard to get off the sofa” days.




Often, for folks fortunate enough to spend a fair amount of time in nature, the “us versus everything else” paradigm starts to break down. The all, of which we are a part, begins to become one. For our survival that’s inevitably how we must think, and if we’re lucky, it will also be our experience.


Thanks for stopping by.

Early Autumn Wonder

Nature in central Ohio looks different this time of year. The midday sun, now lower in the south, results in a much bluer sky. There’s just a hint of fall color among what is still mostly green.


Northern end of Griggs Reservoir

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Heading south on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)


Griggs Reservoir landscape, Griggs Park.


Cooler weather has resulted in better fishing. Amazing results are sometimes achieved, especially when one considers that that the reservoir is right in the city.


A nice size Griggs Reservoir Smallmouth.


During a recent visit to Blendon Woods Metro Park looking for migrating fall warblers, the same light that creates the blue sky finds it’s angled way through tree branches creating patterns not usually seen in mid-summer.


Blendon Woods Metro Park trail,


Shadows, Blendon Woods Metro Park


A shaft of light, Blendon Woods Metro Park


.   .   .   and closer to home a shaft of light illuminates my favorite stump..


Griggs Park


Early autumn wildflowers are dramatic and on a sunny day, birds and butterflies also seem to be celebrating the moment.

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Rush Asters, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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Calico Asters, (Donna)


Tickseed Sunflower, (Donna)


Bottle Gentian, (Donna)

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Hummingbird, Blendon Woods (Donna)

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Clouded Sulphur, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Cedar Waxwing, juvenile, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Cabbage White, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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12 Spotted Skimmer, Griggs Park

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Monarch, Griggs Park, (Donna)


New England Asters, Blendon Woods


Female Wood Duck, Blendon Woods


Immature male Wood Duck, Blendon Woods


Pileated Woodpecker, Blendon Woods

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Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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A more whimsical pose, (Donna)

Great Blue Heron in flightfix

A Great Blue Heron casts a reflection as we paddle closer, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)


A hint of autumn color, fall wildflowers, cooler nights, and warm sunny days, and places of wonder.


Thanks for stopping by.

A Battelle Darby Early Spring Day

After the better part of five hours and seven miles we were back at our starting point, the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park’s visitor center parking lot. Tired, but so much richer for our effort. Below is a partial record of things seen on this beautiful late April day.


From a distance the woods were just starting to green with the colors of bare branches still prominent.


Path near the visitor center


The hope was to photograph some spring warblers and other spring migrants. While we did see Yellow-rumped and Northern Parula’s and Eastern Towhee’s in the tree tops or thick brush none would pose for us. However the wildflowers more than made up for our lack of success with the birds.


Peak time for spring wildflowers.



. . . with trees flowering and just starting to leaf out.


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Goldenseal, (Donna)

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Jack-in-the-Pulpit, (Donna)





Wood Poppy


Another view.


Large Flowered Trillium


Another view.

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Another view, (Donna)




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Wild Blue Phlox, (Donna)

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Hepatica, (Donna)



Large-flowered Bellwort



Mayapples carpet the forest floor.



Spring light.


The wildflowers encircled numerous seasonal pools and wet areas.


Vernal pool.




The Mallard’s pond.


Not far from the visitor center Donna investigated a wetland area.


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Leopard Forgs, (Donna)

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A closer look, (Donna)


We were able to photograph a few birds during the day.


Blue-gray Gnatcather


Tufted Titmouse working on lunch.


Must be good!


Must you photograph me while I’m eating?


A male Red-winged Blackbird announces it’s presence.


. . . as the female waits nearby.



A Red Squirrel watches as we look at trilliums.

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A not real common Red Squirrel watches as we look at wildflowers, (Donna)



When not looking at the wildflowers the Big Darby was there to appreciate.


An old railroad bridge across the Big Darby.



Early spring on the Big Darby



The Big Darby


Thanks for stopping by.



Vernal Pools and Spring Wildflowers

The woods at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park  are a very good place to take a long walk. This time of the year, if you love spring wildflowers, it’s a great place. Yesterday, with that in mind, we packed water and a lunch and headed out with the goal of seeing trilliums and perhaps a few spring warblers.


The park’s spring woods contain many shallow pools that usually last a few weeks and are gone. The aesthetics of these vernal pools is primarily what attracts me but the real magic is that, due to their lack of predatory fish, they are home to a variety insects and other small creatures. The most obvious of these being various species of frogs and toads which use the pools for reproduction. Salamanders may also use them to reproduce. Depending on location fairy shrimp may also be part of the mix.


Some pools are small.


Others larger.


When not being fascinated by the vernal pools it was impossible not to be enchanted by the emerging life of the forest floor most dramatically represented by the wildflowers.


It was the striking appearance of this Toad Shade Trillium’s leaves that attracted our attention. In a few short days they will be uniformly green.


Dutchman’s Breeches were everywhere.

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A rare pink variant. (Donna)


Wood Anemone



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While not quite as common as the Dutchman’s Breaches, we did see a lot of Cutleaf Toothwort. (Donna)


Cutleaf Toothwort, another look.


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This Yellow Violet was one of a few we saw. (Donna)

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Beautiful but unusual Yellow Sedge. (Donna)

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The small flowers of the Yellow Corydalis. (Donna)


The beauty of Virginia Waterleaf.


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Large groups of White Trout Lilies were seen.

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This one was ahead of the others. (Donna)

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Spring Beauties were well represented.

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Some were more pink in color. (Donna)

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Spicebush, (Donna)

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Fragile but beautiful Rue Anemone.

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Rue Anemone, another look.

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Purple Cress


Spring showcases the beauty and symmetry of young leaves


Virginia Bluebells that were slightly ahead of the rest.


But when your looking for wildflowers you just might see   .   .   .


Common Water snakes enjoying the warmth of the spring sun.


While no warblers were seen there were other birds to enjoy.


Female Eastern Towhee


The male was close by.


Ruby-crowned Kinglet

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Male Downy Woodpecker. (Donna)

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With the female close by. (Donna)


White-breasted Nuthatch


The fact that the warblers and white trilliums eluded us has provided good reason for a return visit. Not that one is needed.


Thanks for stopping by.

First Snow Welcomes a New Bird

This time of year I usually wake up before daylight. It’s a great time for reading and sometimes a little writing in the company of a candle’s warm glow and a cup of coffee. Yesterday morning, glancing out the window while the coffee pot was making it’s usual gurgle, hiss, and spurt noises, I noticed snow falling. If they hadn’t checked the forecast most would wake up to a surprise as, with no wind, it was happening very quietly.


A light snow quietly falls in the morning darkness.


Later, at first light, my wife got up and said, “What a great day for an adventure. We should walk down to the reservoir and see what’s happening and maybe, if nothing else, we’ll get some good snowy landscape pictures”. While she spoke snow continued to gently accumulate on tree branches outside our window.


So after a hardy breakfast, we bundled up, and with cameras and binoculars in hand, set off on what turned out to be seven miles of exploration. I doubt we would have went that far, as slippery conditions meant it wasn’t easy going, except one interesting discovery was followed by another.


The neighborhood the trees were putting on a good show.


Neighborhood tree on a windless snowy morning.


Things were just as snow covered when we reached the reservoir.


Looking across Griggs reservoir


A scene that would probably go unnoticed without the fresh snow.


Small Creek, Griggs Park


Thinking that we might find some birds along the river below the dam we headed south and were greeted by a landscape totally transformed.


Scioto River below Griggs Dam


Path along the river below Griggs Dam.


Tree roots under snow, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.


.    .    .    and it was just as lovely further south.


Pool, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.


Quiet beauty, Scioto River


There were a few Mallards along the opposite side of the river but little else so we headed back north to take a closer look at what might be out on the reservoir. Our curiosity was rewarded. In defense of the following shots, sometimes it’s more about celebrating the discovery of a bird not seen before than the quality of the photogragh.

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Bonaparte’s Gull, a rare visitor to Griggs Reservoir. A bird we hadn’t seen before.

Horned Grebe with Bonapartes Gull

We saw a number of Horned Grebes but the gull seemed to enjoy keeping this grebe company. Perhaps it was hoping to steal breakfast.


A few other interesting birds completed the day.

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One of a number of Pied-billed Grebes seen, Griggs Reservoir


One of a number of sleepy Ruddy Ducks seen, Griggs Reservoir.


Wishing you all the opportunity to enjoy nature in your neighborhood.

Jeepers Brown Creepers

Less than a week ago, after returning from a trip south to visit relatives in the sunny and warm state of Georgia, it was still in the sixties here in central Ohio and we were on our tandem bicycle enjoying a ride. Two days later it was windy with temps in the thirties dropping into the twenties at night. As a result autumn colors that entranced are now gone, replaced by a more subtle beauty.


With the departure of most of the warblers to points further south we started looking more intently for other birds that seem to be more noticeable in the winter when on our walks along the Scioto River. These include Brown Creepers and Golden Crowned Kinglets some of which may travel from areas further north. Noteworthy is the Dark Eyed Junco which arrives from further north and seems to do well in in our area most winters.


Thin layers of ice have greeted us during recent morning walks.


Scioto River below Griggs Dam


A couple of days ago we were about to embark on one of our urban hikes and noticed something in our neighbor’s shrub. I ran back into the house a grabbed a camera.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, study 1

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Kinglet, study 2


Where there are Golden-crowned Kinglets there are often Chickadees.

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Chickadee, study 2

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Chickadee, study 3


There was a little more color along the river just a week ago.


Scioto River below Griggs Dam


But depending on which way you pointed the camera the light could be pretty harsh.


Looking south below Griggs Dam.

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A low sun illuminates the landscape, Scioto River.


It’s probably been two or three weeks since we saw our first Junco.


Dark Eyed Junco, study 1

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Junco, study 2, (Donna)


More recently, study 3


A Kingfisher waits patently along the river. While too far away for a good picture of the bird I thought the play of light on the branches and the hints of color in the background made for a pleasing composition.


Kingfisher along the Sciotoj


The ever present Great Blue Herons along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.


Great Blue Heron along the Scioto River


Sensing my presence.


As we looked for kinglets and creepers we were being watched from across the river.


Red Tailed Hawks along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.


Trying to get a little closer I was spotted


Our first Black Duck sighting of the season.


A little too far away but they are Black Ducks, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.


While I was busy with the ducks my wife got a nice shot of a colorful House Finch that was nearby.

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A male House Finch close to the ground in vegetation that’s still green, (Donna)


But jeepers better not forget the creepers.


Brown Creeper along the Scioto, study 1


Creeper, study 2


Creeper, study 3


Creeper, study 4


Until next time we hope you have an opportunity to notice and enjoy nature in your neighborhood.

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