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.

.

IMG_7466

Tree, Ochlockonee River State Park

IMG_9755

Morning sunlight in Long Leaf Pines, Ochlockonee River State Park

IMG_7446fix

Pond, Ochlockonee River State Park

P1060221

Leaves, Torreya State Park

IMG_0352crop2

Kayaks, Manatee Springs.

IMG_7462fix

Long Leaf Pine cone, Ochlockonee River State Park

IMG_7475fix

Sunlit, Bald Point State Park.

P1060391

Long Leaf Pine bark and fungi, Ochlockonee River State Park

P1060599use

Designs, Ochlockonee River State Park

P1060784

Low tide, Bald Point State Park.

P1060886

Saw Palmetto, Manatee Springs

P1060705

Grass, Ochlockonee River State Park

P1070515dc

Boardwalk Manatee Springs State Park.

P1070285

Atsenia Otis Key, off Cedar Key

P1070950

Six Mile Cypress Slough, Ft Meyers

P1070526

Saw Palmetto, Manatee Springs

P1070742

Atsenia Otis Key off Cedar Key

P1080090

Turtle, Six Mile Cypress Slough, Ft Meyers

P1080573

Shells and driftwood, Lovers Key.

P1090014

Swamp, Manatee Springs

P1090243

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.

.

IMG_7548fixbw

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.

use IMG_7338

Oak leaves provide a splash of autumn color.

.

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

use IMG_9315bc

Pie-billed Grebes.

.

and turtles,

use P1180223 (2)

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.

IMG_9269use

Hairy Woodpecker

.

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

use bearded tooth IMG_7352 (2)

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

use P1180285 (2)

Oyster Mushroom, (Donna)

use P1180281

Changing Pholiota, (Donna)

use P1180259

Resinous Polypore, (Donna)

use P1180236

Orange Jelly, (Donna).

.

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

use IMG_7340

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.

use Eastern Comma IMG_9304cuse

Eastern Comma

use P1180273

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.

use P1180239 (2)

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

P1180252cuse

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.

usea IMG_7335

Reflections

.

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

use IMG_7332d

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.

P1050204

Northern end of Griggs Reservoir

Water and tree reflection 1 092415 Griggs csb1

Heading south on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

P1050180

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.

IMGP0003-2useaa

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.

IMG_7326fix

Blendon Woods Metro Park trail,

IMG_7322

Shadows, Blendon Woods Metro Park

IMG_9254

A shaft of light, Blendon Woods Metro Park

.

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

P1050178

Griggs Park

.

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

White Aster flower 1 092415 Griggs cp1

Rush Asters, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Aster Bouquet 2 092415 Griggs cp1

Calico Asters, (Donna)

P1160940

Tickseed Sunflower, (Donna)

P1160925

Bottle Gentian, (Donna)

Hummingbird 3 LL 2 better 1 092215 Blendon Wood cp1

Hummingbird, Blendon Woods (Donna)

Clouded Sulphur 2 on dandylion 1 091515 Griggs cp1

Clouded Sulphur, Griggs Park, (Donna)

Cedar Waxwing juvenile 1 LL 1 best 1 091515 Griggs cp1

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

Cabbage White 2 wings out 1 best 2 091515 Griggs cp1

Cabbage White, Griggs Park, (Donna)

12 Spotted Skimmer P1050188use

12 Spotted Skimmer, Griggs Park

Monarch with yellow flowers 3 best 3 091515 Griggs cp1

Monarch, Griggs Park, (Donna)

IMG_9252

New England Asters, Blendon Woods

IMG_9244

Female Wood Duck, Blendon Woods

IMG_9230

Immature male Wood Duck, Blendon Woods

IMG_9226

Pileated Woodpecker, Blendon Woods

Green Heron 1 with shadow 1 092415 Griggs cp1

Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Green Heron 3 closer yet 2 092415 Griggs cp1

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.

IMG_7230use

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.

IMG_7257use

Peak time for spring wildflowers.

 

IMG_7232use

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

 

Goldenseal 1 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Goldenseal, (Donna)

Jsck-in-the-Pulpit 3 best 1 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Jack-in-the-Pulpit, (Donna)

IMG_7265use

Buttercup

 

IMG_7930use

Wood Poppy

IMG_7290use

Another view.

IMG_7938use

Large Flowered Trillium

IMG_7302use

Another view.

Jacob's Ladder best ever 2 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Another view, (Donna)

 

IMG_7260use

Ragwort

Phlox Close-up 1 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Wild Blue Phlox, (Donna)

Hepatica 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Hepatica, (Donna)

 

IMG_7921use

Large-flowered Bellwort

 

IMG_7278use

Mayapples carpet the forest floor.

 

IMG_7248use

Spring light.

 .

The wildflowers encircled numerous seasonal pools and wet areas.

IMG_7253use

Vernal pool.

IMG_7909

Mallard

IMG_7266use

The Mallard’s pond.

.

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

 

Leopard Frog duo best 1 042415 Battelle Darby csb1

Leopard Forgs, (Donna)

Leopard Frog Close-up 2 best 2 042415 Batttelle Darby   csb1

A closer look, (Donna)

 .

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

IMG_7877use

Blue-gray Gnatcather

IMG_7891use

Tufted Titmouse working on lunch.

IMG_7887use

Must be good!

IMG_7892use

Must you photograph me while I’m eating?

IMG_7853use

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

IMG_7865use

. . . as the female waits nearby.

 

.

A Red Squirrel watches as we look at trilliums.

Red Squirrel 4 close-up best 1 042415 Battelle Darby   cp1

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.

IMG_7251use

An old railroad bridge across the Big Darby.

 

IMG_7239use

Early spring on the Big Darby

 

IMG_7247use

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.

IMG_7208

Some pools are small.

IMG_7212

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.

IMG_7195

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.

IMG_7182

Dutchman’s Breeches were everywhere.

Pink Dutchman's Breeches 041415 Battelle Darby   cp1

A rare pink variant. (Donna)

IMG_7199

Wood Anemone

 

 

Cut-leafed Toothwort Close-up good 1 041415 Battelle Darby   cp1

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

IMG_7739

Cutleaf Toothwort, another look.

 

Yellow Violet 1 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

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

Yellow Sage 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

Beautiful but unusual Yellow Sedge. (Donna)

Yellow Corydalis 1 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

The small flowers of the Yellow Corydalis. (Donna)

IMG_7201

The beauty of Virginia Waterleaf.

 

White Trout Lilly Grp IMG_7214

Large groups of White Trout Lilies were seen.

White Trout Lily Close-up 1 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

This one was ahead of the others. (Donna)

Spring Beauties IMG_7684

Spring Beauties were well represented.

Spring Beauties 2 better 1 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

Some were more pink in color. (Donna)

Spicebush 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

Spicebush, (Donna)

Rue Anemone IMG_7742

Fragile but beautiful Rue Anemone.

Rue Anemone IMG_7202

Rue Anemone, another look.

Purple Cress IMG_7190

Purple Cress

IMG_7220

Spring showcases the beauty and symmetry of young leaves

IMG_7229

Virginia Bluebells that were slightly ahead of the rest.

 

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

IMG_7179

Common Water snakes enjoying the warmth of the spring sun.

.

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

IMG_7718

Female Eastern Towhee

IMG_7708

The male was close by.

IMG_7696

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Downy 2 best 1 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

Male Downy Woodpecker. (Donna)

Downy on ground good 2 041415 Battelle Darby cp1

With the female close by. (Donna)

IMG_7737

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.

IMG_7161

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.

IMG_4345

Neighborhood tree on a windless snowy morning.

 .

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

IMG_4349

Looking across Griggs reservoir

 .

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

IMG_4348

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.

IMG_4354

Scioto River below Griggs Dam

IMG_4363

Path along the river below Griggs Dam.

IMG_4356

Tree roots under snow, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

 .

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

IMG_4365

Pool, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

IMG_4367

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.

Bonapartes Gull IMG_4376

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.

Art IMG_4395

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

IMG_4404

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.

P1020405

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.

G IMG_7081 (2)

Golden-crowned Kinglet, study 1

G IMG_7085 (2)

Kinglet, study 2

.

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

IMG_7102 (2)

Chickadee

IMG_7097 (2)

Chickadee, study 2

IMG_7101 (2)

Chickadee, study 3

.

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

IMG_7158

Scioto River below Griggs Dam

.

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

IMG_7152c

Looking south below Griggs Dam.

IMG_7154 (2)

A low sun illuminates the landscape, Scioto River.

.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dark Eyed Junco, study 1

Junco looking right down low 110314 Griggs walk south   cp1

Junco, study 2, (Donna)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kingfisher along the Sciotoj

.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Great Blue Heron along the Scioto River

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sensing my presence.

.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Red Tailed Hawks along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trying to get a little closer I was spotted

.

Our first Black Duck sighting of the season.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

House Finch looking right good one 111514 Griggs walk south cp1

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

.

But jeepers better not forget the creepers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brown Creeper along the Scioto, study 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Creeper, study 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Creeper, study 3

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Creeper, study 4

.

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

Ohio History & Travel

You can find a rich experience close to home.

Into the Light Adventures

By Sandra Js Photography - Make the rest of your life the best of your life.

piecemealadventurer

Tales of the journeys of a piecemeal adventurer as a discontinuous narrative

Photos by Donna

Sharing My Passion of Birds and Wildlife

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

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