A Spring Wildflower Wonderland

A few days ago we thought we’d better take the hour and a half drive south from Columbus to Miller Sanctuary State Nature Preserve and Highlands Nature Sanctuary to check out the spring wildflowers before they bid us farewell for the year. Both destinations are located within an area commonly referred to as the Arc of Appalachia which is comprised of numerous beautiful undisturbed natural areas no matter what the time of year you choose to visit. 

An area map showing the location of access points for the areas we explored.

Our first stop was the Miller Sanctuary which has about three miles of trails. Even though the trails are not long one should allow plenty of time as the number of wildflowers is truly amazing and it will take time if one wants to adequately appreciate them.

Remember: you can click on the images should you desire a better view.

Golden Ragwort, common throughout Ohio, was one of the first wildflowers to greet us as we started down the trail.

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When one thinks of the Large Flowered Trillium one usually thinks of a white flower but the images below show the change in color as the bloom ages.

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In a very small area one can see a variety of wildflowers.

Blue phlox, rue-anemone, trillium.

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A closer look reveals the delicate beauty of Blue Phlox.

Blue Phlox or Wild Sweet William.

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The Rue-anemone blossoms were hard to ignore.

Rue-anemone, (Donna).

From another angle.

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Fiddleheads grace the bank of the Rocky Fork River.

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A little further on there was another nice grouping.

Virginia Bluebells, Large Flowered Trillium, and Miterwort.

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The Miterwort flower is so small that from a distance it doesn’t even appear to be a flower but if one takes a closer look  .   .   .

Miterwort or Bishop’s Cap.

.   .   . and closer still, (Donna).

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While certainly not uncommon throughout Ohio, Virginia Bluebells were also present in the sanctuary.

Virginia Bluebells.

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Redbuds accent the Rocky Fork landscape.

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The large boulders and rocky cliffs provided an excellent habitat for Wild Columbine.

Wild Columbine, (Donna).

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A real treat were the Shooting Stars, a flower we don’t often see closer to home.

Shooting Star, (Donna).

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May Apples carpet the forest floor but we were a bit early to see their flowers.

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We were greeted by more wildflowers as we continued along the trail.

Very tiny Bluets

Goldenseal, (Donna).

Emerging Squawroot. A native perennial, non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant that grows from the roots of mostly oak and beech trees, (Donna).

Large-Flowered Bellwort, (Donna).

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The sanctuary contain a sizable stand of large Tulip trees.

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Canada Violets, (Donna).

Blue Cohosh, the yellowish flower clusters ripen into berries that eventually turn deep blue.

Nestled under the plant’s leaves close to the ground one really needs to look to see the flower of the Wild Ginger plant, (Donna).

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Trilliums line the bank of a small feeder stream.

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Wild Geranium.

Star Chickweed.

Moving in a little closer, (Donna).

Jack In The Pulpit, (Donna).

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The beauty of wildflowers complimented by the sight and sound of a small waterfall.

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Just on the other side of the Rocky Fork River were trails contained in Highlands Nature Sanctuary. We choose to hike the spectacular Barrett Rim Trail. While many of the wildflowers were the same, the dramatic rocky outcropping brought an additional dimension.

One section of the trail runs between the river and these cliffs.

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Certainly not the showiest the blossoms of the Pawpaw were just emerging.

Pawpaw.

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As with Miller, Large Flowered Trillium lined the trail in many places.

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The extensive groups of Celandine or Wood-Poppy were a real treat. A plant we didn’t see in the Miller Sanctuary.

We were surprised by their number.

Wood Poppy, a closer look.

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It’s easy to see how the Rocky Fork River got its name.

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Perhaps the most exciting discovery on our two-mile hike was one solitary flower that was new to us.

Wood Betony.

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After five miles of hiking and countless wildflowers we returned home excited about the possibility of a return visit. For those interested in checking things out this year there have still been reports of wildflowers, some of which are “new arrivals” that we didn’t see, as I post this a week later.

Another view along the Rocky Fork River.

There are times when a walk in the woods provides more than it’s share of encouragement to again be in nature. 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.

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

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Path near the visitor center

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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.

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Peak time for spring wildflowers.

 

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

 

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Goldenseal, (Donna)

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Jack-in-the-Pulpit, (Donna)

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Buttercup

 

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Wood Poppy

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Another view.

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Large Flowered Trillium

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Another view.

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Another view, (Donna)

 

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Ragwort

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Wild Blue Phlox, (Donna)

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Hepatica, (Donna)

 

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Large-flowered Bellwort

 

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Mayapples carpet the forest floor.

 

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Spring light.

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The wildflowers encircled numerous seasonal pools and wet areas.

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Vernal pool.

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Mallard

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The Mallard’s pond.

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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)

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

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Blue-gray Gnatcather

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Tufted Titmouse working on lunch.

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Must be good!

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Must you photograph me while I’m eating?

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

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. . . as the female waits nearby.

 

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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)

 

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

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An old railroad bridge across the Big Darby.

 

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Early spring on the Big Darby

 

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The Big Darby

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Hiking and Birding as Spring Moves On

Yesterday morning we enjoyed a 6 mile hike with friends at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Everything was coming to life with numerous wildflowers including Trilliums and Celandine or Wood Poppies along the trail.

click on the images for a better view

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Celandine Poppy, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Celandine Poppy , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Celandine Poppy, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Buckeye Leaves, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Trillium, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

Later in the day we decided to see what warblers could be found along the reservoir in Griggs Park and the area below the dam. Several people stopped to ask what we were looking at as we peered up into the trees. One or two were fellow birders with binoculars which is always encouraging. The number of warblers seen exceeded our expectations.

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Palm Warbler, Griggs Park

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Palm Warbler, Griggs Park

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Warbling Vireo, Griggs Park

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Warbling Vireo, Griggs Park

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Yellow-throated Warbler, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam

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Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park

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Blackpoll Warbler, Griggs Park

Redbuds, other flowering trees, and wildflowers were making an already cheerful day even brighter.

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Redbud, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Violets, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Crabapple Blossoms, Griggs Park

The Map Turtles were definitely taking advantage of the warm afternoon sun.

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How many Map Turtles can you fit on a rock? Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Bigger Map Turtles on a smaller rock.

It wasn’t hard to imagine a Smallmouth Bass just below the surface.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

Green is now winning out over the colors of winter.

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Sycamore along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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