Embracing Autumn

On a recent hike on a rather cold but clear autumn morning a friend exclaimed how good it was to be outdoors on such a beautiful day, and that at this point in her life she is really trying to embrace autumn. She related that she was hoping to shed the, all too easy to acquire, mindset that autumn is just that beautiful but fleeting season between summer and winter. She was going to look closer, be in the moment, and appreciate. An admirable goal any time of the year, but particularly in the ever shorter days of early October when it all seems to go by quickly.

The morning sun accentuates the color across the reservoir, Griggs Reservoir Park (GRP).

.

She talked about sketching, and how looking at a flower or other object in the effort to draw it really enhanced her seeing and appreciating. I couldn’t help but think of it as a meditation. Certainly photographs and words can also lead to a more intimate relationship with nature as we compose a picture or reflect on things not capable of being being expressed in a picture.

Autumn reflection, Wahkeeva NP.

.

Fall warblers are sneaky. With the exception of the Yellow-rumped Warbler that stick around to enjoy poison ivy berries, warblers move through central Ohio on their way south quickly and quietly without the spring’s distinctive calls. Along with other birds that don’t have to depend on insects for food, cardinals, eastern bluebirds, and woodpeckers, some of which may be from further north, hang around all winter. Interestingly a fair number of Great Egrets, which don’t typically winter in Ohio, are still in the area. Some Great Blue Herons manage to make a living here throughout the winter but their smaller cousin the Green Heron has already left. 

A Black-throated Green Warbler passes through (GRP) on it’s way south, (Donna).

Magnolia Warbler (GRP), (Donna).

Eastern Phoebe (GRP).

For obvious reasons this Eastern Phoebe won’t be in the area much longer (GRP), (Donna).

Here some tapping? Look up, it’s probably a Downy Woodpecker, (GRP).

Cheerful Carolina Chickadees keep us company year round (GRP).

Great Egrets, O’Shaughnessy NP

Eastern Bluebirds seem more common in the autumn, (GRP).

A recent arrival from the north, revving up it’s motor, this Ruby-crowned Kinglet left the branch bare a fraction of a second later, O’Shaughnessy NP.

Some days if it wasn’t for the cardinals things would be pretty dull (GRP) (Donna).

A Coopers Hawk waits patently for a meal. It’s a year round resident (GRP).

The White-throated Sparrow is a migrant from the north. Some will spend the winter in central Ohio, Wahkeeva NP.

.

Autumn along the reservoir (GRP).

.

The flurry of insect activity has slowed down considerably over what it was just two weeks ago. Butterflies, and especially bees, had been incredibly active during the last warm days before the occurrence of a few cold nights where the temperature hung just above freezing.

Bald-faced Hornets nest (GRP), (Donna).

Traffic jam at the entrance to the nest, (Donna)

Eastern Commas are fairly common in the fall, Stages Pond State NP.

Green bee on aster (GRP.

The Common Checkered Skipper is usually seen in late summer and fall (GRP).

A busy bee (GRP).

Monarch on aster, Stages Pond State NP.

.

Autumn color (GRP).

.

Chipmunks were also in on the activity.

Chipmunk (GRP), (Donna).

.

I finish writing this with memories of the smell and color of the autumn woods graced by the light of the seasons low laying sun and transformed into a branched “stained glass” cathedral of yellow and gold. Outside under gray 50 F skies a light rain is falling, perhaps nature’s way of saying in a quiet voice, “Pause, give thanks, for those warm, sunny, autumn days, and for all things with which you have been blessed”.

Cathedral in the woods, Boch Hollow State NP

.

Thanks for stopping by.

***

A Journey Through Early Autumn

Perhaps it’s the flowers or the number of sunny blue sky days that have populated the last few weeks, but so far our journey through early autumn, perhaps a bit warmer than one would expect, has been a wonderful celebration of the time of year.

The low autumn light filters through New England Asters.

.

Blue Jays, along with migrants from the north adding to the local population, are commonly heard engaged in their noisy banter as we explore local parks.

Blue Jay, (Donna). Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

By late morning and early afternoon there are always butterflies and dragonflies keeping us company. It has been a banner year in central Ohio for the Common Buckeye. It’s difficult to remember a year when we’ve seen so many. Several years ago it was late September before we saw our first one. At the other extreme we’re not sure we’ve seen even one Morning Cloak this year.  Could the same weather patterns or events be responsible for both of these outcomes? One can only wonder. One interesting bit of information we recently uncovered is that, depending on the severity of the weather, Buckeyes can successfully overwinter in Ohio. This could explain this year’s early sightings.

Common Buckeye, Blues Creek Park.

The underside of the wings, (Donna). Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

With fields of golden rod in bloom there’s no question about the time of year, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

.

A few days back, while I was fishing, my wife was excited to find a Dainty Sulfur in Griggs Reservoir Park. To make matters worse not only did I miss the butterfly I didn’t catch any fish.

Dainty Sulfur, (Donna). The last time this butterfly was seen in central Ohio in observable numbers was 2012. Griggs Reservoir Park.

Little Yellow butterflies, while not as uncommon, were seen in another area park. We usually observe this butterfly in Florida during the winter.

Little Yellow Butterfly. Blues Creek Park.

Other butterflies were also present:

Eastern Comma, (Donna). Griggs Reservoir Park.

Eastern-tailed Blue laying eggs, (Donna). Griggs Reservoir Park.

Monarch. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

This Viceroy seen at Blues Creek Park can be easily mistaken for a Monarch but it is slightly smaller, a faster flyer, and has similar but different markings on it’s wings.

***

In recent days, no doubt due to the extended warm weather, we’ve noticed more dragonfly activity.  The following images are of some of the more noteworthy ones seen. The Wandering Glider is not uncommon but hardly ever lands so it was a real treat to get a picture. This aptly named carnivorous insect is the widest ranging dragonfly and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

Wandering Glider, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Illinois River Cruiser perches not far from the river in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. We believe this is a first sighting for us.

This beautiful Blue-faced Meadowhawk was also a new dragonfly for us. This one was seen not far from a wetland in Blues Creek Park.

.

Prairie Dock is a member of the aster family and can grow up to eight feet tall, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

***

The small furry creatures all seemed busy, usually with a nut in their mouth, and were hard not to notice.

Fox Squirrel. Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chipmunk with a real mouthful, (Donna). Griggs Reservoir Park.

Curious chipmunk, (Donna). Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

The autumn nights, now longer than the days, usher us too quickly through the season. In keeping with this journey the next post will be about fall warblers as they make their way through central Ohio. Thanks for stopping by.

.

A hover fly investigates a thistle flower. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

***

Wandering Around the Block

An exploration of walks, hikes and other experiences

Nature Views

Learning to embrace nature and appreciate the beauty around us every day

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

Nature & Wildlife's Beauty and Behavior Through My Lens

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