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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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Where there are dragonflies there are usually damselflies.

Mating Eastern Red Damselflies, (Donna).

Female Ebony Jewelwing

Male Ebony Jewelwing

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

Silvery Checkerspot

Another view, (Donna).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Enchanted Cedar Bog

It had been a while since our last visit to Cedar Bog. Only forty four miles from our home in Columbus it’s easy to reach on some of Ohio’s lovely back roads. Blessed with perfect weather we loaded cameras into our small roadster for a delightful day of open air motoring and nature. Cedar Bog Nature Preserve  contains plants and animals not typically found in most Ohio natural areas. One of the first things you’ll find out upon arrival is that it’s not really a bog, it’s a Fen.  At the end of our exploration we agreed that the highlight had been the Showy Lady’s Slippers but we had found the whole area enchanting and well worth another visit.

You are always on a boardwalk when exploring Cedar Bog.

A wet environment means fungi.

We were probably at the tail end of the Wild Columbine.

Showy Lady’s Slipper

Another view.

Woods as well as water.

Cicada, 17 year Locust, (Donna).

American Toad.

Common Yellowthroat.

Wait, I lost my balance!

Okay.

Red Admirals were out in force, (Donna)

Another view.

We saw several Broad-Headed Skinks along the boardwalk. They grow from six to 12 inches long and are the largest of Ohio’s lizards. The young have a bright blue tail. Large males become a uniform olive-brown with red coloration on the head. They are essentially a woodland inhabitant found only in several counties in the southern half of Ohio and are rare even there. (Ref Ohio Division of Wildlife)

Another view, (Donna).

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We would highly recommend a visit to Cedar Bog. This time of year the Showy Lady’s Slippers are in bloom and greatly contribute to the magic of the place. Cedar Bog is near Urbana and when we’re in the area one of our favorite places to refuel is Grimes Field Airport Café. It’s unique and worth checking out if for no other reason than a piece of one their great pies. Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

Open To Nature’s Possibilities

Now that the spring migration is tapering off expectations need to be adjusted when visiting a local park or taking a walk in the woods. For birders it’s all about avoiding the big letdown after several weeks where each outing meant wondering what new warbler the day would bring. On a recent hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, even if one was lucky enough to catch a glimpse, many birds soon disappeared into the leaf cover.  Perhaps it’s time to diversify and look for other things, fungi, flowers, and non-warbler type birds.

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With this in mind we headed for the aforementioned park remembering that it’s a good place to see Indigo Buntings.

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Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Take 2.

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A few other Battelle Darby birds were also cooperative, if only just.

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Common Yellowthroat, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Female Yellow Warbler? Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Eastern Spotted Towhee, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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White-eyed Vireo, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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It was hard not to notice the early summer wild flowers along park trails whether at Battelle Darby or closer to home..

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Appendaged Waterleaf, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Spiderwort, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Miami Mist, look but don’t touch! Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

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Hawkweed, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Blackberry blooms, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

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Common Cinquefoil, , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

 

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Sweet Cicely, Griggs Park, (Donna)

 

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Angelica, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

 

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Purple Rocket, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Forget Me Not, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Blue Flag Iris, Griggs Park.

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Philadelphia Fleabane, Griggs Park.

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Multiflora Rose, Griggs Park.

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Yellow Flag Iris, Griggs Park.

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English Plantain, very common but with it’s own unique beauty, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Once thought of as an alternative when we weren’t seeing birds insects have now become fascinating in their own right.

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Mating Golden-backed Snipe Flies, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Six-spotted Green Tiger beetle, , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Metro Park, (Donna).

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Eastern-tailed Blue, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Not a flower, insect, or bird my wife nonetheless noticed this very small but beautiful fungi.

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Scarlet Cup, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Closer to home there were also things to see, the first humming bird of the year at O’Shaugnessy Nature Preserve and a hawk with prey at Griggs Park.

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Certainly not a National Geographic quality pic but it was a FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.

 

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Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Take 2.

 

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Nesting Prothonotary Warbler along the Scioto below Griggs dam, (Donna).

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Cowbirds, Griggs Park, (Donna).

 

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Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Park.

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Female Hairy Woodpecker, Griggs Park.

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Northern Flicker, Griggs Park.

 

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Baltimore Oriole seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.

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Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with squirrel, Griggs Park

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And a few other creatures also caught our attention.

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Eastern Spiny Softshell seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.

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Leopard Frogs, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

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That’s about it for this post. We always wonder if we’re going to run out of things that fascinate and enchant. Fortunately in nature the more you look the more you see.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Quiet afternoon, Griggs Reservoir.

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XXX

 

 

 

Contemplating Spring to Summer

This spring I’ve been busy looking for pictures of Baltimore Orioles that would improve on what I’ve taken in the past. Not as easy as you might think as they spent a lot of time in the tops of trees.

While pursuing Orioles, sometimes you just get lucky and stumble upon a male and female Wood Duck as you paddle the shoreline of Griggs. Or maybe it’s a female Mallard with babies. Then there are the unbelievable things that you can’t or don’t get a picture of, like a Kingbird actually riding on the back of a Red Tailed Hawk as they fly over the reservoir.

The warblers slowly give way to dragonflies and damselflies as we head into June. Young plants, still perfect, create beautiful patterns as sunlight  plays on their leaves.

On the Scioto small mouth bass provide a welcome break from my Oriole quest.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Beaver Lodge - Griggs

Beaver Lodge – Griggs

Baltimore Oriole - Griggs

Baltimore Oriole – Griggs

Baby Mallards - Griggs

Baby Mallards – Griggs

Wood Ducks - Griggs

Wood Ducks – Griggs

Song Sparrow - Prairie Oaks

Song Sparrow – Prairie Oaks

Smallmouth Bass - Below Griggs Dam

Smallmouth Bass – Scioto River

Rusty Snaketail - Prairie Oaks

Rusty Snaketail – Prairie Oaks

Rose Breasted Grosbeaks - Front Yard Feeder

Rose Breasted Grosbeaks – Front Yard Feeder

Landscape - Griggs

Landscape – Griggs

Lancet Clubtail (F) - Battelle Darby, Donna

Lancet Clubtail (F) – Battelle Darby, Donna

Eastern Forktail (F)

Eastern Forktail (F)

Ebony Jewelwing (M) Battelle Darby - Donna

Ebony Jewelwing (M) Battelle Darby – Donna

Designs 2 - Griggs

Designs 2 – Griggs

Designs 1 - Prairie Oaks

Designs 1 – Battelle Darby

Common Yellowthroat - Prairie Oaks

Common Yellowthroat – Prairie Oaks

Common Whitetail (M) Battelle Darby, Donna

Common Whitetail (M) Battelle Darby, Donna

Common Whitetail (F) Battelle Darby, Donna

Common Whitetail (F) Battelle Darby, Donna

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Thanks for stopping by.

Photos by Donna

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