Late Summer at Prairie Oaks

The last few days we’ve spent some time at Prairie Oaks Metro Park looking for early migrating warblers that are now making their way south through central Ohio.  We’ve heard them, even seen them, but their constant movement and the leaf cover have foiled most attempts at pictures. However, as is usually the case, there were plenty of other things that capture our imagination.  The fact is, it’s also a great time of the year for insects, and with recent rains that includes the biting kind, the price of admission.



Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park


As we walked, we couldn’t help but notice the abundance of wildflowers.

Yellow flowers Bouquet 1 best 1 090115 Prairie Oaks cp1

Jerusalem Artichoke, (also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour), is a sunflower native to eastern North America. Cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable tasting something like an artichoke.


Virgin’s Bower has an attractive flower,

Virgin's Bower IMG_9100a

Virgin’s Bower


.   .   .   but it’s appearance after it goes to seed may be more fascinating.

Virgin's Bower gone to seed 083015 Prairie Oaks cp1

Virgin’s Bower gone to seed, (Donna)



Great Blue Lobelia


P1040998 (2)

Evening Primrose





A wooded trail offered the opportunity to see fungi.


Prairie Oaks Metro Park


.   .   .   and it’s not long before some is seen.

Wood Ear 2 closer 1 083015 Prairie Oaks cp1

Wood Ear, (Donna)


Unidentified Fungi P1160058

A type of polypore, (Donna)


Orange Mycena P1160066

Orange Mycena, (Donna)


Along the park’s meadows we were fortunate to see a few butterflies, Monarchs and a few other suspects.





A small tussock moth caterpillar levitates.


Monarch (female) IMG_9103 (2)

Female Monarch


Black Swallowtail IMG_9169use

Black Swallowtail


Common Wood-nymph IMG_9110

Common Wood-nymph


The water’s edge of a park pond is home to frogs and turtles.


Eastern (Northern) Cricket Frog, is one of North America’s smallest vertebrates, 0.75–1.50 in long. diet is small insects, including mosquitos. They are preyed upon by birds, fish, and other frogs. To escape predators, they are capable of leaping up to 3 feet in a single jump and are excellent swimmers. (from Wikipedia)


Red-eared Slider IMG_9155 (2)

Red-eared Slider. The box turtle shaped shell is interesting for an animal that spends much of it’s time in the water.



Painted Turtle reflection.


Along with being excellent frog and turtle habitat, it’s a great place to see dragonflies.


A pond at Prairie Oaks.


Widow Skimmer P1050025

Widow Skimmer



Female Eastern Pondhawk.


Haloween Pennant P1160143

Halloween Pennant, (Donna).


Halloween Pennants IMG_9149 (2)

Halloween Pennants mating.


Halloween Pennants IMG_9131 (2)

Three’s a crowd.


Common Whitetail 2 closer better 1 090115 Prairie Oaks csb1

Common Whitetail, (Donna)


Not far from the dragonflies .   .   .

Spider grande 2 back view 1 090115 Prairie Oaks cp1

Garden Spider, (Donna)



Garden Spider, (underside)



Another view of the Big Darby as it runs through Prairie Oaks Metro Park.


A few birds that managed not to elude the camera’s lens.

IMG_9203 (2)

Immature House Finch


IMG_9177cuse (2)

Red-headed Woodpecker A rare sighting but a little too far away for a great picture.


Red-headed Woodpecker 2 closer 1 090115 Prairie Oaks cp1

Another view, (Donna)


IMG_9196 (2)

Ground squirrels beware! Across a park meadow a Red-tailed Hawk surveys it’s realm.


Bay-breasted Warbler IMG_9129 (2)

Bay-breasted Warbler


Just one more look at the river.


The Big Darby


Thanks for stopping by.

Dazzled By Dragonflies at Prairie Oaks

So far it’s been one of the wettest summers in recent memory but finally a day with morning sunshine and no threat of rain until things warmed up in the afternoon. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, off we went to Prairie Oaks Metro Park, one of our favorite places to look for dragonflies, damselflies as well as butterflies and moths in central Ohio.


We were not disappointed. For a day’s outing, this one probably holds the record for the number of species seen and photographed. Some of the cruisers alluded us but anything that would perch, even if only for a second, was fair game.


However, not long after arriving we saw this guy and depending on your point of view, it may or may not have been the encouragement needed as we started our quest.


Red-winged Blackbird, Beaver Lake Area


Are you really going to eat all that?


But not long after, our faith in the balance of nature returned as continuing to explore we checked out the Darby Bend Lakes area.

D P1040306

Ebony Jewelwing, female

D P1040229

Blue-fronted Dancer, female

D P1040226

Blue-ringed Dancer, male

D P1040332

Blue-fronted Dancer, male

D P1040321

Teneral (just metamorphosed), damselfly.

D P1040317

Teneral (just metamorphosed), damselfly.


Common Whitetail 1 071915 Prairie Oaks cp1

Common Whitetail, (Donna)

Calico Pennant 1 best 1 071915 Prairie Oaks cp1

Calico Pennant, (Donna)

Blue Dasher female 1 best 1 071915 Prairie Oaks cp1

Blue Dasher, female, (Donna)


Eastern Amberwing


Great Blue Skimmer, male


Widow Skimmer, male


Ruby Meadowhawk, male


Halloween Pennant, female

Halloween Pennant 1 best 1 071915 Prairie Oaks cp1

Halloween Pennant, male, note red spots near leading edge of wing tips, (Donna).

Wider Skimmer female 1 best 1 071915 Prairie Oaks cp1

Widow Skimmer, female, (Donna)

Eastern Pondhawk male 1 best 1 071915 Prairie Oaks   cp1004

Eastern Pondhawk, male, (Donna)

Eastern Pondhawk female 3 best ever 1 071915 Prairie Oaks   cp1

Eastern Pondhawk, female, (Donna)


.   .   .  and there were wildflowers.






Blazing Star




Different strokes . . .


White Phlox




A few butterflies were also seen.

skipper P1040312

Sliver Spotted Skipper

skipper P1040222

Another view.


Red-spotted Purple


.   .   .   and even a spider.


Fishing Spider


Each time we go out there always seems to be something new to see.


Beaver lodge, Darby Bend Lakes.


While hardly an original thought, it’s worth being mindful that every day can be an adventure if we choose to make it so.


Thanks for stopping by.


No Longer “just another bug”

The last couple of weeks we’ve done a few walks and paddles. Along the way we’ve managed to take pictures of some of the insects that might be seen if one ventures into the woods, or unto rivers and lakes in central Ohio this time of year.

To be honest; I get a little more excited about the opportunity to photograph a Mink, Bald Eagle, or Blackburnian Warbler. Looking at the following images it’s hard to understand exactly why that is. I guess it’s understandable that we might have a greater sense of kinship with feathery fury things than something with an exoskeleton. Certainly if we think of a Common Sanddragon the same way we do a mosquito the dragonfly doesn’t stand a chance. How many of us have been out photographing mosquitoes lately. It goes without saying that when we consider how a dragonfly makes it’s living it’s significances, as well as that of all the smaller insects it feeds upon, become much more apparent.

So having decided to quit disrespecting the “bugs” we find ourselves making more of an effort to learn about them. However, having made such a commitment there’s always the chance that after we’ve spent quality time observing, photographing, and being fascinated by the behavior of an insect like a dragonfly, a sense of kinship may develop where there was none before. Not long after that, down the trail, we might see a Great Crested Flycatcher enjoying one for breakfast. If it hadn’t happened already, at that moment, courtesy of the flycatcher, our perspective changes, an unavoidable sense of remorse may ensue, the dragonfly no longer seems like “just another bug”.


A great place for bugs. Prairie Oaks

Red Admiral wings closed closeup 2 072114 Griggs North c1

Red Admiral, Griggs Park, (Donna)


Cone Flower, Battelle Darby Creek


Backyard Bee Balm


Viceroy, Prairie Oaks

Band-winged Meadowhawk IMG_6430fix

Band-winged Meadowhawk, Prairie Oaks

Blue-fronted Dancer IMG_6460crop

Blue-fronted Dancer, Prairie Oaks


Blue-ringed Dancer, Prairie Oaks

Silver Spotted Skipper on coneflower 072114 Griggs North cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna)


Red-spotted Purple, Prairie Oaks

Hummingbird Moth IMG_6855

Hummingbird Moth

Female Widow Skimmer IMG_6476fix

Widow Skimmer, (female), Prairie Oaks


Powdered-dancer, female, Prairie Oaks

Ebony Jewelwing Male and Female IMG_6441fix

Ebony Jewelwings, Prairie Oaks

Eatern Amberwing best 1 closeup 072014 Beaver Lake Prairie Oaks cp1

Eastern Amberwing, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 072114 Griggs North cp1

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Park, (Donna)

Eastern Pondhawk best 1 072014 Beaver Lake Prairie Oaks cp1

Eastern Pondhawk, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)

Eastern Comma 072014 Beaver Lake Prairie Oaks cp1-2

Eastern Comma, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)


Common Sanddragon, Prairie Oaks


Clouded Sulfur, Prairie Oaks


Calico-pennant, Prairie Oaks

Buckeye 1 072114 Griggs North cp1

Buckeye, Griggs Park, (Donna)


Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Mosquitos, Prairie Oaks



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