Posted on August 23, 2020
In August insects catch our attention more often than birds. Compared to the frenzied activity of spring it can seem very quiet unless you look closely. In some ways feeling a bit like the “dead of winter” except that it’s summer. During a recent visit to Prairie Oaks Metro Park it was hard not to notice the toll that a few weeks of dry weather had taken on a wetland that relies on regular rainfall to stay healthy.
But as the water disappears a lone immature wood duck, with a few friends peering above the waters surface, holds out for the promise of rainy days to come.
Not far from the wetland are three ponds (Darby Bend Lakes) formed when old quarries filled with water from underground springs. Surrounded the ponds, and interspersed with plant life, is fine gravel undoubtedly left over form the quarry days. We were looking for dragonflies but were immediately stopped when we noticed a number of very large wasps. They were Cicada Killers, a member of the family of digger wasps that make their home underground. As the name indicates, this one provisions it’s nest with the cicadas. One one egg gets implanted in each cicada. The female is noticeably larger than the male, up to 2 inches long, and of the two, it is the only one able the catch the rather large cicadas. Click here for more information.
We weren’t disappointed in our quest for dragonflies. No new discoveries but the fascination is always there. I was once again reminded that it’s truly a jungle out there when a catbird swopped down to snatch a dragonfly as I moved closer hoping to identify it. No matter what one thinks about the level of consciousness of a dragonfly, this one, now a nutritious snack for the catbird, no longer exists. It’s demise, the flow of life from one from one creature to the next.
Moths and butterflies were also enjoying the sunny day.
Mid-summer flowers and other critters made the day complete.
It’s been a good year for Red-headed Woodpecker sightings which, due to their rarity, are always very special but seeing the very large cicada killer wasp was what really created a sense of wonder on this day.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Nature Photography, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Wildflowers Tagged: Black-eyed Susan, Chicory, Cicada, Cicada Killer, Common Whitetail, Eastern Pondhawk, False Dragonhead, Great Golden Digger Wasp, Halloween Pennant, Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Ironweed, Monarch Butterfly, Painted Turtle, Purple Prairie Clover, Red-headed Woodpecker, Swamp Milkweed, Swamp Rose-Mallow, Widow Skimmer, Zabulon Skipper
Posted on September 16, 2019
After not picking up a paddle for over a month, having been otherwise occupied exploring the American west, the canoe moved slowly. We were pushing southward into a gusting breeze and hugging the shaded shore on the east side of the reservoir as we made our way back to the launch site. A planned “out and back” six mile paddle had turned into eight, sometimes being out in nature is that way. It was an unusually warm sunny September day so the breeze felt good even though it strained our muscles and meant the return leg would take longer.
Preoccupied with our halting progress we were surprised by an immature Black-crowned Night Heron as it took flight from a shoreline tree and quickly crossed the narrow reservoir. It’s a bird we had hoped to see as it had not been a good year for sightings on the reservoir. So altering course, we headed to the place where it appeared to have landed. It had positioned itself well into it’s intended destination, and while we did confirm it’s identity, wind, obstructing branches, and bad light made a photo impossible. Sometimes a photographer must celebrate the bird in words only.
However, the morning into early afternoon paddle on the very quiet reservoir did reward us. It was nice being home, experiencing what we think of as our own special place in nature. No long drives required to enjoy a quiet autumn day on Griggs Reservoir.
We pull out near Hayden Run Falls to stretch our legs. With the recent lack of rain, the falls were more of a trickle.
North of the Hayden Run bridge we continued to see wildlife.
A few Map Turtles were seen, no Eastern Spiny Softshells or Snappers, but this large Painted Turtle really stood out.
It’s easy to “throw the switch” in autumn and move on to other things, leaving nature until next spring. But don’t do it, there are always treasures to be found.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir Park, Nature Photography, Ohio Nature, Wildflowers Tagged: American Cardinal, Belted Kingfisher, Black and Yellow Lichen Moth, Double-crested Cormorant, False Dragonhead, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Painted Turtle, Spotted Sandpiper, Wolf Spider
Posted on August 16, 2018
Not that they aren’t seen earlier in the spring and summer but August does seem to be the time for butterflies. This year it’s been almost impossible to be out for any length of time without seeing a Monarch. In the late morning or afternoon small but beautiful Pearl Crescents make the shorter grass along the trail their playground. The beauty of some butterflies like the Giant Swallowtail is apparent to even a casual observer but others like the Buckeye reveal their beauty only after a closer look. Others like the hairstreaks are easy to miss altogether unless you know what to look for. The good news is that you don’t have to get up a the crack of dawn to see butterflies.
So below is a celebration of butterflies that have been seen in the last few weeks. Much of the credit must go to my wife who tirelessly pursues these usually unpredictable creatures until she gets the shot she wants while I often content myself to photographing the more predictable wildflowers.
Where there are butterflies and moths there are caterpillars and no one is better at spotting them than my wife.
We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge some of the birds that continue to charm us as we walk through the woods of central Ohio.
So what was I doing while my wife was taking so many excellent photographs in central Ohio? Fishing in Michigan of course.
If time spent in nature speaks to the essence of your being, your soul, you have riches greater than any material procession can offer. A wealth that grows in health, spirit, and the awareness of being part of the greater mystery. Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Birding in Ohio, butterflies, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir Park, Hiking in Ohio, Nature Photography, Scioto River, Wildflowers Tagged: Black Swallowtail, Brown-hooded Owlet, Buckeye, Canon 80D Tamrom 18-400, Cardinal Flower, Common Checkered Skipper, Cup Plant, Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Eastern-tailed Blue, False Dragonhead, Fringed Loosestrife, Gray Hairstreak, Gray Headed Cone flowers, Great Blue Lobelia, Hackberry Emperor, Indigo Bunting, Ironweed, Lizard's Tail, Meadow Fritillary, Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Monarch Butterfly, New England Aster, Orange Dog, Orange Sulfur, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 Leica 100-400mm, Pearl Crescent, Peck's Skipper, Red-spotted Purple, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Silver Spotted Skipper, Summer Azure, Sycamore Tussock Caterpillar, Tall Bellflower, Tall Blue Lettuce, Trumpet Flower, Virginia Knotweed, Wingstem, Woodland Sunflower, Zabulon Skipper, Zebra Swallowtail
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