Autumn Reflection

As I write this the temperature has finally arrived at more normal levels for early October. Until just a few days ago it was much warmer and the season betrayed by the calendar was having a hard time getting started with leaves still reluctant to show their autumn color. That wasn’t all bad as we were treated to sightings of butterflies and other insects not usually seen this late in the year. Given the above average rainfall it continues to be a great time to see fungi which seems to be almost everywhere. Below is a celebration of some things seen over the past couple of weeks. Missing is “the picture” of me paddling the Scioto River, fishing for Smallmouth Bass, as two mature Bald Eagles circled overhead. Oh well, some things would be hard to capture in a photograph and must just be experienced.

Leaf.

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The above experience prompted me to consider things that can be photographed, which in this case happens to be landscapes. Specifically, it has to do with the difference between how a scene is seen and how the camera captures it. Or putting it another way, after we have been enchanted enough to take the picture, and after a preliminary look are happy with the results, does the image convey the desired message as shot? This then will have a lot to do with the kind and amount of post processing used and it’s limits for a particular photograph. Such things are often a matter of opinion or taste, there being no right or wrong. With that said, we’ve all seen the over saturated colors in autumn landscapes which risk devaluing the place and experience as if to say it wasn’t beautiful enough. Things worth considering I believe.

O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

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As already mentioned it’s been a great year for fungi. Apparently chicken Fungi and puffballs are edible but I think we will just enjoy looking at them. At their peak the colors of some fungi are no less spectacular than the loveliest wildflower.

Turkey tail.

Rosy Russula, Emily Traphagen Park.

Puffballs, (Donna).

Unidentified fungi family with lot’s of character, (Donna).

Shaggy Mane, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Dead Man’s Fingers, (Donna).

Wrinkled Peach Mushroom, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Close up.

An emergent shelf fungi competes with puffballs and fallen leaves for our attention.

A polypore shows off it’s gills.

Chicken Fungi

Bearded Tooth fungi, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Dryad’s Saddle, note the different stages of development in this cluster, (Donna).

Orange Mycena, (Donna).

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A hint of autumn color along the Scioto River, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Tree roots and fallen leaves.

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Despite our recent fungi fascination other things have been hard to ignore. A number if years ago it took a really spectacular insect to make an impression but as I’ve spent more time looking at them my appreciation has increased. With greater knowledge and understanding it has become much harder to consider them a lower life form less noble than ourselves. They have become part of the beautiful tapestry of life where boundaries between self and the natural world disappear.

Bee on Calico Asters, (Donna).

We had to wait until fairly late in the year to start seeing Common Checked Skippers, (Donna).

Common Green Darner, (Donna).

Yellow-collared Scape Moth is very similar to the Virginia Ctenucha but is slightly smaller, (Donna).

A bee enjoying the same flower gives an appreciation of the Eastern Tailed-Blue’s size, (Donna).

Chickweed Geometer, (Donna).

A beautiful but tiny Gray Hairstreak, (Donna).

Orange Sulfur

A not often seen Variegated Fritillary, (Donna).

Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Eastern Comma

Meadow Fritillaries were very common at Griggs reservoir Park this year, (Donna).

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A leaf is framed by reflections In a stream side pool.

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Pausing at water’s edge, rippled reflections dance to the rhythm of wind and light gracing us with a new vision and an invitation to a new place.

Tree branches reflect on the water’s surface, Griggs Reservoir.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

A Thankful Reflection

The last day of 2017, what better time to stop for a moment and reflect back to the wonders of nature seen in central Ohio in the past year.

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Griggs Reservoir.

Bald Eagle along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Golden Crown Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Along the Scioto River

Tufted Titmouse, (Donna).

November reflection, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Covered Bridge, Mohican State Park.

The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Buckeye, (Donna).

Monarch, (Donna).

Griggs Reservoir

Solitary leaf

Chicory

Design, (Donna).

Red-spotted Purple, (Donna).

Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna).

Autumn color.

Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Giant Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar.

Mink, Au Sable River MI, (Donna).

Au Sable River Smallmouth, MI, (Donna).

Devoe Lake, MI.

Cardinal Flowers, Rifle River Rec, Area, MI.

Turtlehead, Rifle River Rec. Area. MI.

Common Loons, Devoe Lake, MI, (Donna).

Meal time, Devoe lake, MI

Caspian Tern, Loud Pond, Au Sable River, MI.

Catbirds, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Griggs Reservoir waterfall.

Yellow-throated Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Common Checkered Skipper, (Donna).

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Red Admiral, (Donna).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Cliff Swallows, (Donna).

Gray Squirrel.

Baltimore Oriole.

Mohican River, Mohican State Park.

Prothonotary Warbler

Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir

Yellow-collared Scape Moth, (Donna).

Northern Water Snake.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Great Blue Heron, Scioto River, (Donna).

Hayden Run Falls

Mating Northern Water Snakes, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Reservoir Park.

White-crowned Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Palm Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Turkey, Blendon Woods Metro Park, (Donna).

<<<>>>

Looking at the landscape as we walked along the Scioto River yesterday it’s hard to believe it’s the same place. Very cold weather has made the river below the dam one of the few stretches of open water that waterfowl can now call home.

Hooded Mergansers.

More robins than we could count took turns getting a cool drink at waters edge.

Ring-necked Ducks.

The Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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As always, thanks for stopping by and have a Happy New Year!

 

An Almost Perfect Disguise!

Caterpillars can be hard to believe. In recent weeks my wife’s “eagle eye” has spotted one that certainly seems to confirm this. Along with interesting caterpillars there have been other August insects and wildflowers to fascinate. Each season offers up it’s own treasures.

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As an aside, my old Canon manual focus glass has found new life mounted on a Sony A7 body so I’ve enjoyed trying to capture a “sense of place” with the old lenses as we explore some of our local haunts.

Griggs Reservoir, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

<<<>>>

During a recent walk we entered the world of caterpillars when my wife noticed this interesting specimen.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar shows off it’s horns while the picture gets photo bombed by a pair of very small mating moths. The horns are usually not evident but a slight tap on the it’s head brings them out, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

The Black Swallowtail butterfly:

Male Black Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Female Black Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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On another day as we walked along Griggs Reservoir, three almost identical “bird droppings” were spotted. Very suspicious!

Our suspicion was validated as we identified them as Giant Swallowtail caterpillars. (Donna).

A closer look, (Donna).

The Giant Swallowtail butterfly:

Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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The Monarch Butterfly caterpillars had a though act to follow after the “bird droppings”. However, this year it’s been exciting to see so many as well as the resultant butterflies. You know it’s a good year when you often hear, or say to your hiking companion, “There’s another Monarch!” Last year we saw very few.

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, Griggs Reservoir Park.

The Monarch butterfly:

Monarch Butterfly, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

<<<>>>

The Big Darby has been running low but clear. A sign of late summer in Ohio.

The Big Darby, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

For Ohio the water was very clear in the Big Darby but it’s shallow depth and silt covered bottom didn’t show it off, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

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During a lunch break along Alum Creek Reservoir last week, a number of wasps were more than happy to provide free entertainment!

Katydid Wasp, (Sphex nudus) with a stunned katydid nymph, Alum Creek State Park, (Donna).

The Katydid Wasp proceeds to drag it’s pray into a pre dug hole to serve as a food source for it’s larvae when they hatch, (Donna).

<<<>>>

Two days ago, as we made our way along one of our area metro park’s excellent trails, I mentioned to my wife that there appeared to be two humming birds around some thistle half way across the meadow. Before I realized what had happened she disappeared. The only way I could reel her in was with the zoom on my camera!

Going after the humming birds, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Success, (Donna).

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Along with caterpillars and butterflies there have been other interesting late August insects as well.

Mating Thread-waisted Wasps, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

 

Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee with it’s fascinating blue eyes, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

When does a moth not look like a moth? When it’s an Ailanthus Webworm Moth! Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A grasshopper hugs a coneflower, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tachinid Fly, (Epalpus signifier), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The Common Spreadwing is the largest of the damselflies, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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A quiet fishing spot along Griggs Reservoir.

Griggs Reservoir.

<<<>>>

Fungi hasn’t been that noticeable due to the lack of rain but recently two examples begged to be photographed.

Northern Tooth fungi, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A rather large polypore, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Wildflowers.

Cup Plant, Griggs Reservoir Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

Virginia Knot Weed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Gracing the shore of Griggs Reservoir, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

Tall Bellflower, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Wingstem, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Great Blue Lobelia, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Coneflower Prairie, Battelle Darby Greek Metro Park.

Ironweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

False Dragonhead, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A fascinating plant, Ground Cherry, discovered during a recent walk.

Ground Cherry, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The flower, (Donna).

<<<>>>

As we look for butterflies, or are engaged in other pursuits, it’s hard not to notice the other things.

In relation to it’s size the very small Cricket Frog probably jumps the furthest of any of it’s species! Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

An immature Indigo Bunting eludes a good photo at the very top of a tree, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

An over exuberant Blue Jay enjoys the water, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Black-crowned Night Heron photographed recently while fishing on Griggs Reservoir. Probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to one.

A “too cute” Red Squirrel along the shore of Griggs Reservoir. Exciting because we rarely see them in this area.

<<<>>>

In late August the sound of insects dominate the woods.

As if in protest, a Carolina Wrens does it’s best to break the silence of it’s kind.

In the now often cooler mornings, heavy with dew, spider webs are everywhere.

Walking, those suspended across the trail brush against one’s face.

By noon, as if  to deny that summer is slowly coming to an end, butterflies and dragonflies take flight.

Bees, seemingly busier than ever, are everywhere on late summer wildflowers.

Leaves on some trees have already starting to change.

<<<>>>

Looking for birds, Griggs Reservoir Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Back Road Rambling, Central Ohio Nature Preserves

It was partly an excuse to go for a Sunday morning drive, something we don’t do very often. Usually we head for a location, necessary equipment in hand, and paddle or hike. However, there were three locations we thought would be worthwhile to check out: Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve, Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve, and Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve. The cemeteries provided an opportunity to see natural prairie habitat as it looked prior to much of the land being plowed up. Depending on what we found the areas visited might be included in our list of spring and fall destinations for birds and other wildlife.

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There wasn’t much going on at our first stop; Smith Cemetery,

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Smith Pioneer Cemetery, dry and not much in bloom.

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so we headed a few miles down the road and were not disappointed.

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The Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery is very small compared to the surrounding monoculture that generates the food we depend on.

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Despite it’s small size there were plenty of things to investigate, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

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In the distance an old barn. A vanishing sight, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

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The area was an island of flowers and plant diversity, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

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Looking at some of the markers one couldn’t help but wonder what the area was like back then, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

 

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Royal Catchfly was everywhere, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

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and where there is catchfly there are butterflies, Black Swallowtail, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

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But is if the flowers and butterflies weren’t enough, a Ruby Throated Hummingbird made an appearance, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery, Donna.

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Take 2.

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Take 3.

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Overlooking a sea of soybeans, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

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After the cemeteries we headed to the Headwaters of the Big Darby Preserve, northwest of Marysville, Ohio.

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We had to check out of few things along the way.

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and another one of those “things”.

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Spain Creek Covered Bridge.

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Despite the delays it wasn’t long before we reached our destination. The area has undergone quite a bit of restoration in an effort to return it to it’s pre-farm field state.

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Headwaters of the Big Darby.

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Big Darby Watershed

 

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Area Map.

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A 2.6 mile trail meanders through woods and meadows.

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Signs provid information on the area.

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Several Giant Swallowtails were seen in the meadows, Big Darby Headwaters Preserve.

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Variegated Fritillary, Big Darby Headwaters Preserve, Donna.

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Another view, Donna.

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Depford Pink, non-native, Big Darby Headwaters Preserve, Donna.

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It’s always rewarding to explore new places or those one hasn’t visited in a while. This outing served as a reminder to do that more often.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

“Magee Marsh” Comes To Central Ohio

At least that was our experience this year. After a somewhat disappointing one day trip to Magee Marsh at the beginning of  “The Big Week” we decided to concentrate our efforts locally. Specifically Griggs Park and Kiwanis Riverway Park, with one trip to the O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area. We kept seeing birds, repeats and new ones,  at Griggs and Kiwanis so we kept going back. What made it so unbelievable was that both places are just a few minutes from our house so it wasn’t much of a leap to go from thinking about it to being out there with binoculars and camera. How much easier can it get?

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O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

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So below is a photographic record of most of the birds we saw along with views of other things beautiful or fascinating seen along the way.

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Prothonotary Warbler, Griggs Park.

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Gray’s Sage, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna).

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Female Redstart, Griggs Park.

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Eastern Phoebe , Griggs Park.

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Large Flowered Valerian, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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House Wren, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

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Wild Hyacinth, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

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A closer look.

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Robin, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Where are your wings? Who let you guys in here anyway? Red-eared Sliders, Griggs Reservoir

 

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Blackpoll Warbler, Griggs Park.

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False Solomon’s Seal, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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False Solomon’s Seal, Griggs Park

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Park

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Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Park

 

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Dryad’s Saddle, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

IMG_5074 Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo, Griggs Park.

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Giant Swallowtail, Griggs Park.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Goats Beard, Griggs Park.

IMG_5123 Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler, Griggs Park.

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Bluejay, Griggs Park

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Fungi, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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Gray Cheeked Trush, Griggs Park.

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Swainson’s Thrush, Griggs Park.

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Phlox, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna)

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Blackburnian Warbler, Griggs Park.

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Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Park.

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Mushroom Colony, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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American Redstart (M), Griggs Park.

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American Redstart (F), Griggs Park.

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Mushroom, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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Northern Flicker, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Wood Ear, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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Cedar Waxwing, Griggs Park.

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Great-crested Flycatcher, Griggs Park.

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Chestnut-sided Warbler, Griggs Park.

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Yellow-billed Cuckoo, east shore of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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Kingbird, Griggs Park.

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Insect, Griggs Park.

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Song Sparrow, Griggs Park.

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Spotted Sandpiper, Griggs Park.

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Things seem to be tapering off a bit but one never knows for sure till several days have past. In any case, even if they were all to up and leave tonight, it’s been a great spring migration.

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O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

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Thanks for stopping by.

Butterflies and Wildflowers at Battelle Derby Creek

Late July and early August is a great time to grab your camera and binoculars and go for a hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. The park has reestablished extensive areas of prairie containing many types of native wildflowers. With the flowers come butterflies and other types of insects. Eastern Meadowlarks, Indigo Buntings and other birds are also attracted to the area. If you ever questioned the value of native prairies in promoting biodiversity visit Battelle Darby and take a close look. You’ll be amazed at what there is to see.

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Prairie in early morning, Battelle Darby Creek

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Some parts of the prairie contain ponds, Bullfrog, Battelle Darby Creek

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Bullfrog, study 2 (Donna)

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Cardinal Flowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Tufted Titmouse along the Big Darby River

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek

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Making friends with a butterfly.

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Hackberry Emperor, Battelle Darby

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Sunflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Catapillar, Battelle Darby

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Male Goldfinch, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Coneflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Red Admiral, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

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Red Admiral, study 2, Battelle Darby Creek

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Red Milkweed Beetle, Battelle Darby Creek

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Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

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Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, study 2, (Donna)

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Blazing Star, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie, (Donna)

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Walking through the prairie, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Fungus, along the river, Battelle Darby Creek

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Familiar Bluet, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie, (Donna)

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Tall Bellflower, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

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Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek

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Daddy Longlegs with prey, Battelle Darby Creek.

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Silvery Checkerspot, Battelle Darby Creek

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Spicebush Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek

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Curious Cardinal, Battelle Darby Creek

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Zabulon Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek

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Turtles, Big Darby Creek

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Prairie, Big Darby Creek Metro Park

Thanks for stopping by and checking out some pictures of nature in central Ohio. We hope you’re inspired to get out and explore nature wherever you live.

 

 

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