A Spring Wildflower Wonderland

A few days ago we thought we’d better take the hour and a half drive south from Columbus to Miller Sanctuary State Nature Preserve and Highlands Nature Sanctuary to check out the spring wildflowers before they bid us farewell for the year. Both destinations are located within an area commonly referred to as the Arc of Appalachia which is comprised of numerous beautiful undisturbed natural areas no matter what the time of year you choose to visit. 

An area map showing the location of access points for the areas we explored.

Our first stop was the Miller Sanctuary which has about three miles of trails. Even though the trails are not long one should allow plenty of time as the number of wildflowers is truly amazing and it will take time if one wants to adequately appreciate them.

Remember: you can click on the images should you desire a better view.

Golden Ragwort, common throughout Ohio, was one of the first wildflowers to greet us as we started down the trail.

.

When one thinks of the Large Flowered Trillium one usually thinks of a white flower but the images below show the change in color as the bloom ages.

***

***

***

***

.

In a very small area one can see a variety of wildflowers.

Blue phlox, rue-anemone, trillium.

.

A closer look reveals the delicate beauty of Blue Phlox.

Blue Phlox or Wild Sweet William.

.

The Rue-anemone blossoms were hard to ignore.

Rue-anemone, (Donna).

From another angle.

.

Fiddleheads grace the bank of the Rocky Fork River.

.

A little further on there was another nice grouping.

Virginia Bluebells, Large Flowered Trillium, and Miterwort.

.

The Miterwort flower is so small that from a distance it doesn’t even appear to be a flower but if one takes a closer look  .   .   .

Miterwort or Bishop’s Cap.

.   .   . and closer still, (Donna).

.

While certainly not uncommon throughout Ohio, Virginia Bluebells were also present in the sanctuary.

Virginia Bluebells.

 .

Redbuds accent the Rocky Fork landscape.

.

The large boulders and rocky cliffs provided an excellent habitat for Wild Columbine.

Wild Columbine, (Donna).

***

.

A real treat were the Shooting Stars, a flower we don’t often see closer to home.

Shooting Star, (Donna).

***

.

May Apples carpet the forest floor but we were a bit early to see their flowers.

.

We were greeted by more wildflowers as we continued along the trail.

Very tiny Bluets

Goldenseal, (Donna).

Emerging Squawroot. A native perennial, non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant that grows from the roots of mostly oak and beech trees, (Donna).

Large-Flowered Bellwort, (Donna).

.

The sanctuary contain a sizable stand of large Tulip trees.

.

Canada Violets, (Donna).

Blue Cohosh, the yellowish flower clusters ripen into berries that eventually turn deep blue.

Nestled under the plant’s leaves close to the ground one really needs to look to see the flower of the Wild Ginger plant, (Donna).

.

Trilliums line the bank of a small feeder stream.

.

Wild Geranium.

Star Chickweed.

Moving in a little closer, (Donna).

Jack In The Pulpit, (Donna).

.

The beauty of wildflowers complimented by the sight and sound of a small waterfall.

.

Just on the other side of the Rocky Fork River were trails contained in Highlands Nature Sanctuary. We choose to hike the spectacular Barrett Rim Trail. While many of the wildflowers were the same, the dramatic rocky outcropping brought an additional dimension.

One section of the trail runs between the river and these cliffs.

.

Certainly not the showiest the blossoms of the Pawpaw were just emerging.

Pawpaw.

.

As with Miller, Large Flowered Trillium lined the trail in many places.

.

The extensive groups of Celandine or Wood-Poppy were a real treat. A plant we didn’t see in the Miller Sanctuary.

We were surprised by their number.

Wood Poppy, a closer look.

.

It’s easy to see how the Rocky Fork River got its name.

.

Perhaps the most exciting discovery on our two-mile hike was one solitary flower that was new to us.

Wood Betony.

.

After five miles of hiking and countless wildflowers we returned home excited about the possibility of a return visit. For those interested in checking things out this year there have still been reports of wildflowers, some of which are “new arrivals” that we didn’t see, as I post this a week later.

Another view along the Rocky Fork River.

There are times when a walk in the woods provides more than it’s share of encouragement to again be in nature. Thanks for stopping by.

High Banks Spring Walk; Concretions Seen, Warblers Heard

It was a beautiful day for a hike at Highbanks Metro Park with friends. Warblers were our main objective but no doubt there would be other things to fascinate if the warblers decided not to cooperate.

.

One of those things turned out to be concretions. We’ve hiked and explored High Banks for years but one thing we’ve never noticed are the concretions that exist along creek bottoms in the park. This partly due to the fact that they are not visible from the main trail and generally we avoid going off trail so as to not damage the landscape which, as is the case with most metro parks, is easily overrun. In this particular case we wondered why there was a worn path leading off the main trail so we decided to follow it for awhile.

According Wikipedia, “A concretion is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. Concretions are often ovoid or spherical in shape, although irregular shapes also occur. Concretions form within layers of sedimentary strata that have already been deposited. They usually form early in the burial history of the sediment, before the rest of the sediment is hardened into rock. This concretionary cement often makes the concretion harder and more resistant to weathering than the host stratum.”

Typical of the area in High Banks Metro Park where concretions might be found.

Sometimes one might see the rock formations as just random.

But other times things seem just a little different.

The origin of some shapes are difficult to figure out.

Others not so much.

.

After the fascination of the concretions we decided to wander down the trail and see what warblers we might find.

Early morning sun filters through the trees at High Banks.

.

While not warblers, we hadn’t gone far when several Ruby-crowned Kinglets appeared in low lying bushes and weren’t shy about displaying their ruby crowns. They weren’t as good about sitting still of a picture. Along the Olentangy River Yellow-throated Warblers could be heard but not seen high in the Sycamores.

.

 Other birds were more cooperative.

Tufted Titmouse

White-throated Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Pheobe

Okay, I know I’m not a bird but would you take my picture?

.

As is often the case in the spring if one thing eludes there are always other things to enjoy. On this particular day it was trilliums many of which had turned pink as well as the many other wildflowers.

Large-flowered Trillium

 

There were a number of beautiful specimens.

There were also nice groupings  .   .   .

Standing at attention, almost.

and phlox trillium bouquets.

Phlox and Large-flowered Trillium.

Other types of trilliums were also seen.

Red Nodding Trillium, (Donna).

Nodding Trillium, (Donna)

Another view of a Nodding Trillium, (Donna).

.

May Apples were starting to bloom.

May Apples

Hiding under the leaves the flower is not always easy to see, (Donna).

A closer look.

View along the trail, High Banks Metro Park.

.

Other flowers, some not real common on central Ohio, were also seen.

Wild Geranium, (Donna).

Soloman’s Seal, (Donna).

Philadelphia Fleabane, (Donna).

 

Dame’s Rocket, (Donna).

Corn Salad, not real common, (Donna).

Purple Cress, (Donna).

Goldenseal, also not a common flower. In herbal medicine, goldenseal is used as a multi-purpose remedy.

Dogwood

.

To one that is so inclined, time spent in nature feeds the soul. In spring the uninterrupted songs of the various birds as they go about their day is sublime even when they remain unseen. The air seems especially fragrant and pure. The still deep blue sky frames the translucent green of the immerging overhead leaves. Flowers grace the forest floor with their varied and unique loveliness.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Should you wish, prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo.

A Battelle Darby Early Spring Day

After the better part of five hours and seven miles we were back at our starting point, the Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park’s visitor center parking lot. Tired, but so much richer for our effort. Below is a partial record of things seen on this beautiful late April day.

.

From a distance the woods were just starting to green with the colors of bare branches still prominent.

IMG_7230use

Path near the visitor center

 .

The hope was to photograph some spring warblers and other spring migrants. While we did see Yellow-rumped and Northern Parula’s and Eastern Towhee’s in the tree tops or thick brush none would pose for us. However the wildflowers more than made up for our lack of success with the birds.

IMG_7257use

Peak time for spring wildflowers.

 

IMG_7232use

. . . with trees flowering and just starting to leaf out.

 

Goldenseal 1 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Goldenseal, (Donna)

Jsck-in-the-Pulpit 3 best 1 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Jack-in-the-Pulpit, (Donna)

IMG_7265use

Buttercup

 

IMG_7930use

Wood Poppy

IMG_7290use

Another view.

IMG_7938use

Large Flowered Trillium

IMG_7302use

Another view.

Jacob's Ladder best ever 2 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Another view, (Donna)

 

IMG_7260use

Ragwort

Phlox Close-up 1 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Wild Blue Phlox, (Donna)

Hepatica 042415 Battelle Darby cp1

Hepatica, (Donna)

 

IMG_7921use

Large-flowered Bellwort

 

IMG_7278use

Mayapples carpet the forest floor.

 

IMG_7248use

Spring light.

 .

The wildflowers encircled numerous seasonal pools and wet areas.

IMG_7253use

Vernal pool.

IMG_7909

Mallard

IMG_7266use

The Mallard’s pond.

.

Not far from the visitor center Donna investigated a wetland area.

 

Leopard Frog duo best 1 042415 Battelle Darby csb1

Leopard Forgs, (Donna)

Leopard Frog Close-up 2 best 2 042415 Batttelle Darby   csb1

A closer look, (Donna)

 .

We were able to photograph a few birds during the day.

IMG_7877use

Blue-gray Gnatcather

IMG_7891use

Tufted Titmouse working on lunch.

IMG_7887use

Must be good!

IMG_7892use

Must you photograph me while I’m eating?

IMG_7853use

A male Red-winged Blackbird announces it’s presence.

IMG_7865use

. . . as the female waits nearby.

 

.

A Red Squirrel watches as we look at trilliums.

Red Squirrel 4 close-up best 1 042415 Battelle Darby   cp1

A not real common Red Squirrel watches as we look at wildflowers, (Donna)

 

.

When not looking at the wildflowers the Big Darby was there to appreciate.

IMG_7251use

An old railroad bridge across the Big Darby.

 

IMG_7239use

Early spring on the Big Darby

 

IMG_7247use

The Big Darby

.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Cat Tales

Mike and Lori adrift

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Exploring Nature in New Hampshire

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog

Quiet Solo Pursuits

My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Seasons Flow

Everything flows, nothing stands still. (Heraclitus)

Central Ohio Nature

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!