A Special Place In Michigan

At least once a year for the last number of years we’ve traveled seven hours from central Ohio to the expansive 4500 acre Rifle River Recreation Area in Michigan. With it’s fairly extensive system of hiking and mountain bicycling trails, plus lakes that don’t allow motors, it’s a beautiful quiet nature lovers paradise. The park’s woods contain conifers, including some fairly large White Pine, as well as deciduous trees like oak and maple making it home to a great diversity of insects, plants, birds, and animals. The park has two campgrounds, one with electrical hookups, and one that is rustic. We prefer “tent” camping in the Devoe Lake rustic campground with it’s pit toilets and handpumps, whether in our small trailer or in a tent, because the sites are bigger, more secluded, and a variety of birds often come right to your campsite. In addition the rustic campground communicates with park’s best hiking trails without the need to get in your car.

rifle_river_map

Park Map.

A south loop hiking trail cuts through meadows interspersed with stands of trees that attract numerous species of butterflies and dragonflies not mention birds such as Indigo Buntings that love that type of habitat.

Bob looking out to meadow1 071618 Mi trip fz200 fix

South Trail

The northern loop takes the hiker on much more rolling terrain interspersed with swamps and culminating along a ridge that provides a panoramic view of four of the parks lakes.

IMG_8230fixd

Grousehaven Lake from the park loop road.

The lakes offer a variety of fish species to attract the angler including Brook and Brown Trout, Northern Pike, Large Mouth Bass and panfish.

IMGP0252fix

Typical catch and release LM Bass on Devoe Lake.

.

***

Many of the lakes just outside the park boundary offering public access are heavily developed with boat and dock filled shorelines and large year round homes which in recent years have replaced many smaller cabins set back in the trees. Some of the larger multistory dwellings seem almost ready to topple into the lake giving these small bodies of water more the feel of a large recreational swimming pool. Even so, the lakes do offer good fishing even if with somewhat diminished natural aesthetic. However, if communing with nature is your goal, it is worth it to travel away from the park to the nearby Au Sable River and it’s chain of lakes which offer a rewarding undeveloped destination for the photographer, fisherman, and nature lover.

IMG_2339

Loud Pond, Au Sable River chain of lakes.

 

IMG_2341fix

Loud Pond Au Sable River chain of lakes.

IMG_2361fix

Loud Pond Au Sable River chain of lakes.

.

***

Within the park, even without a very special species of bird, there is ample reason to  return year after year to enjoy the park’s beauty. But the very special bird that makes the park so irresistible is the Common Loon. Numbers seen vary year to year but they’re always there with their haunting cry breaking the silence of the night. To our knowledge it’s the closest location from central Ohio where nesting loons can be found.

IMG_5147fix

Common Loon

 

IMG_5158fix

With young, (Donna).

Loon1 LR1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

Another view, (Donna).

Loon group1 070918 MI trip birdcam fix

Meal time, (Donna).

IMG_5163fix

The young are growing fast.

.

IMG_8227

Lodge Lake.

.

***

An equally enchanting bird usually seen on Grebe Lake is the Trumpeter Swan. During one paddle the call of the adults across the lake gave ample evidence as to how they got their name.

Trumpeter Swan grp4 best1 071018 MI trip birdcam fix

Trumpeter Swam Family, (Donna).

IMG_7955

Another look.

.

***

Being old enough to remember when they suffered the ravages of DDT and were very rare Bald Eagles always have a high wow factor. We had a number of sightings in the park and at least five the day we paddled Loud Pond along the Au Sable River.

IMG_7854

I control the canoe and my wife often takes the pictures.

IMG_8254

Where there is a nest there is usually an eagle.

Eagle1 LR beak open1 071218 MI trip birdcam 1

Donna get’s a picture of one of the Bald Eagles seen on Loud Pond.

.

***

Equally fascinating were the other birds seen during our hikes and paddles.

P1210600fix

A Great Crested Flycatcher over looks a meadow on the south trail.

 

Great Crested Flycatcher baby2 beak open1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

An immature Great Crested Flycatcher asks to be fed, (Donna).

Catbird1 LR1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

A Catbird puts everything into it’s song, (Donna).

Cedar Waxwing2 LL wbug1 070918 Michigan trip fix

A good day for the Cedar Waxwing, not so much for the dragonfly, (Donna).

Chestnut-sided Warbler1 LL1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Along the south trail in the very top of a tree a Chestnut-sided Warbler sings it’s heart out, (Donna).

IMG_5186

A Green Heron makes a living along the shore of Devoe Lake.

IMG_7879fix

Too far away for a good pic, perhaps an immature Rose Breasted Grosbeak?

IMG_8171

Ever on the lookout for flying insects, like sentry’s Kingbirds lined the shore of Devoe Lake.

Kingbird3 LL1 best1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

Another look, (Donna).

Kingbird in nest2 LR2 best1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

Near water’s edge a Kingbird sits on it’s nest, (Donna).

Kingfisher1 femaleLR1 best1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Donna catches this female Kingfisher along the shore of Devoe Lake.

Kingbird party2 flying1 also1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

A Tree Swallow party along the shore of Devoe Lake,(Donna).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak2 LL1 071018 MI trip birdcam fix

Numerous Rose Breasted Grosbeaks were seen but they proved a challenge to photograph, (Donna).

Spotted Sandpiper3 LR2 best1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Spotted sandpiper along the shore of Loud Pond, (Donna).

Spotted Sandpiper5 juvLR2 best1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Immature Spotted Sandpiper along Loud Pond, (Donna).

IMG_8253fix

Immature Baltimore Orioles hang out in a distant tree.

.

IMG_8324

The Rifle River just downstream of Grousehaven Lake.

.

***

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know we love dragonflies. While butterflies may initially catch your eye very few creatures fascinate in the air like the  dragonfly. But the relationship fraught with conflict because we also love birds and the dragonflies maneuverability is often not enough to avoid becoming a tasty high protein snack.

Calico Pennant3 headon3 wiping mouth1 071518 MI trip fz200 fix

Calico Pennant, (Donna).

P1210571

Female Ruby Meadowhawk

Blue Dasher1 LR1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Blue Dasher, (Donna).

IMG_8065

Chalk-fronted Corporal.

damselfly on flower1 LR1 070918 MIchigan trip birdcam fix

This Damsel fly on flower illustrates the capability 0f the micro 4/3rds Panasonic (Leica) 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Dot-tailed Whiteface3 headon1 071018 MI trip bridcam fix

Dot-tailed Whiteface, (Donna).

Ebony Jewelwing mating1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Mating Ebony Jewelwings, (Donna).

IMG_2368fix

Twelve-spotted Skimmer.

Lancet-Clubtail female2 LR best1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

Female Lancet Clubtail, (Donna).

P1210595fix

Female Calico Pennant.

IMG_7966fix

Male Halloween Pennant.

Halloween Pennant mating1 LL1 071518 MI trip birdcam fix

Mating Halloween Pennants, (Donna).

img_7973fix.jpg

Slaty Blue Skimmer, Tamron 18-400mm zoom.

 

IMG_7999

Most of the time when we take a picture we have a pretty good idea what the subject is. When we don’t part of the fun is during the research to figure out what it is. So far the ID of this rather nondescript dragonfly remains a mystery.

Vesper Bluet3 LR1 best1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

The Vesper Bluet is a late afternoon and evening damselfly, (Donna).

Vesper Bluet1 mating pair1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Mating Vesper Bluets, (Donna).

River Jewelwing4 LL2 best2 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

River Jewelwing seen along the Au Sable River, (Donna).

***

IMG_7852

The Rifle River near the park’s southern boundary.

.

***

Butterflies live a rough life. Subject to the effects of rain, wind, sun and sometimes attempted predation they often become rather tattered with age. Like wildflowers much of their magic come from the fact that they are only here for a short time. During this most recent visit it was interesting because we didn’t see as many as expected and often the ones seen were rather tattered. However, the few that were in nice enough shape to merit a photograph took up the slack.

Common Wood-NYmph2 LR2 closer1 071518 MI trip fz200 fix

Common Wood-Nymph, (Donna).

P1210579

Northern Pearly-eye

IMG_8048

Northern Pearly-eye another view.

American Copper1 LL1 071518 MI trip birdcam fix

American Copper, (Donna)

American Copper4 WPO1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Another view, (Donna).

IMG_5076

Great Spangled Fritillary, Tamron 18-400mm zoom.

IMG_8013

Peck’s Skipper with a partially shaded wing explores an iris.

IMG_8035

Northern Cloudywing Skipper

IMG_8337

Eastern Comma.

Monarch1 WFO male1 071518 MI trip birdcam fix

Monarch, (Donna).

Banded Hairstreak1 LL1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

The very small and seldom seen Banded Hairstreak, (Donna).

.

***

No matter when one visits the park in spring and summer there are some flowers that are seen and some that are not. Turtleheads and Cardinal flowers usually appear in August so we missed them this year but others were present.

IMG_8261

Certainly not a flower but one of a number of very large White Pines in the park. How do you capture it’s impressive size in a photograph?

St. John's wort1 070918 MI trip fz200 fix

St. John’s Wort, (Donna).

IMG_8125fix

Yellow Water Lily

Black-eyed Susan1 070918 MI trip fz200 fix

Black-eyed Susan’s appear to take flight, (Donna).

cluster white flowers1 071018 MI trip birdcam fix

This American Wintergreen was growing in a very moist area, (Donna).

IMG_2320fix

Spotted Knapweed along the Lake Huron shore.

IMG_7885

Pickerel Weed on Grebe Lake.

IMG_7984fix

Water Lily.

Water LIly2 duo1 071018 MI trip fz200 fix

Water Lily times two, (Donna).

IMG_8215fix

A hover fly checks out a water lily.

P1210552

Clustered-leaved Tick-trefoil.

P1210634fix

Small and very common in the meadow areas along the south trail this one has eluded identification.

Yellow Aquatic flowr1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

Bladderwort seen along the north trail, (Donna).

IMG_8234fix

New Jersey Tea or Wild Snowball, interestingly it has been used for treated such things as gonorrhea, syphilis, colds, cough, fever, chills, spasms, bleeding, . . . “.

Monkey flower2 side view1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

Monkey Flower, (Donna).

Milkweed2 070918 MI trip fz200 fix

Swamp Milkweed, (Donna).

Indian Pipe1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Indian Pipe, (Donna).

IMG_8085

Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

P1210557fix

Fern.

IMG_8092

At their peak these Picture Plant flowers will turn a deep burgundy. See below for the leaves.

IMG_8097

The leaves resemble a picture, imagine that!

IMG_8224

Daisy Fleabane, very small, very common, very beautiful.

.

IMG_7860fix

Early morning on Grebe Lake.

.

***

When out on a day’s hike looking for birds, flowers, or butterflies it’s hard not to notice other things and sometimes they become the most memorable.

IMG_8143fixs

Painted Turtle, Devoe Lake.

P1210566fix

Pixie Cups, north trail.

P1210612

We saw quite a bit of this colorful fungi the day we hiked the south trail.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle1 LL1 071118 MI trip birdcam fix

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle along the trail, (Donna).

Toad1 LR1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

American Toad, (Donna).

IMG_8135fix

Garter Snake in an unusual location, Devoe Lake.

IMG_7857

A beaver lodge on Grebe Lake.

IMG_2326fix

British Soldier Lichen seems to love old fence posts.

P1210623

Early July is apparently not the best time for fungi. This was one of the few not very colorful examples seen.

P1210628

Crown-tipped Coral Fungi near our campsite.

Turtle on log2 Map LR1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

A Map Turtle catches a few rays, (Donna).

Porkupine1 LL1 07518 MI trip birdcam fix

A large Porcupine is spotted along the south trail, (Donna).

.

***

So much natural diversity in one Michigan state park! This year we left the park wishing for a few more days to explore, to look more closely with intention, to breath in the fragrance of balsam, or just to gaze up into the splendor of the green canopy of trees surrounding our campsite. Perhaps that’s the best way to leave.

IMG_8116fixc

Devoe Lake.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

We didn’t see them all, but . . .

this spring the warbler migrants have been as enchanting as ever. While the mix of birds that pass through our area is undoubtedly fairly consistent from year to year what we end up seeing isn’t. There is always a little frustration when a favorite bird doesn’t present itself in our local park especially when they were almost impossible to miss the year before. With many birds having come and gone, and others now much harder to see and photograph due to the increased leaf cover, we thought it would be a good time to showcase some that were seen.

.

One doesn’t always have to travel far. One morning, after hearing it’s call, we found a Chestnut-sided Warbler in our front yard.

Chestnut-sided warbler on it’s way north.

2.

.

At our local park, sometimes not more than a few yards from each other, my wife might see a bird that I would miss completely. A persistent call helps, but unless one detects movement the often brightly marked birds can be hard to spot.

Black & White warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

With a small insect.

.

Blackpoll warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

2. (Donna).

.

Yellow warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Still further from home others were seen along Alum Creek Reservoir and the south shore of Lake Erie at Magee Marsh.

Yellow warbler, Magee Marsh.

.

Blackburnian warbler, Magee Marsh, (Donna).

.

Prothonotary warbler seen while canoeing the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir.

2.

.

Magnolia warbler, Magee Marsh.

2. (Donna).

.

Northern Parula warbler, Magee Marsh.

2.

.

***

In our local park, in addition to the warblers other birds have been active and hard to ignore.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2. (Donna).

.

Probably just passing through a Swainson’s thrush peeks out from behind a small branch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2.

.

Blue-headed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2.

.

A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak is seen at Griggs Reservoir Park and appears to be nesting in the area.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

Cedar Waxwing also nest in Griggs Reservoir Park .   .   .

2.

.

as does this male Red-winged Blackbird.

.

Seen more often in the winter this Hooded Merganser enjoys the morning sun along the Scioto River just below the Griggs Reservoir Dam .   .   .

then commences to tidy up.

3.

.

***

Wildflowers also continue to enchant and never fail to provide strong competition for our attention.

Wild Columbine along the rock faced shore of Griggs Reservoir.

.

While we will continue to see warblers for the next week or so it’s always a bit of a let down when one senses that spring migration is coming to an end. True, one can travel north and see birds but as nesting activities begin in earnest things become quieter and the birds more secretive.

.

But for this year in this writers eyes the gift has been given. It is the realization once again that we are part of a sacred world of diversity and wonder and no more noble, important, or worthy than the warblers that are also part of earth’s fabric of life and grace our lives each spring as they make they way north to continue the cycle.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

Spring along the Scioto River.

 

A Spring Gift Along The Reservoir

This post covers some of the birds as well as other things that have been seen along the Scioto River corridor in central Ohio in the past few days. Many of the birds seen will continue their migratory journey further north. It’s a magical time of year as green spaces, especially those along lakes and rivers, are transformed by the sights and sounds of birds perhaps not seen other times of the year.

.

Some birding days are better than others. In the spring a strong wind from the north usually means more birds. A wind from the south seems to send them on their way. All the birds may seem to be in the treetops one day while the next they’re at eye level making an impossible subject easy to photograph. While no one can guarantee what will be seen, even an inexpensive pair of binoculars will greatly increase your chances of seeing birds allowing you to enter their world and appreciate creatures with such unique beauty that it’s sometimes hard to believe.

.

Everyone has their own way of appreciating nature, while we do make a point of traveling to more distant locations, we try to concentrate on a few areas close to home, observing the changes as the year progresses. A benefit of visiting a “favorite spot” often is that one is blessed with a sense of ownership, not in a possessive sense, but rather as a caring participant. A litter bag is always part of our equipment as it’s especially hard to walk by litter after one has just seen a Scarlet Tanager. The real plus is that through listening, looking (perhaps taking a picture), and allowing myself to be in the place, I’m extended beyond myself to a larger whole. Through this experience, which I once heard referred to as “a prayer”, I become richer and more grateful.

 

Griggs Park along the reservoir.

.

A few days ago my wife was looking for warblers right along the river as I did likewise along a some trees a little further away from the water.  She was paying attention to the low lying brush at water’s edge when she decided to look up into the overhead tree branches and found herself confronting a much larger bird.

Bald Eagle along the Scioto River just below the Griggs Reservoir Dam, it didn’t stay long .   .   .

before it flew across the river .   .   .

to a safer perch. (Donna).

.

Out of the corner of my eye I did see the eagle as it flew by but right in front of me there was a Great Crested Flycatcher. What to do, a flycatcher in the bush or a flying eagle. I chose the bird in the bush.

Great-created Flycatcher along the Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir Dam..

Take 2.

.

Warblers are surprisingly small when compared to the Great Created Flycatcher but make up for their size in quantity. Many, including Cape May and Yellow-rumped, continue to be seen.

Black and White warbler, Emily Traphagen Park.

Take 2.

Male American Redstart, Griggs Park, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Redstart with mayfly, Griggs Park.

.

It’s hard to ignore the orioles which continue to be very common. Right now there are so many in Griggs Park that it’s quite possible that only a few will nest here with the remainder heading further north.

Male Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park.

Female Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park.

.

It was a real treat to see our first Cedar waxwings of the year.

Cedar Waxwings, they handed the berry back and forth several times. Griggs Park.

Cedar Waxwings, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

Red-eyed Vireos are often spotted in dense treetop leaf cover but every once in a while they come down so we can get a better look.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Park.

.

An Acadian Flycatcher was also seen.

Acadian Flycatcher? Griggs Park.

.

We first spotted a streak of white, black, and red. Open landing the Rose Breasted Grosbeak played hide and seek as it chowed down on what were apparently very tasty seeds.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Park.

.

Another bird seen only during spring migration is the Scarlet Tanager.

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Park.

Just a minute.

There, that’s better.

.

Morning sun and leaves, Griggs Park.

.

The Swainson’s Thrush is usually only seen during migration.

Swainson’s Thrushes were everywhere in Griggs Park.

.

Our first Kingbird of the year along Griggs Reservoir. Some will stick around to nest in the park.

Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

We also noticed a few “non-bird” type things.

Immature male Common Whitetail, Emily Traphagen Park.

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

Female Black Swallowtail, Emily Traphagen Park, (Donna).

The Northern Water snake orgy goes on, see previous post, (Donna).

A Woodchuck tries to blend in, Griggs Park.

Wild Columbine, Emily Traphagen Park, (Donna). This photo was inspired by one of our birding friends.

A chipmunk poses, Duranceaux Park.

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle, Emily Traphagen Park, (Donna).

Zebulon Skipper, Emily Traphagen Park. (Donna).

.

We can’t forget all the other birds seen in the past week. Many of these are year round or summer residents.

A very noisy Winter Wren, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park.

Hidden in the leaf cover an immature Eastern Phoebe waits for it’s next meal, Duranceaux Park.

Blue Jays continue to be industrious, Griggs Park.

Red-bellied Woodpecker looks for a meal in Emily Traphagen Park.

The beautiful marking of a Northern Flicker are clearly seen as it briefly pauses overhead, Griggs Park.

Carolina Chickadee, Griggs Park.

Great Blue Heron, Griggs Park, (Donna).

Hairy Woodpecker, Griggs Park.

Easy eats may be why we’ve seen so many Great Egrets along the reservoir and river this spring, (Donna).

Great Egrets, Griggs Park

.

With spring in full swing, there’s almost too much is going on, but we hope everyone enjoyed this photographic celebration of spring in central Ohio.

Griggs Reservoir Cove, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

XXX

.

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.

Walking Not Running

When younger one of my greatest joys was running trails in the various area parks and experiencing the exhilaration as my body rose to the challenge of each new hill or greater distance. Blame it on the aches and pains of age, overuse, or maybe just wanting something more out of the experience, but at some point trail running wasn’t as enjoyable so I started to walk when in the woods. Sometimes I walked fast, but often a little slower not worrying as much about getting a “workout”. It wasn’t long before I started seeing things I hadn’t noticed before and often found myself stopping for a better look. At first, armed with only a little curiosity, I did so impatiently, wanting to keep moving. But gradually, the more I looked the more was noticed; relationships and interconnections, certain butterflies liked certain plants, some birds were usually found in the treetops, others on the ground, and some somewhere in between. Some birds passed through very briefly in spring and fall while others appeared to hang around all year.  There were unique spring, summer, and fall wildflowers. Nothing was forever, flowers faded, plants died, hawks ate squirrels, storms downed once admired stately trees, but through it all there was always new life.

.

Aware of their interconnectedness, the plants, animals, and insects seen became more interesting, and then they, as well as the experience of being in nature, became almost magical. There was apparently a lot more going on than I ever realized when running. Slowly, rather than being “inner-directed” and worrying about “breathing and pulse rate”, I became “outer-directed”. A feeling of being part of something much bigger than myself, or even humankind, started to develop. Before long a feeling of oneness with “that bigger something” would embrace me while walking through the woods or paddling a lake or river. But also a heightened awareness arose that, like the “stately tree”, I was not here forever. I had been given a gift that allowed me, for a very brief moment of seemingly insignificant time, to look, listen, smell, and touch the wonder of it all.

.

So on that note, the following pictures of things seen in nature over the last few days are offered as a merger celebration of this brief moment in time.

.

The Baltimore Orioles have arrived to nest along the Scioto River and Griggs Reservoir.

Baltimore Oriole over the Scioto River, (Donna).

Male Baltimore Orioles along Griggs Reservoir.

 

Another lone male along the Scioto. The males are often seen chasing each other this time of year.

.

Paddling on Griggs Reservoir it’s hard not to notice that the Wild Columbine is in bloom along the low but rocky cliffs of reservoir’s east shore.

Wild Columbine.

.

Walking park paths other late spring wildflowers have also been seen.

Appendage Waterleaf, (Donna).

.

Very common Yellow-rumped Warblers pass through Griggs Park heading north to Michigan or Canada to nest.

Male Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Another view.

.

High in a Sycamore the first Great Crested Flycatcher of the year is seen. It will probably nest along Griggs Reservoir.

Great Crested Flycatcher. Note distinctive yellow underside.

.

A whimsical year round resident, this Carolina Wren shows off it’s prize.

Carolina Wren

 

Another view.

.

Numerous Palm Warblers are seen passing through Griggs Park as they also head further north.

Palm warblers are common in the spring and fall along Griggs Reservoir.

Another view.

.

Also on it’s way further north a Nashville Warbler forages at the edge of the Scioto River. Not a bird we often see.

Nashville Warbler.

Another view, (Donna).

.

As it searches for higher ground a Northern Water Snake is seen along the rain swollen Scioto River.

Northern Water Snake

.

A “turtle family” doesn’t seem to mind the high water.

Red-eared Sliders along the Scioto, (Donna).

.

Trying to locate a warbler we sometimes have a sense we’re being watched.

Peeking out.

.

Sure enough!

Gray Squirrel

.

We hope that in the past few days your adventures in nature have been as rewarding as ours. Thanks for stopping by.

.

XXX

.

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

 

Late Summer Magic; Insects and Fall Warblers

Late August isn’t usually when I think of seeing fall warblers in central Ohio. Although I’m sure that’s the result of a certain level of ignorance on my part. So not really expecting the warblers this early, most of our efforts in recent days have been spent looking for, and enjoying, the “bugs” that currently seem to be in their prime. What started as a way to say curious during the summer doldrums has now become a real goal of our explorations.

.

Whether a spider, butterfly, moth, bee, or dragonfly their unique beauty and behavior, so unlike our own, takes us into a truly different world.  Fascinating as they are I wouldn’t want to return “in the next life” as an insect. The dragonfly is too efficient and maneuverable a flying machine bringing a quick end to anything flying nearby that it considers a meal. The life cycle of many wasps requires that caterpillars become live hosts for their larva. A convenient meal for the future wasps but undoubtedly not a pleasant experience for the caterpillar.  A garden spider quickly dispatches and gift wraps a careless fly in silk for later consumption. And just when you think your the biggest, baddest, “bug” around, a bird comes along. I could go on but it is sufficient to say, it’s not for me.

p1130198use

Praying Mantis in our backyard garden. They’ve been observed catching unsuspecting humming birds that get a little too close.

p1130187use

A closer look, this is one insect that has no trouble holding on to it’s meal!

p1130223

Iron weed and a Clouded Sulfur, flowers upon flowers, north end of Griggs Reservoir.

p1130233

Wasps making baby wasps, Prairie Oaks Metro Parks.

p1130246

Pelecinid Wasp, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

p1130269

Monarch, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

 

p1130293

Question Mark, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

p1130337-2

Spotted Orbweaver, Griggs Park

p1130340fix

Triangle-bearing Orbweaver (very small), Griggs Park

p1130345

Very small Mayfly close to the water, Griggs Park

p1360326

Funnel Weaver Grass Spider, (Donna)

p1360391

Bumble bee, (Donna).

p1360404

Overhead view of a Katydid, (Donna)

p1360609

Walnut Caterpillar, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

p1360619

Marbled Orbweaver, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

p1360638

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

p1360858

Unidentified fly, Griggs Park, (Donna)

p1360870-2

Mayfly, Griggs Park, (Donna)

p1360878

Grasshopper, Griggs Park, (Donna)

p1360885

Spotted Orb Weaver (underside), Griggs Park, (Donna)

p1370041

Variegated Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna)

.

It’s not as if there haven’t been birds around. Sometimes, in our quest for insects, we get so engaged in looking down we forget to look up! The Osprey was discovered as we were looking for warblers and provided many great poses as he devoured a fish just two of which are shown below.

img_5866

Osprey with fish, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

img_5880

Take two.

img_5831

Northern Flicker, finally managed to get an image which shows off most of it’s distinctive markings, Kiwanis Riverway Park

img_5836

Great Crested Flycatcher, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

img_5924-2

Red-bellied Woodpeckers, adult and immature, Griggs Park

p1010751use

Great Blue Heron and nest, north end of Griggs Reservoir. This is special because it’s the first nest I’ve noticed at that area in some time.

.

.   .   .  and then there were the warblers, always more seen than successfully photographed.

p1360917-2

Black and White, Griggs Park

img_5973

Yellow-throated, Griggs Park.

img_5985-2

American Redstart, 1st year, Griggs Park.

p1360958

From a different angle, (Donna)

p1360813

Cape May, Griggs Park, (Donna)

img_6000-2

Immature Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Park

.

When in nature take a moment to enjoy the whole, allowing yourself just to be.

p1130229

Kiwanis Riverway Park.

.

With the fall migration just getting started we’re looking forward to what will be seen in the coming weeks.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

.

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

P1110217

Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

P1110263

Take 2.

.

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

P1290724-2

Common Yellowthroat, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

P1110205

Female Yellow Warbler? Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

P1110305

Eastern Spotted Towhee, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

P1110268

White-eyed Vireo, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

.

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

P1110292

Appendaged Waterleaf, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

P1110308crop b

Spiderwort, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

P1290718

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

P1290637

Hawkweed, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

P1290721

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

P1290817

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

 

P1290911-2

Sweet Cicely, Griggs Park, (Donna)

 

IMG_5262c

Angelica, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

 

Purple Rocket -native flower 1 052616 Griggs south cp1

Purple Rocket, Griggs Park, (Donna).

IMG_1362

Forget Me Not, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

IMG_1359

Blue Flag Iris, Griggs Park.

P1110324

Philadelphia Fleabane, Griggs Park.

P1110311

Multiflora Rose, Griggs Park.

P1110314

Yellow Flag Iris, Griggs Park.

P1290895c

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

.

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

P1290779

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

P1290808

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

P1290816-2

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

P1290830

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

Eastern-tailed Blue 3 best 1 051616 Griggs PM cp1

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

.

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

P1290996

Scarlet Cup, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

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.

IMG_5278

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

 

IMG_5291

Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna).

P1110335

Take 2.

 

P1290956

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

P1290920

Cowbirds, Griggs Park, (Donna).

 

P1110116

Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Park.

P1110182

Female Hairy Woodpecker, Griggs Park.

P1110369

Northern Flicker, Griggs Park.

 

P1000660

Baltimore Oriole seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.

P1110091-2

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with squirrel, Griggs Park

.

And a few other creatures also caught our attention.

P1000630

Eastern Spiny Softshell seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.

P1290858

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

.

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.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

IMG_1532

Quiet afternoon, Griggs Reservoir.

.

XXX

 

 

 

“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?

IMG_1277fix

O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

.

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.

IMG_4830

Prothonotary Warbler, Griggs Park.

P1270762

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

IMG_5067 Eastern Phoebe

Female Redstart, Griggs Park.

P1000526

Eastern Phoebe , Griggs Park.

IMG_4964fix

Large Flowered Valerian, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

IMG_4955

House Wren, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

IMG_1290fix

Wild Hyacinth, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

IMG_4940fix

A closer look.

IMG_4962

Robin, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

P1000510

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

 

IMG_5244 - Copy

Blackpoll Warbler, Griggs Park.

False Solomon's Seal 3 landscape 1 051716 Griggs cp1-3

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

P1100831

False Solomon’s Seal, Griggs Park

P1100660

Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Park

P1100763

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Park

 

IMG_1298fix

Dryad’s Saddle, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

IMG_5074 Warbling Vireo

Philadelphia Vireo, Griggs Park.

IMG_5229

Giant Swallowtail, Griggs Park.

P1270672

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Park, (Donna)

IMG_1354fix

Goats Beard, Griggs Park.

IMG_5123 Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler, Griggs Park.

IMG_5093

Bluejay, Griggs Park

P1270733

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

IMG_5191

Gray Cheeked Trush, Griggs Park.

P1100823

Swainson’s Thrush, Griggs Park.

P1270670

Phlox, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna)

IMG_5161

Blackburnian Warbler, Griggs Park.

IMG_5205

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Park.

P1270701

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

P1100889

American Redstart (M), Griggs Park.

P1100614

American Redstart (F), Griggs Park.

P1270724

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

Northern Flicker 2 LR 1 closer better 1 051916 Griggs cp1

Northern Flicker, Griggs Park, (Donna).

P1270687

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

IMG_5233

Cedar Waxwing, Griggs Park.

P1000533

Great-crested Flycatcher, Griggs Park.

P1100381

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Griggs Park.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo 7 LL 3 best 2 052016 Griggs paddle cp1 - Copy

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

P1000614

Kingbird, Griggs Park.

P1110034

Insect, Griggs Park.

P1100741

Song Sparrow, Griggs Park.

P1100924

Spotted Sandpiper, Griggs Park.

.

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.

IMG_1275fix

O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

Mindfulness, Philosophy, Spirituality, Meditation, Awareness, Religion, Nature Photography

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Nature Is My Therapy

Trees help me breathe.

The Eye of a Thieving Magpie

My view of this wonderful and crazy life - as I travel and explore.

Diary of an Aesthete

Follow the Journey...

quercuscommunity

Life after the Care Farm

Out For 30

Exploring the world, 30 days at a time.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Photos by Donna

Birds and Wildlife Photography

Israel's Good Name

Voyages and Experiences in Israel

Israel's Good Name

Voyages and Experiences in Israel

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

Imagery of Light

Photography by Sheila Creighton

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography