Summer Wildflowers, Butterflies, and a Few Birds

We’ve been busy documenting nature’s summer in central Ohio. If you are fascinated by insects this is your time of year but be prepared to look closely. The summer heat has done little to discourage the wildflowers which in a shout of color announce their presence. The below shots were taken along Griggs Reservoir and Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. I hope they put you in a summer kind of mood.

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Milk Weed Beetle, Griggs Park, Donna

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Wild Lettuce, Griggs Park, Donna

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Halberd-leaved Rose-mallow, Griggs Park, Donna

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Wild Potato Vine, Griggs Park, Donna

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Barely seen, dragonflies hover over a reflection, Griggs Reservoir

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Fallen branch and wildflowers, Griggs Park

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Gray Headed Cone Flowers, Griggs Park

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Cup Plant, Griggs Park

 

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Wild Chicory, Griggs Park

 

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Path to the water, Griggs Park

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Thistle, Griggs Park

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Pearl Crescent, Griggs Park

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Wasp, Griggs Park, Donna

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Eastern Pondhawk,(F), Griggs Park, Donna

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Wing Stem, Griggs Park, Donna

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Goldfinch, Griggs Park, Donna

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Hackberry Emperor, Griggs Park, Donna

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Fireworks in green, Griggs park, Donna

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Biennial Gaura, Griggs Park, Donna

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Widow Skimmer (F), Griggs Park, Donna

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Least Skipper, Griggs Park, Donna

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Rose Pink, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Donna

 

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Leopard Frog, Battelle Darby Greek Metro Park, Donna

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Hummingbird Moth, Battelle Derby Creek Metro Park, Donna

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Phlox, Griggs Park, Donna

 

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Catbird, Griggs Park, Donna

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Ducklings, Griggs Park, Donna

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Fishing, Griggs Reservoir, Donna

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Black Swallowtail, Griggs Park, Donna

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Hairy Wood Mint, Griggs Park, Donna

 

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Coneflowers, Griggs Park

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Peck’s Skipper, Griggs Park

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Eastern Wood Pewee, Griggs Park

 

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Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Royal Catchfly, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Sunflower, Griggs Park

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Royal Catchfly, a closer look.

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Looking for Bison, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Bison, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Bluebird, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Kingbird, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Barn Swallow, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Luna Moth on our house.

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Quiet morning, Griggs Reservoir

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Great Blue Heron, Griggs Reservoir

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Black Crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir

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Hope you enjoyed this summer celebration of nature in central Ohio. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

A Butterfly Blast at Griggs Reservoir Park

Many of us have had the opportunity to visit a live butterfly exhibit at a local botanical garden and marvel at their beauty and diversity.  Seeing a large number of different species in that setting would not be a great accomplishment. But how about 12 species, more than 10 in just one three hour period, all at a park near your home in the middle of an Ohio city?

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That’s exactly what happened to us during a recent visit to Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were everywhere.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on button bush 1 072815 Griggs   s. csb1

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1 LL best 1 071415 Griggs south   cp1

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Downy False Foxglove 1 080215   griggs cp1

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, dark female

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The Question Mark butterfly was not quite as common.

Question Mark 2 wings full out 1 080215 Griggs cp1

Question Mark, (Donna)

Question Mark 3 LL 3 best 1 072815 Griggs s. cp1-2

Question Mark, (Donna)

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A common butterfly seldom seen with it’s wings spread.

Cabbage White 2 wings full out 1 080215 Griggs cp1

Cabbage White, (Donna)

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Zabulon Skipper, a very small butterfly.

Skipper zabulon and bee 072815 Griggs s.   cp1

Zabulon Skipper being photo bombed by a bee, (Donna)

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Zabulon Skipper on Button Bush, (Donna)

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The very small Peck’s Skipper.

Skipper Peck's on bull thistle 072815 Griggs s.   cp1

Peck’s Skipper on Bull Thistle, (Donna).

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Given the threats to the area in which they over winter in Mexico, we’re always excited when we see a Monarch.

Monarch 1 full out 1 best 1 072815 griggs s. cp1

Monarch, (Donna)

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Monarch Butterfly

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It’s been a great year for seeing the American Snout.

American Snout 2 LR by water 2 better 1 071415 Griggs   south cp1

American Snout, (Donna)

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Hackberry Emperors are common but beautiful nonetheless.

Hackberry Emperor 5 wings out on flower 1 080215 Griggs   cp1

Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

Hackberry Emperor 3 LR 1 on log 1 best 1 080215 Griggs   cp1

Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

 

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Hackberry Emperor

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Another common butterfly, the Clouded Sulphur.

Clouded Sulphur 1 looking up 1 080215 Griggs cp1

Clouded Sulphur, (Donna)

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Clouded Sulphur

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A Red-spotted Purple even made an appearance.

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A Red-spotted Purple strikes a nice pose.

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Red Admirals may have been the most common.

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Red Admirals in the rain garden.

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Red Admiral

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Red Admiral

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We were pretty excited when we saw a Black Swallowtail.

Black Swallowtail 5 LL best 1 072815 griggs s. cp1

Male Black Swallowtail, (Donna)l

Black swallowtail female 2 looking up 1 080215 Griggs   cp1

Female black Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Other flying critters were also seen.

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A Song Sparrow overlooks one of the rain gardens at Griggs Park.

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Rain Garden Goldfinch

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Hummingbird moths also like the rain gardens.

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Closer to home, our mail carrier spotted this Luna moth while making her rounds.

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Luna Moth, taken with the mail carriers cell phone.

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Perhaps the rain gardens, that were built to keep road runoff from flowing directly into the reservoir, are the reason for all the butterflies, we’re not sure as some butterflies were seen at other locations. Whatever the reason, we’ve been one of the beneficiaries.

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Rain Garden, Griggs Park

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

A Festival of Fungi at Clear Creek Metro Park

With the amount of rain we’ve had recently it seemed like a great time to visit Clear Creek Metro Park to see what fungi might be making an appearance. The park is unique, located about fifty miles southeast of Columbus in an area where the last glaciers stopped their southward advance. It’s 5,300 acres of woods, sandstone cliffs, ravines, and creeks are home to hemlocks, oaks, and hickory. As we left Columbus we were hoping to discover some things not seen closer to home.

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It was still early when we arrived and everything was wet from a recent rain. The air was cool but the humidity was very high. Given these conditions, we were drenched in perspiration for most of our five mile hike, with glasses and viewfinders fogging up every time we attempted to take a photograph. On this particular day, it was the price of admission.

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Interestingly, the first thing seen was lichen growing on the roof  of a visitor information board not far from where we parked.

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British Soldier Lichen, red fruiting bodies are less than 1/8 inch across. It was the first we had seen in Ohio.

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Leaving the lichen, we began a rather steep assent into the woods and immediately started seeing fungi. This continued throughout our hike of the Creekside Meadows, Fern, and Cemetery Ridge trails. Seeing so many unfamiliar fungi, the challenge soon became one of trying to figure out we were looking at.

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Violet-gray Bolete

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Another example, (Donna).

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More fully developed.

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Turkey Tail on a fallen log.

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Crowded Parchment

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Small purple Bolete. Colors appear to vary among the same species.

 

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Jellied False Coral

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Red-belted Polypore

 

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Unidentified

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Spores being released from a mushroom.

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Berkeley’s Polypore. One area of the woods was dotted with these. This one was about 6 inches across.

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Very large Lepiota mushroom (@12 inches tall)

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Another view.

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Coral Mushroom

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Chanterelles

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Donna moving in for a close shot.

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Chanterelles, (Donna)

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Burnt-orange Bolete, (Donna)

Mushroom white tan  Clear Creek   cp1

Panther Mushroom, (Donna)

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Unidentified Amanita, (Donna)

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Pink Polypore, (Donna)

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Unidentified Mushroom

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Unidentified Mushrooms

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Tufted Collybia

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Another view.

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Apricot Jelly

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False Coral

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Rosy Russula Mushroom

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Powder-cap Amanita Mushroom

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As if all the fungi were not enough, wildflowers were also making their presence known.

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Spiderwort, (Donna)

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Starry Campion

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Indian Pipe, (Donna)

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Woodland Sunflower

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Downey Rattlesnake-plantain

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Downey Rattlesnake-plantain leaves.

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Oswego Tea

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A little further away.

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Downey Skullcap, (Donna)

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.   .   .   and while not flowers, pretty nonetheless.

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A confused leaf!

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Ferns were everywhere.

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Given that flowers and many other plants were in abundance, butterflies and moths were easy to spot.

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Pipevine Swallowtail

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Another view.

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Great Spangled Fritillaries, (Donna)

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Great Spangled Fritillary

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Great Spangled Fritillary

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Hummingbird Moth Blur

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Hummingbird Moth, (Donna)

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While not our main objective, we did hear a lot of birds and even managed to see a few.

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Hooded Warbler

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Titmouse

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Eastern Wood-pewee

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Another view.

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A Wood Thrush? refuses to cooperate.

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At the end of our hike, we were in awe of the things seen. Many were first’s for us in Ohio. It had been a magical day.

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Trail at Clear Creek Metro Park

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Small Wonders, Summer in Central Ohio

Most of the pictures in this post are a result of my wife’s skill, tenacity, patience, and love of the small creatures that grace nature in central Ohio and so often go unnoticed. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought of insects as second class citizens. Wouldn’t you rather look at or take a picture of a warbler? Okay, many insects are essential to natures food chain, many are important for pollination, surprisingly few actually “Bug” us, but some are also amazing to watch.

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We hope you enjoy the following pictures and that you’ll also be excited to take a closer look. But be forewarned that unlike a beautiful sunset, a mountain landscape, or the spontaneous smile of a small child, these marvels must be pursued with intention to fully appreciate their wonder.

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Right in our backyard:

Black Swallowtail 2 closer 1 071115 Backyard cp1

Black Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Another view, (Donna)

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Not far from our backyard along Griggs Reservoir.

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Coneflowers, (Donna)

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Blue Vervain

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A very small butterfly.

Least skipper 1 070715 Griggs paddle cp1

Least skipper, (Donna)

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A moth, really? Judging from the number of pictures taken just to get a few good ones, it’s safe to say we got pretty excited. Not an uncommon moth but not often seen.

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A Hummingbird Moth heads for a snack.

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Lunch time!

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This is actually pretty good!

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There must be more of that stuff here somewhere.

Hummingbird Moth 6 side view 4 Best 1 071215 backyard   cp1

Okay, I’ll pose and let you take my picture, Hummingbird Moth, (Donna)

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Black-eyed Susan’s in Griggs Park.

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Black-eyed Susan’s

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Near waters edge, Griggs Reservoir.

Ebony Jwelwing female 3  head on 1 070715 Griggs paddle   cp1

Ebony Jewelwing female, (Donna)

Ebony Jewelwing female 2 close-up 1 070715 Griggs paddle   cp1

Ebony Jewelwing female, (Donna)

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Powdered Dancer, (Donna)

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Stream Bluet, (Donna)

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Cup Plants.

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Cup Plants along Griggs Reservoir.

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A wasp and a fly.

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Wasp, (Donna)

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Thick-Headed Fly, (Donna)

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Another moth, is it really?

Virginia Ctenucha 3 head on 2 best 1 071115 Backyard   flowers cp1

Virginia Ctenucha, (Donna)

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Virginia Ctenucha, (Donna)

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Other butterflies seen.

Summer Azure on white flowers 1 LL best 1 071115 backyard   flowers cp1

Summer Azure, a small butterfly, (Donna)

Silver Spotted Skipper 4 LR on pokeweed 2 best 1 071215   Griggs nature walk cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper, not uncommon, (Donna)

Silver Spotted Skipper 3 LR on pokeweed flower 1 071215   Griggs nature walk cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper , showing it’s silver spots, (Donna)

Red Admiral 4 LL 3 best 2 071115 backyard flowers cp1

Red Admiral, (Donna)

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Last and in this case least, a very small moth.

Pyrausta orphisalis – Orange Mint Moth 071115 backyard   flowers cp1

Pyrausta orphisalis – Orange Mint Moth, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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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”.

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A great place for bugs. Prairie Oaks

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Red Admiral, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Cone Flower, Battelle Darby Creek

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Backyard Bee Balm

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Viceroy, Prairie Oaks

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Band-winged Meadowhawk, Prairie Oaks

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Blue-fronted Dancer, Prairie Oaks

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Blue-ringed Dancer, Prairie Oaks

Silver Spotted Skipper on coneflower 072114 Griggs North cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Red-spotted Purple, Prairie Oaks

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Hummingbird Moth

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Widow Skimmer, (female), Prairie Oaks

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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)

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Common Sanddragon, Prairie Oaks

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Clouded Sulfur, Prairie Oaks

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Calico-pennant, Prairie Oaks

Buckeye 1 072114 Griggs North cp1

Buckeye, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Dragonflies, Damselflies, and Mosquitos, Prairie Oaks

 

 

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