It’s A Butterfly Time Of Year

Not that they aren’t seen earlier in the spring and summer but August does seem to be the time for butterflies. This year it’s been almost impossible to be out for any length of time without seeing a Monarch. In the late morning or afternoon small but beautiful Pearl Crescents make the shorter grass along the trail their playground. The beauty of some butterflies like the Giant Swallowtail is apparent to even a casual observer but others like the Buckeye reveal their beauty only after a closer look. Others like the hairstreaks are easy to miss altogether unless you know what to look for. The good news is that you don’t have to get up a the crack of dawn to see butterflies.

Sunlight filters through the woods along the Big Derby during a recent butterfly hike.

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So below is a celebration of butterflies that have been seen in the last few weeks. Much of the credit must go to my wife who tirelessly pursues these usually unpredictable creatures until she gets the shot she wants while I often content myself to photographing the more predictable wildflowers.

In late summer Bull Thistle is common in the prairie areas of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and seems to attract it’s share of Monarchs.

The Giant Swallowtail is Ohio’s largest butterfly and not one we see every day, Griggs Reservoir Park..

A Giant Swallowtail depositing eggs, (Donna).

Great Blue Lobelia enjoying the more shaded areas of Griggs Reservoir Park.

A very small female Eastern-tailed Blue rewards Donna by opening it’s wings.

Prairie sunflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

The beautiful but very small Gray Hairstreak, (Donna).

Hackberry Emperors are fairly common in Griggs reservoir Park and on a warm day enjoy hitching a ride on your arm to take advantage of your perspiration, (Donna).

Cardinal Flower

A small Summer Azure almost seems to blend in, (Donna).

Wingstem, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park prairie.

The not often seen Meadow Fritillary

The fairly common but lovely Orange Sulfur, (Donna).

New England Aster

Usually not seen in central Ohio until late summer or fall the medium size Buckeye is striking, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Fringed Loosestrife also enjoys the more shaded areas along the Scioto River.

A small Zabulon Skipper, (Donna).

A small but lovely Common Checkered Skipper, (Donna).

Lazard’s Tail along the Scioto River, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Silver Spotted Skipper, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Tall Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Red-spotted Purple, (Donna).

Another look, (Donna).

Gray-headed Coneflowers seem to take flight.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Another look.

A somewhat faded black form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

Black Swallowtail, (Donna).

Black Swallowtail laying eggs, (Donna).

Ironweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

The Peck’s Skipper is a very small moth like butterfly, (Donna).

Cup Plant

Monarch, (Donna).

Monarch

Trumpet Flowers, (Donna).

Mating Pearl Crescents

Pearl Cresent

Tall Bellflower

Eastern Comma

The tiny flowers of Virginia Knotweed.

Certainly not the most aesthetic setting, a Zebra Swallowtail lands in our canoe just as we finish a paddle on Paint Creek, (Donna).

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Where there are butterflies and moths there are caterpillars and no one is better at spotting them than my wife.

Brown-hooded Owlet, (Donna).

Monarch caterpillar, (Donna).

Orange Dog (Giant Swallowtail caterpillar), (Donna).

Another look.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar showing horns. Horns extend when head is touched lightly. Donna).

Without horns protruding, (Donna).

Sycamore Tussock Moth caterpillar, (Donna).

Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars, (Donna).

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We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge some of the birds that continue to charm us as we walk through the woods of central Ohio.

Male Goldfinch, (Donna).

This time of year False Dragonhead can be seen along the shore of Griggs Reservoir.

A Ruby throated Hummingbird checks out the Bull Thistle at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Woodland Sunflowers offer a splash of color in the woods along the Scioto River.

A Tufted Titmouse checks Donna out as she attempts to take it’s picture.

Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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So what was I doing while my wife was taking so many excellent photographs in central Ohio? Fishing in Michigan of course.

This nice Largemouth Bas went swimming right after posing for this picture.

Fishing at sunset on Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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If time spent in nature speaks to the essence of your being, your soul, you have riches greater than any material procession can offer. A wealth that grows in health, spirit, and the awareness of being part of the greater mystery. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

Griggs Reservoir, a Haven for Herons

Since Griggs Reservoir is close to home we often use it for our “workout” paddles during the week when things are quiet. On those paddles we hope to see a few things worth a closer look or maybe even a picture. On a typical ten mile paddle we’ll have fifteen to twenty Great Blue Heron sightings. On some days one or two Black Crowned Night Herons will be seen and on most days two or three Green Herons. The Green Herons are one of our favorites because, as well as being less common, their behavior is often curious or even comical.

On a recent paddle a young Green Heron decided to pose for a few pictures while either hunting for food or preening. It was quite a show. Of course before we encountered the heron there were other things to see.

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Near our launch on Griggs Reservoir

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No shortage of Cedar Waxwings and Kingbirds near our launch in Griggs Park.

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A tree full of Cedar Waxwings, Griggs Park

Cedar Waxwing on fire 2 081314 Griggs evening walk cp1-3

Cedar Waxwing, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Across the reservoir as we head north a Kingfisher tries to hide.

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Kingfisher, Griggs Reservoir

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One of many Great Blue Herons seen.

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A heron for every dock (almost)! (Donna)

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A little further north we even see a Great Egret. They never let us get very close.

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Great Egret high in a tree, Griggs Reservoir

Great Egret wings out 0814141 Griggs cp1

Great Egret, a graceful acrobat, (Donna)

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Still further north heading into the “wetlands” area.

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Paddling the north end of Griggs Reservoir

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Griggs Reservoir “Wetlands” landscape.

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Landing, “wetlands” area, Griggs Reservoir.

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But it was an immature Green Heron won the day.

Whether it was hunting:

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Green Heron, study 1, hunting.

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Green Heron, study 2, hunting.

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Green Heron, study 3, hunting

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Green Heron, study 4, hunting.

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.   .   .   or preening:

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During lunch a Green Heron lands near by.

Green Heron 14

Green Heron, study 1, preening, (Donna)

Green Heron 13

Green Heron, study 2, preening, (Donna)

Green Heron 12

Green Heron, study 3, preening, (Donna)

Green Heron 9-2

Green Heron, study 4, preening, (Donna)

Green heron 7

Green Heron, study 5, preening, (Donna)

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When the heron was through entertaining us there was plenty of other things to see.

Water Willow IMG_3682

Water Willow

Wasp on Boneset IMG_3646

Wasp on Boneset

Asiatic Dayflower IMG_3691

Asiatic Dayflower (invasive)

Wingstem IMG_3617

Wingstem with beetle and Bumblebee

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Virginia White Moth, (Donna)

Bagel fungi 081414 Griggs cp1

Mushroom emerging, (Donna)

False Dragonhead IMG_3709

False Dragonhead

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Bee on False Dagonhead

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Silver Spotted Skipper on False Dragonhead

Ironweed IMG_3690

Ironweed

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Ironweed with bee, a closer look.

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A day to remember as a fresh wind out of the north made for a easy paddle home.

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North end of Griggs Reservoir.

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The Beauty of Nature Next Door

I’ve always amazed myself by how I react to a beautiful scene if I’ve driven 1000 miles versus just a couple of miles near home. Why we humans have a harder time getting excited about things close at hand versus far away is probably due to a number a factors not the least of which is the emotional investment of a long journey. Nonetheless a few years back I decided to make a concerted effort to appreciate natural beauty close to home. What better place to begin this adventure than Griggs Reservoir less than two miles from our house and within the city limits of Columbus.  Below is a celebration of that beauty.

Click on the images to enlarge.

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Great Egret, Griggs

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North of Hayden Run, Griggs

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False channel, north end of Griggs

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Ironweed, Griggs

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Joe-Pye Weed, Griggs

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Indigo Bunting, Griggs

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Fragile Forktail Damselfly, Griggs

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Great Egret hunting, Griggs

island - Griggs

Wood Duck Island, Griggs

morning mist - Griggs

Morning Mist, Griggs

wildlife habitat - Griggs

Wildlife Habitat, Griggs

Damsel Fly Pairs 080513 Griggs

Damselfly Pairs, Griggs DMP

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Painted Turtle, Griggs

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Fallen Tree, Griggs

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Swamp Rose-Mallow, Griggs

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Button Bush, Griggs

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Kingfisher, Griggs

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Canoe, Griggs

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Windfall, Griggs

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Summer Walk at Prairie Oaks

It’s the 23rd of July and it feels like the middle of summer in central Ohio. The landscape usually starts to dry out by now with brown tones freely combining with greens. However, this year the rains have kept the browns at bay and small creeks have continued to flow. Dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies now catch our attention as bird songs and activity become less noticeable.  Wild flowers no longer populate the woods but instead the fields and meadows as sunlight has long since disappeared from under the forest canopy.

So if today’s walk is any example, below are some of things you might see in mid summer at Prairie Oaks.

Creek 1

Creek 1

C0mmon Whitetail (F)

C0mmon Whitetail (F)

Creek

Creek

Eastern Comma

Eastern Comma

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus 2

Fungus 2

Golden Winged Skimmer (F)

Golden Winged Skimmer (F)

Gray Comma

Gray Comma

Hackberry

Hackberry

Halloween Pennant

Halloween Pennant

Iron Weed

Ironweed

Pond

Pond

Queen Ann's Lace

Queen Ann’s Lace

Red Belly

Red bellied Woodpecker

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail

Summer Azure

Summer Azure

Tall Bellflower

Tall Bellflower

Teasel (Inv)

Teasel (Inv)

Widow Skimmer

Widow Skimmer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Sneeze Weed

Sneeze Weed

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Thanks for stopping by.

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