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.

Spring Wildflowers Along The Darby

Even for Ohio it’s been an unusually fitful spring, with a warm sunny day followed by one that is cool cloudy and blustery with maybe a little rain or light snow thrown in for good measure. On a recent sunny day we decided to check out the wildflowers along a “new to us” trail that is accessed off Gardner Rd. in Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. We were not disappointed as we walked through a wonderful arboretum of nature’s spring.

.

Phlox, Big Darby Creek Metro Park.

The subtle beauty of Large Flowered Bellwort. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Toadshade Trillium as a buttercup competes for our interest, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A Spring Beauty gets pollenated, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Jacobs Ladder, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Flowering tree, (Donna).

Large-flower Trillium, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Large-flowered Bellwort, Big Darby Creek Metro Park.

White Trout Lilies, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A beautiful example of a Toadshade Trillium, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A shaft of light illuminates the beauty of a White Trout Lily, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A Spring Azure visits flowering Phlox, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Flowering cherry, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Very blue Spring Beauties, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Virginia Bluebells were very common, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Hispid Buttercup, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Purple Cress, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Large Flowered Trillium, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

With an open forest canopy this trout lily celebrates the warm spring sun, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

.

Even with wildflowers to enchant it’s difficult not to notice other things.

In the midst of their nest building activities Blue Jays are hard to ignore, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A Chipping Sparrow with it’s beautiful rufus crown catches our eye, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Feathers sparkling in the sun a Starling investigates a nesting cavity, Griggs Reservoir Park.

This time of year along roadside ditches, rivers, and lakes Red-winged Blackbirds are everywhere, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Less noticeable than their male counterpart the female Red-winged Blackbirds have arrived in central Ohio, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

They seemed to be getting along just fine .   .   .

Tree Swallows, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

and then .   .   .

Just what they were communicating remains a mystery, (Donna).

.

The Yellow-rumped warblers continue to be a common site at Griggs Reservoir Park.

Female Yellow-rumped Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Kingbird, our first sighting of the year at Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A Palm Warbler along the shore of Griggs Reservoir.

Another look.

.

For nature lovers in central Ohio that have never visited Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, do so, this quietist of the Columbus metro area metro parks is one of our favorites. In just a few days we’ve seen a noticeable increase in the green of the forest canopy so the days of spring wildflowers are fleeting. In the last few days there have been reports of  an increase of warbler migrants moving though the area so in the near term we will not run out of things to enchant.

.

Thanks for stopped by.

.

Emergent Buckeye leaves.

Clifton Gorge Celebrates Spring

A couple of times a year, usually in the spring and fall we get together with friends for a hike from Clifton to Yellow Springs and back. Yellow Springs turns out to be a great place for lunch with a number of excellent small restaurants and delis. The hike wanders through Clifton Gorge Nature PreserveJohn Bryan State Park, and finally Glen Helen Nature Preserve allowing us to enjoy a truly unique Ohio landscape. In the spring the quantity and diversity of wildflowers is truly amazing. The hike usually adds up to about ten miles so it necessitates compromises in the camera equipment we use. No heavy DSLR bird cameras here.  However, should you choose to bring more serious equipment or just not feel up to a long hike, there are many shorter options that still allow one to enjoy the natural beauty.

.

Leaving Clifton the hike starts out overlooking a narrow stretch of the Little Miami River.

Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve

In the spring numerous small streams feed the Little Miami.

By no means the narrowest portion of the gorge it does give one an idea of what it is like.

.

Continuing to follow the river it wasn’t long before we saw our first trillium.

Large-flowered Trillium with a hint of pink.

A nice group.

They covered the hillside, Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve.

.

In the mix there were other trilliums to enjoy.

Toadshade Trillium

Another view, (Donna).

Drooping Trillium. Also known as Bent Trillium.

Drooping Trillium

.

There were also “non-flower” things to see.

Dryad’s Saddle

This Redback salamander was crossing the road so we decided to place him in a safer location. This salamander can actually be one of two colors: “redback” or “leadback.” In its redback phase it has a reddish stripe that runs down its back from the base of its head to the tail. Found throughout Ohio, it is most often seen in early spring beneath rocks and logs, especially in floodplains. It is entirely land-dwelling and usually will not go to water even to breed. Ref: ODNR.

Morel Mushroom, (Donna).

.

As we made our way downstream the river started to widen.

The Little Miami

.

.   .   .  and then pool before becoming a river once again.

Blue Hole

.

There was never a place where we couldn’t see a wildflower.

Virginia Bluebells

Bloodroot

Large-flowered Bellwort was everywhere.

A closer look.

.

There wasn’t always a bridge when we needed one. Fortunately on this particular day the river level wasn’t too high.

In John Bryant SP.

Green was still mostly restricted to the forest floor, Glen Helen Nature Preserve.

View from the bridge over the falls on Yellow Springs Creek, Glen Helen Nature Preserve.

A stream feeds Yellow Springs Creek.

.

Just when you thought you’ve seen all the flowers   .   .   .

Rue Anemone, (Donna)

Squirrel Corn, It’s roots are yellow tubers that somewhat resemble kernals of corn. This fact, along with squirrels digging it up for food, gave rise to the name. (taken from Wildflowers of Ohio by Robert L Henn)

Squirrel Corn, a closer look, (Donna).

Wild Ginger, (Donna). The root stalks have a ginger scent and taste. American settlers boiled the root stalks with sugar to make candy. Not the same as the true Ginger spice which is derived from a tropical plant. (taken from Wildflowers of Ohio -Robert L. Henn

Blue Phlox or Wild Sweet William, (Donna).

Wild Geranium was just coming along! Also known as Crane’s Bill. (Donna).

Golden Ragwort, (Donna).

Marsh Marigold, (Donna).

Yellow Trout Lilies, (Donna)

Surrounded by Chickweed the trout lilies peek through, (Donna).

Getting down and dirty.

Early Meadow Rue, (Donna).

Hepatica, (Donna).

Dwarf Larkspur

Dwarf Larkspur

How many different wildflowers can you spot in this photo?

Spring Beauty, (Donna).

.

Sometimes we’re left feeling as though life’s magic is slipping away and there are no longer any miracles to celebrate. That’s when we might want to consider taking a walk in the spring woods.

 

Rue Anemone stands as a lone sentinel over the Little Miami.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

XXX

.

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

Spring Takes Flight at Prairie Oaks

We hadn’t been to Prairie Oaks for a while so we thought we’d head over to what is one of Columbus’s nicer metro parks and see how spring was progressing.  The day was breezy and cool so we weren’t sure what we’d find. Often the birds stay put on such days making locating them a challenge. But the sun did pop through the clouds periodically, and when it did, the birds, as if on cue, became more active. On this day, as often seems to be the case, the most magical event happened near the end of our adventure just as we arriving back at the parking lot after five miles of walking, looking. and then walking some more.

.

P1020046use

A spring creek flows through the park on it’s way to the river.

 .

We hadn’t gone very far when a few birds appeared to greet us.

IMG_7958use

White-throated Sparrow

IMG_7964use (2)

A Tree Swallow takes a break.

IMG_7974use (2)

A Yellow-throated Warbler not cooperating for the photographer.

 .

Further on my wife noticed some Dryad’s saddle. The time of year and recent rains all had contributed to a bumper crop.

Pheasant back 10 Trio underneath best 2 Prairie Oaks   csb1 (2)

Dryad’s Saddle, (Donna)

P1020108use

Dryad’s Saddle. The one at the top is just emerging.

Pheasant Back 4 under and over close-up 1 042715 Prairie   Oaks cp1 (2)

In full bloom, (Donna)

 .

While it’s just a few miles from Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, the diversity of spring wildflowers at Prairie Oaks is not as great, but the flowers are beautiful just the same.

P1020126use

Golden Ragwort

P1020124use

Large-flowered Bellwort

P1020119use

Wild Geranium

P1020117use

Spring Beauty

P1020055use

Toadshade Trillium

IMG_8023use

Toadshade Trillium

IMG_8021

It was an extensive patch.

 .

Where there are wildflower you can count on seeing other things.

Spring Azure 9 wings closed best 1 042715 Prairie Oaks   cp1 (2)

A tiny Spring Azure, (Donna)

Spring Azure 5 close-up on violet 1 042715 Prairie Oaks   cp1

As if to mimic the flower. A great shot by my wife of a butterfly that’s very difficult to get a photo of with wings open. Perhaps the warm sun and cool air helped.

P1020102use

A Bumble Bee heads for Virginia Bluebells.

P1020101use

On final approach

P1020100use

Flaps down!

P1020064use

Touchdown!

     .

As we continued our exploration we were fortunate to see a few of our other feathered friends.

IMG_7988use (2)

Eastern Towhee

IMG_8011use

Yellow Warbler

IMG_8006

Take two. Okay, I couldn’t help it. The bird was so cute!

 .

The Big Darby flows through Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

P1020109use

During high water the soil is scoured from around the roots of this Sycamore tree.

P1020104

The Big Darby.

  .

Many of the turtles we come across seem to have a very acute awareness of their surroundings making them deceptively hard to photograph. They usually slide off the log and disappear under the water’s surface just as we get ready to click the shutter. But not this time.

IMG_8024use

Red Eared Slider

IMG_8028use (2)

Painted Turtle

Turtles Trio on log 042715 Prairie Oaks cp1 (2)

The group, (Donna)

 .

Spring nurseries for frogs and other living things surrounded by luminescent green.

P1020051

My wife checks out one of a number of spring nurseries.

P1020106

Frog heaven.

 .

At the end of our walk, not a hundred yards from our car, we observed a group of Killdeer (males?)  making quite a fuss.

IMG_8036use

A meeting of the Killdeer.

.

The discussion was loud and went on for quite awhile.

IMG_8047use

One seems to have made his point and wants to move on.

.

.   .   .   but then as if tired of the their earth bound or perhaps just to celebrate the day,

.   .   .  they took flight.

Kildeer group 9 in flight best ever 1 042715 Prairie Oaks   cp1

Killdeer in flight, (Donna)

Kildeer Group 9 in flight best 2 042715 Prairie Oaks   cp1

Revealing a beauty not seen until they were in the air. (Donna).

IMG_8064use

.   .   .   as a straggler tries to catch up.

 .

Thanks for stopping by.

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.

 

 

The Trilliums Were Everywhere

It was a beautiful spring day so, along with some of our hiking buddies, we decided to celebrate with a hike to Yellow Springs by way of  Clifton Gorge and John Bryan State Park. Wildflowers were everywhere, including Virginia Bluebells, Jack in The Pulpit, Toadshade Trillium, and Dutchman’s Breeches but we were most impressed by the Large Flowered Trilliums. The area is one of Ohio’s most beautiful and a great place for spring wildflowers. If you have any interest don’t hesitate, they won’t be around long.

click on the images for a better view

As we started down the trail it was apparent that things were just starting to green up.

IMG_3023

Overlooking the Little Miami River

IMG_2994b

Trail through Clifton Gorge

But the view from a distance was deceiving. The first flowers seen were Dutchman’s Breeches. On this day they were more common than the trilliums.

IMG_3006

Dutchman’s Breeches

IMG_3008

Dutchman’s Breeches close-up.

Further on we noticed Virginia Bluebells. They ended up giving the trilliums a run for their money.

IMG_3019

Virginia Bluebells

A stream along the trail was running cold and clear.

IMG_3039

John Bryan State Park

 

Virginia Waterleaf and Toadshade Trillium also made a guest appearance.

IMG_3021

Virginia Waterleaf with Toadshade Trillium

IMG_3053 (2)

Toadshade Trilium

Trout Lillys were making a good case for flower of the day.

IMG_3054

Trout Lilly

But who invited the Wild Ginger?

IMG_3033

Wild Ginger

There were also cameos by some other plants and flowers. Not all of which were identified.

IMG_3046

Any guesses?

Large-flowered Bellwort closer 041814 Clifton Gorge cp1

Large-flowered Bellwort, (Donna)

IMG_3024

Wild Leeks (Ramps)

IMG_3031a

Jack in The Pulpit

 

Rue Anemone 2 041814 Clifton Gorge cp1

Rue Anemone, (Donna)

IMG_3010

Another one we haven’t identified yet.

IMG_3036

Marsh Marigolds

But nothing compared with the Large Flowered Trillium for sheer wow!

IMG_3000

Large Flowered Trilliums

IMG_3002

Trilliums everywhere!

IMG_3017

Large Flowered Trillium

Finally after all the excitement it was time for a rest.

IMG_3037

A interesting tree along the trail.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

It All Seems To Happen At Once

It wasn’t that many days ago that very little seem to be changing. The grayish brown winter landscape in central Ohio was tenacious this year. Now, from one day to the next, the landscape looks markedly different. Now, warblers pass through on their northern migration. Yellow Tiger Swallowtail and Mourning Cloak butterflies seem to defy the cold morning air taking flight long before you would expect. Trees with buds one day magically have leaves the next. Spring wildflowers, such as Dutchman’s Breeches and Toadshade Trillium, are in a race with tree buds in the canopy overhead. The buds will soon be leaves bringing an end to the spring wildflower celebration for another year. Click on images for a better look.

Rue Anemone

Rue Anemone

Louisiana Waterthrush

Louisiana Waterthrush

Fiddle Head

Fiddle Head

 

Large Flowered Bell Wort

Large Flowered Bell Wort

Blue Bells, Donna

Blue Bells, Donna

IMG_2284

Phlox

Phlox

IMG_2249

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

New Leaves

New Leaves

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman’s Breeches

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

Robin on Nest

Robin on Nest

Toadshade Trillium

Toadshade Trillium

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty

Rufous Sided Towhee

Rufous Sided Towhee

Yellow Corydalis, Donna

Yellow Corydalis, Donna

Smooth Solomon's Seal, Donna

Smooth Solomon’s Seal, Donna

Long-spurred Violet, Donna

Long-spurred Violet, Donna

Early Saxifrage, Donna

Early Saxifrage, Donna

Redstart

Redstart

Black & White Warbler

Black & White Warbler

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

Yellow Throated Warbler

Yellow Throated Warbler

Northern Parula

Northern Parula

.

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!