Posted on July 10, 2020
One of the wetlands in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, a park located not far from our home, is easy to pass right by as you drive into the west entrance. Unlike the grand vistas of Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon that overwhelm one’s senses making it hard to look away, wetlands speak with a quiet “voice”. A voice that can only be “heard” if one gets close, stops, listens, and looks. Usually at first little will be seen, but as one waits life will slowly announce it’s presence.
It was a hot steamy early July morning that, given the recent prolonged hot spell, possessed nothing to set it apart from the day before or the day after. With the warm temperatures the goal was to see what we could see during a relatively short visit.
The wetland is an oasis for dragonflies.
Bull Thistle adds color to the wetland environment.
With the prolonged hot spell and little rain the wetland’s days may be numbered which may pose a challenge for this painted turtle.
Milkweed flowers and leaves attract numerous insects not the least of witch is the Monarch Butterfly.
Perhaps to become a gray tree frog, a tadpole rests near the water’s surface.
A Green Heron lands in a tree overlooking the water. We wonder if he sees any tadpoles.
Nearby it was hard to ignore the striking color of a male American Goldfinch.
The Big Darby flows through the park not far from the wetland.
Water Willow, with it’s small but beautiful flower, is a very common aquatic/semi-aquatic plant in Ohio and can be found along most reservoirs and rivers. “Habitats include sandbars, gravel bars, or mud bars of rivers, low islands in rivers or ponds, shallow water or muddy banks of ponds and rivers, shallow water of rocky upland streams, shallow water or wet areas of swamps, and sandy marshes. Water Willow occurs in wetlands with either stagnant water or slow to moderate currents of water. The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bees. Other floral visitors include various wasps, flies, small butterflies, and skippers. These insects obtain primarily nectar from the flowers, although some bees collect pollen and some flies feed on pollen. Water Willow is one of the host plants for the caterpillars of Hydrangea sphinx moth which feed on the foliage. This plant is also a minor source of food for muskrats“. Ref: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info
We hope you enjoyed this brief early July visit to Prairie Oaks Metro Park. The wetland left us with the heightened realization that nature contains universes within universes, all interconnected, but each with a magic and beauty all their own.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, flowers in central ohio, Nature Photography, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Wild flowers Tagged: American Goldfinch, Blue Dasher, Blue-fronted Dancer, Bull Thistle, Cricket Frog, Green Heron, Lizard's Tail, Milkweed, Painted Turtle, Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Water Willow, White Wild Indigo, Widow Skimmer
Posted on August 16, 2018
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.
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.
Where there are butterflies and moths there are caterpillars and no one is better at spotting them than my wife.
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.
So what was I doing while my wife was taking so many excellent photographs in central Ohio? Fishing in Michigan of course.
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.
Category: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Birding in Ohio, butterflies, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir Park, Hiking in Ohio, Nature Photography, Scioto River, Wildflowers Tagged: Black Swallowtail, Brown-hooded Owlet, Buckeye, Canon 80D Tamrom 18-400, Cardinal Flower, Common Checkered Skipper, Cup Plant, Eastern Comma, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Eastern-tailed Blue, False Dragonhead, Fringed Loosestrife, Gray Hairstreak, Gray Headed Cone flowers, Great Blue Lobelia, Hackberry Emperor, Indigo Bunting, Ironweed, Lizard's Tail, Meadow Fritillary, Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Monarch Butterfly, New England Aster, Orange Dog, Orange Sulfur, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 Leica 100-400mm, Pearl Crescent, Peck's Skipper, Red-spotted Purple, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Silver Spotted Skipper, Summer Azure, Sycamore Tussock Caterpillar, Tall Bellflower, Tall Blue Lettuce, Trumpet Flower, Virginia Knotweed, Wingstem, Woodland Sunflower, Zabulon Skipper, Zebra Swallowtail
Posted on July 4, 2018
It promised to be another hot day, but with the sun just rising when we launched it was still pleasant, giving only a hint of the heat to come.
Considering the forecast our goal was to be off the water by noon. The wind hardly rippled the water’s surface as quiet paddle strokes moved the canoe toward an area of Alum Creek Reservoir that we hadn’t explored in a while. Two days earlier during an early morning fishing trip I had surprised a Bald Eagle in a tall tree at waters edge. Now with my wife along to handle photography from the bow, I was hoping we would see, and perhaps photograph, some equally interesting things as we explored the coves along our route. For those new to this blog, we love to paddle and to eliminate the need to shuttle cars we usually paddle reservoirs, the more convoluted the better, to maximize time in the canoe.
No matter how one feels about damming up rivers to create reservoirs, in the case of Alum Creek Reservoir it did result a wonderful place to explore containing a rich variety of wildlife. Unlike the often cottage lined predictable shorelines of spring fed glacial lakes in northern states like Michigan, the many small ravines that followed slopes down to the creek resulting in an almost endless number of coves to explore with the coming of the reservoir. In addition, because the reservoir is surrounded by parkland there are virtually no buildings or homes along it’s shore.
With rainfall this year about six inches above normal giving rise to higher water levels, the lush shoreline vegetation reached right down to waters edge and at times gave the feeling of paddling through a jungle.
As nature photographers know, what one sees and what one has a chance to photograph are seldom the same. Particularly when in a canoe which has it’s own stability, speed, and mobility constraints. It turns out that at the very north end of our route we saw a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. The first one we’ve ever seen in Ohio. A little later a pair of very wary Great Horned Owls were seen. The surprised heron spotted us just as we rounded a tight bend in what had become a narrow snag infested creek. It flew before we could react. The outcome was similar for the owls. They were perched high in a tree canopy partially obscured by low lying brush and saw us coming despite our best efforts, moving a little further away each time we tried to get closer.
But there are always other things to marvel at.
As we paddled along the shore we were often overwhelmed by the aroma of wild roses.
Entering some coves small, noisy, and mostly invisible birds were everywhere.
Along one stretch of open rocky shore a group of sandpipers, always just a little ahead of us, hurried as we approached.
On this particular day the turtles were a little more cooperative than the birds.
If you travel north to Michigan with it’s colder clearer lakes and streams you typically don’t see as many egrets and herons but in Ohio they are very common. I could be wrong but I’ve often thought it’s because the rough fish (catfish, suckers, carp, shad, etc.) that call Ohio’s often turbid waters home are just easier to catch.
Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes persistence, and yes it’s true knowledge and skill do come into play, but if you hike a trail or paddle a lake often enough you will see new and fascinating things.
In the woods or by a meadow, stream, or lake on any given day, even if nothing new is seen, you will at least return having allowed yourself to be there for a time, in the still freshness of the early morning with the call of the Wood Thrush, or later to the sound of wind as it dances with leaves, breathing air with a hint of wild rose.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Alum Creek Reservoir, Birding in Ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Nature Photography, Ohio Nature Tagged: Canon 80D Tamrom 18-400, Eastern Amberwing, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Lizard's Tail, Map Turtle, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 Leica 100-400mm, Slaty Skimmer, Spiny Soft Shell Turtle, Spotted Sandpiper, Wild Rose
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