A First Sighting

Each year it’s a happy time when we again realize that while increased leaf cover and more secretive nesting behavior may make birds harder to observe other beautiful and fascinating things have taken their place. The other things that enchant, as we explore area parks, are the butterflies and dragonflies.

These creatures are a lot like small birds in the sense that you must get close up and personal in order to really appreciate them. At a distance they look like just another LBFI. For starters an essential tool is a pair of close focus binoculars, minimum focus distance of 6 – 7 ft. If you are like me that may soon give way to the desire to photograph them either as an aid to identification or for the record. That’s when you really start to notice how fascinating and beautiful they are. The next thing you may notice is their behavior like the pond surface tapping of a female dragonfly depositing eggs or the unique flight patterns of various butterflies. The more you observe and learn the more enchanting it all becomes.

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Dragonfly heaven, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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That’s not to say that we’ve given up on the birds. During recent insect outing I was hoping for a good shot of an Indigo Bunting but the one seen was just a little too far away.

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Again too far away for a good picture but it is an Indigo Bunting.

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A few other birds were a little closer.

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A Brown Thrasher plays hide and seek in the leaf cover.

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Certainly not trying to hide, this singing Protonotary Warbler was amazing hard to find but once spotted hard to ignore. It’s cavity nest wasn’t far from this perch.

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Gradually as we work our way through June the bulk of nature’s activity increasingly revolves around the insects. A major menu item for many of the now stealthier birds, it’s impossible to ignore them while exploring areas such as Darby Bend Lakes in Prairie Oaks Metro Park. On a recent outing dragonflies and damselflies seemed to be everywhere and was made all the more exciting when a dragonfly that my wife spotted turned out to be the first recorded sighting in central Ohio!

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Double-striped Bluet, (Donna).

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Smaller than a Halloween Pennant a beautiful Calico Pennant poses for the camera.

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Damselflies often are seen flying among the leaves of low lying bushes making them easy prey for the orb weaver spider.

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Female Blue-ringed Dancer

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Damselflies can be friendly.

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Powdered Dancer

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Blue-fronted Dancer.

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Male Ebony Jewelwing, (Donna).

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Halloween Pennant

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Mating Halloween Pennants.

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Female Widow Skimmer

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A male Widow Skimmer dining on what appears to be a damselfly.

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Male Eastern Pondhawk

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One of the larger but very common dragonflies this female Eastern Pondhawk dines on a small insect, (Donna).

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Fawn Darner

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The Swift Setwing is one of the larger dragonflies and this sighting was the first recorded in central Ohio. Over the past few years it has slowly been working it’s way north perhaps due to such factors as global warming, (Donna)

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Butterfly Weed

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And as if the dragonflies weren’t enough during the past few weeks we’ve been treated to sightings of an amazing variety of other insects. So much so, that at times it was a bit overwhelming!

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The medium size Eastern Comma Butterfly.

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Eastern Comma another view, (Donna).

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The medium size Great Spangled Fritillary, (Donna).

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Another view of the Great Spangled Fritillary.

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Virginia Ctenucha Moth

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Red Admiral.

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On a warm day the medium size Hackberry Emperor often lands on exposed skin to take advantage of the goodies in ones perspiration.

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The beautiful marking on the underside of the Hackberry Emperor’s wings.

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Monarch Butterfly.

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A Monarch Butterfly shows the underside of it’s wings.

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As far as we can remember this is the first time we’ve seen a Delaware Skipper, (Donna).

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A very rare view of the top side of the very small female Eastern-tailed Blue Butterflies wings, (Donna).

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A very common medium sized Orange Sulfur Butterfly.

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Sometimes it’s hard to believe your eyes, such was the case a number of years ago when we saw our first hummingbird moth. We continue to be amazed.

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Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Donna

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Another view, (Donna).

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Pearl Crescent, a common, beautiful but smaller butterfly, (Donna).

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Duskywing, a fast flying smaller butterfly.

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The Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly is one of the larger skippers that at times we’ve observed to have an rather fearless attitude toward other flying insects. (Donna).

 

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A Hoverfly pollenates on a Black-eyed Susan.

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A very small long legged fly taxes the closeup capability of a Tamron 18-400 mm zoom.

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Recently not far from our house we were thrilled to see Michigan Lilies in bloom

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It’s always hard to know when to stop as there are always more pictures that could be part of the post based on their merit. However, realizing that the photographer is usually more excited about pictures taken than those looking at them I’ve decided to show some compassion and stop here. At the very least I hope this post inspire nature lovers to get out and take a closer look and find that which enchants.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Hey wait, what about me!

 

 

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Life In A Cemetary

It had been about a year since we visited Bigelow Cemetery State Nature Preserve and Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve , so we thought a road trip was in order to see what we might find in the way of insects and other wildlife. Last year we had seen a number of hummingbirds at Bigelow so we thought that might be the case again. Unlike Bigelow, which is a very small plot of native prairie, Big Darby Headwaters is a much larger area and one we have only begun to explore. Repeated visits throughout the year would be best to get to know and really appreciate these areas. We usually have to satisfy ourselves with less.

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The first thing one notices upon arriving at Bigelow is how small it is, only about one half acre.  The initial thought is that such a small area shouldn’t take long to explore. An hour and a half later we left and could have easily stayed longer if the Big Darby Headwaters had not beckoned. The number of living things in this small area compared to the surrounding farm field monoculture was mind boggling.

Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery Preserve.

Royal Catchfly, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

The preferred direction.

A male Red-winged Blackbird seemed concerned about our presence. Perhaps a nest was nearby. Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

Painted Lady butterflies were common at Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

Take 2.

Take 3.

The cemetery is old by Ohio standards.

Royal Catchfly, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

A Monarch Butterfly made up for the fact that no hummingbirds were seen, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

Donna takes aim on a wildflower, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

Gray Headed Cone Flowers and Royal Catchfly, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery.

White Campion (alien), Bigelow Pioneer Cemetary, (Donna).

Common Checkered Skipper, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery, (Donna).

Stink Bug nymph, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery, (Donna).

Familiar Bluet, Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery, (Donna).

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Having spent as much time as we thought we should at Bigelow, it was close to noon when we arrived at the Big Darby Headwaters. Usually not the best time of day to be out in nature.

A fair mount of habitat restoration was required to make the Big Darby Headwaters NP what it is today, (Donna).

The hiking trail in Big Darby Headwaters Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Calico Pennant Dragonfly, Big Darby Headwaters, (Donna).

A Meadow Fritillary is joined by some of it’s closest friends on Butterfly Weed, Big Darby Headwaters.

Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Big Darby Headwaters.

A curious Song Sparrow looks on, Big Darby Headwaters.

Michigan Lily, Big Darby Headwaters.

Halloween Pennant, Big Darby Headwaters, (Donna).

Tall Bellflower, Big Darby Headwaters, (Donna).

Stream, Big Darby Headwaters, (Donna).

Depford Pink, Big Darby Headwaters, (Donna).

Looking for a bird, Big Darby Headwaters.

Big Darby Headwaters, (Donna).

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Over the past few days there’s been no shortage of things to see closer to home.

A male Bluebird watches, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Royal River Cruiser, a new dragonfly for us! O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Take 2.

Yellow Jacket Hover Fly, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Four-toothed Mason Wasp on Rattlesnake Master Flower, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

 

Coneflowers, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

 

Banded Longhorn Flower Beetles, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Silver Spotted Skipper, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Female Eastern Pondhawk, Big Darby Headwaters.

Great Spangled Fritillary, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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

Eastern Amberwing, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Common Whitetail (F), Big Darby Headwaters.

Common Whitetail (M), O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

White Tail Deer, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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Even in our backyard .   .   .

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

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I continue to think about the diversity and abundance of life at Bigelow. It may be reasonable to expect that if such places were more numerous or extensive such diversity and abundance might not be as noticeable as the creatures observed there would have more options. However, forgetting for a moment the pollution of the air and water due to human activities, it’s still hard not to wonder about the long term sustainability of the planet when so much acreage has been, and continues to be, developed. Once developed it often becomes just another barren monoculture which at best grows crops that feed us or worse becomes another woods or meadow roofed over for industry, commerce, or shelter, or paved over so that we can drive or park our cars. While more far-reaching solutions are undoubtedly necessary, in the short term planting more wildflowers in lieu of maintaining an extensive lawn might be worth our consideration.

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As always 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.

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