Passing Through

In central Ohio it’s not quite autumn but with daylight too quickly losing the battle to the setting sun it would be hard, even on a warm day, to mistake it for summer. Plants, animals, insects, weather, and daylight are all in all in a state of flux. It’s as though we’re passing through on our way to somewhere else, to a place that’s easier to put a label on. It’s hard to bring oneself to the realization that present forms of life are dying but such an awareness is inescapable as one walks through the woods. It is a season of paradox as late summer and fall wildflowers arrive doing their best to announce the autumnal fireworks to follow.

Leaf on stream bed.

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Caterpillars active just a few weeks ago have disappeared in preparation to reintroduce themselves next year in a new perhaps more beautiful form. Highlighted by the early morning dew, spider webs are everywhere often to the detriment of passing grasshoppers which seem more plentiful now. Other insects continue to make their daily rounds without the urgency of the squirrels which all seem to have a nut in their mouth. An occasional migrating warbler is seen making its way south while blue jays and crows are noticed more often just passing through while others have undoubtedly taken up residence for the winter.

Nodding Bur-Marigold.

Tree Swallows, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

A very fresh Monarch, (Donna).

Goldenrod, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Killdeer, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

A slightly tattered Viceroy, (Donna).

A fresher Viceroy.

Morning Glory, (Donna).

Question Mark, (Donna).

A Banded Garden Spider gift wraps it’s prey, (Donna).

New England Aster.

Bay-breasted Warbler, (Donna).

Sunflower

A male Widow Skimmer, an easy to photograph and fairly common dragonfly.

A hint of autumn along Big Darby Creek.

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Unlike summer, with days that change little from one to the next, it’s a time of year that assigns value to what we have and blesses us with a feeling of gratitude for what soon will be lost.

Rain and reflections.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

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 Acadia Meditation

Every once in awhile we head off with friends to do some hiking. This year it was Acadia National Park in Maine. While there, our base of operation was Moseley Cottage Inn & Town Motel in Bar Harbor located easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and the harbor. We used the excellent free (donation requested) shuttle bus service to get around the island and access the trails.

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September is a great time to visit the coast of Maine with clearer cooler days and little fog. This is particularly important when hiking the rocky hills of Acadia which offer many unobstructed views of Frenchman’s Bay and the surrounding area.

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ROCK

The first thing that impresses one is the rock. It’s some of the very oldest on the planet. It’s weathered surface, in various forms, having stood exposed to the elements since the last ice age, is everywhere. In fact the last ice age is why the area with it’s barren hills, deep clear lakes, islands, and rugged coastline looks the way it does.

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Looking towards Frenchman’s Bay, Acadia National Park.

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Rocky coast,  Wonderland Trail.

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On the Cadillac Mt South Ridge Trail, Acadia Natl. Park.

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Looking down at The Bowl from the Champlain Mt trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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The Bowl, Acadia Natl Park.

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Glacial erratic’s, Acadia Natl Park.

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In the distance Sand Beach and Great Head, Acadia Natl Park.

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A Glacial erratic seemingly dwarfs a large cruise ship as it leaves Bar Harbor.

Hiking on the Maine Coast rock blurs one’s concept of time. In “rock years” the span of my life was of no more consequence than my next step. The rock doesn’t care. For a time while on the trail, I tried to fathom it all, walking mindfully, no longer “falling” from one foot to the other, but slower, placing each step, feeling muscles work, attention to each breath, balance, and control, giving thanks for this moment in time and place.

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Sculpture in rock, high above Frenchman’s Bay, Acadia Natl Park.

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Cruise ship, Bar Harbor, Acadia Natl Park.

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WILDFLOWERS

But there is a lot more than rocks and one of the first things noticed walking one of the park’s many excellent trails, are the wildflowers. However, before a hike is undertaken, care should be used in the selection because the level of difficulty ranges from very easy to extremely difficult.

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White Rattlesnake Root, thanks much to Allen of “New Hampshire Garden Solutions” for the ID, (Donna)

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Hairy White Oldfield Aster? (Donna)

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New England Asters, (Donna)

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Partridge Berry, (Donna)

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New England Asters, another view, (Donna)

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Calico Asters, (Donna)

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High above Frenchman’s Bay a pool formed by a depression in the granite creates a home for Bog Cotton, Acadia Natl Park, (Donna)

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Bunch Berry, (Donna)

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Goldenrod and granite, Acadia Natl Park.

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Rose Hip flower, Acadia Natl Park.

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Early fall color along the trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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LICHEN AND FUNGI

Looking a little closer, when not negotiating one of the steeper more challenging stretches, lichen and fungi were also seen.

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Graceful Bolete? (Donna)

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Hammered Shield Lichen? (Donna)

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Burnt Orange Bolete? (Donna)

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Separating Trich? (Donna)

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Hammered Shield Lichen?

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Lichen rock art.

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TIDE POOLS

Some trails such as Wonderland and Ship Harbor took us right along the rocky coast with tide pools to explore.

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Tide pool 1, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Tide pool 2, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Seaweed on Sand Beach, Acadia Natl Park, (Donna)

 

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Tide pool 3, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Exploring a tide pool, Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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A Hermit Crab makes a tide pool home, Acadia Natl Park, (Donna)

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BIRDS

Hiking with friends was the primary objective but near the ocean we were fortunate to see a few birds.

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Wilson’s Plover, (Donna)

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Wilson’s Plover with Semipalmated Sandpiper, (Donna)

 

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Common Eiders, (Donna)

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Immature Black Guillemot, (Donna)

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Gull eating a crustacean.

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Fish Crows wait to help out.

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Immature Common Loon, (Donna)

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Shadow Darner, a first for Donna, Cadillac Mt South Ridge Trail, Acadia Natl. Park.

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JORDAN POND

A hike around Jordan Pond was also on the week’s menu or was it the popovers at Jordan Pond House and then the hike? I’ll never tell.

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Jordan Pond through the trees, Acadia Natl park.

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Jordan pond trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Crystal clear water, Jordan Pond, Acadia Natl Park.

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Pausing for a moment at waters edge we listened and looked. The sun did it’s best to warm the late summer day as a cool lake breeze rustled the overhead leaves. The sound of gentle waves playing against the shore as patterns of light danced on the rocks below.

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Waves and patterns of light, Jordan Pond, Acadia Natl Park.

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The Bubbles, Jordan Pond, Acadia Natl Park.

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LOCAL AMBIANCE

While in Maine it is hard to avoid the temptation to capture the local ambiance. This trip was no acceptation.

 

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Mirror, Northeast Harbor.

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Margaret Todd, Bar Harbor.

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Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia Natl Park.

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Heading out, off Bass Harbor Head.

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Lobster boat, Bar Harbor.

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Evening, Bar Harbor

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Distant hills, Bar Harbor.

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It’s probably best to consider this post as just the barest of appetizers. However, if you’ve never been to Maine or Acadia National Park, hopefully it has provided some encouragement to make the trip.

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The gang!

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

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