August Rain and Mushrooms

Recently, after several wet days, we decided to take a drive to one of our favorite central Ohio hiking destinations, Clear Creek Metro Park. It’s a park that many frequent when they’re getting in shape for more exotic destinations like the Appalachian Tail or Rocky Mountain National Park. The tails are that challenging.  In our case it was more about seeing mushrooms that we wouldn’t find in parks closer to home, but a beautiful rugged trial lined with ferns that winds its way through old growth Hemlock and oak with a trailhead sign that says something like, “Caution, unimproved trail, proceed at your own risk”, is always a plus. Being located at the southern edge of the last glacier’s advance, on land that has for the most part never been disturbed by farming, logging, or other human activities, has a lot to do with the parks beauty. To optimize our chance of seeing mushrooms we decided to use the Creekside Meadows Trail to access the Fern/Hemlock trail loop. Certainly not the longest hike in the park but given our propensity to stop a look at things it made for a good day’s outing.

Park Trail Map

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Just a short note about the cameras used during the hike. We consider ourselves nature lovers who enjoy capturing the beauty of what we see. Often our outings involve a canoe or long hikes over relatively rugged terrain. For this reason hauling a lot of equipment may not be possible or may take away from the experience of “being” in nature. Recently I’ve been experimenting with a Canon 80D Tamron 18-400 mm combo while my wife continues to rely on a Panasonic FZ200 superzoom for many of her insect and fungi shots. Overall I’m happy with the performance of the DSLR combo and it’s potential for more creative control. However, in the sunny day darkness of Clear Creek’s deep woods, with auto ISO limited to 3200, handheld shots were chancy at best and mostly disappointing. A tripod would have resolved the problem but toting it around as well as setting it up for most shots would have changed the flavor of the hike. On the other hand the FZ200 with its fast 2.8 lens, and auto ISO limited to 800, much more consistently provided usable pictures without the use of a tripod. Something that is good to know because while there is no right or wrong when it come to how we pursue photography it is important to ask yourself what it is you are trying to get from an experience before investing in equipment.

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Chanterelles:

Yellow-footed Chanterelle

Chanterelle, (Donna).

Chanterelle, (Donna).

White Chanterelle

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White Phlox

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Shelf like mushrooms:

Turkeytail, (Donna).

Another look.

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Fall Phlox

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Boletes:

Shaggy-stalked Bolete, (Donna)

Shaggy-stalked Bolete another example.

Two-colored Bolete, (Donna).

King Bolete

Unidentified bolete.

Unidentified bolete

Russula, (Donna).

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A small, yet to be identified, wildflower.

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Other mushrooms:

Destroying Angel, not a good selection for the dinner table!

The fascinating underside of a free gill mushroom, (Donna).

Yellow Tuning Fork

Orange Mycena

Very large emerging free gill mushroom

Further along.

.   .   .  still further.

Unidentified small mushrooms.

Clustered Coral

An unidentified veiled mushroom.

Appears to be a more mature example of the above mushroom.

Unidentified veiled mushroom.

Very tiny unidentified mushrooms

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Pinesap, a parasitic plant classified as a wildflower.

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Along the Creekside Meadows Trail near the end of our day a hiking companion spotted this tiny Ring-necked Snake. The first one we’ve ever seen during our outings.

Ring-necked Snake, (Donna).

Another look, (Donna).

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Finally, I must admit that we are on the steep part of the learning curve when it comes to mushrooms. Using the guides we have available a frustrating number remain unidentified.  Perhaps that is a good thing in the world of mushrooms because if you wrongly identify a mushroom it could be hazardous to your health!

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Thanks for stopping by.

Late Summer at Prairie Oaks

The last few days we’ve spent some time at Prairie Oaks Metro Park looking for early migrating warblers that are now making their way south through central Ohio.  We’ve heard them, even seen them, but their constant movement and the leaf cover have foiled most attempts at pictures. However, as is usually the case, there were plenty of other things that capture our imagination.  The fact is, it’s also a great time of the year for insects, and with recent rains that includes the biting kind, the price of admission.

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P1050012

Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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As we walked, we couldn’t help but notice the abundance of wildflowers.

Yellow flowers Bouquet 1 best 1 090115 Prairie Oaks cp1

Jerusalem Artichoke, (also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour), is a sunflower native to eastern North America. Cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable tasting something like an artichoke.

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Virgin’s Bower has an attractive flower,

Virgin's Bower IMG_9100a

Virgin’s Bower

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.   .   .   but it’s appearance after it goes to seed may be more fascinating.

Virgin's Bower gone to seed 083015 Prairie Oaks cp1

Virgin’s Bower gone to seed, (Donna)

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P1050017

Great Blue Lobelia

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P1040998 (2)

Evening Primrose

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IMG_9099

Daisies

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A wooded trail offered the opportunity to see fungi.

P1050015

Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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.   .   .   and it’s not long before some is seen.

Wood Ear 2 closer 1 083015 Prairie Oaks cp1

Wood Ear, (Donna)

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Unidentified Fungi P1160058

A type of polypore, (Donna)

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Orange Mycena P1160066

Orange Mycena, (Donna)

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Along the park’s meadows we were fortunate to see a few butterflies, Monarchs and a few other suspects.

P1050033use

Viceroy

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P1160056

A small tussock moth caterpillar levitates.

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Monarch (female) IMG_9103 (2)

Female Monarch

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Black Swallowtail IMG_9169use

Black Swallowtail

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Common Wood-nymph IMG_9110

Common Wood-nymph

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The water’s edge of a park pond is home to frogs and turtles.

P1050030

Eastern (Northern) Cricket Frog, is one of North America’s smallest vertebrates, 0.75–1.50 in long. diet is small insects, including mosquitos. They are preyed upon by birds, fish, and other frogs. To escape predators, they are capable of leaping up to 3 feet in a single jump and are excellent swimmers. (from Wikipedia)

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Red-eared Slider IMG_9155 (2)

Red-eared Slider. The box turtle shaped shell is interesting for an animal that spends much of it’s time in the water.

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IMG_9184

Painted Turtle reflection.

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Along with being excellent frog and turtle habitat, it’s a great place to see dragonflies.

P1040995

A pond at Prairie Oaks.

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Widow Skimmer P1050025

Widow Skimmer

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P1050035

Female Eastern Pondhawk.

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Haloween Pennant P1160143

Halloween Pennant, (Donna).

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Halloween Pennants IMG_9149 (2)

Halloween Pennants mating.

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Halloween Pennants IMG_9131 (2)

Three’s a crowd.

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Common Whitetail 2 closer better 1 090115 Prairie Oaks csb1

Common Whitetail, (Donna)

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Not far from the dragonflies .   .   .

Spider grande 2 back view 1 090115 Prairie Oaks cp1

Garden Spider, (Donna)

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P1040994

Garden Spider, (underside)

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P1050014

Another view of the Big Darby as it runs through Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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A few birds that managed not to elude the camera’s lens.

IMG_9203 (2)

Immature House Finch

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IMG_9177cuse (2)

Red-headed Woodpecker A rare sighting but a little too far away for a great picture.

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Red-headed Woodpecker 2 closer 1 090115 Prairie Oaks cp1

Another view, (Donna)

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IMG_9196 (2)

Ground squirrels beware! Across a park meadow a Red-tailed Hawk surveys it’s realm.

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Bay-breasted Warbler IMG_9129 (2)

Bay-breasted Warbler

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Just one more look at the river.

P1050008use

The Big Darby

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Thanks for stopping by.

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