Looking For The “White-throated Sparrow”

In the back of our mind during outings over the past week has been the thought that we might see the season’s first White-throated Sparrow. For us, along with the arrival of the Dark-eyed Junco, this small bird marks the passing of the season and the certain coming of winter. During breeding, they are found further north in either coniferous or deciduous forests up to tree line in the U.S. and across Canada. During migration and during the winter months central Ohio is just one location they call home.

Autumn reflection.

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Recently, walking along the Scioto River looking for White-throated Sparrows, and perhaps a stray kinglet or two, we stumbled across some slightly larger birds.

Bald Eagles along the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir Dam are always a real treat to see.

Take 2.

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At river’s edge, almost right below the eagles, a young male White-tail deer relaxed. It was apparently not too concerned about the eagles.

White Tail Deer, (Donna).

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The next day, hoping for additional photos of the eagles that were now nowhere to be found, Golden-crowned Kinglets seemed to be everywhere  .   .   .

Golden-crowned Kinglet, along the Scioto River below the Griggs Reservoir Dam.

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.   .   .  along with a few of their close associates with the exception of “the sparrow”.

Male Downy woodpecker, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Male Bluebird, Griggs reservoir Park.

Yellow-rumped warblers continue to stick around enjoying the Poison Ivy Berries, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

“Must you take the picture when my mouths full and besides, I’m not a bird!” Red Squirrel, Griggs reservoir Park.

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A tree’s few remaining leaves seemingly slide a slippery slope to the ground.

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Wanting to check out a location not previously explored, we decided on Shale Hollow Park, one of Delaware County’s preservation parks. Blustery cold conditions made birding less than optimal, so while birds eluded us we did find something quiet different and no less interesting, concretions. Probably some of the best examples we’ve seen in central Ohio. For us it was proof once again that one should always be open to the wonder of the day.

For those that are curious, “A concretion is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. Concretions are often ovoid or spherical in shape. Concretions form within layers of sedimentary strata that have already been deposited. They usually form early in the burial history of the sediment, before the rest of the sediment is hardened into rock. This concretionary cement often makes the concretion harder and more resistant to weathering than the surrounding strata. Concretions have long been regarded as geological curiosities. Because of the variety of unusual shapes, sizes and compositions, concretions have in the past been interpreted to be dinosaur eggs,  animal and plant fossils, extraterrestrial debris or human artifacts.” (Wikipedia)

 

Concretion, Shale Hallow Park, (Donna).

Two concretions that appear to have seen better days.

A concretion that may have been spherical at on time.

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In addition to concretions, with the coming of  wetter weather, there have been other things to appreciate.

Disclaimer: Fungi identifications represent our best effort.

Turkey-tail on log, Shale Hollow Park, (Donna).

Rusty Polypore, (Donna).

Shaggy Mane, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Witches Butter with fruiting lichen, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Split-pore Polypore, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Emerging mushroom, Amanita muscaria var. guessowii, Shale Hollow Park.

Same as above but further along.

Pink polypore with lichen, (Donna).

Red leaf on Turkey Tail, Shale Hollow Park.

Radiating Phlebia on log, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wood Ear, Griggs Reservoir Park

Another view.

On a fallen branch a, almost too small to see, mushroom pops up through some lichen, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Late autumn sentinels along Griggs Reservoir.

The beautiful patterns of newly emerged Dryad’s Saddle, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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It’s often when least expected, near the end of a long hike, almost back to the car and too tired to care, that what we seek appears. Such was the case with the White-throated Sparrow.

White-throated Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 2.

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Some may wonder what the big deal is. Why is seeing a sparrow so meaningful? For many who spend time in nature the answer is simple; seeing a white-throated Sparrow brings expression to a sense of connectedness to a world much bigger than ourselves. We usually first hear and then see the sparrow and for the time it sees fit we are in its presence. It in turn acknowledges us in its own unique way. This small, seemingly fragile, creature has travelled perhaps a thousand miles and during this brief fleeting moment we are part of each other’s world. Next summer if we look, we will not find it. It will again be further north engaged in its own dance to the cycle of life. This wonder graces our lives with the appearance of the first spring wildflowers, the larger than life sound of spring peepers, the spring migration of the many too beautiful to imagine warblers, the sight and sound of a distant summer thunderstorm, the call of the loon on a northern lake, the color of leaves as a low autumn sun filters the branches, and the slow quiet descent of  winter’s first snowflakes.

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Concretion, Shale Hollow Park.

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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.

Autumn Contemplation

Most of the time it’s nice to have a central theme. However, for the most part, this post just meanders through early autumn and celebrates the time of year in some of our central Ohio parks. I continue to enjoy shooting a portion of my photos with a Sony A7, adapter, and legacy Canon FD lenses. It’s nice to have so much control over depth of field. My wife is ever on the lookout for things small, be it insects or details that charm in the fall foliage.

The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Monarchs continue to work their way south while a few late summer buckeyes, having made their way to central Ohio, enchant. Painted Ladies and Viceroys also continue to be seen. Are Painted Ladies more beautiful with wings closed or open?

Viceroy, (Donna)

Take 2.

Buckeye, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Take 2, (Donna).

Eastern-tailed Blue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Leaves continue to grace a long fallen Sycamore along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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There still may be time before the first hard frost results in an abrupt end to most of the current insect activity. Katydids and crickets that so willingly provide the late summer soundtrack for our outdoor adventures will fall silent. The purpose of their time here will emerge next spring and take up the charge as the dance of death and life continues. Meanwhile as autumn moves on we continue to enjoy their life.

Widow Skimmer, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Bees on Nodding Bur-marigold, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Male Eastern Pondhawk, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Black and Yellow Garden Spider, the bee managed to allude the spiders web, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Scarlet and Green Leaf Hopper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Long Horned Beetle, not sure which one, Griggs reservoir park, (Donna).

Grasshopper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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The Scioto River.

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Recently we were fascinated by an immature Red-tailed Hawk that posed to have it’s picture taken and then decided to fly into a nearby tree in an attempt to extract a meal from a squirrels nest. It did succeed in arousing the occupants but standing on top of the nest it was no match for them as they circled and sprang from branch to branch until they were out of harms way.

Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Come on out of there, I just went to play, honest!

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A hint of autumn, Griggs Reservoir.

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With the days now much shorter, other creatures seem to sense that colder weather is just around the corner as they enjoy the morning sun or in the case of the squirrels and chipmunks busy themselves collecting stores for winter.

Painted Turtle, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Chipmunk with acorn, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Red Squirrel, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Groundhog, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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A favorite tree.

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Asters and other late summer flowers now compete with leaves for the seasons beauty.

Neighbors

Evening Primrose, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The Scioto River pays tribute to autumn.

The river peeks through windblown leaves as they struggle to hang on, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In the autumn breeze milkweed seeds prepare to take flight, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Reflections.

Virginia Creeper, Griggs Reservoir.

Sunflowers, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Color along Griggs Reservoir.

Changing leaves, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sycamore bark, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Red, yellow, green, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Suspended color along the Scioto River.

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Rocks often washed by the river’s high water are now covered with the litter of trees.

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We often journey into nature equipped with expectations, perhaps it’s seeing a certain bird, insect, or wildflower, but the key to the magic may be to let go, allowing each day, each season, to speak in it’s own voice.

Autumn from the canoe, Griggs Reservoir.

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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.

An Almost Perfect Disguise!

Caterpillars can be hard to believe. In recent weeks my wife’s “eagle eye” has spotted one that certainly seems to confirm this. Along with interesting caterpillars there have been other August insects and wildflowers to fascinate. Each season offers up it’s own treasures.

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As an aside, my old Canon manual focus glass has found new life mounted on a Sony A7 body so I’ve enjoyed trying to capture a “sense of place” with the old lenses as we explore some of our local haunts.

Griggs Reservoir, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

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During a recent walk we entered the world of caterpillars when my wife noticed this interesting specimen.

The Black Swallowtail caterpillar shows off it’s horns while the picture gets photo bombed by a pair of very small mating moths. The horns are usually not evident but a slight tap on the it’s head brings them out, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

The Black Swallowtail butterfly:

Male Black Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Female Black Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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On another day as we walked along Griggs Reservoir, three almost identical “bird droppings” were spotted. Very suspicious!

Our suspicion was validated as we identified them as Giant Swallowtail caterpillars. (Donna).

A closer look, (Donna).

The Giant Swallowtail butterfly:

Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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The Monarch Butterfly caterpillars had a though act to follow after the “bird droppings”. However, this year it’s been exciting to see so many as well as the resultant butterflies. You know it’s a good year when you often hear, or say to your hiking companion, “There’s another Monarch!” Last year we saw very few.

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, Griggs Reservoir Park.

The Monarch butterfly:

Monarch Butterfly, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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The Big Darby has been running low but clear. A sign of late summer in Ohio.

The Big Darby, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

For Ohio the water was very clear in the Big Darby but it’s shallow depth and silt covered bottom didn’t show it off, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

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During a lunch break along Alum Creek Reservoir last week, a number of wasps were more than happy to provide free entertainment!

Katydid Wasp, (Sphex nudus) with a stunned katydid nymph, Alum Creek State Park, (Donna).

The Katydid Wasp proceeds to drag it’s pray into a pre dug hole to serve as a food source for it’s larvae when they hatch, (Donna).

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Two days ago, as we made our way along one of our area metro park’s excellent trails, I mentioned to my wife that there appeared to be two humming birds around some thistle half way across the meadow. Before I realized what had happened she disappeared. The only way I could reel her in was with the zoom on my camera!

Going after the humming birds, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Success, (Donna).

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Along with caterpillars and butterflies there have been other interesting late August insects as well.

Mating Thread-waisted Wasps, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

 

Cuckoo Leafcutter Bee with it’s fascinating blue eyes, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

When does a moth not look like a moth? When it’s an Ailanthus Webworm Moth! Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A grasshopper hugs a coneflower, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tachinid Fly, (Epalpus signifier), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The Common Spreadwing is the largest of the damselflies, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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A quiet fishing spot along Griggs Reservoir.

Griggs Reservoir.

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Fungi hasn’t been that noticeable due to the lack of rain but recently two examples begged to be photographed.

Northern Tooth fungi, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A rather large polypore, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Wildflowers.

Cup Plant, Griggs Reservoir Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

Virginia Knot Weed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Gracing the shore of Griggs Reservoir, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

Tall Bellflower, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Wingstem, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Great Blue Lobelia, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Coneflower Prairie, Battelle Darby Greek Metro Park.

Ironweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

False Dragonhead, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A fascinating plant, Ground Cherry, discovered during a recent walk.

Ground Cherry, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The flower, (Donna).

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As we look for butterflies, or are engaged in other pursuits, it’s hard not to notice the other things.

In relation to it’s size the very small Cricket Frog probably jumps the furthest of any of it’s species! Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

An immature Indigo Bunting eludes a good photo at the very top of a tree, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

An over exuberant Blue Jay enjoys the water, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Black-crowned Night Heron photographed recently while fishing on Griggs Reservoir. Probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to one.

A “too cute” Red Squirrel along the shore of Griggs Reservoir. Exciting because we rarely see them in this area.

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In late August the sound of insects dominate the woods.

As if in protest, a Carolina Wrens does it’s best to break the silence of it’s kind.

In the now often cooler mornings, heavy with dew, spider webs are everywhere.

Walking, those suspended across the trail brush against one’s face.

By noon, as if  to deny that summer is slowly coming to an end, butterflies and dragonflies take flight.

Bees, seemingly busier than ever, are everywhere on late summer wildflowers.

Leaves on some trees have already starting to change.

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Looking for birds, Griggs Reservoir Park, Sony A7 Canon FD 28mm.

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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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