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.

Late Spring Celebration; A Warbler and Much More

Nature unfolds and reveals itself like a flower, first reluctantly and then with grace. Armed with just a little curiosity, looking with intention, and allowing yourself  to be in the moment and place, rewards one with new wonder. Seeing and appreciating more each time.

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In the past few days, still interested in finding warblers, we visited Prairie Oaks Metro Park and closer to home Griggs Reservoir Park in the hopes of seeing a few stragglers. With the exception of the Prothonotary, the warblers didn’t cooperate but fortunately other things did. Whether it’s warblers or “other things” we’re always amazed by the celebration of life this time of year and the beauty that’s often found in the ordinary. The pictures below were taken over just a few outings, typically involving walks of at least two or three miles, sometimes longer, as we search for birds, bugs, and plants. It is a source of continuous fascination that so much can be found so close to home in central Ohio.

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A shaft of light finds grass along a stream, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

<<<>>>

It’s always nice when “the reptiles” decide to join the cast.

Next to the path a turtle acts none to happy about our presence, Prairie Oak Metro Park.

A Bullfrog shows a nice profile, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

<<<>>>

Still in “warbler mode” on a recent outing, we weren’t prepared for all the insects we would see.

Familiar Bluet, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Inch Worm, (Donna).

Daddy Longlegs, (Donna)

Spicebush Swallowtail

Silver Spotted Skipper, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

A very common Cabbage White, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Virginia Ctenucha, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Viceroy, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Eight-spotted Forester Moth, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Large Lace-boarder Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Milkweed Beetle, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Silvery Checkerspot, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Green Bee on Coneflower, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Hackberry Emperor, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

<<<>>>

Where there are bees and butterflies there will be wildflowers or maybe it’s the other way around.

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In grassy areas and meadows English Plantain is everywhere, Griggs Reservoir Park is no exception.

Very small bees visit the very small flowers of the English Plantain.

Hairy Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis), Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black-eyed Susans, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Thimbleweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Early Meadow Rue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Day Lily, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Goatsbeard, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Moth Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park.

<<<>>>

While we were excited to see Prothonotary Warblers nesting so close to home there was no storage of other birds to fascinate.

We’d been seeing this nesting Prothonotary Warbler for a few weeks in Griggs Reservoir Park. We finally were able to get some pictures.

It must be nesting nearby because at one point it was observed taking food to it’s young.

Preening.

No spot is missed!

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is not common this time of year in Griggs reservoir Park.

A Downy Woodpecker making effective use of it’s tail, Griggs Reservoir Park.

An adult Killdeer tries to get our attention, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

It tries a little harder, something must be going on.

Sure enough!

A male Baltimore Oriole makes it’s presence known in Griggs Reservoir Park. It’s been a great year for these birds in the park.

This Northern Flicker, often seen in a fairly localized area, must have a nest nearby, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Numerous Catbirds continue to entertain in Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Mallard keeps an eye on us as we walk along the water in Griggs Reservoir Park.

<<<>>>

A stream benefits from recent rain in Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Nature unfolds and reveals itself like a flower, first reluctantly and then with grace. May you be rewarded with new wonder, seeing and appreciating more each time.

Chipmunk, Griggs Reservoir 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Turtles, Snakes, Hawks . . . , Oh My!

Recent explorations in the central Ohio natural places have been good to us. As mentioned in previous posts the warblers are becoming quieter and much harder to find but as is often the case we find other things to fascinate. Below are some discoveries from the past week.

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Early summer wildflowers and flowering trees and bushes.

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Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

 

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Squaw Root, Highbanks Metro Park. Never what one would think of as attractive this example is a bit past it’s prime

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Purple Rocket, Griggs Park.

 

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Flower of the Tulip Tree, Highbanks.

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Fire Pink, Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

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Spiderwort, Glacier Ridge.

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Hairy Hawkweed, Glacier Ridge.

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Squarrose Sedge, Glacier Ridge.

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Mystery flowering bush, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

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Goats beard, non-native, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

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Blue Flag Iris, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Virginia Waterleaf, Highbanks. It’s unusual that the leaves are still variegated. The variegated leaves are one of the beautiful things to look for on the forest floor in the early spring.

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Closer look at a waterleaf flower.

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While we’re not seeing the warblers now other birds are still cooperating.

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Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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An easy to hear hard to see Red-eyed Vireo, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.

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Great Blue Heron takes a momentary swim in Griggs Reservoir, Canon SX40.

 

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The Prothonotary Warblers continue their nesting activity below Griggs Dam along the Scioto River, SX40.

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In the Scioto Below Griggs Dam a Great Blue Heron waits for a lunch delivery, Canon SX40.

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Eastern Phoebe, Highbanks.

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Song Sparrow, Glacier Ridge.

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Barn Swallow, Glacier Ridge.

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Field Sparrow with a mouthful, Glacier Ridge.

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This past week it was fascinating to see Snapping Turtles laying their eggs at Griggs Park.

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Snapping Turtle, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Snapping turtle nest. This one may have already been raided by a raccoon.

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Other reptiles and amphibians also made an appearance.

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Rat Snake high off the forest floor in a tree hole, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50).

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Bullfrog tadpole, Glacier Ridge.

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Bullfrog, Glacier Ridge.

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We’re heading into the insect time of year. Confirmed by the number seen recent walks.

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Bumble Bee, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Zabulon Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Cabbage White Bouquet, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

 

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Tawny-edged Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Common Whitetail, (F), Highbanks, ZS50.

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Common Whitetail (M), Highbanks, ZS50.

 

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Female Blue Dasher, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200)

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When you’re looking for interesting insects and flowers other things magically appear.

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Bleeding Tooth, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50)

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Dead tree, the victim of “bootstrap fungus Bootstrap fungus is caused by honey mushrooms, which are parasitic on live wood and send out long root like structures called rhizomorphs between the wood of a tree and its bark”. (thanks NH Garden Solutions for the ID help!), Highbanks.

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Hope everyone enjoyed our nature menagerie.

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Fishing on the Scioto below Griggs Dam, SX40.

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Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

xxx

 

Open To Nature’s Possibilities

Now that the spring migration is tapering off expectations need to be adjusted when visiting a local park or taking a walk in the woods. For birders it’s all about avoiding the big letdown after several weeks where each outing meant wondering what new warbler the day would bring. On a recent hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, even if one was lucky enough to catch a glimpse, many birds soon disappeared into the leaf cover.  Perhaps it’s time to diversify and look for other things, fungi, flowers, and non-warbler type birds.

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With this in mind we headed for the aforementioned park remembering that it’s a good place to see Indigo Buntings.

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Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Take 2.

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A few other Battelle Darby birds were also cooperative, if only just.

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Common Yellowthroat, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Female Yellow Warbler? Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Eastern Spotted Towhee, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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White-eyed Vireo, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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It was hard not to notice the early summer wild flowers along park trails whether at Battelle Darby or closer to home..

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Appendaged Waterleaf, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Spiderwort, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Miami Mist, look but don’t touch! Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

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Hawkweed, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Blackberry blooms, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

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Common Cinquefoil, , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

 

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Sweet Cicely, Griggs Park, (Donna)

 

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Angelica, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

 

Purple Rocket -native flower 1 052616 Griggs south cp1

Purple Rocket, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Forget Me Not, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Blue Flag Iris, Griggs Park.

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Philadelphia Fleabane, Griggs Park.

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Multiflora Rose, Griggs Park.

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Yellow Flag Iris, Griggs Park.

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English Plantain, very common but with it’s own unique beauty, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Once thought of as an alternative when we weren’t seeing birds insects have now become fascinating in their own right.

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Mating Golden-backed Snipe Flies, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Six-spotted Green Tiger beetle, , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Metro Park, (Donna).

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

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Not a flower, insect, or bird my wife nonetheless noticed this very small but beautiful fungi.

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Scarlet Cup, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Closer to home there were also things to see, the first humming bird of the year at O’Shaugnessy Nature Preserve and a hawk with prey at Griggs Park.

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Certainly not a National Geographic quality pic but it was a FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.

 

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Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Take 2.

 

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Nesting Prothonotary Warbler along the Scioto below Griggs dam, (Donna).

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Cowbirds, Griggs Park, (Donna).

 

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Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Park.

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Female Hairy Woodpecker, Griggs Park.

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Northern Flicker, Griggs Park.

 

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Baltimore Oriole seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.

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Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with squirrel, Griggs Park

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And a few other creatures also caught our attention.

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Eastern Spiny Softshell seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.

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Leopard Frogs, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

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That’s about it for this post. We always wonder if we’re going to run out of things that fascinate and enchant. Fortunately in nature the more you look the more you see.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Quiet afternoon, Griggs Reservoir.

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XXX

 

 

 

Dazzled By Dragonflies at Prairie Oaks

So far it’s been one of the wettest summers in recent memory but finally a day with morning sunshine and no threat of rain until things warmed up in the afternoon. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, off we went to Prairie Oaks Metro Park, one of our favorite places to look for dragonflies, damselflies as well as butterflies and moths in central Ohio.

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We were not disappointed. For a day’s outing, this one probably holds the record for the number of species seen and photographed. Some of the cruisers alluded us but anything that would perch, even if only for a second, was fair game.

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However, not long after arriving we saw this guy and depending on your point of view, it may or may not have been the encouragement needed as we started our quest.

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Red-winged Blackbird, Beaver Lake Area

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Are you really going to eat all that?

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But not long after, our faith in the balance of nature returned as continuing to explore we checked out the Darby Bend Lakes area.

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Ebony Jewelwing, female

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Blue-fronted Dancer, female

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Blue-ringed Dancer, male

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Blue-fronted Dancer, male

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Teneral (just metamorphosed), damselfly.

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Teneral (just metamorphosed), damselfly.

 

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Common Whitetail, (Donna)

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Calico Pennant, (Donna)

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Blue Dasher, female, (Donna)

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Eastern Amberwing

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Great Blue Skimmer, male

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Widow Skimmer, male

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Ruby Meadowhawk, male

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Halloween Pennant, female

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Halloween Pennant, male, note red spots near leading edge of wing tips, (Donna).

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Widow Skimmer, female, (Donna)

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Eastern Pondhawk, male, (Donna)

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Eastern Pondhawk, female, (Donna)

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.   .   .  and there were wildflowers.

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Phlox

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Catnip

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Blazing Star

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Teasel

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Different strokes . . .

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White Phlox

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Jewelweed

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A few butterflies were also seen.

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Sliver Spotted Skipper

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Another view.

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Red-spotted Purple

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.   .   .   and even a spider.

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Fishing Spider

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Each time we go out there always seems to be something new to see.

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Beaver lodge, Darby Bend Lakes.

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While hardly an original thought, it’s worth being mindful that every day can be an adventure if we choose to make it so.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Small Wonders, Summer in Central Ohio

Most of the pictures in this post are a result of my wife’s skill, tenacity, patience, and love of the small creatures that grace nature in central Ohio and so often go unnoticed. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought of insects as second class citizens. Wouldn’t you rather look at or take a picture of a warbler? Okay, many insects are essential to natures food chain, many are important for pollination, surprisingly few actually “Bug” us, but some are also amazing to watch.

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We hope you enjoy the following pictures and that you’ll also be excited to take a closer look. But be forewarned that unlike a beautiful sunset, a mountain landscape, or the spontaneous smile of a small child, these marvels must be pursued with intention to fully appreciate their wonder.

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Right in our backyard:

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Black Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Another view, (Donna)

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Not far from our backyard along Griggs Reservoir.

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Coneflowers, (Donna)

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Blue Vervain

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A very small butterfly.

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Least skipper, (Donna)

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A moth, really? Judging from the number of pictures taken just to get a few good ones, it’s safe to say we got pretty excited. Not an uncommon moth but not often seen.

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A Hummingbird Moth heads for a snack.

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Lunch time!

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This is actually pretty good!

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There must be more of that stuff here somewhere.

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Okay, I’ll pose and let you take my picture, Hummingbird Moth, (Donna)

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Black-eyed Susan’s in Griggs Park.

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Black-eyed Susan’s

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Near waters edge, Griggs Reservoir.

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Ebony Jewelwing female, (Donna)

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Ebony Jewelwing female, (Donna)

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Powdered Dancer, (Donna)

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Stream Bluet, (Donna)

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Cup Plants.

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Cup Plants along Griggs Reservoir.

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A wasp and a fly.

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Wasp, (Donna)

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Thick-Headed Fly, (Donna)

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Another moth, is it really?

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Virginia Ctenucha, (Donna)

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Virginia Ctenucha, (Donna)

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Other butterflies seen.

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Summer Azure, a small butterfly, (Donna)

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Silver Spotted Skipper, not uncommon, (Donna)

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Silver Spotted Skipper , showing it’s silver spots, (Donna)

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Red Admiral, (Donna)

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Last and in this case least, a very small moth.

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Pyrausta orphisalis – Orange Mint Moth, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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What We Saw After We Didn’t See The Kirtlands Warbler

The report was that a Kirtlands Warbler had been seen at Highbanks Metro Park. There were even pictures on the Central Ohio Birders Facebook page.  We don’t usually chase birds but this one wasn’t far from home. Besides, if we weren’t successful in finding it, High Banks, with it’s many nice trails, would be a great place for a hike.

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Stream, High Banks Metro Park

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Well, as the title of this post indicates, we didn’t see the Kirtlands Warbler, but not wanting to waste a good day, we set off to see what else we could find.

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It was a great day to be in the woods. New green was everywhere. It was quiet except for birds calling, now harder to see with leaves almost fully out. The earth dampened by a recent rain, as well as the flowering plants, released the scent of spring.

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Not far down the trail:

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Berries will soon be on their way.

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Daisy Fleabane

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Sassafras Leaves

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Jelly Ear Fungus

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Common Split Gill that has aged a bit. (Based on input from a mushroom expert.)

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Witches’ Butter

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Sensitive Fern

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As the air started to warm more insects were about:

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Tiger Beetle and female Common Whitetail

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A closer look at the Tiger Beetle

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Golden-backed Snipe Fly

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Duskywing

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Male Zabulon Skipper

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Female Zabulon Skipper

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Silver Spotted Skipper

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Pearl Crescent

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While not the Kirtlands Warbler, we did see a few birds.

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Summer Tanager in a treetop. Too far away for a good pic.

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A Cape May Warbler (F) checks us out.

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Female Bluebird.

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Indigo Bunting

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By hikes end, the day had given so much we’d pretty much forgotten about the warbler.

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Thanks for stopping by.

quercuscommunity

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