It’s Their Eyes

We continue to see Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and other birds in the parks near our home. However, this post celebrates the wildflowers, butterflies, and other insects seen recently.

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When presented with two equally good photos, one of a bird and the other of a insect I usually find myself more attracted to the bird. It’s not to hard figure out why, a bird’s eye more closely resembles our own, they are vocal much like ourselves, and often seem to have better parenting skills than we do. The world of insects is not as easy to understand, and when it is, it can be annoying, destructive and sometimes even painful. When I was young, undoubtedly because I was much closer to the ground and spent a considerable amount of time outside, I had a greater curiosity about “bugs”.  Now, years later, retired with more leisure time, my interest has been rekindled as I take a closer look at the plants and flowers that, to a large extent, comprise the insect’s world.

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The flowers of early summer seem to do most of their celebrating in meadows and along roadsides. Some like Bee Balm and Jewelweed venture into the woods if sun light is available and Lazard’s Tail is never far from the water.

Bee Balm, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Rattlesnake Master, a rather rare plant in Ohio. O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Saint John’s Wort, (Donna), O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Swamp Milkweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Common Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Jewelweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Poke Weed is not an uncommon sight this time of year, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Gray-headed Cone Flower, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Easily overlooked Hairy Wood-mint, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Shadows from an adjacent plant decorate a Wild Potato Vine blossom, Griggs Reservoir Park,

Donna checks out some Lazard’s Tail, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Lazard’s Tail, (Donna).

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With coneflowers and milkweed in full bloom, insects seem to be everywhere. Many leaves, pristine and virgin a month ago, now soldier on with portions missing giving further evidence of the insect’s industry. Spiders and assassin bugs wait in ambush.

Donna takes aim on an unsuspecting butterfly, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Common Wood-Nymph, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Blue-fronted Dancer, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Busy backyard Bumble bees.

A Female Eastern Pondhawk keeps an Eyed Brown Butterfly company, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Paddling is a great way to see all kinds of wildlife, including dragonflies. Getting a picture of one is another matter. O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Eversole Run.

That is, unless one lands on your finger, Eastern Amberwing.

Ebony Jewelwing, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Little Wood Satyr, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Clymene Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

It’s easy to be thankful you’re not a small flying insect when you stare down a Female Widow Skimmer, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

An Assassin bug nymph lurks in the leaf cover, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Red Admiral, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 2.

Green bee on Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Pearly-eye, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Emerald Jumper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Take 2.

Great Spangled Fritillary, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Bumble Bee on milkweed blossom. It’s amazing how many insects make a living off this plant, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Meadow Fritillary, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The very small but beautiful Summer Azure, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black Swallowtail in our backyard.

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After the many years since my youth, when they were an almost integral part of each summer day, I’m again starting to “warm up” to the bugs. We don’t always understand each other and need to work on our communication skills, but I think there’s hope. However, one area that continues to be a challenge is their eyes. I’m okay until I take a picture and blow it up. That’s when I find my brain being stretched a bit, partly in awe, if I was a lot smaller it would be fear, but in any case all of the sudden these guys seem very different almost alien bringing back thoughts of 1950’s Sci-fi movies. Fortunately that’s when I catch myself, realizing that most of them bare me no ill intent.

Cicada, Cedar Bog, (Donna).

Sunglasses anyone?

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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.

 

“Black Lagoon” Crayfish and Things Eating Things

Well not exactly the Black Lagoon (recalling a movie from childhood), but while I was in Michigan fishing my wife continued to explore the areas around our home in central Ohio. One morning between heavy rain storms she observed some rather interesting behavior by the local crayfish population in Griggs Reservoir as they gathered along the shore and then partially crawled out of the water. We spent some time researching crayfish (did you know there are 20 species in Ohio?), trying to understand this behavior but to no avail. Our only guess is it had something to do with the recent heavy rains.

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The Griggs Reservoir crayfish seemed to be waiting in line to peer above the water’s service, (Donna).

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One rather large specimen takes his time looking around, (Donna).

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It became a group activity.

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Upon my return we spent time paddling Griggs Reservoir as well as exploring Prairie Oaks Metro Park looking for late summer dragonflies and butterflies. At Prairie Oaks we arrived about 20 seconds to late, according to our hiking companions, to witness a garden spider making quick work of a dragonfly that it had captured in it’s web. That spider was fast!

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Unfortunate dragonfly, Prairie Oaks

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Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

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.   .   .  and continuing with the same theme, just a few days earlier my wife caught this robber fly enjoying lunch at the expense of a careless bee.

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Robber Fly, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Also courtesy of my wife sharp eye, one last series of photos dealing with things eating other things.

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Double-crested Cormorant attempts to eat a Crappie on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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Ultimately, the Crappie being just a little too big to swallow, swam away, (Donna).

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We don’t usually consider ourselves a food source so it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that if a creature is not in the process of being eaten, it is usually searching for or waiting to ambush it’s next meal, or if successful, eating it. Spending time in nature guarantees one will witness such things from time to time. In the last few days not everything seen has been in the process of eating or engaged in some unusual hard to explain behavior. Some things were just posing for the camera.

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There were butterflies, some of which like the Summer Azure and Eastern Tailed Blue are very small.

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Red-spotted Purple, Griggs Park.

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Buckeye, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Viceroys, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

 

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Summer Azure, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Meadow Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Eastern Tailed Blue, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Monarch, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

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Juvenal’s Duskywing (F), Griggs Reservoir.

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Dragonflies.

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Eastern Amberwing, Prairie Oaks, (Donna).

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Twelve-spotted Skimmer, Griggs Reservoir.

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Common Whitetail, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Eastern Pondhawk (F), Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Calico Pennant, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

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Powdered Dancer (Blue form), Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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

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Eastern Pondhawk, Griggs Reservoir

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Moths, they come in an amazing array of shapes and sizes.

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Snowberry Clearwing Moth, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

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Chickweed Geometer Moth, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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and other things.

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Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Griggs Park, (Donna).

 

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Common Dogwood Sawfly Caterpillar, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Bumblebee on False Dragonhead, north end of Griggs Reservoir.

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Arrowroot, north end of Griggs Reservoir.

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Map Turtle with friend, Griggs reservoir, (Donna).

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Loaded with pollen, Griggs Park, (Donna).

 

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Solitary Sand Wasp, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Oh yes, we have been seeing birds and a few posed for a picture.

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Northern Flicker, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Hairy Woodpeckers, north end of Griggs Reservoir.

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Mallards creating reflection art, Griggs Reservoir.

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Once again we find ourselves amazed at what is seen right under our nose in central Ohio. Should you be curious about such things, but not inclined to try your hand at photography, get a pair of binoculars, preferably a pair with close focus capability, and a new world will be opened to you! Thanks for stopping by.

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North end of Griggs Reservoir from the canoe, (Donna).

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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:

Black Swallowtail 2 closer 1 071115 Backyard cp1

Black Swallowtail, (Donna)

Black Swallowtail 8 full out 3 on cucumber leaves 1 071115   backyard cp1

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)

e Powdered Dancer 1 070715 Griggs paddle cp1

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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Small Things and . . .

A recent walk along Griggs Reservoir was a study in small things. At times sunlight worked it’s way though the clouds, but mostly it was an early morning hazy sky. A lush new growth of green embraced the landscape threatening to squeeze out it’s air, creating close shadowy places among the leaves, and at times, under thickening clouds, a sense of foreboding.

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Wooded shore along the Scioto River

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Heard but not seen, the same growth now hides many of the birds. Others, those that don’t make their living in the leafed canopy, but on the ground or in open places, are still easy to spot.

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Chipping Sparrow, one of our smallest sparrows.

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Eastern Wood Peewee

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Song Sparrow

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow

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Flowers also find their place, in the shade if they can, but often in the few patches that are open to sunlight for at least a few hour each day.

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Crown Vetch, (non-native)

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Flower to seed

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Not yet green.

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English or Buckhorn Plantain

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Yellow Stone Crop (non-native)

 

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Moth Mullein

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.   .   .  and as if to challenge our sensibilities, Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

 

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Foxglove Beardtongue

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Eastern Forktail (F), (Donna)

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Water-willow, (Donna)

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A very small Summer Azure with wings closed, (Donna)

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Summer Azure with wings open, (Donna)

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Smooth Ruella, (Donna)

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Time spent in nature often contains a counterpoint. On this particular day it was a Mute Swan an infrequent visitor. They are large birds even when compared to Canada Geese.

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Mute Swan, Griggs Reservoir

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A closer look.

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Then, looking away from the swan for a moment,

sunlight is seen playing in the grass.

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Sun light graces the grass, but just for a moment.

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Summer Walk at Prairie Oaks

It’s the 23rd of July and it feels like the middle of summer in central Ohio. The landscape usually starts to dry out by now with brown tones freely combining with greens. However, this year the rains have kept the browns at bay and small creeks have continued to flow. Dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies now catch our attention as bird songs and activity become less noticeable.  Wild flowers no longer populate the woods but instead the fields and meadows as sunlight has long since disappeared from under the forest canopy.

So if today’s walk is any example, below are some of things you might see in mid summer at Prairie Oaks.

Creek 1

Creek 1

C0mmon Whitetail (F)

C0mmon Whitetail (F)

Creek

Creek

Eastern Comma

Eastern Comma

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Fungus

Fungus

Fungus 2

Fungus 2

Golden Winged Skimmer (F)

Golden Winged Skimmer (F)

Gray Comma

Gray Comma

Hackberry

Hackberry

Halloween Pennant

Halloween Pennant

Iron Weed

Ironweed

Pond

Pond

Queen Ann's Lace

Queen Ann’s Lace

Red Belly

Red bellied Woodpecker

Spicebush Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail

Summer Azure

Summer Azure

Tall Bellflower

Tall Bellflower

Teasel (Inv)

Teasel (Inv)

Widow Skimmer

Widow Skimmer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Blue-fronted Dancer

Sneeze Weed

Sneeze Weed

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Thanks for stopping by.

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