Getting Along Just Fine

At first, as we looked across the river, there appeared to be a Double-crested Cormorant hanging around with a bunch of turtles. But a closer look revealed that one turtle didn’t resemble the others. The others, Northern Map Turtles, were almost too many to count. The unique turtle was a Spiny Softshell Turtle which, while not uncommon, can’t compete with the map turtle when it comes to shear numbers in central Ohio. 

With it’s neck almost fully extended, it’s almost as though the softshell wants to be a cormorant. The cormorant and softshell made the picture interesting, but it was fascinating to see that they were getting along just fine.

.

As opposed to just two weeks ago, the brilliantly colored male Baltimore Orioles are much harder to spot with trees leafed out. However, one obliged by landing on the exposed branches of a nearby sycamore. 

Enjoying a tasty meal in a sycamore tree.

***

.

We’ve transitioned from spring to early summer wildflowers. Two of my favorites, both anemones are Canada Anemone and Thimbleweed. The Spiderwort was photographed in bright late morning sunlight, not the best conditions, but the dark background made it work. The flower of the ninebark is amazingly beautiful considering the plant’s rather ordinary name. 

Foxglove Beardtongue “grows in moist, sandy soil in full sun in meadows, prairies, fields, wood margins, open woods and along railroad tracks. Its bloom period is from late spring to early summer. The plant is known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds“. Ref: Wikipedia.

This small bee is only a little over 1/2 inch long.

Thimbleweed

Spiderwort

Canada Anemone, “in the past used medically by North American Indigenous peoples as an astringent and as a styptic for wounds, sores, nosebleeds, and as an eyewash. The root was respected by Plains tribes and used for many ailments”. Ref: Wikipedia

Wild Raspberry

Ninebark

.

Along the reservoir small regular waves under overhanging branches create a fascinating pattern of reflections.

Waves and reflections.

.

Sometimes just an inadvertent glace in a direction not planned draws one into an adventure of unexpected wonder.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Flowers and Flies

Exploring the world of insects is an excellent example of how digital photography has opened a door into a world most folks don’t give much thought to much less appreciate. A passion for bugs may start out innocently enough when one decides to photograph a flower and finds that it’s occupied by many creatures not noticed before. A closer look reveals some to be beautiful and fascinating in their own right and others downright scary. This may prompt one to make an effort to identify the bug just photographed which in turn often leads to an awareness of how much there is yet to learn about this small world. 

.

Fortunately it doesn’t take an expensive camera to get a reasonable picture of a insect the size of the common house fly. We’re not talking macro-photography here, where one focuses on the dragonfly’s eye, but instead about a picture that will allow you to identify the insect and be good enough to share on social media. Our favorite of the small sensor “bridge cameras” is the Panasonic Lumix FZ200 or 300. With their fast lens and close focus capability they are a great all round camera for anyone starting out in nature photography. When one moves up from there to larger APS-C sensor DSLR’s you are looking at more money and bulk which may limit their appeal on long hikes. In the world of DSLR’s just about any lens similar to the Canon 18-135 mm will allow you to focus close enough to get a reasonably good shot. Longer lenses such as the Tamron 100-400 mm (more money still) will allow you to focus on subjects that won’t let you get close enough with a shorter lens. With it’s close focus capability perhaps the best all round bird/bug nature camera setup I’ve seen is the micro four thirds Panasonic G7 with the 100-400 mm Panasonic/Leica lens that my wife uses. It employs an excellent but smaller sensor than my Canon APS-C which is part of the reason for it’s admirable close focus performance. That being said I’m sure there are excellent camera setups that I’ve not had experience with.

.

Unless stated otherwise the below pictures have all been taken close to home at Griggs Reservoir Park so the adventure doesn’t necessarily mean hours of driving to some exotic location. Almost all insect images have been significantly cropped.

(click on the image for a better view)

.

A Bumble Bee enjoys Foxglove Beardtongue.

An nice illustration of the difference in size between a sweat bee and bumble bee, (Donna).

If you think this is an innocent little Bumble Bee you would be wrong in fact it’s a Bumble Bee Mimic Robber Fly no less ferocious than the one below, (Donna).

A more typical looking robber fly a little over an inch long. If you’re a small insect it will be a bad day if you run into one of these, (Donna).

Four lined Plant Bug, (Donna).

Eight-spotted Forester Moth, (Donna).

.

Thimbleweed.

Moth Mullein, (Donna).

.

A very small but beautiful Long-legged Fly.

It’s a rough world for bugs. A long legged fly falls prey to a robber fly.

.

Water Willow at waters edge. Deer are known to browse the leaves and beaver and muskrat will consume the plant rhizomes. The submerged portion is home to many micro and macro invertebrates, (Donna).

.

Little Wood Satyr.

Painted Lady, one of the most common butterflies found on every continent accept Antarctica and Australia, their favorite food plant on which to lay their eggs is thistle, they do not overwinter and they can have long migrations up to 9,320 miles long, (Donna)

Hackberry Emperor, a butterfly not usually seen on flowers but on a warm day may land on exposed skin, (Donna).

Question Mark, (Donna).

Red Admiral, (Donna).

Silver-spotted Skipper, one of the larger skippers, (Donna)

.

The beautiful flowers of the Milkweed. A very import plant for many insects most notably the Monarch Butterfly.

.

Milkweed Beetles, (Donna).

Great Golden Digger Wasp, (Donna).

Perhaps some type of wood wasp, (Donna).

.

Black-eyed Susan’s.

.

Golden-backed Snipe Fly, they can be found throughout Ohio, and are most often observed resting on low vegetation. They appear in the late spring and early summer, and have been observed mating in late May and early June, although timing likely varies across their range. Little is known about their life cycle.

Small hoverflies on fleabane.

Hoverfly profile.

Two Marked Tree Hopper. Click here to learn more about this fascinating insect.

.

Common Mullein.

Northern Catalpa.

.

Syrphid Fly Yellowjacket Mimic. The syrphid fly often mimics wasps or bees to gain protection from predators, (Donna).

The Green Bottle Fly is usually observed around less savory food items.

.

Black-eyed Susan’s, (Donna).

Depford Pink, (Donna).

.

Mating Candy-striped Leafhoppers, (Donna).

Mirid Plant Bug, (Donna).

.

Butterfly Weed.

A field of clover.

.

A Mayfly falls prey to a jumping spider. Normally slow moving jumping spiders are capable of very agile jumps, when hunting, in response to sudden threats, or to navigate obstacles. They all have four pairs of eyes, with the pair positioned closer together being larger.

Another view, (Donna).

A small moth on Canada Thistle.

If it’s real lucky this Orange Dog caterpillar may become a Giant Swallowtail.

.

A field of fleabane.

.

A rarely seen Orange Bluet, (Donna).

Female Twelve-spotted Skimmer, (Donna).

.

Hairy Wild Petunia.

.

It’s hard to believe what’s out there in that small incredible world that goes largely unnoticed by most as we pursue our daily lives. In the hierarchy of human affection warm cuddly animals seem to be at the top with insects being at the other end of the spectrum and usually not considered a welcome intrusion. But as with most things the more you know and understand the more you grow to love.

.

A casual glance will not do. To discover wonder and beauty one must look closely with intention.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

A Quiet Walk In The Park

It was a quiet morning at Griggs Reservoir Park with little wind and an overcast sky that threatened rain making it almost too dark for pictures. The kind of day one pretty much has the whole park to themself. My pessimism about what would be seen, much less photographed, was reflected in my selection of cameras. I contented myself just with a Panasonic FZ200 superzoom accompanied by a pair of binos, while my wife expressed her optimism by taking a “bird camera”.

P1210511fix

Rain and the resultant higher water levels meant that in many areas Water Willow graced the reservoir shoreline.

.

With the absence of traffic both in the park and on the reservoir, normally wary and prone to flight Great Blue Herons were content to stay on shoreline perches as we walked by. Other birds also seemed less prone to flight as we got close.

Juvenile Merganser3 original file1

An immature Male Hooded Merganser is spotted with a group of Mallard Ducks, (Donna).

Cliff Swallow w reflect2 LR best1 061218 Griggs N birdcam fix

By a rain puddle a Barn Swallow strikes a contemplative pose, (Donna).

Robin w worn1 LL1 061218 Griggs N birdcam fix

A Robin with a mouthful of earthworm and mulberry, (Donna).

.

Even with the dullness of the morning the unmistakable fire orange of a noisy Baltimore Oriole caught our eye as it streaked by on it way to a nearby tree. Taking a closer look through dense leaf cover revealed an almost completely hidden nest. Suspended by next winter’s bare branches, what remained would be easy to spot.

P1210485fix

Male Baltimore Oriole

P1210491

Take 2.

P1210502fix

Take 3.

My wife looked ever closer in an effort to see a “new to her” insect or spider. Life that most of us walk right by.

Cat2 LL2 061218 griggs n birdcam fix

White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar, (Donna).

Katydid adult1 LL1 best1 06118 Griggs N birdcam fix

Katydid, (Donna).

P1210518fix

Female Amber Wing Dragonfly

P1210523

Through the leaves a lone Painted Turtle is spotted. Not a good day to sun oneself on a log.

P1210527fix

Very small mushrooms caught my eye while a millipede remained unnoticed until a review of the pic. 

Tree frog1 LR1 061218 griggs N birdcam fix

A very small and young Gray Tree Frog tries to remain unnoticed, (Donna).

.

Seemingly unabated, wildflowers continue their march through the year. Those that greeted us just a few weeks ago are gone but new ones have taken their place. On a sunny day they speak in a bright and joyful voice so it seems counterintuitive that the best time to photograph them is usually on overcast days. No blown out highlights, deep shadow values, and more saturated colors.

P1210387fix

Horse Nettle is a good plant just to look at but not to touch.

P1210389fix

Canada Thistle is a pesky weed for Ohio farmers.

As if playing “King of The Mountain” the vine and flower of the Morning Glory take advantage of an accommodating Moth Mullein.

P1210392fix

Black-eyed Susan’s spread their cheer. 

P1210423fix

Not the most common of our native wildflower standing forlorn at waters edge is what remained of a fairly large display of Butterfly Weed, someone had picked the rest.

P1210427fix

Daisy Fleabane.

P1210431

Thimbleweed.

P1210444

Tall Meadow-rue.

P1210452fix

White Moth Mullein.

P1210509

Canada Anemone.

P1210521fix

Reservoir landscape.

.

It never did rain and as our longer than expected time in the park came to a close so did the time for taking a “closer look” and for reflection. As is often the case when in nature we left much richer than when we came.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

****

IMGP0236fix

Perhaps I should stick with photography!

 

Nature Views

Learning to embrace nature and appreciate the beauty around us every day

Ohio History & Travel

You can find a rich experience close to home.

Into the Light Adventures

By Sandra Js Photography - Make the rest of your life the best of your life.

piecemealadventurer

Tales of the journeys of a piecemeal adventurer as a discontinuous narrative

Photos by Donna

Nature & Wildlife's Beauty and Behavior Through My Lens

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography

Mike Powell

My journey through photography

The Prairie Ecologist

Essays, photos, and discussion about prairie ecology, restoration, and management

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.