Bees and Blue Jays

It started with report of sightings at other nearby locations so we thought we’d check out Griggs Park to see if we could spot any Yellow-throated Warblers. Sure enough there they were high in the tops of various Sycamore trees too far away for a photograph but visible through our binoculars.

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We waited for a while hoping one would descend from the treetops but no luck so we decided to see what wildflowers were in bloom in the wooded area below the dam as well as other areas in the park.

Dutchman’s Breeches, Griggs Park.

Sometimes they’re pink, (Donna)

Purple Cress, Griggs Park

Emerging Bloodroot, Griggs Park, (Donna).

In full bloom, (Donna).

 

Toadshade Trillium, (Donna).

 

Twinleaf, (Donna)

Emerging Butterweed, Griggs Park.

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While the Yellow-throated warblers eluded the camera’s lens other birds were more cooperative. Song sparrows, never far away, entertaining us with a spring rendition of their beautiful song. Chickadees in the middle of nesting activities expressed their disapproval when we got too close.  Nuthatches chased each other about. In small shoreline trees and bushes Golden-crowned Kinglets busily looked for insects among the small branches. Meanwhile a pair of blue jays were just starting work on their new nest. The bluebirds seemed content to watch the activity unfold while enjoying the warmth of the spring sun. Further down the trail a robin looked on with disinterest appearing as though lunch had gotten the better of him.

Song Sparrow, Griggs Park.

Chickadee, Griggs Park

White-breasted Nuthatch, Griggs Park.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Park.

Blue-jay with nesting material, Griggs Park.

Let see, is this how it goes?

That looks about right.

 

Bluebird, Griggs Park.

Enjoying the warm spring sun.

Robin, so many worms so little time, Griggs Park.

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When out in nature one thing a careful observer can almost always count on is seeing something new. That was certainly the case a few days ago when my wife observed a large number of bees engaged in some very curious behavior.

Across a fairly large area bees were flying about going in and out of many recently dug holes.

At one point we observed a ball of bees tumbling across the ground seemingly in the process of trying to kill something.

They continued to attack what ever it was. This when on for some time and we never got a good look at what the object was.

Despite what it looks like the bees may have been trying to protect not kill what ever it is they are crowding unto. In this case it may be the queen.

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Spring with all it’s activity is definitely a favorite time of the year. In the days to come the Yellow-throated warblers will undoubtedly be more cooperative as they are joined by other migrants from the south either taking up residence or just pausing for a while as they continue their journey north. Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Cabbage You Wouldn’t Eat

In the last week or so migrating birds have started to move through central Ohio. While there have been reports of early arriving warblers we have yet to see any. That may have more to do with our approach to nature, which at any moment in time focuses on the “low hanging fruit” rather than expending effort to see something that may or may not be there. It’s quite possible that as we were fascinating over a wildflower one of those little buggers flew right over our head. Oh, well.

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So with that in mind this post is mostly about those early spring plants and wildflowers that every year usher in the magic of spring.

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One of the first to be seen is Skunk Cabbage which due to it’s capacity to generate it’s own internal heat, often emerges by melting it’s way through the snow. It’s name comes from it’s skunk like smell. In contrast to it’s smell we’ve always thought it’s appearance to be quite attractive. It almost looks good enough to eat.

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Skunk Cabbage, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park

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Take 2.

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Take 3, almost looks good enough to eat (not recommended!).

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Skunk Cabbage habitat, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park, (Donna).

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Not far from the skunk cabbage it was hard to miss this Eastern Towhee.

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Eastern Towhee, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park.

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Another early arriver is Dutchman’s Breeches. It continues to do well against the onslaught of Lesser Celandine in the many areas we visit. Lesser Celandine was introduced into the United States as an ornamental and is now considered invasive.

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Dutchman’s Breeches, Griggs Park, below the dam.

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We did manage to see Swamp Buttercup which is often confused with Lesser Celandine. Note the difference in petals and leaves. It seem less common each year which may be due to the aforementioned invasive.

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Swamp Buttercup, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park

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Lesser Celandine, (web pic)

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We always get excited when we spot the beautiful flower of the Bloodroot. Although not uncommon, it is very fragile and doesn’t fair well against the early spring wind and rain.

Bloodroot group 1 032916 Griggs cp1

Bloodroot, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

 

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Bloodroot, Griggs Park below the dam.

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With the rain not every interesting thing on the forest floor is a flower.

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Wood Ear fungus, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park

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Seeming to defy the temperature, early moths and butterflies made an appearance on the few “warmer” days we’ve had.

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Geometer Moth, Griggs Park, (Donna).

Moth Grapevine Epimenis 4 LR 3 better 2 040616 Griggs west cp1

Grapevine Moth, Griggs Park west shore, (Donna).

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Red Admiral, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.

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The flowing water of early spring inspired a beaver’s creativity.

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Beaver dam, Kiwanis’s Riverview Park.

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Sometimes a sound overhead pulls us away from the wildflowers.

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Northern Flickers, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.

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Northern Flicker, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.

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Male Cowbird, Griggs Park.

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Fox Sparrow, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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Tree Swallows, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

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Male Downy Woodpecker, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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Other flowers also fascinated.

Twinleaf buds and leaves 2 040616 Griggs west cp1

Twinleaf buds and leaves, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

Cutleaf Toothwort 1 best 1 032916 Griggs cp1

Cutleaf Toothwort, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

Violet 2 duo 1 better 1 040616 Griggs west cp177

Violet, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Spring Beauties 2 colorful 1 032916 Griggs cp13

Spring Beauties, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

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A lone hepatica brings delicate color to it’s otherwise dreary early spring world.

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Round-lobbed Hepatica, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.

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Other plants were also flowering under the still open tree canopy.

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Toad Shade Trillium, Griggs Park below the dam.

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Virginia bluebells, Griggs Park below the dam.

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Trout Lilies, Griggs Park below the dam.

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Ever feel like you’re being watched.

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Cooper’s Hawk, not far from Griggs reservoir.

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Some plants still have a way to go before their often missed flowers emerge.

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May Apple, Twin Lakes Area, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, (Donna).

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A little further along, (Donna).

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In the days to come we’ll be keeping track of the progress of the May apples while out of he corner of our eye watching for those sneaky migrating warblers.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Between The Spring Rains

The last few days have brought a lot of, sometimes very hard, rain. We wondered what condition the spring wildflowers would be in as we ventured into the woods along Griggs reservoir and the Scioto river during the few dry spells.

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Below is some of what we found:

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Virginia Waterleaf was just about everywhere.

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The Bluebells are coming along.

Fungus flower side view best 2 041015 Griggs west cp1 (2)

Encouraged by all the rain an Oyster mushroom makes an appearance, (Donna)

 

Eastern Comma head on 040815 Griggs cp1

An Eastern Coma getting ready for take off, (Donna)

Dutchman's Breeches mass v 3 best 1 040815 Griggs cp1

The Dutchman’s Breeches have really come into their own, (Donna)

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Dutchman’s Breeches

Cutleaf Toothwort 2 040815 Griggs cp1

Cutleaf Toothwort, (Donna)

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Bloodroot was found in large groups on the west side of the reservoir.

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Bloodroot

Twinleaf group with buds 1 041015 Griggs west csb1

Twinleaf group with buds, (Donna)

Twinleaf Group 3 041015 Griggs west cp1

Twinleaf, (Donna)

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Twinleaf group

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While looking for wildflowers we were fortunate to see Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a White Crowned sparrow but none was willing to pose for a picture.

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Tufted Titmouse 1 041015 Griggs west cp1 (2)

A Tufted Titmouse watches from above, (Donna)

Red leaves flower 041015 Griggs west cp1

“Red leaf flower”, (Donna)

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Meanwhile in our back yard a Chickadee continues to work on it’s nest.

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Taking a break.

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Donna photographing Mayapples

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Mayapples

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A Coot doesn’t seem quite sure what to do with the muddy water of the reservoir.

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Coot

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With an improving weather forecast for the next few days we are looking forward to venturing further afield in our search for spring warblers and wildflowers.

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But before we leave I thought I’d include a cute pic of a Grackle enjoying a bath.

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Not content with just the rain, a Grackle enjoys taking a little bath, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

Spring at O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

We weren’t sure what we’d find but thought a walk around O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve  might reveal some wildflowers and maybe a few migrating warblers. No warblers were observed but there were plenty of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers to keep us entertained.  While the warblers were a bit disappointing the wildflowers were not. The area has always been good for them and this year is no exception.

Located on the west side of O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, we’ve always enjoyed intimate nature of the preserve. This quality is at least partly due to the small streams that flow through it on their way to the reservoir.

click on images for a better view

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O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, early spring.

We hadn’t walked far when we started seeing Tree Swallows. They’re beautiful birds but are responsible for fewer Bluebirds being seen as they appear to have set up housekeeping in the Bluebird boxes.

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Tree Swallow

In a cove a Great Blue Heron and Great Egret were looking for lunch.

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Great Blue Heron

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Great Egret

While walking along one of the creeks we noticed a hole where a large wasp had just emerged. It least that’s our best guess.

Large wasp nest entrance in wet soil IMG_6461

Wasp Nest?

A little further on a mysterious black fungus was seen on an Beech tree.

Black Knot Fungus IMG_6467

Black fungus on Ash tree.

We figured it out from a post on the The Beautiful Wildlife Garden site. It turns out that, “the Beech Wooly Aphid (Grylloprociphilis imbricator) feeds by sucking the fluids from Beech leaves and twigs. They leave behind a sugary honeydew which collects on the leaves and other parts of the tree, and can invite a fungus to form, called Black Sooty Mold”.

We had some fun trying different angles with the Trout Lilies in an effort to reveal different aspects of the flower.

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Yellow Trout Lilly

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Yellow Trout Lilly, study 2

But it was hard to ignore the other flowers.

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Twinleaf

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Twinleaf, study 2

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Coltsfoot

Rue Anemone 042114 Twin Lakes walk cp1

Rue Anemone, (Donna)

Spring Beauty 042114 Twin Lakes walk cp1

Spring Beauties, (Donna)

Beech leaves from last fall don’t want to let go.

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Beech Leaves

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Beech Leaf

Tree trunk landscape.

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Tree trunk with moss, Spring Beauties, May Apples, . . .

Just starting to be green.

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O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, early spring, study 2

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Thanks for stopping by.

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