Autumn Reflection

As I write this the temperature has finally arrived at more normal levels for early October. Until just a few days ago it was much warmer and the season betrayed by the calendar was having a hard time getting started with leaves still reluctant to show their autumn color. That wasn’t all bad as we were treated to sightings of butterflies and other insects not usually seen this late in the year. Given the above average rainfall it continues to be a great time to see fungi which seems to be almost everywhere. Below is a celebration of some things seen over the past couple of weeks. Missing is “the picture” of me paddling the Scioto River, fishing for Smallmouth Bass, as two mature Bald Eagles circled overhead. Oh well, some things would be hard to capture in a photograph and must just be experienced.

Leaf.

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The above experience prompted me to consider things that can be photographed, which in this case happens to be landscapes. Specifically, it has to do with the difference between how a scene is seen and how the camera captures it. Or putting it another way, after we have been enchanted enough to take the picture, and after a preliminary look are happy with the results, does the image convey the desired message as shot? This then will have a lot to do with the kind and amount of post processing used and it’s limits for a particular photograph. Such things are often a matter of opinion or taste, there being no right or wrong. With that said, we’ve all seen the over saturated colors in autumn landscapes which risk devaluing the place and experience as if to say it wasn’t beautiful enough. Things worth considering I believe.

O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

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As already mentioned it’s been a great year for fungi. Apparently chicken Fungi and puffballs are edible but I think we will just enjoy looking at them. At their peak the colors of some fungi are no less spectacular than the loveliest wildflower.

Turkey tail.

Rosy Russula, Emily Traphagen Park.

Puffballs, (Donna).

Unidentified fungi family with lot’s of character, (Donna).

Shaggy Mane, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Dead Man’s Fingers, (Donna).

Wrinkled Peach Mushroom, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Close up.

An emergent shelf fungi competes with puffballs and fallen leaves for our attention.

A polypore shows off it’s gills.

Chicken Fungi

Bearded Tooth fungi, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Dryad’s Saddle, note the different stages of development in this cluster, (Donna).

Orange Mycena, (Donna).

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A hint of autumn color along the Scioto River, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Tree roots and fallen leaves.

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Despite our recent fungi fascination other things have been hard to ignore. A number if years ago it took a really spectacular insect to make an impression but as I’ve spent more time looking at them my appreciation has increased. With greater knowledge and understanding it has become much harder to consider them a lower life form less noble than ourselves. They have become part of the beautiful tapestry of life where boundaries between self and the natural world disappear.

Bee on Calico Asters, (Donna).

We had to wait until fairly late in the year to start seeing Common Checked Skippers, (Donna).

Common Green Darner, (Donna).

Yellow-collared Scape Moth is very similar to the Virginia Ctenucha but is slightly smaller, (Donna).

A bee enjoying the same flower gives an appreciation of the Eastern Tailed-Blue’s size, (Donna).

Chickweed Geometer, (Donna).

A beautiful but tiny Gray Hairstreak, (Donna).

Orange Sulfur

A not often seen Variegated Fritillary, (Donna).

Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

Eastern Comma

Meadow Fritillaries were very common at Griggs reservoir Park this year, (Donna).

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A leaf is framed by reflections In a stream side pool.

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Pausing at water’s edge, rippled reflections dance to the rhythm of wind and light gracing us with a new vision and an invitation to a new place.

Tree branches reflect on the water’s surface, Griggs Reservoir.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

 

Reluctant Treasures

We enjoy being outdoors no matter what the time of year. However, when it comes to providing a sense of wonder, unlike spring, summer and early autumn, late autumn and early winter give up their subtle treasures reluctantly. One must move slowly and look closely or much will be missed.

With the leaves now gone the convoluted bark of the Osage Orange is hard not to notice, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Better in B&W?

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A cloudy cold early November morning gives way to the fleeting sun of an unexpectedly warm afternoon and as if by magic things appear not seen a few hours earlier.

A warm early November afternoon and the first sighting of a Variegated Fritillary for the year, (Donna).

A pond quiet in the cold morning air comes to life in the warm afternoon sun, Leopard Frog, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

An Autumn Meadowhawk enjoys the afternoon sun, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A Striped Wolf Spider sunning itself along the trail just avoids being stepped on, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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A sheltered place, warmed by the sun, gives refuge to flowers that should be gone for the year. Fungi fruit in response to more generous rain defying the below freezing nights.

In the low late autumn sun Nodding Bur-Marigold defies the season, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Moss and lichen, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Fruiting lichen, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Unexpectedly colorful Changing Pholiota, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tinged with green an unidentified shelf fungi, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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More isolated now, some color still remains.

Road through Griggs Reservoir Park.

Sweatgum leaves, (Donna).

Poison Ivy, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The road along the reservoir evites us to walk further, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Fewer leaves, and a forest canopy of bare branches, allow one to better see the birds that haven’t made their way south.

Against a deep blue November sky a sentinel stands along the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Better in B&W?

Song Sparrow, Battelle Darby Metro Park, (Donna).

American Goldfinch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Great Blue Herons continue to make a living along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Downy Woodpecker (M), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

We continue to see Bald Eagles along the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir Dam.

Backing off a bit we noticed a Coopers Hawk watching from the distance.

A dark morph American Robin from further north? Griggs Reservoir Park.

Thankfully, with the migrating warblers pretty much gone, the Carolina Wrens continue to entertain along the Scioto River.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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For the last few weeks almost every squirrel has had a nut in its mouth.

Gray Squirrel, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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It’s the time of year when short cloudy days, a landscapes of muted colors, and breezes often too cool to be comfortable tell us that things are going to be quieter for a while.

A shoreline reflection reveals November’s bare branches, Prairie Oaks Metro 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.

 

The Bird That Thinks It’s a Mouse

At least that impression one gets watching a Winter Wren  foraging for food. These very small dark colored birds with a very pronounced turned up tail are hard to see much less photograph as they make their way around dense underbrush usually near water. In fact I don’t think we’ve ever seen one very far from water although that could be due to the fact that we spent a large amount of our time looking for birds near water along the Scioto River in Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Winter Wren along the Scioto River, (Donna).

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Study 2, (Donna).

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Study 3.

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Study 4.

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Winter Wren habitat along the Scioto River.

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From the very small to very large, a Sycamore along the Scioto River. What could it tell us of this place if it could talk?

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Sycamore along the Scioto, (Donna).

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This time of year it’s always a joy when common birds entertain us. Not so easy to capture in their natural habitat away from feeders.

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Carolina Chickadee, Griggs Park.

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Carolina Chickadee, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Tufted Titmouse, Griggs Park.

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Study 2.

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While closer to the ground there is still a presence of green, in many areas overhead it’s a different story.

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November branches.

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Other birds continue to make their presence known.

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A female Downy lets the chips fly, Griggs Park.

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A White-throated Sparrow plays hide and seek, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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White-throated Sparrow, study 2, Griggs Park.

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Apparently one of this Red-bellied Woodpeckers favorite trees, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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A Red-tailed Hawk waits patently for it’s next meal, Griggs Park.

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Almost always heard before they’re seen this Carolina Wren was determined to get noticed, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Song Sparrow, Griggs Park.

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We were looking for the Winter Wren but some previously hard to fine Golden-crowned Kinglets kept getting in the way, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Take 2.

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A noisy Northern Flicker also demanded to be noticed, Griggs Park.

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This Dark-eyed Junco was acting like it might have hurt feelings if I didn’t take it’s picture, Griggs Park.

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Goldfinch, winter plumage, Griggs Park.

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Wait, you’re not a bird!, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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A fascinating and unexpected find during a recent walk along the Scioto River was this very nice example of a Horn Coral fossil. The fossil was about 4 inches long!

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Rugose corals, often called “horn corals”, because their form may resemble the horn of a cow or goat. This coral became extinct at or near the end of the Permian period, about 240 million years ago. It first appeared in the early Ordovician period and peaked during the Devonian. photo by Donna. Ref: http://fallsoftheohio.org/DevonianCorals.html

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Up until just four days ago warm weather was allowing some of our insect friends to hang around but with this mornings temperature around 20F we don’t expect to see them again any time soon.

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So long until next spring! (Donna).

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Likewise! (Donna)

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Given that it’s Thanksgiving week here in central Ohio the next bird we will be investigating will probably be a turkey. On that note we wish everyone a happy holiday. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Milkweed seeds take flight, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

Fall Fishing and Kinglets

Recent walks in Griggs Park along the reservoir and along the river below the dam have revealed that Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets are moving through the area. We haven’t seen many Ruby-crowned Kinglets in the winter so they may move further south but at least a few Golden-crowned Kinglets hang around the  immediate area until spring.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Park.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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With the exception op Yellow-rumped Warblers, warblers have been scarce in the park in recent days.

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The autumn colors attracted my wife to this shot of a Yellow-rumped Warbler, Griggs Park.

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Amazingly, we continue to see quite a few butterflies as well as other insects and spiders.

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Variegated Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Black-legged Meadow Katydid, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Monarch, Griggs Park, (Donna)

 

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Bumblebee

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Meadow Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Donna’s mystery six legged spider. We found out that it’s not uncommon for spiders to loose legs as the season progresses.

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Eastern Comma, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Other birds were also seen in the past week, some of which will spend the winter.

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Great Blue Heron and female Belted Kingfisher along the Scioto below Griggs Dam. Two images, both taken within seconds of each other, were spliced together to get both birds in focus.

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Typical when trying to photograph a Belted Kingfisher, a little two far away for a good picture.

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Carolina Wren, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Too cute to pass up, Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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American Coots, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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Great Blue Heron below the dam.

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Other animals were also present. Chipmunks and squirrels seemed very busy getting ready for the approaching winter.

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Chipmunk, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Something must have been lip smacking good, female Whitetail Deer west shore of Griggs Reservoir, seen while fishing.

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This fall in Griggs Reservoir I’ve tried to make a methodical effort to catch Smallmouth bass and while I always do well enough to keep coming back, results have been something less that spectacular.  Using small crank baits a variety of fish have been caught including Channel Cats, Large and smallmouth Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass, Crappie, and other pan fish but not of any great size and with the exception of pan fish not in any great quantity. The reservoir is just a mile and a half from our home so it’s been an enjoyable research project to determine if the fishing would improve as the days got shorter and the air and water temp went down. So far I haven’t noticed much difference between August and October accept that the reservoirs a lot quieter.

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Smallmouth Bass

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Hybrid Striped Bass

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Largemouth Bass

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No matter what draws one outside this time of year sometimes just looking around can be enough so if you have a chance get out and look around!

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Griggs Reservoir

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Autumn along the Scioto.

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Low water, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Griggs Park.

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Quite autumn paddle, Griggs Reservoir

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

Autumn’s Color

Usually when we think of autumn color we’re thinking about leaves but recent outings in central Ohio have revealed that in the autumn color can come in many different shapes and sizes. The pictures below celebrate things we’ve seen in the last two weeks hiking and paddling. While peak color is still about two weeks away, it’s hard not to be charmed by the splashes of color amongst the predominately green landscape.

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Exploring Alum Creek Reservoir north of the Howard Road bridge.

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The green corridor along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River is still providing opportunities to view migrated birds as well as local residents.

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The portrait of a Cape May warbler gets photo bombed by a pair of amorous ladybugs, Griggs Park.

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Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Yellow-throated Warbler, Griggs Park.

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A Blue-headed Vireo makes an appearance at Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Song Sparrow, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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A pair of Northern Flickers, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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

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Juvenile Green Heron, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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A pair of Carolina Wrens, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Female Belted Kingfisher, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Sparrows going for a swim, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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.   .   .  and plenty of insects, spiders, and flowers too!

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Variegated Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Monarch, Griggs Park.

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Mating Blue-fronted Dancers, Griggs Park, Donna.

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A Praying Mantis pays us a visit, (Donna).

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Calico Asters, Griggs Park.

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Corn Earworm Moth, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Wandering Glider, Griggs Park, (Donna, she wouldn’t tell me how long she waited to get this pic).

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Pearl Crescents, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Seemingly unperturbed, a Grey Hairstreak shares a small flower with a bumblebee, (Donna).

 

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Variable Orb Weaver, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Common Checkered Skipper, Griggs park, (Donna).

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Orange Sulfur, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Mudflats and logs exposed along Alum Creek due to slightly lower water levels provided an opportunity to see a few shorebirds.

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Spotted Sandpiper along Alum Creek north of the reservoir.

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Solitary Sandpiper along Alum Creek north of the reservoir.

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Alum Creek.

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The little bit of rain we’ve had recently brought out some fungi.

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Unidentified, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Non-inky Coprinus, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Witch’s Butter, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Unlike two or three weeks ago when there were Ospreys everywhere, when we paddling the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir last Thursday none were seen.  However, there were a lot of cormorants and gulls.

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Along the shore of Alum Creek Reservoir.

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A Doubled Crested Cormorant takes flight as we paddle north on Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna).

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Looking for Ospreys, Alum Creek Reservoir.

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Along Alum Creek

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As if sensing the warm weather won’t last forever .   .   .

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Basking in the morning sun, Griggs Reservoir.

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The amount of insect activity we’ve seen in the last two weeks has been been truly amazing. We haven’t had our first frost yet so I’m sure a lot will change once that happens. Meanwhile we’ll continue to enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.

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Early autumn on Griggs Reservoir.

xxx

Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

 

 

Late Summer Magic; Insects and Fall Warblers

Late August isn’t usually when I think of seeing fall warblers in central Ohio. Although I’m sure that’s the result of a certain level of ignorance on my part. So not really expecting the warblers this early, most of our efforts in recent days have been spent looking for, and enjoying, the “bugs” that currently seem to be in their prime. What started as a way to say curious during the summer doldrums has now become a real goal of our explorations.

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Whether a spider, butterfly, moth, bee, or dragonfly their unique beauty and behavior, so unlike our own, takes us into a truly different world.  Fascinating as they are I wouldn’t want to return “in the next life” as an insect. The dragonfly is too efficient and maneuverable a flying machine bringing a quick end to anything flying nearby that it considers a meal. The life cycle of many wasps requires that caterpillars become live hosts for their larva. A convenient meal for the future wasps but undoubtedly not a pleasant experience for the caterpillar.  A garden spider quickly dispatches and gift wraps a careless fly in silk for later consumption. And just when you think your the biggest, baddest, “bug” around, a bird comes along. I could go on but it is sufficient to say, it’s not for me.

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Praying Mantis in our backyard garden. They’ve been observed catching unsuspecting humming birds that get a little too close.

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A closer look, this is one insect that has no trouble holding on to it’s meal!

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Iron weed and a Clouded Sulfur, flowers upon flowers, north end of Griggs Reservoir.

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Wasps making baby wasps, Prairie Oaks Metro Parks.

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Pelecinid Wasp, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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Monarch, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

 

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Question Mark, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Spotted Orbweaver, Griggs Park

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Triangle-bearing Orbweaver (very small), Griggs Park

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Very small Mayfly close to the water, Griggs Park

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Funnel Weaver Grass Spider, (Donna)

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Bumble bee, (Donna).

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Overhead view of a Katydid, (Donna)

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Walnut Caterpillar, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

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Marbled Orbweaver, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

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Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

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Unidentified fly, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Mayfly, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Grasshopper, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Spotted Orb Weaver (underside), Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Variegated Fritillary, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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It’s not as if there haven’t been birds around. Sometimes, in our quest for insects, we get so engaged in looking down we forget to look up! The Osprey was discovered as we were looking for warblers and provided many great poses as he devoured a fish just two of which are shown below.

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Osprey with fish, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Take two.

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Northern Flicker, finally managed to get an image which shows off most of it’s distinctive markings, Kiwanis Riverway Park

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Great Crested Flycatcher, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Red-bellied Woodpeckers, adult and immature, Griggs Park

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Great Blue Heron and nest, north end of Griggs Reservoir. This is special because it’s the first nest I’ve noticed at that area in some time.

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.   .   .  and then there were the warblers, always more seen than successfully photographed.

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Black and White, Griggs Park

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Yellow-throated, Griggs Park.

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American Redstart, 1st year, Griggs Park.

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From a different angle, (Donna)

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Cape May, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Immature Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Park

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When in nature take a moment to enjoy the whole, allowing yourself just to be.

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Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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With the fall migration just getting started we’re looking forward to what will be seen in the coming weeks.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Looking for a Buckeye (but not in Ohio)

So far this summer Buckeye butterflies have been scarce in central Ohio. However, on a recent trip south to northeast Georgia, we were fortunate enough to see our first of the year. While I was preoccupied with family matters my ever diligent wife documented  butterflies seen during our daily hikes.

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She was kind enough to share her photos for the post. A few of the butterflies were first time sightings for us. This is not because they’re rare but because we don’t usually visit the southeast part of the country in August and their range may not extend as far north as Ohio. Of those seen for the first time, we thought the Long-tailed Skipper was the most unusual and for us the most exciting.

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Hoary Edged Skipper 5 LL 3 081815 GA trip cp1

Hoary Edged Skipper (1st time sighting)

buckeye 1 wings full out 1 best 1 081715 GA trip cp1

Buckeye

Gulf Fritillary 4 best ever 1 081615 GA trip cp1

Gulf Fritillary

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 1 LL 1 best 1 081815 GA trip csb1

Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Clouded Sulphur 2 upside down 2 best ever 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Clouded Sulphur

Clouded Skipper 3 best 2 closer 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Clouded Skipper (1st time sighting)

Carolina Satyr LL 1 best 1 081615 ga trip cp1

Carolina Satyr (1st time sighting)

Variegated Fritillary trio 1 081615 GA trip cp1

Variegated Fritillary trio (1st time sighting)

Variegated Fritillary 1 on straw 1 081615 ga trip cp1

Variegated Fritillary

Spicebush Swallowtail 2 wings out 1 best 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Spicebush Swallowtail

Sachem Skipper 1 LL 1 best 1 081815 GA trip cp1

Sachem Skipper (1st time sighting)

Sachem female skipper 2 best 2 closer 1 081815 Ga trip cp1

Sachem skipper, female

red-spotted purple 3 wings out 2 head on 1 best 1 081615 ga trip cp1

Red-spotted Purple

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Long-tailed Skipper (1st time sighting)

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We’re now back in Ohio and we’ll probably see our first Buckeye any day now as they tend to visit later in the summer. Nonetheless, it’s been a great year for butterflies and our trip south just added to it.

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 Thanks for stopping by.

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