It’s A Butterfly Time Of Year

Not that they aren’t seen earlier in the spring and summer but August does seem to be the time for butterflies. This year it’s been almost impossible to be out for any length of time without seeing a Monarch. In the late morning or afternoon small but beautiful Pearl Crescents make the shorter grass along the trail their playground. The beauty of some butterflies like the Giant Swallowtail is apparent to even a casual observer but others like the Buckeye reveal their beauty only after a closer look. Others like the hairstreaks are easy to miss altogether unless you know what to look for. The good news is that you don’t have to get up a the crack of dawn to see butterflies.

Sunlight filters through the woods along the Big Derby during a recent butterfly hike.

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So below is a celebration of butterflies that have been seen in the last few weeks. Much of the credit must go to my wife who tirelessly pursues these usually unpredictable creatures until she gets the shot she wants while I often content myself to photographing the more predictable wildflowers.

In late summer Bull Thistle is common in the prairie areas of Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park and seems to attract it’s share of Monarchs.

The Giant Swallowtail is Ohio’s largest butterfly and not one we see every day, Griggs Reservoir Park..

A Giant Swallowtail depositing eggs, (Donna).

Great Blue Lobelia enjoying the more shaded areas of Griggs Reservoir Park.

A very small female Eastern-tailed Blue rewards Donna by opening it’s wings.

Prairie sunflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

The beautiful but very small Gray Hairstreak, (Donna).

Hackberry Emperors are fairly common in Griggs reservoir Park and on a warm day enjoy hitching a ride on your arm to take advantage of your perspiration, (Donna).

Cardinal Flower

A small Summer Azure almost seems to blend in, (Donna).

Wingstem, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park prairie.

The not often seen Meadow Fritillary

The fairly common but lovely Orange Sulfur, (Donna).

New England Aster

Usually not seen in central Ohio until late summer or fall the medium size Buckeye is striking, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Fringed Loosestrife also enjoys the more shaded areas along the Scioto River.

A small Zabulon Skipper, (Donna).

A small but lovely Common Checkered Skipper, (Donna).

Lazard’s Tail along the Scioto River, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Silver Spotted Skipper, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Tall Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Red-spotted Purple, (Donna).

Another look, (Donna).

Gray-headed Coneflowers seem to take flight.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Another look.

A somewhat faded black form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

Black Swallowtail, (Donna).

Black Swallowtail laying eggs, (Donna).

Ironweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

The Peck’s Skipper is a very small moth like butterfly, (Donna).

Cup Plant

Monarch, (Donna).

Monarch

Trumpet Flowers, (Donna).

Mating Pearl Crescents

Pearl Cresent

Tall Bellflower

Eastern Comma

The tiny flowers of Virginia Knotweed.

Certainly not the most aesthetic setting, a Zebra Swallowtail lands in our canoe just as we finish a paddle on Paint Creek, (Donna).

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Where there are butterflies and moths there are caterpillars and no one is better at spotting them than my wife.

Brown-hooded Owlet, (Donna).

Monarch caterpillar, (Donna).

Orange Dog (Giant Swallowtail caterpillar), (Donna).

Another look.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar showing horns. Horns extend when head is touched lightly. Donna).

Without horns protruding, (Donna).

Sycamore Tussock Moth caterpillar, (Donna).

Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars, (Donna).

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We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge some of the birds that continue to charm us as we walk through the woods of central Ohio.

Male Goldfinch, (Donna).

This time of year False Dragonhead can be seen along the shore of Griggs Reservoir.

A Ruby throated Hummingbird checks out the Bull Thistle at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).

Woodland Sunflowers offer a splash of color in the woods along the Scioto River.

A Tufted Titmouse checks Donna out as she attempts to take it’s picture.

Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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So what was I doing while my wife was taking so many excellent photographs in central Ohio? Fishing in Michigan of course.

This nice Largemouth Bas went swimming right after posing for this picture.

Fishing at sunset on Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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If time spent in nature speaks to the essence of your being, your soul, you have riches greater than any material procession can offer. A wealth that grows in health, spirit, and the awareness of being part of the greater mystery. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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

 

A Butterfly Blast at Griggs Reservoir Park

Many of us have had the opportunity to visit a live butterfly exhibit at a local botanical garden and marvel at their beauty and diversity.  Seeing a large number of different species in that setting would not be a great accomplishment. But how about 12 species, more than 10 in just one three hour period, all at a park near your home in the middle of an Ohio city?

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That’s exactly what happened to us during a recent visit to Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtails were everywhere.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, dark female

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The Question Mark butterfly was not quite as common.

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Question Mark, (Donna)

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Question Mark, (Donna)

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A common butterfly seldom seen with it’s wings spread.

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Cabbage White, (Donna)

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Zabulon Skipper, a very small butterfly.

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Zabulon Skipper being photo bombed by a bee, (Donna)

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Zabulon Skipper on Button Bush, (Donna)

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The very small Peck’s Skipper.

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Peck’s Skipper on Bull Thistle, (Donna).

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Given the threats to the area in which they over winter in Mexico, we’re always excited when we see a Monarch.

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Monarch, (Donna)

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Monarch Butterfly

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It’s been a great year for seeing the American Snout.

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American Snout, (Donna)

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Hackberry Emperors are common but beautiful nonetheless.

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

 

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Hackberry Emperor

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Another common butterfly, the Clouded Sulphur.

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Clouded Sulphur, (Donna)

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Clouded Sulphur

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A Red-spotted Purple even made an appearance.

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A Red-spotted Purple strikes a nice pose.

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Red Admirals may have been the most common.

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Red Admirals in the rain garden.

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Red Admiral

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Red Admiral

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We were pretty excited when we saw a Black Swallowtail.

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Male Black Swallowtail, (Donna)l

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Female black Swallowtail, (Donna)

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Other flying critters were also seen.

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A Song Sparrow overlooks one of the rain gardens at Griggs Park.

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Rain Garden Goldfinch

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Hummingbird moths also like the rain gardens.

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Closer to home, our mail carrier spotted this Luna moth while making her rounds.

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Luna Moth, taken with the mail carriers cell phone.

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Perhaps the rain gardens, that were built to keep road runoff from flowing directly into the reservoir, are the reason for all the butterflies, we’re not sure as some butterflies were seen at other locations. Whatever the reason, we’ve been one of the beneficiaries.

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Rain Garden, Griggs Park

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

It Was A Really Big Beaver, Honest!

Early this morning I decided to take a break from warblers and such and go kayak fishing on Griggs Reservoir. During the week with most people at work it’s actually pretty quiet, so along with catching and releasing pan fish and an occasional bass, wildlife are often seen. With this in mind, I usually have a small pocket cam and a pair of binoculars with me.

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I had just started fishing after paddling across the reservoir when I noticed a rather large tree stump that seemed to be eating something. It became obvious real quick, even without the aid of binoculars (it was only about 25 feet away), that it was a very large Beaver.  Given it’s size, this one must have been a very mature specimen as Beaver continue to grow throughout their lives. It was a great photographic opportunity that wasn’t, as my pocket cam with it’s handy 20x zoom was resting safety on my desk at home right beside my binoculars.  The only excuse is that an early morning fog had apparently shrouded my brain. Not long after that, again along the shore, a Mink momentarily stopped it’s constant and often erratic movement to gaze curiously as I fished. Again, no camera, no pictures.

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It was a good outing, a little over five miles of paddling, Wood Ducks, Baltimore Orioles, Double-crested Cormorants, Great-crested Flycatchers, etc.,  and a reasonable selection of fish caught. But I promise to take the Beaver and Mink more seriously during future outings in the hope that an upcoming post may contain a few photos. For now, I humbly offer the below, taken during a recent walk along the reservoir.

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Lot’s of green.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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One of the most beautiful of our late spring wildflowers.

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Blue Flag Iris

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Multiflora Rose is making an appearance along the river.

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Often grouped together a Multiflora Rose is singled out.

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Other flower’s also delight.

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Goats Beard, (Donna)

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Deptford Pink, (Donna)

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A particularly attractive grouping of Daisy Flaebane

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My wife notices some small skippers.

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Male Zabulan, (Donna)

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Dun Skipper, (Donna)

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A White breasted Nuthatch shows off some pretty nice accommodations.

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White Breasted Nuthatch along Griggs Reservoir

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Thanks for stopping by.

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.

Butterflies and Wildflowers at Battelle Derby Creek

Late July and early August is a great time to grab your camera and binoculars and go for a hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. The park has reestablished extensive areas of prairie containing many types of native wildflowers. With the flowers come butterflies and other types of insects. Eastern Meadowlarks, Indigo Buntings and other birds are also attracted to the area. If you ever questioned the value of native prairies in promoting biodiversity visit Battelle Darby and take a close look. You’ll be amazed at what there is to see.

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Prairie in early morning, Battelle Darby Creek

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Some parts of the prairie contain ponds, Bullfrog, Battelle Darby Creek

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Bullfrog, study 2 (Donna)

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Cardinal Flowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Tufted Titmouse along the Big Darby River

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek

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Making friends with a butterfly.

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Hackberry Emperor, Battelle Darby

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Sunflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Catapillar, Battelle Darby

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Male Goldfinch, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Coneflowers, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

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Red Admiral, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

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Red Admiral, study 2, Battelle Darby Creek

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Red Milkweed Beetle, Battelle Darby Creek

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Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

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Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, study 2, (Donna)

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Blazing Star, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie, (Donna)

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Walking through the prairie, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Fungus, along the river, Battelle Darby Creek

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Familiar Bluet, Battelle Darby Creek Prairie, (Donna)

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Tall Bellflower, Battelle Darby Creek, (Donna)

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Giant Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek

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Daddy Longlegs with prey, Battelle Darby Creek.

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Silvery Checkerspot, Battelle Darby Creek

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Spicebush Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Creek

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Curious Cardinal, Battelle Darby Creek

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Zabulon Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek

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Turtles, Big Darby Creek

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Prairie, Big Darby Creek Metro Park

Thanks for stopping by and checking out some pictures of nature in central Ohio. We hope you’re inspired to get out and explore nature wherever you live.

 

 

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