Category Archives: nature

A Spider Web I Noticed

Wonders Of A Spider Web

Spider web at a gas station.
Spider web at a gas station.

This spider web caught my attention as the sun came through it when I was pumping gas. With the light shining, it brought out the detail and made me thing about how complex a spider web is.

I did a search and found that spider webs are more complex than they appear. The design makes allows for inevitable damage. If one part is damaged, the rest of the web gets stronger. The design allows for minor damage to not compromise the web as a whole. The spider can make repairs with ease.

The center silk is different than the outer. The center is a stronger silk, while the outer is thinner and stickier to snag prey.

Eye Catching Yellow Flowers

Yellow Flowers Catch My Eye

I took these photos of yellow flowers because they caught my eye and drew me in. I had to do some research to find out what some of them are. The first is a woodland sunflower. It’s interesting that it looks nothing like the garden variety sunflowers.

Woodland sunflowers.
Woodland sunflowers. These were found at the Kokosing River near Howard, Ohio.

I’ve noticed quite a few yellow flowers that have drawn my camera’s view finder.

Lance Leaf Coreopsis
Lance Leaf Coreopsis
Woodland sunflowers on a nature trail.
Woodland sunflowers on a trail near Granville, Ohio.

 

 

Birds At Dawes Arboretum

Just A Few Of The Birds And Butterflies At Dawes Arboretum

Today I took my lunch at Dawes Arboretum. What a great Spring day to take a few minutes observing wildlife. I went to the newer swamp area today and the birds were very active.

The Butterflies

I don’t know how one can look at a butterfly and not want to photograph it. They are graceful, delicate, beauty. It seems that they are all a unique piece of artwork.

Butterfly with orange and black markings.
An orange and black butterfly.
Black and blue butterfly.
Butterfly with black and blue markings.

Dawes Arboretum Has Birds In Abundance

There are many species of birds that thrive at Dawes Arboretum. Today, I was lucky to find red-tailed hawks and a Green Heron. This was my first time seeing a green heron, It stalked fish in the pond.

Red-tailed Hawk in flight.
Red-tailed hawk in flight.
Green Heron hunting in the swamp.
Green Heron hunting in the Dawes Arboretum swamp.
Blue heron in flight.
Blue heron flying.

Osprey At Buckeye Lake And More Changes for 2017

Osprey At Buckeye Lake, Coffee On Motorcycles, And Spring

Osprey At Buckeye Lake In Ohio.

This past weekend was my first encounter with Osprey. They were at Fairfield Beach in Buckeye Lake, Ohio. They were so beautiful to watch as they circled the air and fished out of the lake. I had to look them up online to find out what type of bird they were.
I’m not sure if they are rare or if I just never seen them before. I found this information at the ODNR that tells more about the Ohio Osprey reintroduction program started in 1996.

Spring Feels Like It’s Here

Purple flowers.
Spring flowers at Buckeye Lake, Ohio.

April 8th was the first day I could say it really felt like Spring in Ohio. That’s not bad for timing. A little early actually. Some warmth, sunshine, and plants starting to come to life are my ideas of when Spring actually starts.

Coffee On Motorcycles Project

Coffee At Buckeye Lake, Ohio
Coffee At Buckeye Lake, Ohio.

For 2017 I have a new project in mind. It’s called Coffee On Motorcycles. I’ll be taking a thermos full of hot coffee or cold tea with me and stopping to photograph wherever I think a good place to stop and have a coffee break is.

I got the idea from stopping smoking. I used to love to stop and just take in the scenery while I had a smoke. Obviously, that’s bad for you so I quit in Spring of last year. Great, right? Well, not completely. I gained weight. I knew I would and while quitting, I didn’t care.

While stopping smoking has been great, it could be better. I won’t consider it in the green until the weight I gained is gone, and then some. To make that weight loss a reality, I can’t stop in bars for a beer very often while I’m out on the bike.

Now before all you nervous nellies e-mail me about the dangers of drinking on a bike, I say bullshit. You can have an occasional beer while out riding. One doesn’t make you drunk. It does make you fatter though, but that’s a long story to tell you about that science. You can have coffee at a bar too though!

This project should be a fun way to fill that void left by losing the smokes and bars. In this case, with the Osprey and the beach, it was great.

Everett Field Park Wildlife

Everett Field Park In Newark, Ohio

About the Park

Everett Field Park is off of Everett Avenue near the Owens-Corning Plant in Newark, Ohio. It’s a large park with bicycle paths, a small river, frisbee golf, gardens, and ball diamonds. Sadly, there’s a lot of trash and it’s been heavily vandalized.

Unexpected Wildlife

This view of Owens-Corning dominates the park. It’s smell dominates too.

Owens-Corning Fiberglas plant in Newark, Ohio.
Owens-Corning Fiberglas in Newark, Ohio

If you relax, walk quietly, and start taking in the sound of the flow of the river, wildlife will start to show itself. I was looking for interesting photos. It’s was slow at first. Just dead weeds and vandalized park equipment at first glance.

Dead weeds with thorns.
Dead weeds.

I really don’t know what weeds these are in their dead state like this.

I walked along quietly. I was hoping to catch more photos of deer. This morning was different for my routine. I’d added an extra hour to allow time for photos. I ended up here with that idea. As I went on, I found some government employees passing a joint. They bolted quickly giving me an evil stare. As if I’m the bad guy, to funny.  I’m not that bad. No photos, no drama. I’ve got better things to do.

A few minutes later, I heard the uproar of ducks taking flight quickly. I swung my camera and shot. There’s nothing to original with duck photos, but I like to attempt to catch any bird in flight.

Ducks taking flight.
Ducks take flight.

When ducks just gather and take off, it’s a slow buildup to the take off. They will quack to each other and their body language will communicate that they are about to take off. This was different. One bolted and the others just instinctively took immediate flight. This was my signal that something predatory was around.

I knew I didn’t scare them to that degree. I thought maybe a group of people would be coming around the bend. I looked up to see if a hawk or an eagle was in the area. I heard some geese hissing and then, the fox seen me and bolted up the hill. He stopped to stare at me, probably hoping I’d leave so he could get breakfast.

A red fox.
A red fox staring down the hill at me.

What a rush it was to get the photo! Usually, I just get a fleeting glimpse of one running across the road.

Crow flying between power lines.
Crow flying in between the power lines.

All of this happened in about an hour of just quietly walking and observing. I never left the city limits. The world is full of cool things if you make time for them. It’s easier to sit at a desk after enjoying a little bit of nature. Realistic perspectives come easier. Life just flows better.

A Sunday Walk In The Woods Turns Exciting When An Eagle Appears

Fungus on an Old Log
Fungus grows on an old log in the forest.

The walk started out boring. The western end of The Blackhand Gorge trail is that way. If you’re quiet, you can catch deer out in the field or even a Hooded Merganser Duck in the river. Most of the time though, it’s just a well-shaded, level walk down an old railroad bed. This time was different. I’ve heard about an eagle in the area, but I never was lucky enough to see them.

We heard a loud clap on the water. Soon, we seen the huge wing span making it’s way through the woods. I thought it might be a buzzard, but the clap on the water made me pretty sure it was an eagle. Then I seen the white tail feathers to confirm that it was an eagle.

An eagle flying over Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve
An eagle flying at Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve near Newark, Ohio.

By the time we confirmed it was an eagle, it was far away. I could only make out a tiny speck on a branch. With my camera equipment, I need light and at least a monopod. I didn’t have either to get any great photos, but I love that I could at least capture a recognizable shot with what I did have.

An eagle fishing in The Licking River
Eagle scanning The Licking River for more fish.

My camera was good enough to see that he was eating a fish. I watched him for a while as he scanned for more. My wife walked down near towards him to get him to fly. It worked, but he had seen us and just moved further away. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that we were annoying the bird’s fishing so we turned and left him alone.

It’s great to see some of Ohio’s wildlife return and to be as common as this. I remember when seeing a deer was somewhat rare when I was a boy believe it or not. I still get excited when I get a chance to take photos of deer too. It’s these shots that make me wonder why I’m not in the woods more.

A Sparrow In Hawthorne Trees

Have you ever been around a Hawthorne tree? They are not a tree you want in your yard. The thorns are sharp as needles and tough as nails. They will rip holes in mower tires, your clothes, and you.

Somehow sparrows jump from branch to branch and the thorns never bother them. It was interesting to watch.

Sparrow in a Hawthorne tree.
Sparrow in a Hawthorne tree.

I read that many birds actually prefer thorny plants and that hawthorn trees are excellent for attracting them. Nature must have given them special ways of dealing with the thorns.

Social Media Constraints


Cattails in the early winter.
Cattails in the early winter after being ravaged by birds. Birds use the stringy seeds to make nests.

Constraints often improve an artist’s work. I don’t consider myself an “artist”, but I do undertake creative endeavors. Writing and photography are forms of art, I just don’t like to compare anything I do with so many other somewhat unrelated fields like painting. I have found that limits do free your time and keep your works withing boundaries, financial and otherwise.

A constraint I’m adding is far, far less time on Facebook. More time walking, writing and photographing. Less time arguing the finer points of politics and other things that Facebook is a lacking platform for.

It’s already led me to a Sunday afternoon hiking in a field. That’s when this photo was captured.

2016 Winter. Easy In Ohio So Far.

Here it is January 10th, 2016 and what appears to be the first real winter weather of the year appears.

This photo was taken on a hike at Dawes Arboretum near Newark, Ohio today.

January 2016 Dawes Arboretum Photo
Lake At Dawes Arboretum In January.

Last year I tried a 365 project that failed. It failed in the idea that I did not produce 1 photo a day for 365 days. It succeeded in showing me that you need to take at least one photo a day to improve. Many of those photos will be bad, but some will be great. You need that frequency to lead you to the great shots. The failures are the practice that lead you to the great photos.

This year, I’m just trying to improve and post the best photos I get as they come. The goal is just improvement.

Nature Taking Over At Taft Reserve

Taft Reserve has about 8 miles of trails and it’s ran by the Licking County Parks.

If you follow the trails in a couple of miles, you’ll come to a large abandoned farm. It was a huge operation and today, there’s not even a road left leading to it. There is a large house, old farm equipment, and many outbuildings just rotting away.

I find it interesting how nature will always reclaim everything if you let it. Most of the reserve is full of evidence of that happening. From scrub land trying to become a forest, old Indian mounds, and then this farm.

Curned tree in the forest.
Tree that had to adapt to grow.

 

Out building at the old farm at Taft Reserve in Licking County, Ohio.
Small abandoned barn at Taft Reserve.
Abandoned farm house at Taft Reserve.
Abandoned farm house at Taft Reserve in Licking County, Ohio.
Old farm equipment at Taft Reserve in Licking County, Ohio.
Abandoned farm equipment at Taft Reserve in Licking County, Ohio.