There is a gentle flutter against the glass. On this cool morning, each of a handful of butterflies begins its life upon wings and waits to fly in the first warming rays of the sun. They’re my beautiful Buckeyes—found as caterpillars just several days before, as I walked the mowed path ringing a summer field filled with riotous wildflowers. Absorbed in a torrent of insect song brought on by that steamy morning, I had walked into their midst, barely noticing their wanderings below on a patch of path 6 feet wide and stretching 15 feet down the trail. Their colorful but dark, softly-spined wormy bodies fed furiously at my feet on the short stems of plantain interspersed with cut grass.
Common Buckeye caterpillar on plantain
Tiptoeing between them and picking up one after another, I soon had a handful of brilliant wriggling worms reluctant to remain in my cupped hands while I hurriedly headed for home. Basically a solitary caterpillar, this spot of lawn had apparently been chosen again and again by an egg-laying adult, as she flitted from one food plant to the next—a single green egg left each time. And scattered densely along my daily walkway, I was sure this caterpillar nursery would meet with an unfortunate end.
Common Buckeye caterpillar on Ruellia
Safely tucked into my glass tank enclosure and stuffed with fresh sprigs of Ruellia and assorted plantains, days later 31 cryptic chrysalides hung from silken tethers around its lid.
Not yet warmed enough to take to the air, each turns, open-winged to sit in a spot of sunshine, then lifts from my finger and floats across the field.
Winning image for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp competition!
The 2012 OWLStamp will be available for sale March 1, 2012 through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and nature organizations across the state. Proceeds of the OWLStamp benefit wildlife conservation, research & education projects within the state of Ohio! I'm thrilled to have provided the winning image for such a wonderful program!
The Adventures of Red Canoe
Come along in Red Canoe as she explores the quiet backwater of Ohio's State Parks and the scenic streams and rivers of the Midwest. Discover the beauty hidden beyond the water's edge, quietly waiting, past access points, often only inches deep!
Grabbing every minute I can find to be outside--walking in it, sleeping in it ... breathing it in. The natural world has so much beauty to uncover.
It is my hope that by capturing my experiences with nature and by sharing the richness it adds to an ordinary life, others may discover the greatest gift waiting just outside their door.
A regularly appearing feature, "Have you seen..." takes a closer, more patient look at things usually not seen in a flattering light.Take a look!
The Sweetness of Spring
Each spring, as winter lessens its grip and days warm with the first fragrant breezes of a new season, we collect sap from our Sugar Maples and produce just enough syrup for ourselves for the coming year. The progress of this year's backyard endeavor is illustrated here.
A Bird's Life
Summer 2008, the tiny jewel of the avian world, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, nested just feet from my front door. Pictures of her nest and the changing lives within are collected in thisjournal.From life the size of a pea....