Located in Franklin and Delaware counties, Highbanks Metro Park is 1,159 acres in size with over 10 miles of hiking trail, including a 3.5 mile, mowed path that’s available for dog walking and cross-country skiing. The park is bounded on one side by the Olentangy River, and it’s crisscrossed by small streams flowing in ravines.
One of our favorite attractions is an observation deck that’s perched on a shale bluff 110 feet above the Olentangy river. For a number of years a pair of eagles have nested in a large sycamore tree just upstream from the observation deck. We’ve watched from the deck as an eagle flew over the river beneath us. If you direct your attention upstream, you can often spot an eagle perched on a tree on either side of the river. The eagles have become the park’s most famous residents. It’s easiest to catch sight of them before foliage appears on the trees, and for a better view I recommend bringing binoculars, or a spotting scope.
We are looking down towards this eagle from the observation deck.
This post illustrates a couple of dozen, common species of spring wildflowers in Ohio. The scientific name in each caption links to an article where you can learn more about that species (a Wikipedia article, if possible). It also lists the months in which you can expect to see each species bloom in central Ohio. In southern Ohio they will bloom a little earlier and in northern Ohio a little later.
The original inspiration for this post was a handout on what spring wildflowers can be seen at different locations along the boardwalk in the Inniswood Metro Garden in Franklin County, Ohio. The locations are identified relative to numbered posts along the trail. Since most of these flowers are perennials, the same flowers can be seen year after year near the same place. I have preserved the information on post location that is specific to this Metro Park; if you are trying to identify wildflowers elsewhere, you can disregard the numbered posts.
A few placeholders remain for species that I hope to photograph later this year.
Between Posts 3 and 4
Like much of the northern part of the country, we had a spring snow last night. Today I decided to go on a wintry spring walk at Inniswood Metro Garden to see how the flowers were faring. I invite you to come along!
Bird watching is just one of the attractions of Blendon Woods Metro Park. The park features two observation shelters near Thoreau Lake. In addition the rear of the Nature Center has windows that look out on a number of bird feeders.
There is a spotting scope in each of the two shelters.
I struck gold in central Ohio! Although many trees have completely dropped their leaves, there are still large swaths of forest that are decked out in yellow. I stopped by two parks this week. On Thursday I visited the Sharon Woods Metro Park (part of the Columbus/Franklin County Metro Park system), and on Saturday I went for a walk in Char-Mar Ridge (part of Delaware County’s Preservation Park System).
Yellow brick road
Bench in Gahanna Woods City Park overlooking a small creek.
Gahanna Woods is part city park and part state nature preserve. Let’s start by looking at the city park.
A mother raccoon teaches the kids to forage under the bird feeder. This was photographed while looking out of the window of the Nature Center.
Blacklick Woods Metro Parks is located in Reynoldsburg, an eastern suburb of Columbus. This 634 acre park has hiking, jogging, and bicycle trails, an abundance of picnic tables and shelters, playgrounds, a golf course, and a nature center.
Posted in Central Ohio, Nature
Tagged "Fairfield County", "Franklin County", "handicap accessible", Blacklick, butterflies, cycling, hiking, jogging, Park Review, wildflowers
Boyer Nature Preserve is wonderful, mini-wetland that sits in the middle of suburban Westerville, Ohio. The site’s main feature is its stream-fed pond. Although it may look like an ordinary pond, it’s actually very special due to the way that it was formed. During the last ice age, Westerville was beneath approximately one thousand feet of ice (305 m). As the climate warmed, a large fracture formed near the edge of the melting glacier. Once that fracture became large enough, a huge slab of ice separated from the main body of the glacier and landed with a great thud in what is now known as Boyer Nature Preserve. When huge chunks of ice break off a glacier like this, it’s called calving.
It turns out that the immense glacier over Ohio had eroded great quantities of land as it moved south from Canada, and this eroded material became frozen inside the glacier while it was still growing in size. However as the glacier melted and shrank, it released the sand and gravel that it had carried with it. Together this sand and gravel is called glacial sediment. So much glacial sediment was deposited in what’s now Westerville that it buried the calved-off chunk of ice under a thick layer of sediment, and this sediment kind of insulated the calved ice. When that calved chunk of ice eventually melted, the layer of glacial sediments that used to be on top of the ice sank lower and lower as the ice melted. This created a low area that filled with water from the melting ice. A body of water that’s formed in this way is called a glacial kettle.
The glacial kettle in Boyer Nature Preserve
Posted in Central Ohio, Geology, Nature
Tagged "Boyer Nature Preserve", "dog friendly", "Franklin County", "glacial kettle", "Ice Age", birds, Park Review, vocabulary, waterfowl
If I were a professional photographer, I guess this would be a very ordinary event. However since I’m not a professional photographer, this is kind of exciting! A while back I was contacted by someone from a graphic design firm, Bluestone + Associates. The firm had been contracted to do a project for Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, and as part of this project, they wanted to use one of my photos.
Honey Locust Seed Pod
Whenever I’m at Inniswood Metro Gardens, I stop by to see what’s happening in this tiny, municipal wetland. And right now, tadpoles are what’s happening.
These tadpoles were really big.