A stroll in the Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary at Wolf Creek Environmental Center led us out over the wetland area via boardwalk. Along the walkway was a late-season water lily bloom, floating on dark waters in the afternoon sun. Nearby, tiny green dots of plant life float. It was warm that day but cold days lie ahead. Nature knows.
I visited the Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary of the Medina County Park System this afternoon, seeking the season’s first dragonflies. None were to be seen there. It was, however, a splendid afternoon for a little stroll around the grounds and it’s not like nothing else was worth looking at! The ponds were fairly still and alive with the ripples caused by likely thousands of water-striding insects milling about, doubtless seeking mates. The first lily pads floated, soaking up the day’s sunshine while others could be seen stretching up from beneath the surface. Wriggling amongst the reeds and algae near waters’ edge were hundreds of tadpoles, somehow sensing my presence and quickly hiding. And oh, what’s that, lying in wait for the careless passing fish or tadpole? A medium-sized snapping turtle sat in the mud, barely submerged and barely exposed. The pond may display quiet beauty above, but there’s danger below!
My dragonflies? Oh, they’re likely crawling around underwater in their nymph phase: a terrifying aquatic insect (if you’re a small critter they might find tasty) and will emerge in due course, um, to stalk the skies.
It was a fine early summer day! A weather front came through the region last night and pushed away 90+ degree heat and high humidity. Sunshine, fresh breezes, puffy clouds, and comfortable warmth ruled! With the day off I decided to pay a visit to the Medina County Parks’ Wolf Creek Environmental Center and go hunting for dragonflies. I bagged something more than expected.
As I wandered the grounds I enjoyed viewing the small ponds dotted with blooms of water lilies and buzzing with dragonflies. Red-Winged Blackbirds scolded each other and me from their treetop perches. I made my way towards the extensive boardwalk that extends into the area’s largest pond when a bird shot into the sky and made its way into more distant trees. At first I thought it was an unfamiliar type of duck but no, its beak was long and sharp. Once it perched, I studied it as best I could through my camera’s 200mm telephoto lens and wished I’d have brought the 400mm! Is that a duck? A Kingfisher? No… A Green Heron?! The bird let out a shrill cry and took off into the woods. I thought I’d seen the last of it. More enjoyable dragonfly hunting followed with lily flower photography thrown in for good measure. I wandered back to a smaller pond but heard that odd call in the trees ahead — the mystery bird had returned! So as I continued my stroll I paid attention to the infrequent screeches and when I saw that same feathered friend dart down towards the board walk, I knew that I, too, would go there again.
I crept down the path and on to the wooden walkway, all the while watching the shallows for my quarry. Seeing nothing I continued until I spotted it and froze where I was. The bird, smaller than I’d expected, was also strolling along on the boardwalk ahead of me and around the bend! Suddenly it struck into the water just off the deck and, thrashing, bounded back up with a sunfish in its beak. That bird was using the boardwalk to extend its fishing range!
I followed the little guy for a while, being very quiet and slow in my movements. By now I knew it was, in fact, a Green Heron — smallest of the herons and renowned for its intelligence. I squeezed the shutter release regularly and the bird seemed to grow accustomed to my presence. I’d never photographed a Green Heron before and I wanted to get the best images I could. The skittish little smarty would, however, only allow me to get just so close. When I was satisfied I’d gotten the best shots I could from where I was, I tried moving even closer — the heron walked farther away. Rather than spook the bird and spoil its hunt, I turned heel and headed off the boardwalk.
A lazy Sunday started off with a call from mother-in-law about a plumbing problem. She Who Must Be Obeyed tried to sort it out but the phone company then had problems connecting calls to mother's Area Code! Fortunately brother-in-law was able to pop over to his mom's and sort it out. Still, looks like more work for SWMBO lining up a plumber for repairs. Gad! Not a good way to start off the day.
After an otherwise easy morning we finally settled on a visit to the Medina County Park System's Alderfer-Oenslager Wildlife Sanctuary — really a park with a strong environmental theme. My "dragonfly summer" continued with activity there: numerous types of dragonfly zipping about. One insect in particular caught our eyes, though with some difficulty on our part. Not only were the dragonfly's wings near fully transparent, its body is in the same range of green as the reeds and other plants that line the pond it patrols. Standing mere inches from the beasie, it took effort to rediscover its location if we looked away for a moment. It is apparently an Eastern Pondhawk. I really must return there before dragonfly season ends!
After a late night last night, Sweetie had mercy on me and did not insist that we go on a long bicycle ride. It was a perfect morning under a cloudless sky and mild fall temperatures and nearly impossible to consider staying at home and indoors. (Turns out she didn't feel much like cycling today for some reason, but that's beside the point!) Anyway, since I was still recovering from last week's cold and got to bed late due to the Observatory event, it was nice to sleep in and have a slow morning. Breakfast at Bruegger's Bagels, a quick trip to Target for miscellany, and it was home for a quiet few hours and lunch. At least it was quiet for me … She was doing some light gardening. Beans and franks (veggie) and we took off to the Wolf Creek Environmental Education Center — a long name for a farm that was donated to Medina County's park system and made into a nature preserve. We took a slow-paced hike on some of their lovely trails and shot lots of nature photos. After that, it was on to Fairlawn to check on some items at a store or two and stock up on tempeh. Then back home. Gotta say, even though we took it fairly easy I'm feeling bushed. I hope I didn't overdo as I really, really don't want a relapse! So I'll rest up all evening, laugh at the Simpsons, and hopefully get a good night's sleep. It was a beautiful Sunday.
Note to self: Tasha's medication drops to one-half tablet every three days.