Thursday, July 15, 2010

Killing time

Geoff has been writing a corporate history for a company headquartered in Versailles, Ohio. He has been visiting there off and on gathering interviews with past and present employees, and this time we all went along for the ride.
Versailles, Ohio (that's "ver-sails", not "Vair-sigh") is a quiet and tiny town on the western edge of the state. One hotel, one gas station, no get the picture. Geoff talked me into the trip by telling me all about the "nature places" and his non-birding opinion that the place would be "birdy".

We arrived in the early morning on Monday and as Geoff headed off to do his job, the girls and I headed to a nearby reserve to kill time.

Stillwater Prairie Reserve:

It's 380 acres of prairie loveliness. Full of native Ohio wildflowers, it's a butterfly and dragonfly heaven. With two ponds and a wetland, it's a frog and bird paradise.
Let's go to the photos:

milkweed bug on milkweed
Milkweed was everywhere. More than I have ever seen in one place. Common, swamp, spider milkweed...all full of juicy milk and crawling with milkweed bugs and beetles. And earwigs. And other things I couldn't identify.

Cattails and swamp milkweed

ready for take off
Dragonflies and damselflies were everywhere. Pond hawks, widow skimmers, Carolina saddlebags, halloween pennants.

widow skimmer

Red-spotted purple
Butterflies were everywhere. Monarchs too busy to land and pose, tiger swallowtails, small sulphurs, tiny blues, clouds of cabbage whites, and this red-spotted purple.

Two ponds in the reserve gave Isabelle many chances to catch frogs (one of her favorite past times).
This peeper landed on Lorelei's shirt, and tried to escape through the "portal."
peeper on Lorelei's shirt

I was in Native Paradise.
Yellow coneflower, purple coneflower, bee balm as far as the eye can see....adding that to the copious amounts of milkweed, and it was all I could do NOT to strip down and roll through it all naked.
prairie flowers

Bird-wise, it was quiet, as expected in mid-summer.
But this kingbird was close enough for the girls to hear its beak "snap" as it zoomed back and forth from its branch to flycatch.

We left the prairie to get some lunch (and returned back TO the prairie after eating) and while driving through the next town, Isabelle say this sign on the post office and MADE ME take a photo:

Puhjust office
"'s a Puh-Just Office!" (giggles ensue)


Mary Ann said...

your blog is looking really spectacular, guess I haven't looked at it in a while (sorry!) And the prairie looks like a must-visit, great photos!

Murr Brewster said...

Dang, that's purty! And thanks for the visual (you rolling).

KGMom said...

Sounds like a great family outing.
Love the pics of the "bugs"!

MevetS said...

Nice shots. And sounds like fun.

(Next time go ahead and roll!)

Vickie said...

Luscious meadow! What a fun day with the girls. Thanks for the giggle interaction image. On the other hand, last I visited a milkweed meadow, besides dragonflies and butterflies, all the flowers were covered with little iridescent stingy things. ouch!

RuthieJ said...

Awesome photos Susan, esp. the dragonfly. I can never snap that camera quick enough to capture them sitting still.

Chris Petrak said...

Your dragonflies are superb - detail and clarity - I find they are very difficult to photograph. Great job.

dguzman said...

Wow, perfect place for you guys! I've been close to kingbirds before, but not close enough to hear their bills snapping--awesome!

BANJO52 said...

Love the photos, esp. the red-spotted purple. Ditto what Chris said about detail and clarity.