I arrived at the Cincinnati Nature Center just before 8am to find several old bird club friends - Lola and Jim and John - already there, and Bob Foppe serving as trip leader. I met a new friend, too - Nina, of Nature Remains. Meeting Susan Gets Native in real life worked out so well, I invited Nina to meet me and Susan for Second Saturday at CNC. Unfortunately, 8:00am does not exist on Susan's clock (big wink!) but Nina and I had a good day out anyway. Maybe next time, Susan. And, Nina, it was nice to meet you.
Lotuses, at Lotus Pond, CNC
Summer birding is notoriously difficult. The lush canopy and dense undergrowth makes it hard to see birds, and since many species are busy feeding young, territorial singing drops off, so you can't even bird by ear. Even deer can be hard to see in the deep woods.
We did see and hear some good birds, including a pair of Summer Tanagers, the female with a bill full of nesting material. We had 3 flycatcher species - an Eastern Phoebe, an Eastern Wood-pewee, and an Acadian Flycatcher, one of those Empid species that you can only identify by voice. Babies abounded, from a juvenile Indigo Bunting to a phoebe feeding a cowbird chick to a family of Common Yellowthroats and best of all, a Wood Thrush nest complete with a youngster. Probably the most interesting sighting was a Belted Kingfisher flying over a field, of all things.
After the group walk broke up, around 10 o'clock, I went across the road to do my weekly field survey. Nothing much different there, except for a Yellow-breasted Chat. As usual, I have no bird photos, but I did get a few flower and butterfly photos. I am going to break one of my own rules, and post pictures of things I think I know. Usually, I wait to post till I have confirmed my ID's, so if something is mislabeled, please sing out and correct me.
I think this is Tall Bellflower. It was in a shady patch of deciduous woods, which is why I needed a flash to get a decent picture. Unfortunately, the flash washed out the color a bit.
I'm almost certain this is Common Fleabane, a member of the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family.
I'm pretty sure these butterflies are Pearl Crescents. My Golden Guide to Butterflies and Moths says they are one of the most common of butterflies, but I don't mind. I just like the orange-on-orange look of the Pearl Crescents on this Butterfly Weed.
This butterfly has to be a Spicebush Swallowtail, but it is missing its namesake feature, the "swallow tails."
All in all, it was a wonderful morning to be out enjoying all that Nature has to offer.