Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sharon Woods Metropark

Yesterday afternoon, Megan and I went to Sharon Woods Metropark in Westerville. We arrived in the parking area near Schrock Lake, and Megan asked if there would be any "fake fishing" going on. She is from Maine, where there is a pristine lake or ocean in everybody's backyard, so she laughs when she sees people fishing in concrete ponds and artificial lakes like we do in Ohio. Sure enough, there was fake fishing going on, right off the nice wooden docks seen here.

When Megan and I do go on a hike, we are constantly looking for animals. We usually don't see felines in central Ohio, but there were four of these little beasts near the fishing dock. Perhaps they were fishing cats looking for a meal? Nope, this pint sized little kitten and its siblings had been abandoned at the park. Its strange what people will do to get something off their hands. Even though I'm ridiculously allergic to cats, I couldn't help feeling for these guys.

We did the Ed Thomas State Nature Preserve Hike, but the most interesting was a side trail which took us through an expansive goldenrod meadow, which gave plenty of opportunities for viewing all types of animals. This little creature, perhaps a wooly bear larva( the Isabella Tiger Moth, Pyrrharctia isabella), was moving really quickly across the trail. This one might not be a wooly bear, since it didn't have the typical brown spots at each end.

Fall is the time for goldenrods and asters. These plants grow all year, and finally, in fall, they bloom. The field that we were hiking through was awash in yellow from Canada goldenrod, Solidago canadensis, with the occasional New England aster, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae.

The blooming asters and goldenrods make a great nectar source for butterflies like this clouded sulphur.

Goldfinches were attracted to the seeds of bull thistle.

A few bull thistles were still flowering, and this male black swallowtail took full advantage of them.

There are a ton of things to see on these wonderful fall days, just like today.


  1. Have you been seeing lots of Monarchs this year?

  2. Hi Kat,

    Thanks for visiting the blog and asking a question.

    I have been seeing plenty of Monarchs this year. Megan and I saw one during our trip to Sharon Woods. It was still kicking, even though it had half of its right wing torn off.

    Perhaps the largest congregation of monarchs that I have seen this year was on North Bass Island in Lake Erie. They were congregating in the hundreds. It was quite a site seeing so many fly in the air at one time.

    Have you seen monarchs this year?


  3. Hi Tom

    Here in the metro Atlanta area we see Monarchs beginning in August usually and into the Fall...we do not get a significant hit in the Spring
    I have been seeing them for weeks and weeks now and I am finishing rearing a big batch of the young I retrieved from my common milkweed which has such ample leaves :-) and more of the glycosides than the beautiful butterfly weed

    it is very very nice here and I plan to visit often!