April 7, 2014

Spring Has Arrived!

I thought I'd take a break from posting about Florida in order to celebrate the arrival of spring in Ohio. It certainly is a welcome change from the cold, snowy winter! We have been visiting nature preserves in central and southern Ohio whenever we can, and I hope that these photos can illustrate the amazing changes that have taken place since the official arrival of spring in late March when there was still snow on the ground in many places.

Now the streams are running full and the waterfalls are beautiful:

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve near Yellow Springs. 

Among the first wildflowers to bloom were snow trillium,

tiny harbinger-of-spring, which is also called pepper and salt,

and hepatica, which comes in beautiful colors including pink and blue, shown below, and white:

Now the white trout lilies are in bloom,

along with spring beauties

and bloodroot:

Here is an interesting flower of a small tree called leatherwood, so named because its twigs are quite flexible. This is probably wind pollinated, since it doesn't have fancy petals to attract insects:

Down by the Ohio River, things are a bit further along than here in central Ohio. Virginia bluebells are showing some color

as are these lovely Dutchman's breeches:

We saw large numbers of dwarf larkspur in bud but this past weekend only saw one in full bloom:

Lots of sessile trilliums are in bud but only a few were showing their intense maroon color. I don't think I've ever noticed before the maroon edging on the sepals. This is about as open as this flower will get:

I actually prefer one of sessile trillium's other names: toadshade!

And here is a treat, one of Ohio's rarest wildflowers called the goldenstar lily. It looks very similar to the yellow trout lily but there are subtle differences. It only grows in a couple of areas in the southernmost part of the state, and is a real beauty:

Wildflowers are not the only signs that spring has arrived. The salamanders are migrating to their vernal pools to mate and lay eggs on warm, rainy nights. Here is a spotted salamander

and a Jefferson's salamander:

The butterflies have just started to appear. In addition to eastern comma

and spring azure

The upper side of this butterfly is brilliant blue, but they rarely rest with wings open for a photo!

we've seen mourning cloaks and a cabbage white. Falcate orange-tips and tiger swallowtails can't be too far behind!

Spring has always been my favorite season--my April birthday might have something to do with that--and this one is shaping up to be excellent!


  1. Ah, these pictures give me hope! I especially love seeing the salamanders. Your photography is wonderful; it's neat how you're adding captions to some photos.

  2. You have some great pictures here on your blog. I just wanted to note that the salamander you identify as a Jefferson's looks more like a Smallmouth. Note the stubby convex snout and the gray lichen like markings (especially toward/on the tail).

    Be well.