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October 6, 2012

Last month I was out to the Battelle Darby wetlands, looking for shorebirds.  Unfortunately, this past summer’s drought had taken its toll.

A year ago, this is what the wetlands looked like:

The scene was quite different this autumn.

As you can see, at the main pond, most of the water had dried up.  Some of the mud was moist, and there was even a little bit of water standing.  I thought it would be interesting to walk out onto the mud and see what I could see.

Cattails were still around.

A lot of the mud was cracked and dry, though it gave a little under my feet.

There were some bird tracks in the mud, made when it was softer.

This flowering aquatic plant is Arrow Arum, still blooming even in non-aquatic conditions.  Several other types of plants were also growing in the dry mud.

I noticed birds hopping around the remaining foliage on the mud flats.

These handsome sparrows were Savannah Sparrows, warm-weather inhabitants of Ohio grasslands.  They kept an eye on me, but were busy looking for food.

Meanwhile, I caught a glimpse of a small amount of shorebirds in the remaining puddles.

There weren’t as many here as last year, of course.  Killdeer, Sandpipers, a couple of Plovers were spotted.

I wasn’t alone in looking around!

There was some color in the surrounding area- I always look forward to these blooms this time of year.

These variable-colored blooms are Morning Glories.  I never tire of taking their pictures.

This Yellow Bear Caterpillar crawled through the grass nearby.  It’s caterpillar season!

Hopefully, next year won’t be so dry for the wetlands.  Here in central Ohio we’re already getting more rain than we did in summer, so hopefully the water table will be replenished.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2012 10:13 pm

    What a difference! Glad you found a few birds, and some quite interesting plants.

  2. October 6, 2012 10:46 pm

    Tracy, the difference is shocking! Glad to hear that the rains have returned for that area and there is hope for re-balancing the system. Love the morning glory photos!

  3. October 7, 2012 12:33 am

    Oh my! The drought has been devastating.

  4. October 7, 2012 1:01 am

    What a contrast from the drought! Our stream flows here are lower too from our dry summer but I haven’t seen anything that dramatic here.

  5. October 7, 2012 6:43 am

    You did well to find so much interest even without any water.

  6. October 7, 2012 10:45 am

    Very sad. Glad you are finally getting some moisture.

  7. October 7, 2012 12:15 pm

    The difference between the wetlands last year and this year is stunning – I cannot help wondering what is going to happen to our planet in the coming years. But it is amazing how life seems to continue in one way or another, evolving and adapting somehow, and happily you found a bit of that with your camera.

    • October 7, 2012 8:46 pm

      That’s very true, Barbara- it’s interesting how nature flows regardless of the conditions.

  8. October 8, 2012 2:04 am

    Wonderful photos, and what a contrast between this year and last. I love seeing the shorebirds and the sparrows, as well as the late-blooming flowers. Very interesting!

    • October 8, 2012 9:15 am

      Thanks, Jo! The sparrows moving into the dry area was nice indeed, they’re harder to see in the tall grass!

  9. October 8, 2012 9:05 pm

    I’ve seen streams and small ponds go completely dry here, but nothing close to that scale. With the aquatics doing as well as they seem to be there must be some moisture just below the surface. Still, I hope you’ve had some rain since your visit.

    • October 9, 2012 3:44 pm

      It’s rained a few times since then, including a couple of good soaking rains- every time I take ‘drought pictures’ it seems that we get more rain. I’ll take some more pictures soon! 🙂

  10. October 9, 2012 10:21 pm

    That was so sad to look at. What an incredible difference, how clearly your photographs illustrate to us how fragile the ecosystem is.

    • October 10, 2012 9:35 am

      What a difference a year makes, Robin! Let’s hope it’ll be back to ‘normal’ next year.

  11. October 10, 2012 8:14 am

    Hasn’t the drought been horrible? I just planted bulbs and couldn’t believe how dry the soil was. All of your wildlife is still lovely…

    • October 10, 2012 9:38 am

      Imagine years of this kind of weather, like in the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. We don’t want that!

  12. October 12, 2012 9:31 am

    That’s really kind of sad. 😦

    • October 13, 2012 9:13 am

      It was disappointing, but it was also interesting to see some adaptation going on. Hopefully there won’t have to be as much adaptation next year!

  13. October 13, 2012 11:00 am

    that was a very cool photo documentary of the wet/dry lands

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