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.