I spent a few days recently at the end of April until the first day of May in southern Ohio, visiting a variety of places.  Spring is in full swing, the cold April weather has finally broken, and at this particular time in Ohio bushes are leafing out and spring ephemeral wildflowers are in bloom but the trees haven’t quite started leafing- so I thought it may be easier to see migrant birds.  Maybe.  🙂

Here’s a selection of what I saw.

Leo Petroglyphs

Perched on a ridge in Southern Ohio on a large relatively flat sandstone rock are the remains of the most remarkable rock art in Ohio.

The rock surface includes between 30 and 40 different figures. Some representing humans, birds, a fish and others.

The 12 acre park tract consists of a beautiful Heavy Timber Shelter house erected in the 1930s as a WPA project. It is built over the Leo Petroglyphs.

Adjacent is a stunning nature trail that, though limited in length is one of the most beautiful in all Ohio.

Serpent Mound

Perhaps the most famous earthworks of the ancient Indian cultures in North America, this 1300-foot-long snake-shaped mound is in Adams county.  I’ve been here before and blogged about it.

Serpent Mound also has a nature trail exploring the surrounding creek bottomlands and hills.

Paint Creek State Park

Located amid the breathtaking scenery of the Paint Creek Valley, 5,652-acre Paint Creek State Park features a large lake with fine fishing, boating and swimming opportunities. A modern campground and meandering trails invite outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy the rolling hills and streams of this scenic area.

Rocky Fork State Park

Rocky Fork State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Unlimited horsepower boating allows for excellent skiing on the 2,080-acre lake which also provides catches of bass, muskellunge and walleye for skilled fishermen. Nearby, a scenic gorge, dolomite caves and natural wetlands add to the popularity of this recreation area.

Also along the way were various towns with interesting architecture and historical sights that I always like to sight-see.

Pike Lake State Park

My base of operations on this trip was a cabin at Pike Lake State Park.  This park is fairly small but is nestled in the middle of the Pike Lake State Forest, and has plenty of trails and sights to see.

587-acre Pike Lake State Park is located in the midst of the scenic wooded hills of southern Ohio. The small 13-acre lake and surrounding state forest contribute to the park’s rustic charm.

It gets really dark out in the country!

Redbud trees were blooming

There was a small park office

The cabins were quite nice with modern fixtures

A funny story about this particular trail that climbed into the hills and looked down upon the lake below.  The path was narrow like a deer track and was sometimes covered with leaves, so you had to follow the red blazes marked on trees to know you were on the right track.  Halfway through the trail, up in the hills with no cell phone service, the red blazes stopped!  It was getting late and after searching through the woods and not finding the red blazes (perhaps they are an ongoing project) I turned back around and backtracked down into the park valley just as it got dark.  I was glad I didn’t have to sleep with the bears in the woods!

April and May are the months that Spring Ephemeral wildflowers can be seen in Ohio’s woodlands.  I’ve blogged about them before, but it’s been a while!

The most spectacular spring ephemeral flower in evidence was undoubtedly the White Trillium.  Whole wooded hillsides of southern Ohio were covered with it.  This plant is easily identified by its large size, 3 petals, and 3 leaves.

Another less showy Trillium was Sessile Trillium, also known as Toadshade.  If you get close enough to its flower, you’ll note its foul smell.

Violets were very common as well, in their varied colors.


Spring Beauties

These Rue Anemones were being visited by a Falcate Orangetip butterfly.

Blue Phlox (also known as Wood Phlox) added its pleasant color to the hills.

This Wild Geranium was a bit early.  It’s one of the late spring ephemerals to show up.

Other spring wildflowers of note included:



Kidney-Leaved Buttercup

Golden Ragwort




Dandelions, homeowner’s foe but beloved by many insects

And now, for the birds.  I’ll start off with 4 Warblers freshly-migrated up from South America that live in the deep woods that are hard to spot when there are leaves on the trees- I was happy to get photos of them!

Kentucky Warbler


Worm-Eating Warbler

Louisiana Waterthrush

Other migrants were showing up, getting ready to start their own nests.

Eastern Phoebe (one of our earliest nesters)

Baltimore Oriole

Rufous-Sided Towhee (actually a year-round resident)

Wood Thrush- a beautiful woodland singer

House Wren

Eastern Kingbird (a flycatcher like the Phoebe)

Canada Geese goslings

A mother Killdeer fakes having an injured wing to lure people away from her young

I had a great time exploring natural areas in the mid-southern Ohio region for a few days.  Now, as the leaves grow upon the trees, spring migration goes into high gear.  I’m off to eastern Ohio soon for another cabin trip- hopefully the weather will cooperate!