Enjoying Nature

Due to some back problems, I have not been able to get out to walk in area parks much.  But had a better than average day so ventured into easily accessible regions of Caesar Creek Lake to view the wildflowers and insects.  One of the most delightful insects to encounter is the Hummingbird Moth, this one helping to pollinate Wild Bergamot (aka Bee Balm).

And another favorite for me are the bees, for whom there are even blessing prayers in the Orthodox tradition.  We need to keep praying for the bee population which has been declining. They do a lot of work for us in pollinating our gardens and farms.

And then there are the butterflies, always beautiful, graceful and multi-hued.   They get your attention but are often hard to capture in photos as they flit and float between landings.

Some insects really do look like space aliens, or perhaps Hollywood has made its aliens in the likeness of insects.

I’m thankful just for the opportunity to walk and to observe nature.  Below: the Purple Coneflower.

Walking in a park can even take you back in time:   you can encounter “living fossils” like the Equisetum (below) which is the single surviving genus of  primitive vascular plants that dates back to the mid-Devonian period (350 + million years ago).  The plant reproduces by spores and the photosynthesis takes place in the stems of the plants.

So many beautiful gifts in nature to see.   Sirach says: “The fear of the Lord is like a garden of blessing” (40:27).   The blessings of God’s garden are easy to see.  The joy of the fear of God is perhaps a greater mystery for us, but what a wonderful metaphor.

I think these wildflowers are – Above: False Sunflower.  Below: Royal Catchfly.

And I’m grateful not only for the wild flowers and insects, but also for the ability to walk amidst them and to drink in their colors, scents, shapes, and how flora and fauna form an ecosystem in which each is dependent on the other for life.

You can see all the photos I took on this walk at Caesar Creek Lake 11 July 2014.

You can find links to all my photo-blogs at My PhotoBlogs.

Take a Warrior Fishing Event

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park rangers at Caesar Creek Lake help coordinate the local “Take a Warrior Fishing” event which is to honor and thank area Vets for the service to the nation.  It is an amazing act of coordination and cooperation between the Corps of Engineers rangers, local businesses, park volunteers, area Veteran organizations, local fishing organizations as well as area fishermen and women, and lake boat owners.

The amount of work and effort put into the event is phenomenal.  I personally have no part in all the work that goes into the event.  I’m just a volunteer photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers.  I get to do what I like – take pictures, while marveling at the coordinating efforts and spirit of cooperation between all of these various groups to do something for area Veterans.   So I get to enjoy what I do and am rewarded with seeing volunteers and veterans – people who serve others in our nation.   Besides I am given opportunity to tour the lake with a park ranger, and be fed as well!  What’s not to like?


Area boat and fishing enthusiasts volunteered their boats and time – creating an entire flotilla for the Armed Forces Day Event.   And part of the fun of the day is getting the Vets out onto the water to try their luck at fishing.

However, the very cold air settling on the only slightly warmer water, caused a fog to form over the lake.  What does it matter if you are fishing for fun?  (And that is what most people caught – a little fun and a little cold!)

This year the “Take a Warrior Fishing” event was scheduled for Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 17.  As it turned out the weather was extremely cold, but the mass of volunteers turned up to do their job to give a special day to members of the armed forces.


You can see all of the photos I took for the event at Take A Warrior Fishing at Caesar Creek Lake.

And, by the way, not everyone had to just talk about “the one that got away.”

Monarch Butterfly Day

September 14 was Monarch Butterfly Day at Caesar Creek Lake.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was taking part in an international study tracking the 2000 mile migration of the butterflies back toward Mexico.

Citizen scientists were able to come out and search for butterflies in the wild in order to help capture them so they could be tagged for study.

The Army Corp of Engineer Ranger and other volunteers also released some Monarchs which they had helped raise into the wild.

Whether the butterfly is caught in the wild or raised by volunteers and released into the wild, an identifying tag is carefully placed on its wing.

Then the butterfly is released back into the wild.

When other citizen scientists anywhere in the world find or catch a tagged butterfly they can report the information on the tag which helps scientists track the butterfly’s migration pattern. Visit  Monarch Watch Tags.

Because of changing farming practices in America, the Monarch Butterfly population has been on the decrease.   Monarchs are dependent on the Milkweed plant for laying their eggs.   This plant grew commonly at the edge of fields and along roadsides until recent times when farmers began pushing their fields to the very edge of the road and began aggressively eliminating weeds along the edges of the fields.

You can see all of the photos I took at the event at Monarch Butterfly Day Photos.

You can find links to my other photo blogs at My Photo Blogs.

A Walk Around the Lake

Sunrise at the Visitor’s Center courtesy dock.

I made it my commitment to exercise and mental health to go to Caesar Creek Lake and walk there at least once each week.   A walk does help clear the heart and mind so that one can offer thanksgiving to God.

The Visitor’s Center from across the pond.

I volunteered to be the photographer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Caesar Creek Lake to make sure I take a walk somewhere around the Lake each week.  It has enabled me to explore trails I’ve never been on and to see the Lake from very different angles.

A morning dew drop capturing the sun’s rays.

May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.  (Genesis 27:28)

It has been a joy – combining two things I like – walking and taking photos of what I see.  I’ve posted a few photo-blogs with pictures that I took (A Day at Caesar Creek, A Caesar Creek Park Walk, Hummingbird Moths International Migratory Bird Day).

In this blog I will share a few more photos from around the park.

While I haven’t seen any beavers, the above photo shows they are around, as I believe this tree has been chewed by them.  I saw several trees downed with the same telltale markings.

I never cease to be amazed by the variety of color in both plants and animals, not to mention shapes and variations in size and every species’ features.

There are a variety of ponds, meadows, and woods surrounding Caesar Creek Lake which give opportunity to experience a variety of nature.  Ironically, though the park offers wonderful access to nature, it is in fact a man-made lake, engineered by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

You can view all of the sets of photographs I’ve taken at Caesar Creek Lake on my Flickr page at Caesar Creek Lake.  Click on any of the thumbnail photos which will taken you into the set where you can watch a slide show or view individual photos.

A Fishing Spider
A frog lies beneath the pond surface.
A tiny turtle and I crossed paths.

You can find links to all the photo-blog I’ve done at Fr. Ted’s Photo-Blogs.

A Great Blue Heron

All good things must come to an end, even a walk around the Lake.

Moonrise over Caesar Creek Lake

And if it isn’t obvious, all these photos were not taken on one day or on one walk but are a collection of photos from the past couple of weeks.

Sunset over Caesar Creek Gorge viewed from the dam

From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised! 

(Psalm 113:3)

A Caesar Creek Park Walk

I walk through Caesar Creek Lake Park about once each week.  I volunteered to be the photographer for the Army Corps of Engineers who own most of the park lands.  The camera is a good excuse for taking a walk and it has made me pay closer attention to the wonders of nature.

I recently posted a blog on The Blessing of Bees, so don’t want to just focus on bees in this blog.  There are plenty of colorful and interesting insects inhabiting the wildflowers.

I am intrigued when looking at the patterns one might note in various parts of flowers – are they mathematically arranged?  Is there a mathematical equation that can predict the pattern?  Is it possible that they represent a pattern and order that we cannot detect but which is nevertheless real?

I note often that each flower is often the home of particular insects, some of which are very tiny.  It is photography itself which has caused me to notice the ‘layers’ of life – and as we get closer we realize there is even minuscule life forms which live together in an interdependence.

Even the insects are often beautiful – and their physical diversity and the numbers of species amaze me.  The Creator has bestowed creativity on and within creation.  “Be fruitful and multiply”  – and the insects have obeyed that command of God!

I also did a separate post on The Hummingbird Moths (above), and though this insect attracts my interest, I won’t repeat more photos here.

For me at least, I never tire of seeing the butterflies and watching them float in the air.  But to picture them, I need them to alight somewhere!

A few feathered friends were among the animals I saw.

The Indigo Bunting below is notable because it has no blue pigmentation!  According to the Audubon FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS, it is actually black  (another deception: I’ll admit I took the photo at a nearby park but decided to include it here since I didn’t get a good photo of one on this walk)

There are three birds in the photo above.  They were moving around together but I was a bit too far away to get a good shot of them.  And I still can’t identify them.

The bird of prey above, I think is carrying its prey, though again I saw him at such a distance that the photograph can’t reveal the detail of what he is carrying.

I’m guessing that above is an Eastern Kingbird.

The above Red-winged Blackbird seemed alarmed at my presence and seemed to be warning the other birds about my presence.

And the above Canada Geese were this time entertaining to watch, though they are so ubiquitous in the area that I am not usually thrilled to see them.

Deer were out and about, and this fawn darted across the road which is why I didn’t have the opportunity to get a good photo of him.  I was driving slowly as I saw the deer on the side of the road, but many drivers have had unfortunate encounters with deer.

The wildflowers are always beautiful as are the native grasses.

There is also beauty in the tiniest of inanimate objects – below is a morning dew drop illuminated by the sun.

You can find links to my other photo-blogs at My Photo Blogs.

You can find the various sets of photographs I’ve taken at Caesar Creek Lake at  Caesar Creek Lake Photos.  Just click on any of the thumbnail photos to see the full set.

A Day at Caesar Creek Lake

Recently I agreed to be a volunteer photographer for the US Army Corps of Engineers at Caesar Creek Park.  My first “assignment” was taking pictures for the Bird Banding International Migratory Bird Day.

On Saturday, June 8 I was asked to join the Take A Warrior Fishing Day, an event to honor  military veterans and to offer them something for their own willingness to serve the country.   I spent part of my day on the water with a Park Ranger.

It was a wonderful event in that it took a great amount of coordination between the Army Corps of Engineers, park volunteers, organizations which support vets, and local businesses and organizations which donated many items from food to fishing gear for the vets.  Additionally a number of area boaters donated the use of their boats to take the vets out on the lake fishing.

You can find the full set of all my photos at Take A Warrior Fishing.   Here I am going to include a few of my favorite photos for the day, not necessarily the photos that best capture the day’s event – take a look at my set of photos for that.

Vets and their families came out for the day and the weather was wonderfully cooperative, though apparently lake water was a bit too warm for the taste of many of the fish who decided to skip the event.

Though Caesar Creek is known for its muskie fishing, those fish were being pretty lethargic in the warm waters.  The weather and the event were great which made up for the few fish joining the event goers.  And they weren’t even cooking fish for lunch!

And he roots for the right team too!
Blue Herron – a competing fisherman.
Hunters, fishermen, recreationists, nature lovers all have reason to support our national and state parks.
Humans and herron headed in opposite directions but both grateful for the lake.
Seagull reflecting on water.
Someone caught the goal of the day.

You can find links to all of my other photo blogs at My Photoblogs.