Saturday, August 2, 2014

Preservation Parks in Delaware Co Ohio

Delaware County, Ohio has a wonderful system of preservation parks, designed to preserve green space and provide environmental education to residents in an area prime for development as the Columbus suburbs continue to expand their reach.

Deer Haven Preserve

Deer Haven consists of forest, forest edge, pond, meadow and wetland habitats.  This means that you have the chance to see a lot of nature in a short period of time.

After a couple of rainy days in Delaware, Ohio with my parents, the sun came out again, so we went to walk at Deer Haven.  They kept warning me that we probably wouldn't see any butterflies.  Were we in for a surprise!  I guess the weather + the time of day + wildflowers in bloom in the restored prairie area combined to create perfect conditions.

Little Yellow 
(I have not seen these in Massachusetts.)

These were everywhere!  They especially liked the mud and were puddling all along the paths.

American Snout (life butterfly!)

This butterfly flew erratically up the path.  My Dad pointed it out and then it practically crashed into him as it continued up the trail past us.  It came to a jerky stop only offering temporary photo opportunities.  I was glad to catch it well enough for an ID.  Not the prettiest butterfly, but I think it has a very interesting shape.

A little further down the trail, my Mom pointed out these two nectaring on wild bee balm.  What a thrill!

Giant Swallowtails (two!!!!)

You can't help but be impressed by these beauties.  With a 5" wingspan, they are practically as big as birds!  To have two at the same time was astonishing!


Eastern Tailed-Blue

While this photo may not look exciting, this little area of mud had 3-4 Eastern Tailed-Blues and two Little Yellows.  They did not cooperate for a group shot, but there was a lot of activity in that area!

Peck's Skipper

Question Mark

On another visit, we didn't see quite as much, but there was still a good variety:

Horace's Duskywing

Nodding Wild Onion

Partidge Pea


Field Sparrow

Prairie Coneflower

 Pearl Crescent


Red-Spotted Purple and Viceroy
vying for same nectar

Tawny Emperor


My sister and I had gone to check out the butterfly garden at the nature center while my parents waited in the car.  When we got back to the car, it turned out Mom and Dad had been enjoying a very assertive, albeit raggedy butterfly at the car.  It flew off when I opened the trunk, then landed on my sister's back (no fan of "bugs") and finally rested again on the rubber gasket of my Mom's open door.  Mom shooed it away, and off we went into town for lunch.  However, when I opened her door in town, guess who flew out?  We even saw it again on another car after lunch!  Hope it likes its new home in downtown Delaware!

Question Mark
(Look, Lynn, it's getting minerals from your shirt!)

The Hitchhiker!

Gallant Woods Preserve

My parents often walk here in the spring when ephemerals abound on Acorn Trail.  Again, the park had done a beautiful job with wildflower gardens.  We had another Giant Swallowtail sighting!

Question Mark

I had thought this was a new species, but on closer inspection I think it's just a Question Mark with wing damage.

In the above photo, you can just make out the white "question mark" on the wing just below the leaf on which the butterfly is clinging.  (a curved white line with a white dot just to the right of it)



 Painted Lady (first sighting of the year)

Fuller's Teasel

My sister and I took an evening walk at this preserve.  The highlight for both of us was a close view of a Green Heron!

Great Blue Heron

The thistle in the meadows had gone to seed, and we enjoyed watching the American Goldfinches among them.

American Goldfinch

Lots of great nature sightings.  I wasn't expecting them.  It was neat to spend time in a different part of the country during peak butterfly season!


  1. What an amazing selection of butterflies you saw. That Little Yellow is very special. I always associate them with tropical places. Eurema are my favourite butterflies. I love their floppy flight!

    1. The Little Yellows have been seen on the southern border of Massachusetts in past years. I have not gone down there to search them out. Wouldn't surprise me if they continue gradually moving north due to climate change.