Wildflowers, Arthropods (and More!) in Southwest Ohio

A beautiful sunrise over Drake Bay near Corcovado in Costa Rica. See other beautiful phenomena from Costa Rica.

R. Hays Cummins, Western Program, Miami University


Welcome! It is 1:02:56 PM on Friday, November 27, 2020. This page has served 347800 nature lovers. Last Update: Friday, May 2, 2014.


These pictures were taken with a Canon XL1 digital movie camera (and more recently, with either a Canon D30, D60, 10D and Mark II digital camera with a 100mm macro-lens and a 100-400 4.5-5.6 L Canon) in the natural areas surrounding Miami University and other natural areas in Southwest Ohio. Photos include flowers, insects, spiders, birds, snakes and turtles found in Southwest ohio. Miami has hundreds of acres that serve as research sites and as a fine refuge for solitude and connection with mother nature. Each week in the spring, I have seen new species of flowers emerge in floral waves. Favorite spots include Bachelor Trail, Harkers Run, Western Woods, Peffer Memorial Woods, and the Silvoor Sanctuary. Some very high resolution photographs can be found under the heading: Flower Companions:...!


I am an oceanographer by training and I could use some assistance in the identification of many of these plants. If you'd like to help, please e-mail me at haysc@miamioh.edu

Enjoy the Sights!

Flower Companions: Arthropods (Spiders and Insects) & Other Creatures

Birds on Miami University Properties

  • Check out an example of Nest Parasitism,. The Cowbird chick is larger than the adult Chipping Sparrows! While the life history of Cowbirds is incredibly interesting, I had to fight the urge to feed the Cowbird to my snakes. This photo was taken near Boyd Hall on Miami University's campus.
  • Male Chipping Sparrow- Spizella passerina, Order PASSERIFORMES - Family EMBERIZIDAE. This beauty was singing up a storm in front of Boyd Hall at Miami University in the mid-afternoon on April 16, 2004.
  • White-throated Sparrow- Zonotrichia albiocollis, Order PASSERIFORMES - Family EMBERIZIDAE. This male was singing in a redbud tree near Oxford, Ohio on a sunny mid-April day.
  • Northern Flicker- Colaptes auratus, Order PICIFORMES - Family PICIDAE. This pair was weaving and bobbing together. This photo was taken on Miami University's campus near Boyd Hall.
  • Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia, Order PASSERIFORMES - Family EMBERIZIDAE. Readily recognized by its streaked breast and large, central spot.
  • Blue Jay-Cyanocitta cristata, Order PASSERIFORMES - Family CORVIDAE. All year resident. Showy, noisy. Sexes alike. Absolutely beautiful. This individual was high in a Tulip Poplar Tree on Miami University's campus on March 29, 2004.

    Hummingbird Moths, a Hornet, and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Encounters, Summer 2003

    Today, July 21, 2003, I encountered a beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus). It was feeding on some of Miami's Greenhouse flowers. I even encountered a a beautiful Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thysbe)! I kept going between the fantastic Hummingbird Moth and the Butterfly. The Moth was full of rich and beautiful colors. The moth was an outstanding specimen and captivated my attention. Here is another Hummingbird Moth, with all "rudders" in full deployment! You can see why the common name is "Clearwing" Hummingbird Moth!

  • A series of outstanding images of the Hummingbird Moth frozen in time!

    Here is a Quicktime Movie Slideshow of the beautiful Hummingbird Moths!

    Now, back to the business at hand!

    About 15 minutes later, a large Bald-faced Hornet (Vespula maculata) attacked the butterfly while it was still feeding. The butterfly and Hornet fell to the ground with a "thud." The Hornet proceeded to sting the butterfly multiple times and also succeeded in dismembering two of the butterfly's wings. At the end of the struggle, the Hornet beheaded the butterfly and flew away, with only the head, leaving the rest of the butterfly behind.

  • The Swallowtail feeding on nectar. What a beautiful creature! Here is a closeup of the butterfly head region.
  • Then the attack! From being alive to dead in a matter of minutes. I was shocked by the brutality of it.
  • The butterfly was butchered. The butterfly fought valiantly, but to no avail. The hornet was relentless and focused on its mission.
  • Two wings were removed.
  • The Hornet bit and stung the butterfly. and, finally...........
  • The Hornet removes the butterfly's head and flew back to the nest. Wow!

    Life Goes On! After all of this, I came across a pair of Silvery-spotted Skippers (Epargyreus clarus) flirting with one another.

    Here is another QUICKTIME Slideshow of the major players--butterflies, moths and a hornet. I entitled it "A Day in a Life." Here is a Quicktime MPEG-4 version

    An amazing trip one hour east of Oxford, Ohio to Spring Valley, Summer 2003 and 2004--A Potpourri of Organisms

    I know, there are more species here than flowers and invertebrates! I thought you might like to see photos of birds and snakes that we saw on this recent fieldtrip! Here is a Quicktime Slideshow of the Expedition! Go here to view individual slides of the Spring Valley Trip 2003 and the April 2004 Photos

  • A fabulous Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
  • Many wonderful birds were spotted from the Spring Valley Observation Tower including a Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola ), Sora (Porzana carolina), Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca), and Wood Duck (Aix sponsa).
  • A Potpourri of Frogs
  • A Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) on a Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata):
  • A Wonderful Green Heron (Butorides virescens)!
  • Other Birds: A Red Wing Blackbird (Angelaius phoeniceus)
  • A Beautiful Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)!
  • Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) rattlesnakes!

    A Forest Trail Walk in Oxford, Ohio, August 2003--A Potpourri of butterflies, ants, aphids and an Assassin Bug!

  • I came across a beautiful Molting Assassin Bug commonly known as the Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus) The common name comes from the curved series of coglike teeth along the midline. Wow!
  • Ant-aphid Farming: An amazing collection of ants and their aphids on a Canadian Thistle plant. How did these complex symbiotic relationships between ants and aphids evolve? "Aphids are parthogenetic for part or all of their lives and both viviparous and oviparous at different times of the year. parthogenetic (asexual) reproduction reults in live birth and all aphids are both parthenogentic and viviparous during Spring and Summer." From the World of Little Suckers...
  • Here are some images of previously unphotographed butterflies and other insects. What a great day!

    A Pileated Woodpecker, Oxford, Ohio Summer 2003

  • A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) investigates an oak tree on Miami University's campus. What an amazing bird!
  • A second look as the Pileated Woodpecker feeds. It flew away shortly thereafter.

    Spring and Summer 2002, Slides and Movies!

    Here are my collections of slides from this spring and summer's Western Woods walks at Miami University.

    May 4, 2002
  • About two dozen slides of flowers, insects and spiders

    CLICK on the image to play the movie. An early spring Nature Hike in the Western Woods at Miami University. I was impressed by the number of spiders that were hunting on the tops of flowers and leaves. Music by Gorillaz--Clint Eastwood. Return to the Flower Walk Slide Page.
  • A QUICKTIME Streaming Slideshow of the May 4, 2002 nature walk.

    Previous Year's Excursions

    Flowers Continued!

    Early April Flowers

    Late April Flowers

    Early/Mid May Flowers

    By early/mid May, the woods are really greening up! Many of the flowers which were common in mid-April have been replaced by the early/mid May flowers. It's a spectatcular floral succession!

    Main Street Weather (Weather Home Base!!)

    Visit my favorite weather sites! There are a wide variety of sources ranging from the best weather machines to regional weather, FAX, radar, single frame satellite imagery, computer model forecasts, hurricanes, typhoons, MPEG movies (visible, infrared & water vapor) and buoy data from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico. Just what did weather fanatics do for fun before the invention of the internet?

    Main Street Weather (Weather Home Base!!)

    "Text Only" Link

    of the same weather sites. Not as interesting, but download time is much quicker!

    Radar and Severe Weather

    Get the latest predictions on severe weather

    Just the Maps & Views!

    While far from complete, these downloaded views provide for a satisfying overview of North American Weather.

    Satellite Links

    A complete text listing of satellite images and movies.

    Hurricanes & Tropical Weather

    It's all Here!

    Satellite Downloads and Other Maps

    Real-time satellite movies automatically downloaded

    Numerical Models and Forecasting Page Midwest Weather!

    Here is a separate page with Midwest weather highlights.

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    Photographs Copyright © 1996-"Infinity" R. Hays Cummins; All rights reserved.