The honking and splashing of Canadian geese. The tapping of woodpeckers in the trees. Frogs trilling. The swish of fishing line flying out, the plop of the bobber hitting the water. Kids laughing and calling out “I caught one” or “Look at the turtles!” These are the sounds I hear when I walk around Granger Pond and through Ohio swampland in Veterans Park, Mentor, Ohio, USA.
“Veterans Park protects the largest inland pond in the county and a remnant of original Ohio swamp forest. The park offers four accessible fishing piers, a 1.78-mile loop trail though native wetlands with 830 feet of boardwalk, and a wetland/wildlife viewing area. Granger Pond is generally stocked with catfish, bass, bluegill and rainbow trout.” -Lake Metroparks web site
I’ve written before about Veterans Park (Where the little fishies live… and My Favorite Swamp). This urban park is close to my home home and we head there frequently. Each season brings it’s own delights.
Nature is just waking up on the North Coast. While I can’t provide the park’s soundtrack here, you can use your imagination as you walk along with me.
Veteran fisherman and newbies crowd the piers.
Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to fishing.
Canada Geese coming in for a landing.
Turtles basking in the sun.
It took me two days to spot a toad, I could hear them everywhere!
Don’t forget your fishing license and don’t feed the geese or you will have a friend for life!
In a mostly gray/brown landscape this maple really stood out.
Squaw root, a parasitic plant that grows on oak roots. I wasn’t sure what these were and at first I thought some kids had stuck pine cones in the ground. I touched them and found they were firmly anchored.
“Squawroot, Conopholis americana, is parasitic on oak trees. The bulk of the plant is underground where it bonds with the roots of the tree. It’s one of those odd plants that lacks chlorophyll and takes all of its energy from the host.” –Ohio Flora
These are not yet in full “bloom.”
Some cool, gnarly roots. I think this looks like dragon legs and feet.
Skunk cabbage (symplocarpus foetidus) covers the swamp. This a weird plant, it’s flowers emerge so early and emit such heat that they melt the snow around them. The whole plant from flower to leaves smells terrible. Here’s a web site with a dire warning against eating this plant – Shoots and Greens of Early Spring
You can’t walk through Veterans Park without seeing White Tailed deer. I’ve seen as many as 8 in one trip.
A shy squirrel.
Americanus Photographus, a common species.
Veterans Park has a lovely picnic area with tables, a playground and shelter.
There are many beautiful specimen trees at the entrance to the park, including this Flowering Crab Apple. The painted lady butterflies were in abundance!
For more info about Veterans Park and Granger Pond visit LakeMetroParks.com