My attempt to document 40 sunrises in Eastern Cincinnati. Spring 2011.

Posts tagged “ants

Sunrise 42: Ault Park (Spring Haze, Ants & Pillbugs)

An old prop plane with its wing tips folded up takes off from Lunken Airfield into the sunrise

This morning was a great start to the short holiday week. When I crawled out of bed, a bit stiff from a holiday weekend and slightly out of routine, I could hear the birds chattering about the hot day ahead. Today should be another scorcher with a high in the mid 90s. This morning, however, the day was still young and the temperature was a comfortable 65F. The atmosphere had a thick accent of haze, indicative of the high humidity we’ve had recently. I’m not surprised to see thunderstorms in the forecast for the week.

The fog was thick down in the little miami river valley. You could see the tops of telephone poles just barely popping above the surface.

The sun has drifted so far to the left that I no longer have an unobstructed shot. You can see it in the above picture just behind the tree, a dark reddish purple sphere.

I had to patiently wait for the sun to get this high above the tree. The camera doesn’t quite do it justice – the richness of the sun was a saturated magenta.

The hazy sky meant that the sun was visible but not blinding. A great morning to look directly into the sun without consequence… for the first five minutes at least.

The upper atmosphere didn’t have the deep blue that I’ve seen on the days with less humidity. It was more of a muted navy blue.

If you’re on the front page, click to continue. Ants & Pillbugs macro-style –> (more…)

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Sunrise 28: Ault Park (Mushrooms, Aphid Farming Ants, and Lady Bugs)

When I left our apartment this morning, the first thing that hit me was how the “thunderstorm” that was expected last night at 2am never showed up. The air was still thick and wet, something I hoped would go away as the expected front cleaned out the humidity this morning. There was a bit of a haze, but the atmosphere was clear of clouds for the most part giving the air a vibrant feel to it. I wouldn’t call it a fog because you couldn’t see any clouds manifest themselves from the overlook, but the entire valley (and the sun) had a visibility that seemed to stop abruptly about 4 miles away.

The air this morning was warm and sweet, not to mention wet. It reminded me in general of how it feels on a warm sticky summer morning, but it wasn’t quite hot enough to be a nuisance. It was, honestly, just about perfect. My morning routine was finally complete, because I finally was able to make coffee after stopping at Trader Joe’s on the way home from work last night, so I enjoyed my first couple of cups as I waited for the orange accent to become a delayed hazy sunrise.

In the meantime I meandered over to the underside of the overlook and I found some fresh mushrooms that have recently come to life. They had that perfectly soft white foamy appearance to them so of course I had to take a picture to document them. In fact, the mushrooms I took pictures of Sunday night up in Alms Park are already starting to shrivel and age just two days later. If you’re on the front page, please click to continue, there are like 40 pictures in this post! –> (more…)


Sunrise 12: Ault Park (Armleder Lake)

It was difficult getting up this morning. For the past two nights we’ve had some serious thunder storm action. The front that rolled through last night was predicted to be substantial. While it certainly was intense, I feel that at least in our area it wasn’t as strong as the lightning storm that came through tuesday morning.  The city of Cincinnati can be a bit trigger happy on the storm siren. Their policy is to blast it under “Thunderstorm Warning”. I’m sure they blast it under a “Tornado Watch” as well, but we haven’t had one yet this spring. As if the thunder storm wouldn’t wake us up, they made sure that we were awake by turning on the storm sirens twice, once around 12:30am and once around 1:00am.  That made for a rough wake up.

Last night I tried something different that ended up working out perfectly. My thermos, as you may know, is an excellent insulator. I decided to make my coffee last night and fill up the thermos. This eliminated the largest time sink of my morning (about 8 minutes of the 15 it takes to get ready). It also allowed me to roll up to the park and pour a cup of coffee that was only 20-30 seconds away from being at a drinkable temperature. If I make coffee in the same morning I drink it, I can wait up to 4 minutes before I can touch it.  The coffee was delicious, as expected, and I think I’ll be making nightly coffee from now on.


This morning the park was quiet, peaceful, and wet. The storm broke for me just like yesterday morning. There was no rain, but it was dark. The overlook provided a nice view of the storm clouds rolling through. It was a bit tough getting good pictures without them ending up blurry.

Armleder Park is now officially Armleder Lake (with the associated Armleder Dog Park Bay). It looks like the Little Miami and the surrounding fields / praries have become one. Could it get any worse? I’m not sure.

I sat back and enjoyed my 8 hour old delicious coffee. The rain must have just recently subsided because the birds were slowly building up their song. I heard a mourning dove for the first time along with the usuals.

I noticed, along the stone ledge, a large ant that was struggling to get around on the wet surface. Poor guy probably lost all of his colony’s pheromone trails in the rain. He is probably doomed to live out the rest of his days in an eternal wander. But it did get me excited – late spring and summer means more insects! It is kind of strange listening to the forest and not hearing crickets and cicadas.

Ten minutes after “sunrise” I was feeling a bit “antsy” (haha). I rode over to the arboretum and sat down at one of the benches under a magnolia tree.  There were several downed branches from the recent storm. The ambient light was starting to creep up to more reasonable levels, and the green foilage was taking on that eerie glow that only comes around during a dark cloudy sky.

I took advantage of the bench location to capture the lawn’s symmetry. This picture is taken on the west side of the lawn.

I hopped on my bike and headed home after the quick trip to the park. I was home by 7:40am, a half hour before I would have considered getting out of bed two weeks ago. On the way home I came across a cleanup crew taking care of a downed power line. Whenever I see civic services, like road crews repairing pot holes and bridges or firemen removing branches from downed power lines, I can’t help but think about a city as an organic living being. If you were to observe a city from a bird’s (or alien’s) eye view, and speed up the time interval so that a day was, say, a minute, what would you see? I imagine it would look a lot like an ant colony that regulates its defenses, attacks intruders, and cleans up damaged wings. Watch how quickly the city repairs the power line when a tree hits it! Did you see it tear down the bridge and re-route the traffic to the new bypass? Watch how it clears its traffic arteries of all the snow! Sometimes the city can die when the life force (people) move away from it due to ecological pressures outside of its control (job market, natural disasters). Cities that adapt policies to be friendly to certain job markets often are rewarded with a cultural and financial boost. Some cities are sick with financial or political problems that prevent certain sub-systems from functioning (police or waste service strike, budget crises).  I could probably go on about this all day, and I apologize if this seems a bit disconnected. This is the first time I’ve put these thoughts down in writing, and they could use a re-working for clarity. Oh well, I’ll save that for another day. Here’s an interesting article I just found by Googling “City as Organism”

Stats from this morning (curiously, it looks like Lunken had a power outage, the data is incomplete).
Sunrise: 6:54am EST
Visibility: 6mi
Temperature: 70F / 21C, not much wind at all
Sky: Gray and Dark! Stormy, but I didn’t get rained on.
Sunrise: Non-existant
Bird Chatter: Quiet at first, but they came around.
People: No one except for a few joggers by the time I left.