A Sense of Expectation and Wonder

As undoubtedly mentioned before, one of the rewarding aspects of visiting a park on a regular basis is that one can observe nature’s subtle changes as well as the coming and going of various critters that visit the park throughout the year. Many these forays are part of longer urban hikes and are accompanied by fairly low expectations so our gear often consists of an easily packable super-zoom and a small pair of binoculars. With such equipment we are limited in the types of photographs we can obtain but we do have a camera with us.

.

Recently we’ve been encouraged with the prospect of seeing the unexpected when Eastern Bluebirds made a Christmas day visit to our front yard suet feeder. We had never seen them in our yard before.

A male Eastern Bluebird gets a drink from a mostly frozen bird bath, (Donna).

One bird with a small piece of suet, “Hey guys go get your own!”, (Donna).

.

Yesterday, there were no Bluebirds at the suet feeder so before our new years day tradition of pork, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut we decided to take a walk in Griggs Reservoir Park.  It was a cloudy gray-brown day and certainly not one that would beckon a landscape photographer so we walked with the hope of observing a bird or some other small manifestation of nature. I mostly occupied myself with the never-ending task of picking up trash. It’s an activity I always find strangely rewarding especially if the ‘birds’ aren’t cooperating.

.

We were almost back to the car after our three-mile saunter when I noticed a small hawk preening itself at the top of a large Sycamore tree. A quick look through the binoculars did not provide an obvious identity so I pulled out my camera and started taking “data acquisition” shots.

Critical tail feather ID shot. The bird was to far away for a good photograph. All shots are heavily cropped, Panasonic FZ300.

Another look for markings.

. . . and on more.

It was a Merlin, and even though there had been reports of them at other central Ohio locations it was a bird we had never seen in the park before. How exciting! A dull gray day made magical. The sighting was all the more special because the last time we had seen one was some years ago while hiking the Centennial Ridges Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park. While looking through the binoculars at a dragonfly flying high over head a black streak went through the field of view and the dragonfly disappeared. Looking up a small bird was seen flying towards a tiny island in the center of the lake where it joined others on a perch high over the water.

.

As a bit of a postscript, Bald Eagles nest about two miles from our house making it not highly unusual to see them along the reservoir, so as if the reinforce the magic of the place that’s exactly what happened a few days back while on an urban fitness walk.

Bald Eagle over Griggs Reservoir, again the bird was too far away for a good photograph. image heavily cropped, Panasonic FZ150.

.

These recent holiday sightings have blessed us with a sense of expectation and wonder for the new year. Our wish is that you to will be blessed in the new year.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Frost

It was dark, cold, foggy, and not the kind of morning we jump out of bed to go hiking, but our visiting son from San Diego wanted to hike so who were we to argue.

Morning fog, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

.

Even though conditions were right to produce significant frost our initial goal was to see a few interesting birds. However, upon arrival at out hiking destination, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, the frost quickly became the main source of fascination.

Frosty landscape, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

.

Taking a closer look at nearby weeds revealed very interesting ice formations, which we originally thought was hoar-frost but after a closer examination we now believe to be rime ice.

Let me see if I was going the create something this enchanting where would I start?

.

It found its way unto leaves,

***, (Donna).

***

***

***

***

.

Frost along the Big Darby.

.

berries,

***, (Donna).

***

***

***

.

Hiking through a frosty fantasy land, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

.

and other things.

Milkweed, (Donna).

Teasel.

.

***

.

The ice wasn’t just on plants. During the night’s cold a park pond tried it’s best to freeze over.

Patterns

Reflection and ice.

.

***

.

We actually did see a few birds, including Golden-crowned Kinglets that eluded the camera’s lens, but the ice is what really stole the show.

Blue Birds in a frost covered tree.

 .

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Waiting

.

In the clear cold of a December morning,

as a last leaf gently floats down

from a branch reaching high toward blue sky,

(click images if you’d like a better view)

while below water battles ice for rule over silver ribbons

that mark now too obvious wooded ravines,

and a piercing sharp sun

leaves behind deep shadows

exposing naked trees and fading leaf covered hillsides,

the land quietly waits for a warm blanket of snow.

xxx

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Richer In Nature’s Moment

Not long ago, after a few days of rain, I found myself walking through an area with numerous wooded ravines. Many of them spoke with their unique faint song as water flowing down from above burbled and gurgled over rocks and logs. Each nameless song affected me as music of the purest kind. Certainly not rich in tonality and melody like that encountered in a concert hall but perhaps with a more quiet seductiveness. The next day while walking in the same woods that song was gone.

.

That same rain caused river levels to rise then after a few days of dry frigid weather they started to recede. As with the burbling and gurgling water there was no deliberate intention and no audience was requested but the receding water level in backwater pools left beauty in the ice.  The message in this “art” was undoubtedly as varied as the people who might chance upon it. I smiled realizing that it’s beauty rivalled anything I could create. Today the weather is warmer and I haven’t been back to look at the ice.

Spears, (click on images for a better view)

Six Dots

.

Much of nature’s beauty is subtle, fleeting, and then gone. I’m blessed to be here just long enough to share in the celebration. Contemplating my being on the cosmic scale of space and time it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that I’m here at all, but here I am, listening to the flow of water over rocks, looking at nature’s hand in ice, richer in nature’s moment.

.

Thanks for stopping by

 

 

December Quiet

Recently we had an opportunity to spent a few days at Salt Fork State Park. It’s located in eastern part of the state and is Ohio’s largest state park at 17,000 acres encompassing a landscape of forested hills, open meadows, valleys, winding streams and a large serpentine lake. It’s a park that’s new to us with a name that is said to have been derived from a salt well located in its southwest corner that was used by Native Americans. Early December is not the busiest time and the park system was offering a senior discount in an effort to rectify that problem. With leaves mostly on the ground and their colors fading fast it is not the best time of year to experience nature’s beauty, but if one loves to hike and explore we thought “the deal” was too good to pass up.

Morning landscape, from the lodge, (all images may be clicked on for a better view).

.

A short afternoon hike after our arrival revealed that recent wet weather had resulted in trails that were wet, and in spots very muddy, but perhaps what was noticed most was that, with the exception of the call of a distant crow or a nearby chickadee, the woods were completely silent.

Along the trails the lake can often be seen.

.

During our stay we had the opportunity to explore various trails and the playful sound of small streamlets could often be heard as they made their way down gullies and around moss-covered rocks.

Oak leaves on moss-covered rocks and a very small waterfall.

.

Fortunately there were “wildflowers” to enjoy but not the kind one goes in search of in early spring woods.

Red-orange Mycena, (Donna).

Turkey Tail bouquet, (Donna).

Interesting but unidentified, (Donna).

Cypress needles on moss.

Crowded Parchment, (Donna).

Unidentified polypore.

Perhaps Ground Pholiota

.

Moss covered rocks and fallen cypress needles provided the most vivid color seen.

Now moss-covered this sandstone rock broke off from a nearby cliff.

Bald Cypress

.

A longer hike took us by an old stone house on our way to Hosak’s cave and waterfall. The house was built by Benjamin Kennedy, an early settler to the region, around 1840. With the exception of the lake the surrounding landscape probably looks a lot like it did then.

Old Stone House

Hosack’s Cave. Notice the small waterfall that is probably non-existent most of the year.

.

The morning of our departure we were greeted by two inches of fresh snow. In the stillness it was magical.

View from the lodge.

Sycamore

Holly, (Donna).

In the fresh snow a small stream stands out.

Like powdered sugar the light snow graced park trees.

Snow covered branches reflect at water’s edge.

A Great Blue Heron seems out of place.

Blooms of a different kind, Tulip Tree.

.

The lodge, all decorated for the holidays with the warm glow of fireplaces in cozy locations, was lovely. The food, be it breakfast, lunch, or diner, while not French cuisine, was reasonably priced and very good. The staff was very friendly and helpful.

Late autumn snow, Salt Fork State Park.

.

At times nature’s beauty, found when not expected, speaks to us in a whisper.

.

Thanks for stopped by.

No Expectations

.

Walking in the wood’s morning stillness,

Click on any photo for a better view.

.

on late autumn fallen leaves

that recent rain left damp with saturated color,


.

as kinglets with their quiet sounds

teased

flitting from branch to branch

never pausing quite long enough,


.

I found myself with no expectations

content to listen to the voice of the day.

.

***

Thanks for stopping by.

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography

Mike Powell

My journey through photography

The Prairie Ecologist

Essays, photos, and discussion about prairie ecology, restoration, and management

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Cat Tales

Mike and Lori adrift

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Exploring Nature in New Hampshire

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog

Quiet Solo Pursuits

My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Seasons Flow

Everything flows, nothing stands still. (Heraclitus)

Central Ohio Nature

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!