Guess Who’s Coming to Lunch

A few days ago we had the pleasure of doing a canoe/birding trip on Alum Creek Reservoir north of  the Howard Rd. bridge with some friends. While prime spring birding has passed we were rewarded with great views of King Birds, Prothonotary Warblers, Red Eyed Vireos, Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, and Great Blue as will as Green Herons. In addition we also enjoyed observing various turtles on logs along the shoreline taking advantage of the intermittent sunshine as well as a Common Water Snake. Dragonflies and damselflies were also out in force as well as some early summer wildflowers.

The day started slow but after a couple of hours a good number of birds had been seen so we decided to take an early lunch break at a nice spot on a bluff overlooking the lake. We hadn’t been there very long when a mature Bald Eagle was spotted flying in the distance and a little later we saw what appeared to be an immature eagle.

Lunch was progressing rather nicely when my wife spotted a rather large snake patrolling the perimeter of our picnic area. It climbed up into a hollow tree and came back down and continued to check things out very near to where we were sitting. It seemed not to mind as we sat there eating our chocolate chip cookies. Turns out it was a Rat Snake and is one of the largest snakes in Ohio which can reach a length of  8 feet. It was all pretty exciting!

Below are some pics of that trip as well as other recent journeys into the wilds of Ohio. If you want a better view click on the image.

1 Black Rat Snake - Alum Creek

1 Black Rat Snake – Alum Creek

2 Black Rat Snake = Alum Creek

2 Black Rat Snake – Alum Creek

3 Black Rat Snake - Prairie Oaks

3 Black Rat Snake – Prairie Oaks

Wildflowers from the Alum Creek Paddle:

Fire Pink - Alum Creek, Donna

Fire Pink – Alum Creek, Donna

Blue-eyed Grass - Alum Creek, Donna

Blue-eyed Grass – Alum Creek, Donna

Common Water Snake seen during our Alum Creek paddle:

Common Water Snake - Alum Creek

Common Water Snake – Alum Creek

We continue to identify central Ohio dragon and damselflies:

Widow Skimmer - Prairie Oaks, Donna

Widow Skimmer – Prairie Oaks, Donna

Vesper Bluet - Prairie Oaks, Donna

Vesper Bluet – Prairie Oaks, Donna

Variable Dancer - Prairie Oaks

Variable Dancer – Prairie Oaks

Stream Bluets - Prairie Oaks

Stream Bluets – Prairie Oaks

Fragile Forktail - Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fragile Forktail – Prairie Oaks, Donna

Eastern Forktail - Prairie Oaks

Eastern Forktail – Prairie Oaks

A Pair of Stream Bluets - Griggs, Donna

On a recent trip to Prairie Oaks it was exciting to see Orchard Orioles feeding there young:

Immature Male Orchard Oriole - Prairie Oaks

Immature Male Orchard Oriole – Prairie Oaks

A Northern Flicker seemed as though it was watching as we looked for Damselflies at Prairie Oaks:

Northern Flicker - Prairie Oaks

Northern Flicker – Prairie Oaks

Finally some rather unexpected or unusual discoveries at Prairie Oaks:

Coyote Scat? - Prairie Oaks

Coyote Scat? – Prairie Oaks

Strange Leaf Parasite - Prairie Oaks

Strange Leaf Parasite – Prairie Oaks

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Swimming Deer

A few days ago, early in the morning, I was fishing the west shoreline of Griggs Reservoir in my 14′ Hornbeck. One of the joys of fishing, at least the way I do it, is that you can look around for interesting birds or animals as you fish. On this particular morning I wasn’t disappointed as several deer came down to the water’s edge for drink or so I thought.

1 - Deer Swimming

1 – Deer Swimming

2 - Deer Swimming

2 – Deer Swimming

3 - Deer Swimming

3 – Deer Swimming

4 - Deer Swimming

4 – Deer Swimming

5 - Deer Swimmin

6 - Deer Swimming

6 – Deer Swimming

7 - Deer Swimming

7 – Deer Swimming

A few days later on a walk below Griggs Reservoir Dam we stumbled across a nesting site for a pair a Prothonotary Warblers. Not a nesting box but a woodpecker hole in a dead tree!

8 - Prothonotary Warbler Below Griggs Dam

8 – Prothonotary Warbler Below Griggs Dam

Prothonotary Warbler Below Griggs Dam

Prothonotary Warbler Below Griggs Dam

Prothonotary Warbler Nest Site

Prothonotary Warbler Nest Site

We continue to see new, or new for the year, insects. While it’s sometimes a challenge, we always enjoy trying to ID them.

Powdered Dancer

Powdered Dancer

Mourning Cloak

Mourning Cloak

Blue Tipped Danceri

Blue Tipped Dancer

Blue Fronted Dancer

Blue Fronted Dancer

Finally, during a paddle today, we saw this flower at the north end of O’Shaughnessy Reservoir. Do you know what it is?

Mystery Flowers

Mystery Flowers

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An Unlikely Day

We decided to go for one of our usual urban hikes along Griggs reservoir on a recent gray, misty, sometimes rainy, spring day that central Ohio is famous for. A day you can’t help but feeling that you won’t to see much. Once down along the reservoir we began our search for plants and critters of interest which we punctuate with the usual trash pick-up.

It turns out that such a day is great for photographing wildflowers and my wife took full advantage. The quite solitude of the day also brought the Baltimore Orioles out of the tree tops and they, along with a pair of Blue Birds, were a delight to see.

Common Foxglove - Donna

Common Foxglove – Donna

Water Willow - Donna

Water Willow – Donna

Tall Anemone - Donna

Tall Anemone – Donna

Stream Bluet

Stream Bluet

Spiderwort - Donna

Spiderwort – Donna

Moth Mulein - Donna

Moth Mullien – Donna

Milkweed - Donna

Milkweed – Donna

Finally there are pictures that transcend the subject and truly capture our love of the nature. The image below is such a picture. It was taken by my wife on a recent paddle on the reservoir.

Mallard with Babies - Griggs, Donna

Mallard with Babies – Griggs, Donna

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Contemplating Spring to Summer

This spring I’ve been busy looking for pictures of Baltimore Orioles that would improve on what I’ve taken in the past. Not as easy as you might think as they spent a lot of time in the tops of trees.

While pursuing Orioles, sometimes you just get lucky and stumble upon a male and female Wood Duck as you paddle the shoreline of Griggs. Or maybe it’s a female Mallard with babies. Then there are the unbelievable things that you can’t or don’t get a picture of, like a Kingbird actually riding on the back of a Red Tailed Hawk as they fly over the reservoir.

The warblers slowly give way to dragonflies and damselflies as we head into June. Young plants, still perfect, create beautiful patterns as sunlight  plays on their leaves.

On the Scioto small mouth bass provide a welcome break from my Oriole quest.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Beaver Lodge - Griggs

Beaver Lodge – Griggs

Baltimore Oriole - Griggs

Baltimore Oriole – Griggs

Baby Mallards - Griggs

Baby Mallards – Griggs

Wood Ducks - Griggs

Wood Ducks – Griggs

Song Sparrow - Prairie Oaks

Song Sparrow – Prairie Oaks

Smallmouth Bass - Below Griggs Dam

Smallmouth Bass – Scioto River

Rusty Snaketail - Prairie Oaks

Rusty Snaketail – Prairie Oaks

Rose Breasted Grosbeaks - Front Yard Feeder

Rose Breasted Grosbeaks – Front Yard Feeder

Landscape - Griggs

Landscape – Griggs

Lancet Clubtail (F) - Battelle Darby, Donna

Lancet Clubtail (F) – Battelle Darby, Donna

Eastern Forktail (F)

Eastern Forktail (F)

Ebony Jewelwing (M) Battelle Darby - Donna

Ebony Jewelwing (M) Battelle Darby – Donna

Designs 2 - Griggs

Designs 2 – Griggs

Designs 1 - Prairie Oaks

Designs 1 – Battelle Darby

Common Yellowthroat - Prairie Oaks

Common Yellowthroat – Prairie Oaks

Common Whitetail (M) Battelle Darby, Donna

Common Whitetail (M) Battelle Darby, Donna

Common Whitetail (F) Battelle Darby, Donna

Common Whitetail (F) Battelle Darby, Donna

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Thanks for stopping by.

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