Winter Leaves

Trees that hang on to their leaves long past the time when they seem to be serving any purpose have always fascinated me. One theory is that they keep there leaves to discourage critters from feeding on tender shoots and buds.

Perhaps our fascination with these trees is because their act of defiance brings a wisp of color to what often seems like a black and white landscape. Such was the case today with the Beech trees at High Banks Metro Park.

Color was also added by three Pileated Woodpeckers that appeared to be very happy being together as they foraged for food. We couldn’t recall ever seeing three together as we did today. It was hard not to get excited. We did manage to get a couple fairly average shots with our super zoom cameras.

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Ice and flowing water, Donna

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Hills, trees, and snow

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Beech Tree

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Beech leaves and shadows

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Pileated Woodpecker

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Pileated Woodpecker, Donna

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Snowy Walk in Late November

It was a quiet morning with a light snow falling so it seemed like a good day to walk to Griggs Reservoir and see what birds were lurking about. The dramatic colors of autumn are now gone and one must be happy with a more subtle beauty. A light snow had come to rest on bushes and trees. Kinglets, waxwings, robins, nuthatches, and creepers were about with their winter calls creating a cheerful murmur as we walked. A surprise was to see an Eastern Phoebe, not a bird I would expect this time of the year.

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Eastern Phoebe

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Snowy Landscape

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Blue jay

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Red and White

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Thistles

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Looking across the reservoir

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Grass

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Favorite Stump

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Seeds

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Berries and Reflections

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No walk is complete without a little impromptu trash fishing/pickup!

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Path along the reservoir

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Sweet Gum Tree

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Snow Cones?

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Ducks resting

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Milkweed

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One of many Cardinals seen along the reservoir

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Winter Bird

It’s mid November and the winter birds, migrants from further north, are taking up residence in Columbus. One of our favorite places to look for them is along Griggs Reservoir. As mentioned in previous posts, it’s a six mile hike  (round trip) from our house so we get a little exercise and also get to look for any creatures that might feel like showing themselves.

Along the reservoir we couldn’t help but notice the leaf bare Sycamores with their white bark highlighted against the blue sky.

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Sycamore

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Looking back at the same tree from the opposite direction. What a difference light makes.

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As we continue on along the reservoir there are the usual suspects, Great Blue Herons and Mallard Ducks.

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Great Blue Heron, Donna

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Great Blue Heron in flight, Donna

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Mallards

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When it didn’t look as though we would be rewarded with anything special in the way of birds, we spent some time looking for fossils. The fossils we see in the shoreline rocks are from the Devonian Period about 350 million years ago.

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Assorted fossils

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Fossil 2

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Fossil 3, Donna

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Fossils, 4

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We continued on, looking for a Chickadee or Titmouse which might be part of a flock that could contain something less common. Seeing a few birds in the tree tops, I get excited and train my binoculars on them. They turned out to be Gold Finches. Meanwhile my wife is enthusiastically whispering about something and I assume she must be looking at the same birds. Looking away from my binoculars I realize she is excited about something flitting around in the nearby shoreline brush.

Forgetting about the treetop birds, I join her as we both peer intently into the brush and are rewarded with great views of Golden Crown Kinglets, a winter resident in our area. How a bird, that essentially weighs the same as a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, can get two adults so excited is hard to explain, but the little guys sure made our day.

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Golden Crown Kinglet

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Golden Crown Kinglet 2

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Golden Crown Kinglet 3

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Golden Crown Kinglet 4, Donna

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Thanks for stopping by.

First Snow

First Snow

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Still full of colored leaves

The Sweet Gum in front of our house

wasn’t quite ready

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The autumn snow arrived last night as they said it would,

quietly, and not much

Covering the fallen leaves from the day before

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But now placing it’s leaves on top of a white blanket

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The Sweet Gum continued on

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***

Fossils Along Griggs Reservoir

Today was a blustery day along Griggs Reservoir. As we walked the eastern shore one Bluebird was brave enough to show it’s face. Other than that, the birds seemed to be hunkered down and most of the colorful leaves from a few days before were gone.

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A Sycamore contrasts with a beautiful sky. The eastern shoreline of Griggs is where the fossils were found.

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Intrepid Bluebird

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While I was enjoying the wind as it blew through the trees trying to dislodge the few remaining leaves, my wife was taking a close look at the rocks along the shore.

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Windblown leaves

The area around Griggs is composed largely is shale with what appear to be granite erratic’s littered throughout the park. I don’t know if I would consider Griggs to be a fossil hunting hot spot but we sure enjoyed looking for them today. Now we need to spend some time understanding what it was we were looking at. Other than the blowing leaves pic, my wife was kind enough to provide all the pictures for this post.

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Typical of the rock formations along Griggs containing fossils (taken earlier)

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Shells

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Coral

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Brachiopods?

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Additional research required

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Very interesting but additional research required

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Looking at the fossils and contemplating the work of plate tectonics one couldn’t help but wonder where in the world these fossilized creatures were when they were alive. Thanks for stopping by.

Clifton Gorge and John Bryan State Park

About an hour due west of Columbus is one of the prettiest spots in Ohio. Even on a fall day when the color is past it’s peak.

It’s a particularly nice days outing to do the ten mile hike from Clifton Mill, through the gorge, John Bryan State Park and Glen Helen Nature Preserve, to Yellow Springs and back not forgetting that Yellow Springs is a great spot for lunch!

You may click on images for a better view.

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As if to say: “look now, tomorrow I will be gone” the late autumn color splashes the landscape.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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