Posted on September 28, 2014
The last several days have been beautiful. Clear skies, cool nights and comfortable days with very little wind. Certainly something to remember, especially three months from now.
When the weather is this nice you certainly want to put it to good use. With that in mind we’ve enjoyed paddling with friends on Griggs Reservoir and have also spent some time in Griggs Park as well as Prairie Oaks and Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park looking for migrating birds. We haven’t seen as many warblers as we were expecting but other birds and the hint of fall colors have made up for it.
When you’re paddling the shoreline of a lake or walking in the woods on a trail that for a time may follow a quiet a stream, there’s always the possibility that you’ll see something totally unexpected and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
Category: Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Big Darby River, Birding in Ohio, butterflies, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Hiking in Ohio, Ohio Nature, photography, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, waterfowl, Wild flowers Tagged: American Toad, Blue Bird, Chipping Sparrow, Coopers Hawk, Dryad's Saddle, Eastern Wahoo, Great Blue Heron, Least Flycatcher, Magnolia Warbler, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Painted Lady, Painted Turtle
Posted on September 20, 2014
Earlier this week we did another long paddle on Griggs Reservoir with the hope of seeing a Mink. We were encouraged by the fact that on two previous paddles we had seen them. I even brought my “Bird Camera” with the hopes of getting a decent picture. There is a lot of luck involved in getting a decent picture because unless they’re munching on something like a crayfish or similar delicacy they seldom stop moving.
With a slight wind at our back we had a pleasant paddle north following the shoreline of the long narrow reservoir. We did manage to see a Mink but true to form it left us no time for a picture. A little further north an Osprey was more cooperative.
It wasn’t too long before we reached the northernmost point of our paddle, a place we affectionately call the “Wetland Areas” because of their propensity to flood during high water. Their attraction is the fact that they’re usually a great place for viewing birds, insects, and other wildlife, as well as an excellent place to see wildflowers. In a secluded area I was able to get a shot of a group of immature Wood Ducks.
We beached the canoe and my wife took off in search for wild flowers while I tried unsuccessfully to catch a fish. While there we had hopped to see a few more birds, perhaps migrating warblers, or maybe even a Mink, but no such luck.
The wind was picking up out of the south so we reluctantly decided to start back before things got too “interesting”. We do a fair amount of cycling and often compare it to paddling. One gives you a good upper body workout and the other is great of your legs and lower body. But in the “doing” there is one big difference if you stop pedaling you just stop. If you stop paddling with the wind in your face you start going the wrong way! Hugging the shoreline as much as possible to stay out of the wind we made it back to our launch area without too much trouble.
But wouldn’t you just know it, near the end of our five mile return paddle, tired as we were, hugging the the wooded shore rewarded us with the sighted of an interesting bird! We entered a cove to investigate as a Black Crowned Night Heron watched from a distance. While I controlled the canoe my wife was able to get some serviceable pictures. How exciting, it wasn’t the a Mink but instead our first fall warblers of the year!
Fired up by our brief encounter with the warblers we spent the next few days exploring several areas along the Scioto River and were able to get more shots of birds, migrating or otherwise.
. . . as will as pictures of a few other interesting subjects.
The sultry days of summer are officially over. The warblers are back!
Category: butterflies, canoeing, Central Ohio Nature, Columbus, flowers in central ohio, Griggs Reservoir, Hoover Park, O'Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, O'Shaughnessy Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, Wild flowers Tagged: American Redstart, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Buckeye, Cape May Warbler, Catbird, Clouded Sulfur, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood Pewee, Goldfinch, Gray Squirrel, Great Spangled Fruitillary, Mallard Ducks, Milkweed bugs, Monkey Flower, Osprey, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Solitary Sandpiper, Wilsons Warbler, Wood Ducks
Posted on September 15, 2014
We’ve spent a lot of time looking for interesting plants, wildflowers, fungus, and critters in Griggs and Hoover Parks as well as the reservoir itself. Sometimes we get lucky and get a picture of something unique or unusual such as a mink or beaver. Often we just see the critter but fail to get the picture. A recently seen wild turkey as well as a red tailed fox come to mind. It’s fascinating because, as mentioned in previous posts these parks are within the city limits of Columbus.
Recently while I was on a fishing trip in Michigan my wife saw a rather surprising bird in Griggs Park near the dam. We have no idea of where it came from or how it got there. It allowed her to get fairly close for some great pictures. Was it someone’s pet or did it come from the quarry across the river which includes large areas of fields and brush?
Posted on September 10, 2014
We recently walked the trails at Prairie Oaks Metro Park with the intention of getting a few pictures of whatever insects happened by or more importantly landed on a leaf or flower long enough to photograph.
Pausing to listen by a lake, meadow, or woods will quickly bring you to the realization that it’s that insect time of the year. Actual it’s been so for several weeks but now trees have hints of color other than green and when venturing out in the morning one is greeted by cooler temperatures. The sun is lower now as it continues it’s yearly journey south so the light is also different, piercing rather than embracing. At water’s edge dragonflies ceaselessly patrol in the warm late morning sun while Monarch and Viceroy butterflies go about their business in the nearby meadows. Walking through the same meadows in pursuit of a butterfly one is greeting by hundreds of grasshoppers all seeking a different escape route. Further in the woods more woodpeckers and bluejays are heard and one can’t help but notice a branch rebounding as a Fox squirrel moves from tree to tree. It couldn’t be getting ready for winter already could it? In early September, with the absence of any sudden cloudbursts, the rivers in central Ohio are low, exposing previously hidden gravel bars, and are a pleasant shade of green.
Category: Big Darby River, Birding in Ohio, butterflies, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, flowers in central ohio, Ohio Nature, photography, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Wild flowers Tagged: Big Darby, butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, Painted Turtle, wasps, wild flowers
Posted on September 7, 2014
Usually we don’t think of August as a great time to look for wildflowers or birds. However, most would concede that it is a good time for damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies. During recent paddles in Griggs Reservoir we’ve seen beaver, mink and deer but none would pose for a decent picture. Griggs Reservoir and it’s associated parks are premier locations in Columbus to experience nature. For many residents they are a short drive from home. Of course early morning or evening is always best if you’re looking for critters. Equipped with the required curiosity and a pair of binoculars below are images of just some of the things one might see in late August and early September.
Surprisingly it does turn out to be a good time of the year for some birds:
and even better for wildflowers:
Of course you would expect butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies:
Other things also have a unique beauty:
When not photographing wild flowers, birds, or insects there’s always a little time for catch and release fishing in the reservoir.
No dramatic colors yet but pleasant views just the same:
Posted on September 1, 2014
e August Song On A Northern Lake
In the early morning mist of a northern lake
the August sun has yet to highlight trees that hint of autumn.
The canoe moves to the sound of the paddle
on the glass smooth quiet,
as an eagle speaks from a tree too far away to see
and the distant call of a Loon is heard.
The paddle rests,
the boat glides on,
near trees with their upward reaching shapes of green,
accompanied only by faint ripples,
suspended over clear darkness.
In the embrace of stillness,
slowly from the distant faint shore,
the ever changing shape of an approaching cloud appears.
a hushed many winged song is heard
as migrating blackbirds head south.
You can find a rich experience close to home.
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