It Was A Really Big Beaver, Honest!

Early this morning I decided to take a break from warblers and such and go kayak fishing on Griggs Reservoir. During the week with most people at work it’s actually pretty quiet, so along with catching and releasing pan fish and an occasional bass, wildlife are often seen. With this in mind, I usually have a small pocket cam and a pair of binoculars with me.


I had just started fishing after paddling across the reservoir when I noticed a rather large tree stump that seemed to be eating something. It became obvious real quick, even without the aid of binoculars (it was only about 25 feet away), that it was a very large Beaver.  Given it’s size, this one must have been a very mature specimen as Beaver continue to grow throughout their lives. It was a great photographic opportunity that wasn’t, as my pocket cam with it’s handy 20x zoom was resting safety on my desk at home right beside my binoculars.  The only excuse is that an early morning fog had apparently shrouded my brain. Not long after that, again along the shore, a Mink momentarily stopped it’s constant and often erratic movement to gaze curiously as I fished. Again, no camera, no pictures.


It was a good outing, a little over five miles of paddling, Wood Ducks, Baltimore Orioles, Double-crested Cormorants, Great-crested Flycatchers, etc.,  and a reasonable selection of fish caught. But I promise to take the Beaver and Mink more seriously during future outings in the hope that an upcoming post may contain a few photos. For now, I humbly offer the below, taken during a recent walk along the reservoir.


Lot’s of green.

IMG_5600 (2)cuse

Scioto River below Griggs Dam


One of the most beautiful of our late spring wildflowers.


Blue Flag Iris


Multiflora Rose is making an appearance along the river.


Often grouped together a Multiflora Rose is singled out.


Other flower’s also delight.

Goat's Beard 1 052615 Griggs south cp1

Goats Beard, (Donna)

Deptford Pink 2 best 1 052615 Griggs south cp1

Deptford Pink, (Donna)


A particularly attractive grouping of Daisy Flaebane


My wife notices some small skippers.

Hobomok Skipper 1 side view 052615 Griggs south cp1

Male Zabulan, (Donna)

Dun Skipper 2 side view 052615 Griggs south cp1

Dun Skipper, (Donna)


A White breasted Nuthatch shows off some pretty nice accommodations.

IMG_5626 (2) cuse

White Breasted Nuthatch along Griggs Reservoir


Thanks for stopping by.

An Unexpected Duck

A few days ago we found ourselves paddling the Twin Lakes area of O’Shaughnessy Reservoir looking for warblers. It was a good outing with Prothonotary and Yellow Warblers seen along with Tree and Bank Swallows, Great-crested Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, a Bald Eagle, etc.


However, the Northern Shoveler pictured below was a bit of a surprise. Shouldn’t it be a little further north by now? Later, after we were off the water, additional investigation revealed the Northern Shoveler migration can cover a larger time period when compared to other waterfowl. So, maybe the sighting shouldn’t be a big surprise.

P1030043use (2)

Male Northern Shoveler, Twin Lakes

Northern Shoveler 2 LR on log good 1 052115 Twin Lakes   cp1

Take 2, Twin Lakes


Adding to the excitement, Bank and Tree Swallows were nice enough to pose for their portrait.

Barn Swallow juvenile 2 good 2 052115 Twin Lakes cp1

Barn Swallow, Twin Lakes



Tree Swallow, Twin Lakes


Of course no late spring outing is complete, be it the Twin Lakes Area, Griggs Reservoir, or the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir, without acknowledging some of the other participants.

Great Blue Heron with fish 4 closer 1 052315 Alum Creek   cp1

Great Blue Heron with lunch, Alum Creek Reservoir

Fox Squirrel relaxing 1 052315 Alum Creek paddle cp1

Fox Squirrel relaxing on a branch overhanging the water, Alum Creek Reservoir

Canada Geese babies best 051915 Griggs south cp1

Canada Geese babies. Griggs Reservoir



Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Reservoir


Yellow Throated Warbler, Griggs Reservoir


Northern Water snake, Alum Creek Reservoir


Painted Turtle, Alum Creek Reservoir


Let’s not forget some of the flowers seen.

Dames Rocket P1020890 (2)

Dames Rocket, Griggs Reservoir

Honey Locust 2 052325 Alum Creek cp1

Honey Locust, Alum Creek Reservoir



Yellow Flag Iris, Griggs Reservoir


Wild Chives, Griggs Reservoir


Haven’t had a mystery photo for quite a while so any idea what the object in the below photograph is?

Wool Sower wasp gall 052315 Alum Creek cp1

What is it?, Alum Creek Reservoir


Thanks for stopping by.


What We Saw After We Didn’t See The Kirtlands Warbler

The report was that a Kirtlands Warbler had been seen at Highbanks Metro Park. There were even pictures on the Central Ohio Birders Facebook page.  We don’t usually chase birds but this one wasn’t far from home. Besides, if we weren’t successful in finding it, High Banks, with it’s many nice trails, would be a great place for a hike.


Stream, High Banks Metro Park


Well, as the title of this post indicates, we didn’t see the Kirtlands Warbler, but not wanting to waste a good day, we set off to see what else we could find.


It was a great day to be in the woods. New green was everywhere. It was quiet except for birds calling, now harder to see with leaves almost fully out. The earth dampened by a recent rain, as well as the flowering plants, released the scent of spring.


Not far down the trail:


Berries will soon be on their way.

P1020888 (2)

Daisy Fleabane


Sassafras Leaves


Jelly Ear Fungus

Fungi, moss and lichen on log 1 051815 highbanks cp1

Common Split Gill that has aged a bit. (Based on input from a mushroom expert.)

Witches' Butter fungus 1 051815 highbanks cp1

Witches’ Butter

Sensiitive Ferns 1 best 1 051815 highbanks cp1

Sensitive Fern


As the air started to warm more insects were about:


Tiger Beetle and female Common Whitetail


A closer look at the Tiger Beetle

Golden-backed Snipe Fly ~ Chrysopilus thoracicus 2 closer   1 051815 highbanks cp1

Golden-backed Snipe Fly

Duskywing 1 051815 highbanks cp1


Zabulon Skipper male on leaf 1 best 1  closer 1 051815   highbanks cp1

Male Zabulon Skipper

Zabulon Skipper female on leaf 1 best 1 051815 highbanks   cp1

Female Zabulon Skipper

Silver Spotted Skipper 1 side view 051815 highbanks   cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper

Pearl Crescent 4 wings full out 2 051915 Griggs south   cp1

Pearl Crescent


While not the Kirtlands Warbler, we did see a few birds.


Summer Tanager in a treetop. Too far away for a good pic.


A Cape May Warbler (F) checks us out.


Female Bluebird.


Indigo Bunting


By hikes end, the day had given so much we’d pretty much forgotten about the warbler.


Thanks for stopping by.

Spring Wonder at Griggs Reservoir

Spring is a wonderful time of year. It seems that nature is in it’s most generous mood. “New” arrives everyday whether it’s in the form of a bird, flower, or other creature. Places that may seem ordinary later in the year are magically transformed by this new life. Even for those of us that spend large amounts of time walking in the woods or paddling along rivers, this time each year is no less fascinating.  This is certainly the case for a special place to us, Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River just below the dam, which is not far from our home. For those of you that follow this blog you know we write about this place often. Residents of central Ohio probably know where it is, for all others, it’s located right within the city limits of Columbus, Ohio. For us, this fact greatly contributes to the magic.


In an attempt to document this magic, the photos below are a record of some things seen  over the last two weeks.


 Common Red-breasted Mergansers along the Scioto River.

Common Mergansers 050615 Griggs south cp1-3

Can’t help but think these Red-breasted Mergansers (corrected per reader comment) should be further north by now, (Donna)


The early spring wildflowers are gone but others have taken their place.

Dame's Rocket 2 cluster 1 050615 Griggs south cp1

Dame’s Rocket, Griggs Park, (Donna)

Appendaged Waterleaf 3 close-up 2 050615 Griggs south   cp1

Appendaged Waterleaf along the Scioto, (Donna)

Wild Stonecrop 2 best 1 051115 Griggs paddle cp1

Wild Stonecrop along the reservoir, (Donna)

Golden Alexander 3 close-up and dew drops 050615 Griggs   south cp1

Golden Alexander along the Scioto River, (Donna)


.   .   .   and one of the more unique late spring wildflowers has appeared on the low cliffs along the reservoir.


Wild Columbine along the reservoir

P1020239 (2)

Wild Columbine typically grows on vertical rock faces.


A good selection of reptiles have also been observed.

P1020324 (2)

Red Eared Slider, Griggs Reservoir


Northern Water Snake, Griggs Reservoir

Eastern P1020293 (2)

Eastern Spiny Soft Shell, Griggs Reservoir


On one of our paddles, two deer look on as we glide by.

Deer mom and young buck 1 best 1 051115 Griggs paddle   cp1

Whitetail Deer along the shore, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)


Then there are the birds.

Tree Swallow 5 LL wing out a bit 2 051115 Griggs paddle   cp1

Tree Swallow, north end of Griggs Reservoir (Donna)

Prothonatary Warbler 4 better yet 2 050615 Griggs south   cp1

Prothonotary below the dam, (Donna)

Pro IMG_8615

Prothonotary, below the dam.


Blue-gray Gnatcatchers continue to be a common sighting below the dam.

Baltimore Oriole 3 LR best ever 1 050615 Griggs   south cp1

Singing Baltimore Oriole (male) along the Scioto River below the dam, (Donna)


Yellow-rumped Warbler, below the dam.


Here till the fall Cedar Waxwings have finally made an appearance, Griggs Park.


Cedar Waxwing


There are mothers and fathers with babies.


Canada Geese share the parenting responsibilities, Griggs Reservoir


 But among the birds, the real treat is the return of mating pairs of Wood Ducks.

wood IMG_8581

Wood Ducks on the Scioto River below the dam.

wood P1020289 (2)

Wood Ducks, Griggs Reservoir

wood P1020216

The female Wood Duck has to have good parenting skills because she’s on her own, Griggs Reservoir cove.

wood P1020209

Not to long after mating the Male Wood Duck will be hard to find, Griggs Reservoir cove.


.   .   .   and it’s all happening so close to our home! What’s happening close to yours?


One of the coves popular with Wood Ducks on Griggs Reservoir. The rock faces in the background are a typical location for Wild Columbine.


Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by.

Super Zooms Visit Magee Marsh

Last Wednesday May 13th we found ourselves at Magee March celebrating spring migration with some of our closest feathered friends. This post is about birds seen that we were able to photograph with relatively inexpensive super zoom cameras. We thought it would be fun to leave the “bird cameras” at home and see how we would fair trying to get a few shots using the popular constant aperture super zoom from Panasonic. Since we can never anticipate what the bird is going to do, and to increase our chances of getting a usable image, we always shoot in burst mode. So we hope you enjoy our little adventure. Some shots are okay, some good, and some even better.


All things being equal, for very erratic fast moving subjects, a small, light, maneuverable camera wins the day. All things are not equal. In lower light or difficult lighting conditions, a good DSLR will focus faster and more accurately. Also, due to it’s larger sensor will generally produce better images if paired with a good lens. However, to reiterate a statement we’ve all heard, the best camera is the one you have with you.


One can write an epistle about camera equipment for birding but some questions the selection process should address are:

– What do I intend to use the resultant photos for? The tradeoffs involved in getting the highest quality image with the most creative control may not be worth it. Sometimes good is good enough.

– Am I a birder that would like to get a few “memory shots” and not too concerned about whether or not I get an image of every bird?

– Am I a photographer that loves the challenge of getting the best images of the most birds possible on any given day?

– How much equipment do I feel like carrying?

– How much do I feel comfortable spending?


To give you an idea of how much cropping and post processing was done, “as shot” and “final” images have been included to highlight some of the more challenging situations. To keep it simple all images were shot as jpeg’s.


To the pictures:


Bay Breasted

P1020642 (2)c

Bay Breasted, (cropped)


Bay Breasted, (cropped)

Bay Breasted female original file c

Bay Breasted female, (cropped), (Donna)


P1020603 (2)c

Cape May, (cropped)


Cape May


Cape May (cropped)


P1020533 (2)c

Northern Parula, (cropped)


Take two, (cropped), (Donna)





Blackburnian (cropped)

Blackburnian original file 1c

Blackburnian, (the best of the day just slightly cropped), (Donna)





Palm, (cropped)


IMG_5437 (2)c

Yellow, (cropped)


Blackpoll Warbler original file 1

Blackpoll, (Donna)

Blackpoll Warbler original file 1 (2)c

Blackpole, (cropped)




P1020850 (2)c

Kingbird, (cropped)



House Wren, (cropped)


Tennessee Warbler 2 LR best 2 051315 Magee Marsh cp1

Tennessee, (corrected per reader input), (cropped), (Donna)

P1020778 (2)c

Tennessee, (corrected per reader input), (cropped)



Great Egret, (cropped)



Baltimore Oriole, (very low light, cropped)



Red Wing Blackbird


Thanks for stopping by.



A Caterpillar Has a Bad Day

Often I’m so caught up the beauty of nature and that I lose touch with it’s other “darker” side. It’s easy to forget that it’s “a jungle out there”. When in such an elevated state it’s usually not long before I see something that brings me back to reality and the awareness of just how tough nature can be. It’s about trying to eat and keep from being eaten. In the sequence below it’s obvious that whatever defenses the caterpillar had they weren’t effective. It’s hard not to feel sorry of the caterpillar and lower our opinion of the nuthatch. We humans tend to do that. Trying to feel better, I find myself thinking about the consequences of an unchecked caterpillar population, but of course I’m left with the realization that unchecked population growth in any group is bad for the system as a whole.


Nuthatch with caterpillar, 1










Then, as it often does, being out in nature brings me back from darker thoughts with a message of hope, and gives reason to smile.

Mallard babies napping -startled awake 1 0511115 Griggs   paddle cp1

Baby Mallards, (Donna)


Thanks for stopping by.

Birding By Canoe, A Perfect Day, Thursday, May 7th

We were on the reservoir early, just as the sun was starting to filter through the trees. There was no wind. Resting your paddle for a quick look around, the canoe, with small ripples, continues moving quietly, just as you left it. A perfect day to see birds as we glided along the wooded shore.


Morning, Alum Creek Reservoir.


Our route on Alum Creek Reservoir looked something like this:


Alum Creek Reservior


It wasn’t long before we were hearing birds. In fact we were hearing a lot more than we were seeing. But as is often the case when canoeing on the beautiful morning, it’s tough to complain.


But as we continued to look we managed to catch a Great Crested Flycatcher.

Great Crested Flycatcher best 1 050715 Alum Creek cp1 (2)

Great Crested Flycatcher, (Donna)


A little further, we pulled out to look for wildflowers.


Sometimes getting out of the canoe to explore the shoreline presents a bit of a tripping hazard.


Bluets Landscape 2 closer 1 050715 Alum Creek paddle   cp1

Bluets, (Donna)

Solomon Seal 1 best 1 050715 Alum Creek paddle cp1

Solomon Seal, (Donna)


Young ferns


Not long after, back in the canoe, we spot a sandpiper.


Spotted Sandpiper


Normally so common as to be a nuisance, it was hard not to admire the parenting skills of Canada Geese.


Canada Geese, Alum Creek


Safely ashore.


In the middle of the lake a male Wood Duck let’s us get close enough for a photo.


Wood Duck, Alum Creek Reservoir



But one picture was enough.


We finally reach the Osprey nesting area and noticed a least two pair were now nesting in trees along the shore rather than on the nesting platforms situated in the lake. Pretty exciting!

b Osprey Original file 1b

Osprey perched near it’s nest, (Donna)

a Osprey P1070709 (2)

Osprey nest, (Donna).

bb Osprey flying original file 1b

Osprey in flight, (Donna)


Several different types of swallows were seen. These two posed.


Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Tree swallow original file 1b

Tree Swallow, (Donna)


We paddled up the creek and looked for a spot to pull out for lunch. The river flowed quietly, dragonflies cruised by but didn’t land, and a House Wren announced it’s presence, as we ate.


Lunch spot, Alum Creek.


After lunch my wife went exploring for insects

Tiger Beetle and shadow 1 050715 Alum Creek paddle   cp1

Tiger Beetle, (Donna)

White-striped Black Moth 8 best 1 full out 050715 Alum   creek paddle cp1

The very tiny White-striped Black Moth, not one we’ve seen or noticed before, (Donna)


Others were also enjoying the river.


Fishing on Alum Creek


As we headed back to our launch site the warm sun had started to draw turtles out of the water.


Eastern Spiny Soft Shell


Being a rather large reservoir with many inlets, there’s always another one to explore.


Cove, Alum Creek Reservoir


We arrived back at our starting point with tired bodies but rested spirits.


Thanks for stopping by.




Diary of an Aesthete

A Journey Of Heart And Mind


Life after the Care Farm

Out For 30

Exploring the world, 30 days at a time.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Photos by Donna

Birds and Wildlife Photography

Israel's Good Name

Voyages and Experiences in Israel

Israel's Good Name

Voyages and Experiences in Israel

Nareszcie urlop

English & Polish TravelBlog / Poland, Europe, the World

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer


The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

Imagery of Light

Photography by Sheila Creighton

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

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


Nature photography

Views From A Small Island

A photographic record of the everyday and the not so everyday life around the UK.

Mike Powell

My journey through photography