A Mink and a Dragonfly

Minks are not something one usually thinks of when exploring natural areas within the confines of a city like Columbus, Ohio. Over the years we’ve seen a few, but they’re rare, and it had been awhile since our last sighting. We debated between a drive to the Hocking Hills, a beautiful area near Columbus, for a fall color hike, or a paddle on the reservoir near our home. We decided to take advantage of a sunny relatively calm day and put the canoe in the water. As you may have guessed, our decision resulted in seeing a Mink and a dragonfly.

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Recently, while walking along Griggs Reservoir, color and scenery has been about as good as it gets.

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Along the reservoir, Griggs Park.

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West shore.

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Looking up.

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Walking along the reservoir.

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While we don’t have the brilliant red’s of the state up north, autumn in Ohio has it’s own beauty.

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The same color and scenery drew us in as we started our paddle. We had the reservoir to ourselves, not another boat, not even a fisherman, to be seen. For a place in the middle if the city, it was quiet. A very slight 55 degree morning breeze greeted us and we had to keep moving to stay warm. The temperature, the sound of our paddles and that of the canoe as it knifed through the water, as well as the autumn shore quietly passing by, all served to encourage us on.

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Photographing a Griggs Reservoir cove.

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No shortage of leaves on the water

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Hayden Run as it flows into the reservoir.

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Trees and leaves.

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Working our way north.

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Pool along Hayden Run

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The north end of the reservoir has fewer boat docks and can be quite beautiful.

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Green giving way to yellow.

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Cove along the west shore.

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A red leaf!

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During recent walks, as well as during our paddle, we’ve seen numerous birds. They’ve been very active.

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A Goldfinch blends in.

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A resident Great Blue Heron enjoying the autumn sun.

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But we get too close.

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Poetry .   .   .

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Cormorants flying high overhead, (Donna).

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A male Wood Duck stays put as two females streak by overhead, (Donna).

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A Nuthatch goes about it’s business along the shore.

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Mallard’s stand at attention, almost, (Donna).

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A Red tail hawk soars overhead, (Donna)

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Male Downy Woodpecker

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A Bluebird seeming to enjoy the fall colors.

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Inspecting it’s new digs, (Donna).

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

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Our interest in birds was interrupted when, after travelling about a mile north along the western shore, we saw the Mink. We almost fell out of the canoe. Normally, when one get’s really excited about something seen, you screw up when attempting to photograph it. We were lucky, between the two of us we managed to get a few good shots.

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Mink, (Donna)

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Take 2, (Donna)

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Take 3.

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And as if the Mink wasn’t enough, at the very north end of the reservoir we pulled out to explore a low lying often wet area that’s home to birds, insects, and wildflowers .   .   .

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Very north end of the reservoir.

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.  .  .  and while there wasn’t much in the way of wildflowers we did manage to discover a new for us dragonfly, an Autumn Meadowhawk. Needless to say we were excited!

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The weathered, sun warmed, surface of a log attracts mating Autumn Meadowhawks, (Donna)

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It had been an invigorating, wonderful day, brisk and clear, with some wind, but never enough to effect our speed as we made our way south and home. Thinking about all we had seen, it was hard to believe our good fortune.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Autumn at Clifton Gorge

Part of the impetus for the outing was to test drive a sports car I’ve been working on for several weeks. Not to mention that autumn always seem to slip away before we realize what’s happened so better get out and enjoy! Also, Clifton Gorge is among Ohio’s more unique and beautiful natural areas. Equipped with sufficient justification, off we went to take advantage of one of the several beautiful days we’ve had recently.

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Below is some of what we saw.

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The Gorge

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Insect etching, (Donna).

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Colors and shadows

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Eastern Comma, (Donna)

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Little Miami

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Map Turtle taking advantage of the autumn sun, (Donna)

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Puff Balls and moss, (Donna)

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Water over a log.

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Pillars

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Maple leaves, (Donna)

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Autumn designs, (Donna)

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Leaves in sun light.

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The trail.

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Flower and shadow, (Donna)

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The Gorge, take 2.

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Oak leaves, (Donna)

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The river through leaves.

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Arch over the Little Miami.

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If you live in the northern hemisphere, don’t wait, get out and enjoy it before it’s gone.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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The car.

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An Early October “Doodle”

Usually during our outdoor adventures we’ll see something that becomes the focal point for a post. During recent paddles and hikes we’ve been charmed by early fall color, autumn wildflowers, and birds seen, but nothing has really jumped out. At least not when compared to a recent sighting of our first Buckeye Butterfly of the year after we’d pretty much given up.

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So below is a “doodle” of things recently seen. Most are pictures of subjects similar to things photographed before, but all celebrate the season. It’s a magic time of year perhaps because, unlike the expectant beauty of spring that gives promise to that of summer, it will too soon be gone.

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Recently we’ve had several days with very nice temperatures and little wind, unusual for this time of year, but perfect for paddling.

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No worry about crowds on Griggs Reservoir this time of year.

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There were splashes of color as we paddled.

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Winding our way around fallen trees. Victims of last spring’s heavy rains.

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Paddling a canoe on a calm sunny day is a true joy, (Donna).

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Quite a few birds were seen as we worked our way along the shore. A few posed for pictures.

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We lost count of all the Cedar Waxwings seen. Many were perched in the very tops of trees at water’s edge.

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A lone American Coot. The first one seen this fall.

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A Phoebe at water’s edge.

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Take 2.

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A Great Blue Heron strikes a pose, (Donna).

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Sandpiper reflection, (Donna)

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A Carolina Wren makes it’s presence known along the Scioto.

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When not paddling we explored the area along the Scioto River below the dam.

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Low water and roots along the Scioto.

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Path along the river.

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A hint of color.

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Looking closer.

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Along the Scioto below Griggs dam.

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Translucent

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Exposed rock at low water along the Scioto.

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Great Egret feather.

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Some early autumn flowers were hard to miss.

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Calico Asters

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Busy bee on a Woodland Sunflower.

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In just a couple months, in the warmth of our homes with snow blowing past a window now securely closed, pictures capturing the beauty of this time will be hard to relate to. But ever restless and seeking, we will venture out to experience the beauty of that season. That’s just the way lovers of nature are.  However, in the coming days we will enjoy this time.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Finally a Buckeye

Yesterday, after several cold rainy days, we woke to a sunny, warm, early October day. There were several options on how to spend the morning but we opted for a hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Not sure what would be seen, I decided to take binoculars and a super-zoom to save weight. Given the length of our hike, it proved to be a good choice. The fall warblers, the reason one might decide to take the heavy “bird camera”, turned out not to be very cooperative.

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Sunlight filters through the trees on one of the Big Darby trails.

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One of my favorite subjects.

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While the warblers weren’t cooperating it wasn’t long before we started to see butterflies.

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Question Mark, (Donna)

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Red Admiral

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Some of our other insect friends also made an appearance.

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Very small but colorful, (Donna).

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Ruby Meadowhawk, (Donna).

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Many of the flowers populating the meadows seemed to be past their prime.

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A few Bull Thistles were hanging on and doing their best to contrast with the background color.

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Sometimes along the path one must watch where you step.

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American toad

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The star of the show was the Buckeye butterfly. Seeing it made our day as it was the first one seen this year. They are migrants in Ohio, working their way north and usually appearing in the late summer of early fall. Some years they can be quite rare.

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Buckeye, (Donna)

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Our first sighting of the year calls for one more picture.

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It had been a beautiful hike on a beautiful day. A large part of the day’s beauty was certainly due to the contrast with the colder rainier days that to often populate this time of year and remind us of things to come.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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