A Chickadee In The Woods

A beautiful sunrise can offer inspiration as well as motivation to get outside and see what’s going on. This is especially true when it may mean rain later in the day.

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Sunrise from our front window.

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So after a quick breakfast, off we went. By way of explanation for the following few shots let me first say that we love Chickadees, whether they’re at our feeder or in the woods they never fail to put a smile on our face. Encountering one after several miles of hiking is extra special if for no other reason than that you’ve worked hard to get to the meeting place. “Free-range” Chickadees just can’t be beat. A further preface to the pics is that they were taken with a very pocketable Panasonic ZS50 a camera purchased with a hike of the Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula in mind. While no replacement for the capability of a DSLR when it comes to creative effects, low light capability, and fast and precise focus, I’ll let you be the judge is to just how well it does. Clicking on the image will give a slightly better idea of the resolution. All images are significant crops and were taken at 30x zoom.

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Chickadee, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Trying to hide.

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Going about it’s business.

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The ZS50 was also pointed at a much more sedentary Red-bellied Woodpecker.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker in the neighborhood.

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Whatever it was on the menu it was apparently to it’s liking.

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Finally, it’s capabilities were directed towards gulls far out on the reservoir.

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Gulls on ice, Griggs Reservoir.

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A day later at the same location but now with the “bird camera” I was hoping to document interesting waterfowl and perhaps see the Mute or Trumpeter Swans that were observed flying over head the day before.

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On this particular day the landscape did not cry out to be photographed, Griggs Reservoir Dam.

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While the day was rather drab the waterfowl were cooperative even if it was at a distance.

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Hooded Merganser, (F)

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Despite using trees for cover and moving very slowly, I’m spotted, and the Goldeneyes take flight.

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The Red-necked Ducks aren’t quite as cautious.

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On the other side of the river a male Kingfisher poses.

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A lone Greater Scaup is also seen.

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No stranger to these parts, a Great Blue Heron waits for the river’s flow to deliver lunch.

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All in all, the last two days were good. The Panasonic ZS50 appears quite capable of doing what’s needed in Ireland and having the “bird camera” out again reminded me why it is also in the stable. Thanks for stopping by.

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Blue sky, morning sun, and a Cardinal.

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XXX

Waterfowl and Ice

A recent walk was filled with anticipation. Cold weather had resulted in a fresh covering of ice on Griggs Reservoir. When this occurs, the Scioto River, free flowing below the dam, concentrates any waterfowl that might be in the area.

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On the reservoir there were signs of animal activity.

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A light layer of snow reveals the movement of animals crossing the reservoir.

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Tracks, might be a Robin.

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A Canada Goose apparently changed it’s mind, (Donna).

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A frozen fish, and the promise of an easy meal, tempts a small animal. It didn’t make much progress so apparently the “frozen” part was not to it’s liking.

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Design, (Donna)

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What we hadn’t anticipated were the fascinating ice formations along the river. As mentioned in previous posts they are caused by freezing temperatures and receding water levels.

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The Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir.

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Admiring one of the many “Ice Chandeliers”.

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Ice chandeliers, (Donna)

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Chandelier variations, (Donna).

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Along the river, (Donna)

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Reflections.

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A closer look.

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The bigger picture, (Donna).

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A small formation, (Donna).

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After some time enjoying and trying the capture the beauty of the ice we continued our search for the anticipated waterfowl.

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Ring-necked ducks posing for the camera, (Donna).

 

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Another view through shoreline branches..

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While not as plentiful, across the river Hooded Mergansers also made an appearance.

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There were also a few Goldeneyes.

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.   .   .   and Buffleheads.

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A few other birds refused to be left out:

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A female house sparrow enjoys the late afternoon sun.

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Female Downy.

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A Goldfinch “photo bombs” the Junco’s portrait.

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Based on weather forecasts, the ice on the reservoir should be around for awhile. That considered, who knows what birds will be seen in the days to come. In their number there might even be a Bald Eagle.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

XXX

 

 

 

 

A Snipe Hunt

This started out as a post about things seen during a recent hike at Prairie Oaks Metro Park. With two or three inches of snow on the ground and moderating temperatures we thought we’d check out the park as it had been some time since our last visit. We were hoping to see/photograph some interesting waterfowl and perhaps a few other birds we happened to see during our four mile hike. While not much was seen in the way of birds as we worked our way along the shoreline of park ponds and then the Big Darby, we did find other things that intrigued. Then yesterday, frustrated by the lack of birds seen the day before, we decided to visit the area close to home along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River. One of our usual “hang outs” and it did not disappoint. Below is a record of the two day’s adventures.

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Unlike many rivers in central Ohio the Big Darby in Prairie Oaks Metro Park and the streams that feed it usually run pretty clear no matter how much rain we’ve had.

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Winter reflections.

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Some ponded areas along the river freeze over resulting in interesting ice formations.

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Frozen pond, Prairie Oaks

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Ice crystals on the pond surface.

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Some formations are the result of water levels that rise and then fall.

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Water’s edge.

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Ice design, (Donna)

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Interestingly enough we’ve found winter to be a good time for fungi and my wife does a great job of locating it.

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January fungi on log, (Donna).

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Wet Rot, (Donna)

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Dried out Jelly fungi? (Donna)

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Carbon Balls, (Donna)

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Oyster Mushroom, (Donna)

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Wet Rot? (Donna)

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Fast forward one day and we find ourselves along the Scioto River. Black Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Kingfishers, and Carolina Wrens all allowed us to take a picture even if it was from some distance away.

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Black Ducks, Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir.

 

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Hooded Mergansers (M) (F) (IM), Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir.

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Kingfisher (F), Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir

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A Carolina Wren doing what it does best! Griggs Park, (Donna)

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What really made our day, and really got us excited about this post, was seeing a Common Snipe. Several made their presence known at river’s edge as we stumbled around trying to photograph the ducks along the opposite bank. We couldn’t remember the last time we had seen one, for sure we’d never seen one at this location, so for us it was an uncommon snipe. Excited and elated, we retraced the mile and a half distance back to our car and headed home. It had been time well spent!

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Common Snipe, Scioto River shoreline just below Griggs Reservoir.

PS: I was tempted to photo shop the cinder block out of the picture but we are in the city after all.

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Hopefully on one of your outings in nature in the next few days you will find reason to get as excited as we did. Thanks for stopping by.

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A Different Mood

Light creates different moods and brings to our attention beauty in design, shape, and form not noticed before. Such was the case walking along the Scioto River a few days ago.

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Tree roots along the Scioto River

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Other things were also noticed. Some, like the Golden Crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers, eluded the camera’s lens.

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Mallards swimming.

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These folks quickly swam away as I approach indicating that they are not part of the year round resident population accustomed to being feed.

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Mallards on ice.

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Mallards kind of walking, sliding, and skating. A video would have done it more justice. (Donna)

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Overhead a Tufted Titmouse looks out from a decaying tree.

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How about getting just a little closer? (Donna)

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Colors and patterns not seen in the warmer months.

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Tree bark, (Donna)

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There’s never a shortage  of robins and downy woodpeckers always cheer up the landscape this time of year.

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A Robin perches contently, (Donna).

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Downy Woodpecker (F), (Donna).

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Recent warm weather has some plants confused. Wonder what these little guys are doing today. The temperature as I write this is 9 F.

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New growth, (Donna)

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It has gotten much colder but still not much snow. We look forward to changes that will again draw our attention to beauty not noticed before.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Molly Cat.

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Rocks, Tree Roots and Ice, B&W or Color?

The level of the Scioto River near our home varies quite a bit throughout the year. In the winter beautiful designs in rocks, tree roots and ice result. I can’t make up my mind which image I like best, black and white or color.

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Along the Scioto River, B&W.

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Along the Scioto River, color.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

An Owl, Eagles, and a Muskrat?

The Barred Owl at High Banks Metro Park is probably one of the photographed birds in central Ohio this winter. However, since it would be a life bird for our daughter-in-law we set out to see if we could find it. Besides, considering  all the holiday food that had been consumed in the last few days, a nice long walk in the woods was definitely in order. Finding an owl, depending on where they are in the tree, can be next to impossible. Normally I look for silhouettes, which wouldn’t have worked in this case as the bird was perched against the trunk of a tree. Fortunately, two young birders with better eyes than mine had already found it when we arrived on the scene.

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Barred Owl, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

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With our primary objective accomplished we walked on with the hope that he resident pair of Bald Eagles would be near their nest along the Olentangy River. We weren’t disappointed. For several years now the pair has successfully nested  in an area that isn’t all that remote which gives us hope the one day we may have a nesting pair even closer to home (for Bald Eagles closer to home click here).

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A Bald Eagle pair along the Olentangy River, (Donna).

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Civilization is close by.

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The next stop was the wetlands area where we hoped to see some waterfowl. Only one female mallard was in residence perhaps because recent cold weather had caused the pond to partially freeze over. But what was that brown furry thing out on the ice, a Muskrat?

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Out on the ice in plan view of soaring eagles, the Muskrat appeared to be eating something. Wetlands Area, Highbanks Metro Park.

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During the hike we also encountered other furry creatures.

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Red Squirrel, Donna.

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Take 2.

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Fox Squirrel, (Donna).

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As we made our way back we were treated to nice views of one of our favorite birds.

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Bluebird, (Donna).

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Take 2.

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Perhaps due to very wet soil due to recent rains followed by freezing weather, we noticed these ground level ice formations along the trail.

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Ice crystals along the trail.

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A closer look, (Donna).

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A traditional winter walk with a pleasant covering of snow was not in the offing but there’s alway seems to be something to see.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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January 1 flowers in our front yard??

 

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