As undoubtedly mentioned before, one of the rewarding aspects of visiting a park on a regular basis is that one can observe nature’s subtle changes as well as the coming and going of various critters that visit the park throughout the year. Many these forays are part of longer urban hikes and are accompanied by fairly low expectations so our gear often consists of an easily packable super-zoom and a small pair of binoculars. With such equipment we are limited in the types of photographs we can obtain but we do have a camera with us.
Recently we’ve been encouraged with the prospect of seeing the unexpected when Eastern Bluebirds made a Christmas day visit to our front yard suet feeder. We had never seen them in our yard before.
Yesterday, there were no Bluebirds at the suet feeder so before our new years day tradition of pork, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut we decided to take a walk in Griggs Reservoir Park. It was a cloudy gray-brown day and certainly not one that would beckon a landscape photographer so we walked with the hope of observing a bird or some other small manifestation of nature. I mostly occupied myself with the never-ending task of picking up trash. It’s an activity I always find strangely rewarding especially if the ‘birds’ aren’t cooperating.
We were almost back to the car after our three-mile saunter when I noticed a small hawk preening itself at the top of a large Sycamore tree. A quick look through the binoculars did not provide an obvious identity so I pulled out my camera and started taking “data acquisition” shots.
It was a Merlin, and even though there had been reports of them at other central Ohio locations it was a bird we had never seen in the park before. How exciting! A dull gray day made magical. The sighting was all the more special because the last time we had seen one was some years ago while hiking the Centennial Ridges Trail in Algonquin Provincial Park. While looking through the binoculars at a dragonfly flying high over head a black streak went through the field of view and the dragonfly disappeared. Looking up a small bird was seen flying towards a tiny island in the center of the lake where it joined others on a perch high over the water.
As a bit of a postscript, Bald Eagles nest about two miles from our house making it not highly unusual to see them along the reservoir, so as if the reinforce the magic of the place that’s exactly what happened a few days back while on an urban fitness walk.
These recent holiday sightings have blessed us with a sense of expectation and wonder for the new year. Our wish is that you to will be blessed in the new year.
Thanks for stopping by.
The bluebird is very pretty. It would brighten anyone’s Christmas.
The bluebirds are beautiful and you’re very lucky to have them visit. I’ve seen exactly one in my lifetime.
Great post! Seeing Bluebird flocks really brightens up the winter season.
What a special gift! Bluebirds for Christmas!
Congratulations on the merlin, and great photos of the bluebirds as well!
Thanks Jerry, I’ve been out a few times with the ‘bird camera’ trying to get a better photograph, so far no luck.
It was a pleasure chatting with you on the trail while camping recently. Your connection with nature is evident your site is lovely.