The Same Challenge

When photographing birds it’s always fun to catch them in a cute pose but it’s especially gratifying when they’re captured engaged in an activity that tells you something about how they “make a living”. The day to day task of survival.

Along the Scioto River Hooded Mergansers seemingly parade past a Great Blue Heron.

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A day or so after the “parade” we noticed the mergansers repeatedly diving in search of food. It wasn’t long before we saw what they were after. Clearer than normal water was undoubtedly contributed to the their success.

Female and male Hooded Mergansers, (Donna).

The female finds a fish. Hooded Mergansers eat small fish, aquatic insects, crustaceans (especially crayfish), amphibians, vegetation, and mollusks—their diet is broader than in other mergansers, which eat fish almost exclusively. (Donna).

The male also finds a fish.

The female takes notice but the male is in no mood to share.

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Other items were also on the menu.

The male finds a crayfish.

The wrestling match begins.

“This things got pinchers”.

Almost down the hatch.

Not bad!

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It helps if you enjoy just being in nature, appreciating what ever it has to offer, because on any particular day not much may be seen that would be considered out of the ordinary. In that context, when something special does occur we find ourselves enchanted, witnessing in real time something most folks rarely get to see. Humans undoubtedly reflect on it more, but on this ever smaller planet, whether one is a bird or a human, we are part of the same community and embrace a similar daily challenge. However, humans are unique because, unlike other living things, the pursuit of our immediate needs, comforts, and desires has the potential to threaten our the long term survival as well as that of the “merganser”.

Along the Scioto River. 

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Thanks for stopping by.

Best Wishes For The Holidays and The New Year

If there was every a year when it was a blessing to be a lover of nature, 2020 was it. We trust that everyone has made it through the year safely and thought it good to stop for a moment and give thanks for all that life has given us during this challenging year.

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 We wish everyone the happiest of holidays and a 2021 where the promise of the new year is fully realized.

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A Unlikely Door

Opening the door this time of year and venturing out into nature isn’t something most of us feel compelled to do. The landscape certainly doesn’t perk one’s curiosity. The wildlife that may be seen, which includes birds for the most part, have often migrated further south.

Along the Scioto River the landscape begs for a blanket of snow.

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However, with it’s lack of leaf cover, the landscape offers one good reason to pass through the door and see what’s still in the neighborhood or what may have moved in from further north. With their endearing behavior and colors that are often a cheerful contrast to their surroundings, birds are a welcome part of the December woods.

A resident all year long in Griggs Reservoir Park, the Carolina Wren’s song and chatter are especially welcome this time of year, (Donna).

Typically the only heron to hang around through the winter, the Great Blue is always a welcome sight along the Scioto River, (Donna).

A winter visitor from the north, the Dark-eyed Junco usually moves in small flocks and typically stays close to the ground. A fun bird to watch, (Donna).

A year round resident that’s always up to something, this Red-bellied Woodpecker has apparently found something to it’s liking, (Donna).

Another visitor from the north, this Tree Sparrow is an easy one to miss, (Donna).

The White-breasted Nuthatch arguably adds more cheer to the winter woods than any other bird, (Donna).

The immediately recognizable White-crowned Sparrow is another visitor from the north, (Donna).

Seen more often than the White-crowned, the the White-throated Sparrow is another sparrow we look for this time of the year, (Donna).

Assuming a graceful pose, a Ring-billed Gull preens on Griggs Reservoir.

Griggs Reservoir Park squirrels beware, this Red-tailed hawk is on the hunt.

In recent years, with the increase in the Catbird population, Mocking Birds have become a rare sight in central Ohio. Seeing this one was a real treat.

Carolina Chickees in Griggs Reservoir Park are always a delight.

Sometimes solitary and sometimes in a group of titmouse and chickadees the Downy Woodpecker is hard to ignore.

American Cardinals are abundant in Griggs Reservoir Park near our home.

As if out of nowhere a Brown Creeper suddenly appears. These birds may be present in the summer months but leaf cover makes them much harder to find.

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are not seen as often a some of the other central Ohio woodpeckers. This view would have been obscured by leaves in the summer.

Year-round residents in Griggs Reservoir Park, Eastern Bluebirds also bring joy to the December landscape.

With a beautiful song, Song Sparrows are a year-round resident but are pretty quiet this time of year.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is another migrant from the north. I had to content myself with a feeder picture of this one at a Greenlawn Cemetery.

Ice covered waterways further north have brought waterfowl south. In a local flooded quarry these Buffleheads were no exception.

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In recent days some really special birds have graced us with their presence.

Not far from our home an American Kestrel makes it’s it’s home in a nondescript area of tall grass, brush, and trees adjacent to a quarry.

Just close enough for a decent picture

Perhaps the most noteworthy was a immature Snowy Owl that had travelled from the north country to hang out in central Ohio. They typically eat voles, lemmings, and other small rodents as well as birds so a shortage of such goodies further north is undoubtedly the reason for the visit. Seeing one this close to Columbus is rare.

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Time spent in nature seldom disappoints. The observant eye will always find something that inspires and rewards. One only needs to open the door.

Graced with a light blanket of snow.

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Thanks for stopping by.

First Snow

It was a cloudy windy morning with temperatures near the freezing point. While not a day that beckoned, the enticement to get outdoors was season’s first snow. In this time we’ve learned to celebrate each day, “welcome mat” or not. Wishing that there had been a little more snow we contented ourselves with only a light dusting. It was enough to outline the sometimes graceful arc of a nearby branch or a pine tree’s seasonal shape. The path along the reservoir’s shore was quiet. With few people around there was no real need to worry about a Covid mask or social distancing. Walking, the north wind was strong enough to remain us that a scarf, as well as mittens rather than gloves, would have been a good idea, but we were thankful for the promise of the day. 

Griggs Reservoir.

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Not far from shore a pair of Hooded Mergansers were seen. The first spotted on the reservoir this season.

Hooded Mergansers are not a common sight on the reservoir.

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With the snow, hidden beauty.

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A few moments later a Bald Eagle passed high over head, flying out of sight so quickly that it was just captured by the camera.

Bald Eagle over Griggs Reservoir.

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Through the trees.

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On a day that held low expectations, with the sighting of the mergansers, the eagle, and a Carolina Wren that was almost close enough to touch but evaded the camera lens, we were awake to the moment. Having barely gotten out of the car, the question of what would be seen next was answered by downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and robins but only one other bird chose to pose .   .   . 

In a landscape of black and while, color. Eastern Bluebird.

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A hint of things to come.

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The coming of the first snow opens a door into a world of new perceptions, awaking the awareness of time passing and change, and leaving us with thoughts of things lost and things to be.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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