Thankgiving

Each year at this time we are greeted by visitors from the north. Some just show up at backyard feeders while others are only seen after much patient looking. Despite its beauty, autumn brings the demise of many living things and confronts one with a darker side of existence. Overhead a dragonfly cruises by one day and the next is gone, it’s kind not to be seen again until the earth travels 30 million miles in its orbit around the sun. But as many know who have spent time in the woods or travelled life’s path for more than a few orbits, it’s never that simple or dark. November doesn’t carry the promise of spring with its bird migrations, wildflowers, and green becoming, but there is much for which to give thanks.

Autumn repose, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Dark-eyed Juncos breeding range is the boreal forests north of the great lakes. Every winter these common sparrows move south into Ohio. Active and amazingly hard to photograph, these little birds can often be found on the ground below feeders.

Dark-eyed Junco, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Much more elusive is the Brown Creeper which breeding range is the higher elevations east in the Appalachians or to the north. Unless moving they are they are almost impossible to spot.

Brown Creeper, Griggs Reservoir Park.
Late autumn along the Scioto River

Every year at this time we engage in what we affectionately call “the kinglet quest”. It’s a great way to mark the arrival of the season. Often seen with chickadees these small active birds can also be a challenge to capture.

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet, (photo by Donna), Griggs Reservoir Park.
Looking our way, (photo by Donna), Griggs Reservoir Park.
A kinglet eyes a tasty morsel, Griggs Reservoir Park.
Griggs Reservoir

Perhaps the most elusive bird to be seen is the tiny and mouse-like Winter Wren. They find their way to Ohio after breeding in northern Michigan and as far north as Hudson Bay.

Winter Wren, (photo by Donna), Griggs Reservoir Park.

With a breeding range similar to the Winter Wren, the White-throated Sparrow is usually only seen in Ohio in the fall and winter.

White-throated Sparrow, Emily Traphagen Park.

***

There are a number of other birds that have graced us with their presence in recent days. All seen not far from our home.

The Tufted Titmouse is a year-round resident, Emily Traphagen Park.
Yellow-rumped Warbler. Is a generalist when it comes to its feeding habits and at least some are said to spend the winter in central Ohio, Emily Traphagen Park.
Male Eastern Bluebird, Griggs Reservoir Park.
Are woodpeckers, including this Downy, more common this time of year or just easier to spot with the leaves down? Griggs Reservoir Park.
With some being migrants from the north Red-tailed Hawks seem more common in fall and winter, Griggs Reservoir Park.
Looking through the now bare overhead branches, soaring Bald Eagles are easier to spot. Griggs Reservoir Park
Not sure where these Wood Ducks will go once a local pond freezes over, Emily Traphagen Park.

The days in late November are short and often damp and cold, but as if in an act of defiance there are living things that continue nature’s celebration undeterred and beckon us to join in.

Reflection of the November sun on the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Thanks for stopping by.

Autumn Woods

We are fascinated by the few intrepid wildflowers that continue blooming late into autumn.

The tiny flowers of fleabane.

On a larger scale, as we walked along the wooded shore of a local reservoir, we are also carried away by the thought that nature in all it’s expanse is now in bloom.

Orange leaves and water, Hollenback Hiking Trail, Alum Creek SP.
Cathedral, Hollenback Hiking Trail, Alum Creek SP.

On a much smaller scale fungi continue to “bloom” and will do so long after the flowers have given up.

Polypore, (photo by Donna)
As if they had been placed, (photo by Donna).
A tiny mushroom emerges.
Lemon Drops, (photo by Donna).
Cracked-cap Polypore, (photo by Donna).
Puffballs, (photo by Donna).
Appear similar to dead man’s fingers.

Often just being in the early November woods with the colors, the briskness of the air, and the distinct fragrance of the leaves, that after a season’s hard work fall to the forest floor and generously give back to the cycle of life, is enough.

Autumn shore, Hollenback Hiking Trail, Alum Creek SP.
Cove, Hollenback Hiking Trail, Alum Creek SP.
A distant tree, Hollenback Hiking Trail, Alum Creek SP.

Be awake to this day and to what, with intention, is experienced. Be awake to the season’s coolness, then warmth, the sun on your face, the sound of a flock of robins weaved their way through the branches, the smells, the trail with it’s roots, rocks, mud, inclines and descents, and the muscles that now feel used. These are the embrace of unique moments floating in the river of time that form you.

Thanks for stopping by.

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