Bald Eagles Over The Scioto

Pretty exciting stuff, on our way home from a recent hike at Prairie Oaks we saw a Bald Eagle flying over the Scioto River near the Scioto Country Club. That happened after we were already excited about seeing a Golden-crowned Kinglet and Pileated Woodpecker during our hike. We were also treated to sightings of White-throated and White-crowned sparrows while at Prairie Oaks. The next day, just as we walked into the park along Griggs Reservior we saw another Bald Eagle flying north along the reservior, perhaps the same bird. Fresh snow at Prairie Oaks, and at Griggs Park the next day, made for very enjoyable hiking but the Bald Eagles made it magic.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Snow, Ice and Cornbread

What a treat, over a week of sub freezing temperatures had preserved the snow cover in central Ohio offering plenty of time to explore Prairie Oaks and Battalle Darby Metro Parks as patterns and shapes in snow and ice transformed the landscape.

 The birds always amaze us with their ability to survive in such hostile conditions. Mallards and Canada Geese seem to bask in a river that looks too icy to flow.  A male Golden-crowned Kinglet flits from branch to branch feeding on insects that you wouldn’t think would be there making it hard the follow with binoculars much less a camera. Some Tufted Titmouse entertained us with a snowy wrestling match. White-throated Sparrows and Nuthatches, busy eating seeds and berries, pause only for a second to have their picture taken.

Then the good feeling of returning home to warm soup and cornbread after several hours in the clear crisp air having walked more miles than you intended as the beauty drew you in.

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Canada Geese find some open water on the Big Darby.

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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White-crowned Sparrow

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Tufted-titmouse in a confrontation.

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. . . the confrontation continues.

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Not sure who’s winning.

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Downy Woodpecker

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Tufted Titmouse

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The Big Darby, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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The Big Darby, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Winter Wonder

The morning was quiet with a layer of freshly fallen snow resting on the trees. It seemed like a good time for a walk before wind and sun had a chance to do their work.  Who knows, maybe we would see a Golden-crowned Kinglet below the Griggs Reservoir dam.

Winter in central Ohio can be pretty dull and drab. While snow is certainly no stranger often the accompanying wind knocks it off the trees before it can be fully enjoyed. Sun and warm temperatures usually take care of what remains. But such was not the case today. Many “ordinary” places and things were now magical.

While we saw no Kinglets, Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Birds, Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, and a Red-tailed Hawk were some of the birds seen seemingly enjoying the wonderland as much as us.

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A flower that blooms too briefly in central Ohio but we were fortunate to be able to get out and enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.

Home in December

A sunny day provided a great opportunity to see what birds were calling Greenlawn Cemetery home in the days before Christmas. Reports of White-winged Crossbills were what got us down there, but in a place as big as Greenlawn, they might be easy to miss.

For the first hour or so not many birds were spotted. However, the many mature Oaks and Evergreens were at least beautiful to look at even if they weren’t appealing to the birds.

Continuing to appreciate the trees, we spotted an interesting Oak in the distance that was worth investigating. Approaching it we found that it was full of White and Red-breasted Nuthatches! The Red-breasted Nuthatches, like the White-winged Crossbills, are winter visitors in this area.

A little while later we finally found the Crossbills in some Sweet Gum trees but not before we had nice views of Downy Woodpeckers, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Chickadees, Brown Creepers, and a Carolina Wren.

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White Winged Crossbill

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All in all a good day. Thanks for stopping by.

Prairie Oaks in December

If you are lucky, a walk at Prairie Oaks in December can mean white Sycamores against a deep blue sky.

The Sycamores come into their own this time of the year revealing beautiful patterns in their bark. Other than the Sycamores, you may see a tree that has gone completely unnoticed when the leaves are out but now the low sun really makes patterns in it’s bark stand out. You are a bit annoyed when its identity remains a mystery.

The Big Darby runs high as a result of recent rains but unlike the Scioto remains fairly clear. I wonder what if anything is biting biting.

On this December day the woods remain quiet. The low sun, even at mid-day, accounts for the beautiful sky, but unless it’s behind you, makes it a challenge to see birds.  Even so, we see a Carolina Wren silently playing hide and seek in the low brush and a Brown Creeper not far away. Across one of the park ponds we see some Gadwalls, a not so common sight for us, and then without the leaves overhead easily spot a Red-tailed Hawk flying.

Twilight extends far into the afternoon and we start making our way back to our starting point but not before we’re entertained by a sculpture courtesy of one of the resident Beavers.

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Carolina Wren - Prairie Oaks

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Beaver Sculpture - Prairie Oaks

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Thanks for stopping by.

The Birds of Winter

The fall color is gone here in central Ohio. The tree branches stand naked against the gray late November sky. Any wildflowers that remain, after several very cold nights, I’m convinced are really fossils from a bygone era. Looking out on Griggs Reservoir or the ponds at Prairie Oaks reveals little more than a few gulls and the always reliable Mallard Ducks.

Whats a nature lover to do? Well it turns out if you look carefully these very bare branches that seem so devoid of life allow us to see some things that are much harder to see or that we overlook in the summer.

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Thanks for stopping by.

How Many Different Birds?

A couple of days ago we thought it would be fun to spend a couple of hours walking along the east side of Griggs Reservoir just to see what birds we could find. Most surprising were the Cedar Waxwings but the Brown Creepers were also a real treat. We also enjoyed seeing several Blue Birds  which we’ve seen there before. Other birds seen were Red-bellied, female Hairy, and male Downy Woodpeckers, and a Red-tailed Hawk.

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Downy Woodpecker

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Male Downy Woodpecker.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker

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Bluebird

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Red-bellied Woodpecker

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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Brown Creepers

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Cedar Waxwings.

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Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

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