Posted on February 21, 2014
While camped at the Koreshan State Historic Site in Florida last week we decided to check out Corkscrew Swamp about a 30 mile drive from the campground. It’s one of the premier natural areas in Florida.
The busy roads and the extent of the commercial and residential development in the southwest corner of Florida take a while to get used to. It feels a little like a sprawling outdoor warehouse for those of us trying to escape the cold northern winters. In many places there appears to have been little regard for any natural aesthetic. However, in it’s defense, the area is no different than any other location in the US facing rapid population growth.
So when we arrived at the huge area set aside and know as Corkscrew Swamp we were pleasantly surprised by the natural beauty. Access to the area is limited to a roughly two mile long boardwalk but there’s still lots to see. Unique to the swamp are the 500 year old Bald Cypress Trees. The largest virgin stand in the world. However, what was really attracting us were the birds. We didn’t see the Painted Bunting we hoped to that day but did see a Purple Gallinule, a rather strange looking bird with big feet related to the American Coot.
Below is some of what we saw the day we were there:
Posted on February 17, 2014
Originally this blog it was to be only about nature in central Ohio. Going forward it will continue to focus primarily on Ohio but In an effort to share same of our other adventures it will from time to time will include posts covering travels elsewhere.
It’s been a cold, snowy, winter in central Ohio so we decided to head to Florida for a little break. Since our interests often combine paddling, photography, and nature we decided to head for Koreshan State Historic Site near Fort Myers. The park, which is located on the Estero River, offers camping, and would be our base camp for seven days as we explored the area on foot and by canoe. The park partially preserves buildings that comprised a small town established by a religious sect in the late 1800’s. The Koreshan sect was founded by Cyrus Teed, a charismatic religious leader with some unusual views.
The park turned out to be quiet and quite good for wildlife viewing.
While there was some power boat traffic on the river as you headed out towards the bay, it was still nice for paddling.
Posted on January 9, 2014
With rumblings that Snowy Owls had reached central Ohio we thought it might be a good day to head to Prairie Oaks Metro Park. If there happened to be a Snowy Owl there, maybe we would be one of the first to see it. That would make for a very cool title for this blog.
But as you may have guessed, we didn’t see a Snowy Owl. Still cold when we arrived at the park, several intrepid souls were standing along the shoreline of one of the ponds with binoculars and spotting scopes. As we panned our binoculars through a large group of Canada Geese occupying open water, one person said, “Did you see the scoter?” I was embarrassed to admit that, at the distance we were from the birds, I was lucky to be able to tell that they were birds much less whether they were Mallards, Mergansers, Scoters or what ever. So I replied, “I think so.” Fortunately with a little more concentration and a look through a spotting scope, not necessarily in that order, I did see the scoter, a White-winged Scoter! Looking at our field guide we deduced that it was rare bird in these parts. Pretty exciting!
After observing the scoter, we decided to head off into the park to see about the Snowy Owl. While there was no Snowy Owl for us today we did enjoy views of the Big Derby, some frozen fungi, and the usual small bird suspects. At one point a Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead with an unfortunate squirrel in it’s talons. A while later a Cooper’s Hawk crossed our path. Intent on getting our binoculars on the hawks we got no pictures. However my wife did manage to get a nice picture of a Robin. The White-throated Sparrows, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Juncos, Morning Doves, and Blue Jays just wouldn’t sit still.
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on December 25, 2013
Below are some of my favorite pictures from this year. Not always because they were the sharpest, best composed, or otherwise exhibited technical excellence, but because they made me smile or invoked a sense of wonder.
What makes them really special is that they were all taken within a 50 mile radius of our house. Those who have visited Columbus Ohio may have left with the thought that it’s a pleasant enough place but not on your list of destinations that possess spectacular natural beauty. What probably would be noticed, more than the city, state and metro parks such as Clear Creek Metro Park, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, Alum Creek Metro Park, and Glenn Helen Nature Preserve, are the numerous shopping malls, freeways and sprawling housing developments, none of which seem to be part of any vision of a larger overall aesthetic.
So our goal has been to dig deeper, look closer, and wouldn’t you just know it, every once and awhile, beauty appears that rivals that experienced on any of our far away travels.
Posted on August 24, 2013
It was a beautiful Friday morning for fishing below the dam at Griggs. Early showers gave way to a clear blue sky even before the sun rose above the trees on the eastern bank.
A Kingfisher flew along the tree line looking for a better perch from which to stage his next ambush of an unsuspecting fish. Not far away a Great Blue Heron watched as I paddled up the river. An Osprey called in the distance.
Unlike many days this spring and summer, today the water ran clear so extra caution was required not to spook the fish with my 14 foot canoe. A few casts produced the first of what would be four Smallmouth Bass. None were real big but they all were fun to catch and a challenge on my ultra-light equipment.
Our outdoor trips in central Ohio are often punctuated with a certain amount of trash pickup as we look for wildlife, insects and interesting plants and flowers. This trip was no exception but called for a return trip to the river later that day for what would prove to be my biggest catch. My wife was gracious enough to indulge me and photograph the event.
Unlike the Smallmouth Bass this was one catch that wasn’t returned to the river!
Posted on April 9, 2013
It’s been a long winter that has had a hard time letting go but slowly it is happening with signs of life everywhere!
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on February 5, 2013
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.
Thanks for stopping by.
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