First Snow Meditation

The time between the departure of the last fall color and the first snow is always hard.  Ohio’s cloudy late November skies don’t help.

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It is true that even with the lack of snow cold weather can provide fascinating things to look at.

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Ice patterns along the Big Darby, (Donna)

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However, given the recent brown grey landscape, todays light snow beckoned us to venture out and again wonder at the transformation.

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Picnic table, Griggs Park.

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With snow outlining shoreline branches the view across the reservoir was now quite different.

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Boats on the opposite shore, Griggs Reservoir.

 

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Mallards, even with snow on their backs, didn’t seem too bothered.

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Recalling pictures taken a few days earlier it was easy to imagine that the birds were in a better mood without the cold wet snow.

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Chickadee

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Female Downy Woodpecker, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Black Ducks along the Scioto River, (Donna).

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Except maybe for this guy.

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Grumpy White-throated Sparrow, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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We continued our walk along the Scioto River seeing and hearing nuthatches, kinglets, creepers, and kingfishers but mostly just enjoying the place.

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Just below Griggs Dam

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Looking south.

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Water soon to be ice.

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The snow clings to the trees.

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A small shallow pond freezes over early.

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Rocks which might have gone unnoticed before.

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In the stillness the snow continues to fall.

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Unlike an April snowfall a late November or early December first snow is always magic. It opens our eyes to a world whose subtle beauty had been forgotten and is now again new. Thanks for stopping by.

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In the holiday spirit a bulb had been placed on a tree along the reservoir, Griggs Park.

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Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

A Snipe Hunt

This started out as a post about things seen during a recent hike at Prairie Oaks Metro Park. With two or three inches of snow on the ground and moderating temperatures we thought we’d check out the park as it had been some time since our last visit. We were hoping to see/photograph some interesting waterfowl and perhaps a few other birds we happened to see during our four mile hike. While not much was seen in the way of birds as we worked our way along the shoreline of park ponds and then the Big Darby, we did find other things that intrigued. Then yesterday, frustrated by the lack of birds seen the day before, we decided to visit the area close to home along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River. One of our usual “hang outs” and it did not disappoint. Below is a record of the two day’s adventures.

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Unlike many rivers in central Ohio the Big Darby in Prairie Oaks Metro Park and the streams that feed it usually run pretty clear no matter how much rain we’ve had.

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Winter reflections.

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Some ponded areas along the river freeze over resulting in interesting ice formations.

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Frozen pond, Prairie Oaks

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Ice crystals on the pond surface.

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Some formations are the result of water levels that rise and then fall.

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Water’s edge.

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Ice design, (Donna)

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Interestingly enough we’ve found winter to be a good time for fungi and my wife does a great job of locating it.

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January fungi on log, (Donna).

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Wet Rot, (Donna)

Jelly fungi Dried out P1190852

Dried out Jelly fungi? (Donna)

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Carbon Balls, (Donna)

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Oyster Mushroom, (Donna)

Wet Rot variation P1190855

Wet Rot? (Donna)

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Fast forward one day and we find ourselves along the Scioto River. Black Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Kingfishers, and Carolina Wrens all allowed us to take a picture even if it was from some distance away.

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Black Ducks, Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir.

 

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Hooded Mergansers (M) (F) (IM), Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir.

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Kingfisher (F), Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir

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A Carolina Wren doing what it does best! Griggs Park, (Donna)

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What really made our day, and really got us excited about this post, was seeing a Common Snipe. Several made their presence known at river’s edge as we stumbled around trying to photograph the ducks along the opposite bank. We couldn’t remember the last time we had seen one, for sure we’d never seen one at this location, so for us it was an uncommon snipe. Excited and elated, we retraced the mile and a half distance back to our car and headed home. It had been time well spent!

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Common Snipe, Scioto River shoreline just below Griggs Reservoir.

PS: I was tempted to photo shop the cinder block out of the picture but we are in the city after all.

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Hopefully on one of your outings in nature in the next few days you will find reason to get as excited as we did. Thanks for stopping by.

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Where are All Those Ducks Going?

With the weather warming up a bit the last few days we were encouraged to explore the area along the Scioto River near our house in hopes of seeing more Bald Eagles. We had to settle for one sighting today just below Griggs Dam. Since the reservoir remains frozen we were also excited by the anticipation of what waterfowl might be in the river. Also, one never knows what other birds or critters might be seen. Yesterday it was a Red Fox and today in addition to waterfowl a few of the other birds seen included Golden-crowned Kinglets, Bluebirds,  Cardinals, and Brown Creepers.

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If anyone can explain why the ducks in the picture below are doing what they’re doing I love to hear about it. It remains a bit of a mystery to me as they appeared to be swimming upstream to the base of the dam just for the fun of it. Perhaps they were trying to stay warm or there may have been some type of food in the water. We have observed ducks swimming against the current at other times and in other parts of the river which seems odd when they have the option of conserving energy by staying in the slack water near shore.

(click on the images for a better view)

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Mallards just below the Griggs Reservoir Dam.

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Like a few days ago more Goldeneyes were seen.

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Male Common Goldeneyes, study 1

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Male and female Goldeneyes, study 2

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Goldeneyes, study 3

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.   .   .   and we also saw Hooded Mergansers.

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Female Hooded Mergansers, study 1

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Male and female Hooded Mergansers, study 2

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Hooded Mergansers, study 3

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There were also a few Black ducks.

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Black Ducks

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While I was looking for waterfowl my wife snuck off and got some nice lichen and fungi shots.

Fungi -jelly ear ruffles 011215 Griggs south cp1

Jelly Ear fungi, (Donna)

Lichen Close-up 011215 Griggs south cp1

Lichen with fruiting bodies, (Donna)

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Moss and lichen, (Donna)

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While no photos of Brown Creepers and Golden-crown Kinglets were forthcoming the Blue birds did cooperate.

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The unbelievable blue of a Bluebird, (Donna)

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Bluebird, study 2

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I had some fun getting the auto focus to thread through the branches to get this interesting picture of a Great Blue Heron.

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Great Blue Heron

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Thanks for looking in.

A Bald Eagle in Our Neighborhood

Yesterday was very cold and windy and efforts to photograph birds meant immediately dealing with frozen fingers.

The highlight was being in the right place at the right time to get acceptable pics of an immature Bald Eagle as it flew along the river just a mile and a half from our house. We’ve seen a number a eagles in this area but this was the first time we were able to get a picture. This one may have been looking for an unsuspecting duck.

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Immature Bald Eagle over the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, Canon DSLR with Sigma 150-500 mm lens

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Immature Bald Eagle, study 2

In addition to the eagle, we were able to get some reasonable shots of waterfowl along the river.

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Common Mergansers, Scioto River below Griggs Dam, Canon DSLR with Sigma 150-500 mm lens

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Goldeneyes, male and female, Canon DSLR with Sigma 150-500 mm lens

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Male Common Mergansers, Canon DSLR with Sigma 150-500 mm lens

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Black Ducks hiding, Canon DSLR with Sigma 150-500 mm lens

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, Canon DSLR with Sigma 150-500 mm lens

When we arrived home a Coopers Hawk was sunning itself near our bird feeder.

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Coopers Hawk, Canon SX40

Today it was a balmy 45 F and very comfortable but for some reason the birds were a little harder to find. But a few good pics were obtained.

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Common Merganser. Included for comparison with the pics taken with a Canon DLSR and a Sigma 150-500 lens. No tripod is being used just trees for additional support if available.

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Female Downy Woodpecker, Griggs Park, Canon SX40.

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Downy Woodpecker, Griggs Park, Canon SX40

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Thanks for stopping by.

Photos by Donna

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