Cliff Swallow Close Up

We often see Cliff Swallows when paddling central Ohio’s reservoirs. While seeing them is not rare, getting a good picture of one is. During a recent outing on Griggs Reservoir we had the opportunity to use the canoe to our advantage. We positioned ourselves so that, sitting motionless, a light breeze propelled the canoe toward swallow nests located on the bridge support structure. By being very still we were able to get much closer than we had previously. Once the paddles were picked up to reposition the boat, the birds flew.

Typical Cliff Swallow nest location, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic ZS50.

Cliff Swallows, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

A closer look, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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North end of Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic FZ200.

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During our trip, which covered the length of the reservoir, there were plenty of things to see. This was a good thing because I was testing a new Sigma 18-300mm lens. The hope is that the lens, mounted on my DSLR, will do most of what my Panasonic FZ200 does, landscapes, close-ups of insects, and to some extent birds, but with more creative control and exposure latitude while still having the convenance of not having to switch lenses. In harsh light DSLR APS-C sensors tend to do better with highlights and shadows (exposure latitude) when compared to the much smaller sensor used in the FZ200. The Sigma lens is a story of compromises given that it goes from extreme wide angle to telephoto. It’s not a macro lens but will take reasonable pictures of “bugs” while at the same time doing a decent job with landscapes and birds that aren’t to far away. Overall I’m satisfied with it’s performance realizing it will never compete with fixed focal length lenses for ultimate sharpness. For those not familiar with sensor sizes see the chart below. I’ve also included the type of camera used for each picture should the reader be curious.

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It’s the insect time of the year along the reservoir ensuring that there are plenty of fascinating subjects.

Fragile Forktail, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Eastern Forktail (F), Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Familiar Bluet, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Widow Skimmer (F) not fully developed, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Eastern Pondhawk (M), Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Familiar Bluet, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Bee on Milkweed flower, Griggs Park, Panasonic Zs50.

Eastern Amberwing, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Happy Milkweed Beetles, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

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Reptiles and amphibian greeted us during our journey.

Bullfrog, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

Hiding, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Very small Map Turtle, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Looking at the other side, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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Other things also watched our passing.

White-tailed deer along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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At the very north end of the reservoir, Kiwanis Riverway Park, we pulled the boat out for a snack break and spent some time checking out the area birds. Hopefully a few more challenging subjects for the Sigma lens would be found.

Great Egret and Cormorant north end of Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, (cropped).

A closer look at the Great Egret, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Tree Swallows, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, cropped.

A male Red-winged Blackbird calls out, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

Northern Flicker, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, cropped, (Donna).

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The below picture is interesting because this Wood Duck duckling, along with three of it’s siblings, was reacting to the presence of our canoe. We never chase birds but these guys shot out of the shoreline brush and took off across the water. Sadly, as we watched them head for another hiding spot, one duckling suddenly disappeared not to be seen again. The victim of a Large Mouth Bass or Snapping Turtle perhaps?

Wood Duck duckling, Griggs reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

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Recent wildflowers seen.

Water Willow, Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm lens, cropped.

Butterfly Weed continues to make it’s presence known in Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Along the water’s edge the flowers of the Button Bush have just started to bloom, Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic ZS 50.

Looking into the woods, a Day Lily stands out, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Spiderwort, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Moth Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

Catnip (non-native), Panasonic ZS50.

Wild Rose along Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Trumpet-creeper along Griggs Reservoir, Panasonic G7 Leica 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Coneflower, backyard.

Black-eyed Susan, Griggs Reservoir Park, Panasonic ZS50.

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Often we find ourselves enchanted by a new view of something seen before. Such was the case with our close up encounter with the Cliff Swallows. Their nest building and graceful flight, what amazing birds! On the same day the celebration may be interrupted by an occurrence, like the sudden disappearance of a duckling, that is hard to watch.

Paddling into Kiwanis Riverway Park, Panasonic FZ200.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

 

Late Spring Celebration; A Warbler and Much More

Nature unfolds and reveals itself like a flower, first reluctantly and then with grace. Armed with just a little curiosity, looking with intention, and allowing yourself  to be in the moment and place, rewards one with new wonder. Seeing and appreciating more each time.

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In the past few days, still interested in finding warblers, we visited Prairie Oaks Metro Park and closer to home Griggs Reservoir Park in the hopes of seeing a few stragglers. With the exception of the Prothonotary, the warblers didn’t cooperate but fortunately other things did. Whether it’s warblers or “other things” we’re always amazed by the celebration of life this time of year and the beauty that’s often found in the ordinary. The pictures below were taken over just a few outings, typically involving walks of at least two or three miles, sometimes longer, as we search for birds, bugs, and plants. It is a source of continuous fascination that so much can be found so close to home in central Ohio.

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A shaft of light finds grass along a stream, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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It’s always nice when “the reptiles” decide to join the cast.

Next to the path a turtle acts none to happy about our presence, Prairie Oak Metro Park.

A Bullfrog shows a nice profile, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

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Still in “warbler mode” on a recent outing, we weren’t prepared for all the insects we would see.

Familiar Bluet, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Inch Worm, (Donna).

Daddy Longlegs, (Donna)

Spicebush Swallowtail

Silver Spotted Skipper, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

A very common Cabbage White, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Virginia Ctenucha, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Viceroy, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Eight-spotted Forester Moth, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Large Lace-boarder Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Milkweed Beetle, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Silvery Checkerspot, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Green Bee on Coneflower, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Hackberry Emperor, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Where there are bees and butterflies there will be wildflowers or maybe it’s the other way around.

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In grassy areas and meadows English Plantain is everywhere, Griggs Reservoir Park is no exception.

Very small bees visit the very small flowers of the English Plantain.

Hairy Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis), Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black-eyed Susans, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Thimbleweed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Early Meadow Rue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Day Lily, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Goatsbeard, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Moth Mullein, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chicory, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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While we were excited to see Prothonotary Warblers nesting so close to home there was no storage of other birds to fascinate.

We’d been seeing this nesting Prothonotary Warbler for a few weeks in Griggs Reservoir Park. We finally were able to get some pictures.

It must be nesting nearby because at one point it was observed taking food to it’s young.

Preening.

No spot is missed!

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak is not common this time of year in Griggs reservoir Park.

A Downy Woodpecker making effective use of it’s tail, Griggs Reservoir Park.

An adult Killdeer tries to get our attention, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

It tries a little harder, something must be going on.

Sure enough!

A male Baltimore Oriole makes it’s presence known in Griggs Reservoir Park. It’s been a great year for these birds in the park.

This Northern Flicker, often seen in a fairly localized area, must have a nest nearby, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Numerous Catbirds continue to entertain in Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Mallard keeps an eye on us as we walk along the water in Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A stream benefits from recent rain in Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Nature unfolds and reveals itself like a flower, first reluctantly and then with grace. May you be rewarded with new wonder, seeing and appreciating more each time.

Chipmunk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

 

 

 

 

 

Small Wonders, Summer in Central Ohio

Most of the pictures in this post are a result of my wife’s skill, tenacity, patience, and love of the small creatures that grace nature in central Ohio and so often go unnoticed. It wasn’t that long ago that I thought of insects as second class citizens. Wouldn’t you rather look at or take a picture of a warbler? Okay, many insects are essential to natures food chain, many are important for pollination, surprisingly few actually “Bug” us, but some are also amazing to watch.

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We hope you enjoy the following pictures and that you’ll also be excited to take a closer look. But be forewarned that unlike a beautiful sunset, a mountain landscape, or the spontaneous smile of a small child, these marvels must be pursued with intention to fully appreciate their wonder.

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Right in our backyard:

Black Swallowtail 2 closer 1 071115 Backyard cp1

Black Swallowtail, (Donna)

Black Swallowtail 8 full out 3 on cucumber leaves 1 071115   backyard cp1

Another view, (Donna)

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Not far from our backyard along Griggs Reservoir.

Purple Conflowers Collage 2 071215 Griggs nature walk   cp1

Coneflowers, (Donna)

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Blue Vervain

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A very small butterfly.

Least skipper 1 070715 Griggs paddle cp1

Least skipper, (Donna)

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A moth, really? Judging from the number of pictures taken just to get a few good ones, it’s safe to say we got pretty excited. Not an uncommon moth but not often seen.

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A Hummingbird Moth heads for a snack.

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Lunch time!

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This is actually pretty good!

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There must be more of that stuff here somewhere.

Hummingbird Moth 6 side view 4 Best 1 071215 backyard   cp1

Okay, I’ll pose and let you take my picture, Hummingbird Moth, (Donna)

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Black-eyed Susan’s in Griggs Park.

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Black-eyed Susan’s

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Near waters edge, Griggs Reservoir.

Ebony Jwelwing female 3  head on 1 070715 Griggs paddle   cp1

Ebony Jewelwing female, (Donna)

Ebony Jewelwing female 2 close-up 1 070715 Griggs paddle   cp1

Ebony Jewelwing female, (Donna)

e Powdered Dancer 1 070715 Griggs paddle cp1

Powdered Dancer, (Donna)

Stream Bluet 2 closer 1 070715 Griggs paddle cp1

Stream Bluet, (Donna)

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Cup Plants.

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Cup Plants along Griggs Reservoir.

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A wasp and a fly.

Wasp on milkweed 1 071215 Griggs nature cp1

Wasp, (Donna)

Thick-Headed Fly 071115 Backyard flowers cp1

Thick-Headed Fly, (Donna)

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Another moth, is it really?

Virginia Ctenucha 3 head on 2 best 1 071115 Backyard   flowers cp1

Virginia Ctenucha, (Donna)

Virginia Ctenucha 2 071115 Backyard flowers yellow   cp1

Virginia Ctenucha, (Donna)

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Other butterflies seen.

Summer Azure on white flowers 1 LL best 1 071115 backyard   flowers cp1

Summer Azure, a small butterfly, (Donna)

Silver Spotted Skipper 4 LR on pokeweed 2 best 1 071215   Griggs nature walk cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper, not uncommon, (Donna)

Silver Spotted Skipper 3 LR on pokeweed flower 1 071215   Griggs nature walk cp1

Silver Spotted Skipper , showing it’s silver spots, (Donna)

Red Admiral 4 LL 3 best 2 071115 backyard flowers cp1

Red Admiral, (Donna)

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Last and in this case least, a very small moth.

Pyrausta orphisalis – Orange Mint Moth 071115 backyard   flowers cp1

Pyrausta orphisalis – Orange Mint Moth, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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Treasures and Trash

Often we decide to do an urban hike which takes us along the eastern shoreline of  Griggs. The urban hike, about a six-mile loop in our case, reflects our desire to get some exercise without getting in the car.  Being close to Griggs provides a chance to observe wildlife as well as the various plants growing along the reservoir. A small pair of binoculars as well as a superzoom camera are usually part of our equipment.

The first of November is not the time of year one expects to see a lot, but we hoped for some interesting waterfowl and maybe of few woodpeckers. Given the recent cold weather, we were surprised to still see Sunflowers, Black-eyed Susans, and Chicory. All of which looked a little tired but we marveled at their resiliency.  Along the reservoir, taking closer looks at flowers invariably results in seeing discarded bottles and cans. A decent amount of time is spent picking up these items, but we seem to always be rewarded with a new flower or bird during our efforts. Some times it’s as though the birds know what we’re doing and come around as an act of appreciation.

We observed how plants, such as Common Mullien, look very different in autumn without their flowering stalks but very much standing out against the fallen leaves. Along with more wildflowers than expected, we did see a few birds; Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Cedar Wax Wings, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Downy and Red Belly Woodpeckers, Tufted Tittmouse and Chickadees.

It was a good walk!

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