Waterfalls, Birds, and Other Things

Outings in small boats can provide a unique opportunity to view and photograph wildlife. While we don’t pursue birds in our canoe, one will often take flight when approached. When it does, often crossing right in front of us, it offers an opportunity to get a nice “in flight” profile shot. Gliding silently without paddling often provides a chance to get very close to birds thus offering a photographic opportunity that may not be found while hiking.

Note: underlined text denotes a link which may be clicked on for additional information.

Prothonotary Warbler, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Immature Common Merganser, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

A Spotted Sandpiper let us get very close, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Easter Spiny Softshell, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

As we get closer a Great Blue Heron takes flight, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Near the end of our paddle we spot a Great Blue Heron trying to figure out what to do with a just captured snake, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Male House Finch, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

A few days ago Wild Columbine was still in bloom along Griggs Reservoir’s the low cliffs, from the canoe, (Donna).


A small boat may also allow access to hard to reach points of interest for which there is limited or no access on land. In this case it was one named and one unnamed waterfall along Griggs Reservoir that were energized by the recent rain.

Entering a small creek leading to one of Griggs reservoirs waterfalls.

I’ve paddled as far as I can but fortunately it’s only a short walk to the falls.

Good flow over the falls which are about 6-8 feet high. The shot taken under cloudy conditions which controlled shadows.

Take 2. I’m not sure which shot I like best.


Hayden Run Falls:

Paddling into the cove at Hayden Run Falls a Great Egret does a welcoming dance as two mallards look on.

Hayden Run Falls, about 35 feet high, benefitted from the recent rain. From the canoe pullout a not so easy hike up a rain swollen creek was required to get to the falls. Normally when using a digital single lens reflex I would have opted for a slower shutter speed to create a sense of motion in the water but a Canon SX40 superzoom and the lack of a tripod limited my options. Hayden Run Falls is also accessible via a boardwalk with parking provided off Hayden Run Road.


Take 2. Again, I’m not sure which shot I like best.



When paddling it’s sometimes hard not to do a little cleanup. However, trying to clean up plastic, not to mention all the other stuff, after it’s already in the environment is next to impossible. While some litter is thrown directly into the reservoir, much finds it’s way in by way of storm drains. The reservoir, home to an amazing amount of biodiversity, thus becomes an aquatic “trash can” for a good percentage of the city’s litter.  This phenomena can be observed to a greater or lesser degree in all of Ohio’s lakes and streams. Paddle lakes and streams in states like Michigan or Maine and it’s obvious that a Ohio Beverage Container Deposit Law would largely eliminate this problem.

Trash canoe.




In the past week, when not in the canoe, we’ve had opportunities explore Griggs Reservoir Park as well as a few other favorite spots.



Immature Song Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Catbird, Griggs Reservoir Park.

I know it’s a very common bird, but the lovely light compelled me to take the picture, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chipping Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Protonotary Warbler, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Mother Mallard with babies, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Perhaps the tail end of the warblers a female American Redstart poses for my wife, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Baltimore Orioles continue to be quite common in Griggs Reservoir Park.

Great Egret preening, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Great Blue Heron with fish, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tree Swallow, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).


As spring turns to summer insects are becoming much more common:

Zebulon Skipper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Little Wood-sater, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Grape Leaffolder Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Golden-back Snipe Fly. Adults and larvae feed on a variety of small insects, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Making more flies, (Donna).

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).


Flowers seen are unique to late spring and early summer:

Blue-flagged Iris, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Canada Anemone, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In my humble opinion the flower of Virginia Waterleaf is not nearly as pretty as it’s early spring leaves, (Donna).

Blue-eyed Grass, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Bittersweet Nightshade, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wafer Ash flowers (not always in the shape of a heart), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).


Other things:

A Northern Water Snake creates patterns on the otherwise still surface, Twin Lakes, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Very small Snapping Turtle, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna).

After quite a bit of rain the fungus is doing well in Griggs Park.


The view down a short path leading to the reservoir shows the vegetation to be almost fully leafed out.

Griggs Reservoir Park.


A special thanks to my wife for supplying many of the photos in this post included those from the canoe as I handled the boat. Given that spring is winding down, my guess is that future posts will contain fewer warbler pictures and probably more insect pictures but one never knows for sure. Future posts may also document new Ohio places explored or at least unique places that haven’t been visited in awhile. Until then, thanks for stopping by.




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.

A Late Spring Celebration of Nature

Whether paddling or walking our explorations in the last week or so have been very close to home in Griggs Park and the reservoir. We hardly feel deprived. As the pictures below will attest, especially in the case of my wife, the closer you look the more you see.


Some of the flowers we are now seeing will continue to bloom for most of the summer. Others will not. Part of the ever changing scene.

Donna (13)

Ox-eye Daises, (Donna), FZ200.

Donna (26)

Hairy Ruellia, (Donna), FZ200.

Donna (35)

Rough-fruited Cinquefoil, (Donna) FZ200


Northern Catalpa, Griggs Park, FZ200.



Along the shore of Griggs Reservoir the Blue Flag Iris continues to enchant, (Donna), FZ200.

Donna (3)

Goats Beard, (Donna), FZ200.

Donna (29)

Mushrooms, (Donna), FZ200.


Some things seen have been unusual. Many thanks to New Hampshire Garden Solutions for help in identifying what was going on in the following pic, Elm Pouch Galls.


Produced by aphids, Elm Pouch Galls rise from the upper leaf surface, Griggs Park, FZ200.


While we are still hearing them, many birds choose to peer at us from behind the leaf cover so my wife has directed more of her attention to more cooperative subjects.


Donna (7)

Peck’s Skipper, (Donna), FZ200.

Donna (14)

Zebulon Skipper, (Donna), FZ200


Donna (25)

Bronze Copper, (Donna), FZ200

Donna (24)

Top view.

Donna (28)

Clouded Sulfur with a friend, (Donna), FZ200.


Donna (21)

Black Swallowtail, Griggs Park, (Donna), FZ200.


A busy bee, Griggs Park, Canon 3ti, 18-135.

Donna (17)

Eastern Pondhawk (F), (Donna), FZ200.

Donna (16)-2

Widow Skimmer (F), (Donna), FZ200.


Look even closer and you’ll see tiny insects with jewel like qualities.


Stream Bluet, (Donna), FZ200.


Stream Bluet (F)?, (Donna), FZ200.


Powdered Dancer (M), (Donna), FZ200.


Very small gold fly, (Donna), FZ200.


Thankfully not all of our feathered friends were in hiding.


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Male Bluebird, Griggs Park, FZ200.

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Kingbird, Griggs Park, FZ200.



Robin, Griggs Park, ZS50.

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We haven’t had much luck getting a close pic so far this year but we did catch the male Baltimore Oriole along the Scioto below Griggs Dam,  ZS50.


What were these White-breasted Nuthatches doing? ZS50.


Fledglings! along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.


With so many beautiful Great Blue Herons along the reservoir so it hard to resist taking a picture, Canon 60D sigma 150-500.

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We watched this Great Blue Heron for some time as he struggled and went through all kinds of contortions but never did see him swallow the poor fish which by heron standards wasn’t all that large, ZS50.

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As we walk along park path, just overhead a Turkey Vulture sizes us up, “Still Moving, @?%#!!!”, ZS50

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Mother Mallard with baby along Griggs Reservoir, FZ200.


An Osprey watches as we paddle by, north end of Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D, sigma 150-500.


A Red-tailed Hawk does likewise, Canon 60D, sigma 150-500.


And a few other creatures too.



Sunfish, sometimes what a fish lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This little fella went swimming right after the pic, Griggs Reservoir, Canon SD850.

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A turtle convention along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, ZS50.


Looking like somewhere in northern Michigan a deer crosses the Scioto north of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna), FZ200.


Not seen as often as Map Turtles and Red-eared Sliders, we were excited to see two Painted Turtles enjoying the sun along the Griggs Reservoir shore, (Donna), FZ200.


Sometimes it’s good to just step back and admire it all from a distance.


North end of Griggs reservoir, FZ200


Thanks for stopping by.

Turtles, Snakes, Hawks . . . , Oh My!

Recent explorations in the central Ohio natural places have been good to us. As mentioned in previous posts the warblers are becoming quieter and much harder to find but as is often the case we find other things to fascinate. Below are some discoveries from the past week.


Early summer wildflowers and flowering trees and bushes.


Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).



Squaw Root, Highbanks Metro Park. Never what one would think of as attractive this example is a bit past it’s prime


Purple Rocket, Griggs Park.



Flower of the Tulip Tree, Highbanks.


Fire Pink, Glacier Ridge Metro Park.


Spiderwort, Glacier Ridge.


Hairy Hawkweed, Glacier Ridge.


Squarrose Sedge, Glacier Ridge.


Mystery flowering bush, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).


Goats beard, non-native, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).


Blue Flag Iris, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna, FZ200).


Virginia Waterleaf, Highbanks. It’s unusual that the leaves are still variegated. The variegated leaves are one of the beautiful things to look for on the forest floor in the early spring.


Closer look at a waterleaf flower.


While we’re not seeing the warblers now other birds are still cooperating.

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Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).


Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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An easy to hear hard to see Red-eyed Vireo, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.


Great Blue Heron takes a momentary swim in Griggs Reservoir, Canon SX40.



The Prothonotary Warblers continue their nesting activity below Griggs Dam along the Scioto River, SX40.


In the Scioto Below Griggs Dam a Great Blue Heron waits for a lunch delivery, Canon SX40.

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Eastern Phoebe, Highbanks.


Song Sparrow, Glacier Ridge.


Barn Swallow, Glacier Ridge.


Field Sparrow with a mouthful, Glacier Ridge.


This past week it was fascinating to see Snapping Turtles laying their eggs at Griggs Park.

Snapping Turtle 5 LL 1 best 1 053116 Griggs North cp1

Snapping Turtle, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).


Snapping turtle nest. This one may have already been raided by a raccoon.


Other reptiles and amphibians also made an appearance.

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Rat Snake high off the forest floor in a tree hole, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50).


Bullfrog tadpole, Glacier Ridge.


Bullfrog, Glacier Ridge.


We’re heading into the insect time of year. Confirmed by the number seen recent walks.

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Bumble Bee, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).


Zabulon Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Cabbage White Bouquet, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).



Tawny-edged Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Common Whitetail, (F), Highbanks, ZS50.


Common Whitetail (M), Highbanks, ZS50.



Female Blue Dasher, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200)


When you’re looking for interesting insects and flowers other things magically appear.


Bleeding Tooth, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50)

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Dead tree, the victim of “bootstrap fungus Bootstrap fungus is caused by honey mushrooms, which are parasitic on live wood and send out long root like structures called rhizomorphs between the wood of a tree and its bark”. (thanks NH Garden Solutions for the ID help!), Highbanks.


Hope everyone enjoyed our nature menagerie.


Fishing on the Scioto below Griggs Dam, SX40.


Until next time, thanks for stopping by.



Open To Nature’s Possibilities

Now that the spring migration is tapering off expectations need to be adjusted when visiting a local park or taking a walk in the woods. For birders it’s all about avoiding the big letdown after several weeks where each outing meant wondering what new warbler the day would bring. On a recent hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, even if one was lucky enough to catch a glimpse, many birds soon disappeared into the leaf cover.  Perhaps it’s time to diversify and look for other things, fungi, flowers, and non-warbler type birds.


With this in mind we headed for the aforementioned park remembering that it’s a good place to see Indigo Buntings.


Indigo Bunting, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park


Take 2.


A few other Battelle Darby birds were also cooperative, if only just.


Common Yellowthroat, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park


Female Yellow Warbler? Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park


Eastern Spotted Towhee, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park


White-eyed Vireo, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park


It was hard not to notice the early summer wild flowers along park trails whether at Battelle Darby or closer to home..


Appendaged Waterleaf, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Spiderwort, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.


Miami Mist, look but don’t touch! Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).


Hawkweed, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)


Blackberry blooms, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).


Common Cinquefoil, , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).



Sweet Cicely, Griggs Park, (Donna)



Angelica, Kiwanis Riverway Park.


Purple Rocket -native flower 1 052616 Griggs south cp1

Purple Rocket, Griggs Park, (Donna).


Forget Me Not, Kiwanis Riverway Park.


Blue Flag Iris, Griggs Park.


Philadelphia Fleabane, Griggs Park.


Multiflora Rose, Griggs Park.


Yellow Flag Iris, Griggs Park.


English Plantain, very common but with it’s own unique beauty, Griggs Park, (Donna).


Once thought of as an alternative when we weren’t seeing birds insects have now become fascinating in their own right.


Mating Golden-backed Snipe Flies, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)


Six-spotted Green Tiger beetle, , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)


Silver-spotted Skipper, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Battelle Darby Metro Park, (Donna).

Eastern-tailed Blue 3 best 1 051616 Griggs PM cp1

Eastern-tailed Blue, Griggs Park, (Donna).


Not a flower, insect, or bird my wife nonetheless noticed this very small but beautiful fungi.


Scarlet Cup, Griggs Park, (Donna).


Closer to home there were also things to see, the first humming bird of the year at O’Shaugnessy Nature Preserve and a hawk with prey at Griggs Park.


Certainly not a National Geographic quality pic but it was a FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.



Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna).


Take 2.



Nesting Prothonotary Warbler along the Scioto below Griggs dam, (Donna).


Cowbirds, Griggs Park, (Donna).



Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Park.


Female Hairy Woodpecker, Griggs Park.


Northern Flicker, Griggs Park.



Baltimore Oriole seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.


Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with squirrel, Griggs Park


And a few other creatures also caught our attention.


Eastern Spiny Softshell seen while kayaking on Griggs Reservoir.


Leopard Frogs, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna).


That’s about it for this post. We always wonder if we’re going to run out of things that fascinate and enchant. Fortunately in nature the more you look the more you see.


Thanks for stopping by.


Quiet afternoon, Griggs Reservoir.






A Little North of Ohio, Part 3 of 3, Hiking in Algonquin

As mentioned in an earlier post, our time in Algonquin Provincial Park was split pretty much evenly between paddling and hiking. The trails we hiked, Beaver Pond, Mizzy Lake, Lookout, Spruce Bog Boardwalk, and Bat Lake  were all a short drive on Hwy 60 from our campsite at Pog Lake along the park’s southern edge.


Most of the trails go through very biologically diverse areas with fascinating flowers, fungi and forest floor creatures. While the trails are not especially difficult, good hiking shoes, lightweight slacks and a long sleeve shirt, and insect repellent, especially in the early summer, will make the experience a lot more enjoyable. To fully appreciate these places it’s a good idea to allow enough time so you can really look around otherwise you’ll be missing most of what’s going on.


Below is a record of some of the things we saw:


On you way to hike there’s always the chance you may have to rescue something.

Rescuing a Snapper

Hwy 60 Snapper


The trails were varied with the woods often opening up into some beautiful views.


Mizzy Lake trail.


Wetland, Mizzy Lake Trail


Different types of fungi were everywhere.

mushroom family 1 062315 Mizzy Lake Trail cp1 csb1

Mushroom Family, (Donna)

Ling Chih P1030301

Unidentified Fungus

Finger Fungi P1030625

Finger Fungus

Cup Fungi P1030527

Cup Fungi

Butterscotch Mushroom family 1 062115 Algonquin cp1

Butterscotch Mushrooms, (Donna)

Red Mushroom 062115 Algonquin

Red Mushroom, (Donna)

yellow-orange fly agaric 062115 Algonquin   csb1

Yellow-orange Fly Agaric, (Donna)

Yellow tongue fungus 062315 Lake Mizzy Trail cp1

Swamp Beacons fungus, (Donna)

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Witches Butter, (Donna)

Sphagnum-bog Galerina 062315

Sphagnum-bog Galerina, (Donna)


Ling Chih Fungus


Slug on Comb Tooth Fungus


Pinwheel Marasmius  Mushroom


Unidentified shelf Fungus


.   .   .  and lichen too!


Lung Lichen


Common Button Lichen


Unidentified Lichen


Pixie Cup Lichen

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British Soldier Lichen, (Donna)


By late June many of the orchids have already come and gone. However, we were fortunate to see a few.


Lady slipper along the trail, Mizzy Lake Trail


Lady Slipper, showing leaves.


A nice group.


There were other flowers and plants to fascinate.


Blue Flag Iris


Lilly Pads

Corn Lily P1030476

Corn Lily

Coralroot 062115 Alqonquin cp1

Coralroot, (Donna)

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Common Wood-Sorrel, (Donna)

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Yellow Parasitic plants, (Donna)

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Twinflower, (Donna)

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Spiral Ferns, (Donna)


Moss fruiting bodies






Pale Laurel Fowers like very wet araes.


Bunch Berries




Pale Corydalis


It doesn’t seem like you can go anywhere in Algonquin without seeing Sundew.

sun P1030617


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A closer look, (Donna)

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Closer yet.


We had high expectations of seeing and photographing warblers. Birds were heard, especially Winter Wrens, but because of the leaf cover few were seen (we did manage to see Magnolias, Northern Parulas, and Yellow-rumps)  but few were photographed.

Red-eyed Vireo 062415 Algonquin Pog Lake campground    cp1

Red-eyed Vireo, (Donna)


Along the trail we were never far from the “handiwork” of beavers.


Beaver dam, Mizzy Lake Trail


Beaver dam, Beaver Pond Trail.


.   .   .   and the beavers themselves.


Beaver family, Mizzy Lake Trail.


Moose are also fairly easy to spot in late June.

Moose P1040783

Bull Moose along Hwy 60, (Ben)


We were always on the lookout for dragonflies, moths and butterflies. Sometimes they cooperated.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, (Donna)


Catching sunlight in a pine, a White Admiral catches our eye.

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Common Wood-Nymph, (Donna)


Snail on the forest floor.


With flowing water everywhere .   .   .


Reflections, Bat Lake Trail


Flowing towards a larger stream


Water, moss, leaves, rocks


The trails could be wet.


Mizzy Lake Trail

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Bat Lake Trail Boardwalk, (Donna)


The toads and frogs didn’t seem to mind.

Toad Emily

American Toad, (Emily)


Wood Frog


Green Frog


Waiting for lunch.


If no flower, insect reptile amphibian or other creature caught our attention there was always the scenery.


Pond, Mizzy Lake Trail


Beaver Pond


Hiking around Pog Lake

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Lookout Trail overlook, (Donna)


Stream, Mizzy Lake Trail


Fallen tree,


Campsite, Pog lake


Wetland, Spruce Bog Boardwalk


Beaver lodge, Beaver Pond Trail


Thanks for stopping by.


Pog Lake



It Was A Really Big Beaver, Honest!

Early this morning I decided to take a break from warblers and such and go kayak fishing on Griggs Reservoir. During the week with most people at work it’s actually pretty quiet, so along with catching and releasing pan fish and an occasional bass, wildlife are often seen. With this in mind, I usually have a small pocket cam and a pair of binoculars with me.


I had just started fishing after paddling across the reservoir when I noticed a rather large tree stump that seemed to be eating something. It became obvious real quick, even without the aid of binoculars (it was only about 25 feet away), that it was a very large Beaver.  Given it’s size, this one must have been a very mature specimen as Beaver continue to grow throughout their lives. It was a great photographic opportunity that wasn’t, as my pocket cam with it’s handy 20x zoom was resting safety on my desk at home right beside my binoculars.  The only excuse is that an early morning fog had apparently shrouded my brain. Not long after that, again along the shore, a Mink momentarily stopped it’s constant and often erratic movement to gaze curiously as I fished. Again, no camera, no pictures.


It was a good outing, a little over five miles of paddling, Wood Ducks, Baltimore Orioles, Double-crested Cormorants, Great-crested Flycatchers, etc.,  and a reasonable selection of fish caught. But I promise to take the Beaver and Mink more seriously during future outings in the hope that an upcoming post may contain a few photos. For now, I humbly offer the below, taken during a recent walk along the reservoir.


Lot’s of green.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam


One of the most beautiful of our late spring wildflowers.


Blue Flag Iris


Multiflora Rose is making an appearance along the river.


Often grouped together a Multiflora Rose is singled out.


Other flower’s also delight.

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Goats Beard, (Donna)

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Deptford Pink, (Donna)


A particularly attractive grouping of Daisy Flaebane


My wife notices some small skippers.

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Male Zabulan, (Donna)

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Dun Skipper, (Donna)


A White breasted Nuthatch shows off some pretty nice accommodations.

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White Breasted Nuthatch along Griggs Reservoir


Thanks for stopping by.

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