On The Shoulder of Very Small Giants!

Recently we were thinking about all the birds that nest in Griggs Reservoir Park or in the immediate environs. A list of some of the more interesting ones would go something like this:

White-breasted Nuthatch,

Cardinal, Northern Flicker,

Kingbird,

Red-bellied Woodpecker,

Rose-breasted Grosbeak,

Blue Jay,

Yellow-throated Warbler,

Black-crowned Night Heron,

Northern Parula Warbler,

Protonotary Warbler,

Kingfisher, Wood Duck,

Baltimore Oriole,

Cedar Waxwing,

Mallard Duck,

Great Egret,

Great Blue Heron

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well I think you get the idea. It’s amazing that  just a few years ago we were ignorant of much of this. To become more aware has taken time coupled with repeated outings to the park and reservoir. While some visits have been pretty quiet, in general learning about the birds has been a rewarding activity.

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Too further this point, recently we’ve been fortunate to photograph a few of the “youngsters”. The always active Kingbirds have been hard to miss.

Two Kingbird chicks see the parent approaching, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna, pics 1-4).

The parent arrives but apparently with no food.

But the other parent did have something to offer.

Open mouths, hard for a parent to miss!

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While we’ve heard them calling from time to time over the past few weeks, Yellow-throated Warblers have been illusive so the one below was a pretty exciting find!

Juvenile Yellow-throated warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 2.

 

Take 3, with an ant.

Take 4.

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Always cute, a few Mallard ducklings were present along the reservoir. Interesting because we’ve seen a stream of ducklings over the last two months indicating there is no fixed time to mate.

Mallard Ducklings, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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While not youngsters, a few other birds also allowed us to take their picture. For those of you that have tried to photograph a Kingfisher you know they don’t usually cooperate so even an average picture is an accomplishment.

Female Kingfisher, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Blue Jay, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna)

Black-crowned Night Heron, one of two seen as we paddled the reservoir. We haven’t seen as many this year perhaps due to the larger than normal number of Great Egrets.

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As mentioned above the birds have been rewarding but we never imaged we would discover a new snake right within the city limits of Columbus! It was seen while canoeing Griggs Reservoir and was located in a low lying bush overhanging the water. While looking at the one below another one splashed into the water. Needless to say we were very excited by this discovery!

Queen Snake, frequently seen and captured by overturning large flat stones, boards, or other debris along fresh water streams. Some will try to bite which due to their small teeth is not a treat to humans. However, all use their musk glands freely and struggle violently to escape. Although they become gentle with handling, they seldom eat in captivity. (ODNR) Their habitat is very specific, and this snake is never found in areas that lack clean running streams and watersheds with stony and rocky bottoms. The water temperature must be a minimum of 50 °F (10 °C) during it’s active months due to  dietary requirements that consist all most exclusively of newly molted crayfish. (WIKI)

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Summer wildflowers have benefited from the recent rain.

Rain garden, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Tall Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Blue Vervain, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Joe Pye Weed, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Lizards Tail and Swamp Milkweed at the north end of Griggs Reservoir.

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If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know that in the summer we tend to focus more on insects. This year is no exception, except I’ve finally really caught the “bug” from my wife. Having made that declaration, as hard as I look I will never match her ability to see these little guys!

Soldier Fly, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Eastern Tailed Blue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Female Eastern Tailed Blue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Giant Spreadwing, not one we see often, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Amber and Black Wasp, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Pelecinid Wasp, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Silvery Checkerspot, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna)

Take 2, Donna)

Metallic Gold Fly, very small, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Robber Fly, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Duke’s Skipper, Griggs Reservoir.

Dukes Skipper (M), Griggs Reservoir.

Blue Dasher (F), Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Common Dogbane Beetles, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Question Mark, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Orange Sulfur (F), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The photo of the below dragonfly was an especially exciting because it very seldom lands.

Wandering Glider, the common name of this species may be the most appropriate of any of species. It is a strong flier, with a circumtropical distribution. It is found in nearly every contiguous state, extreme southern Canada, southward throughout Central and South America, the Bahamas, West Indies, Hawaii and throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, except for Europe. It is regularly encountered by ocean freighters and is a well-known migratory species. Because of its ability to drift with the wind, feeding on aerial plankton, until it finally encounters a rain pool in which it breeds, it has been called “…the world’s most evolved dragonfly.” (Odonata Central) , Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

After much searching Donna finally found a few Monarch Butterfly caterpillars, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Spicebush Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 2.

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There was a time when I wasn’t all that excited about “insects”, pointing my camera at butterflies, dragonflies, and the like only when the birds weren’t cooperating. Arriving home after one such an outing I took a close look at the images obtained and was amazed at the beauty of many of these creatures that are so easy for us to disregard. It’s hardly breaking news but some time ago I heard that if we compared the weight of all humans with that of all insects we would make up a very small piece of the pie. The below chart illustrates that point. For life to exist on this small sphere we stand on the shoulders of giants but in our case they are very small giants. Something to think about!

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Thanks for stopping by.

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There has been quite a bit of rain recently so we paddled to one of the local waterfalls. It did not disappoint, Griggs Reservoir.

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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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Celebrating Beauty Closer to Home

I’m always amazed by the distance we have to travel before our brain gets reprogramed and starts to notice beauty that were it closer to home would be passed by unnoticed.

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So in celebration of that which is easy to pass by, below is a collection of photos taken in the last week while walking in Griggs Park or along the Scioto River below the dam. All very close to home and  within the city limits of Columbus. In addition a few were shots were taken while paddling the north end of Griggs Reservoir. From where we live it’s a mile and a half by land and five miles by water. In addition, a few pics were taken in our backyard.

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Since we often see the beauty of a place defined by a landscapes rather than a close-up of a flower or bug, along with the bugs and flowers a few landscapes are included. Perhaps an effort on our part to capture the place in a way that speaks to our larger sensibilities. A way one might appreciate it if you were just out for a walk enjoying the day.

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Through the trees, Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Mallard at sunset, Griggs Reservoir

Swamp Milkweed IMG_0670

Swamp Milkweed, Griggs Reservoir

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Queen Ann’s Lace at sunset, Griggs Park

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Kingbird, Griggs Park

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Swamp-Mallow, north end of Griggs Reservoir

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North end of Griggs Reservoir

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Flower-of-an-Hour (member of the Mallow family) ID supplied by my readers, previously unidentified, north end of Griggs Reservoir

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Green Heron, north end of Griggs Reservoir

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Bumble Bee, backyard

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Coneflower, backyard.

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Painted turtle, north end of Griggs Reservoir.

Red-spotted Purple 1 080414 Griggs cp1 lighter 1

Red-spotted Purple, Griggs Park, (Donna)

Griggs wtrs edge 4 080414 csd1

The reservoir, Griggs Park, (Donna)

Groundnut 2 080514 Griggs cp1

Groundnut, north end of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

hackberry emperor wings partly up 080314 Griggs cp1

Hackberry Emperor, north end of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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Fungus along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Fungus, along the Scioto River

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Rain Garden, Griggs Park

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Wetland, north end of Griggs Reservoir

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Blue Vervain, Griggs Park

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Gravel bar, Scioto River below Griggs Dam

False Dragonhead duo 080314 Griggs cp1

False Dragonhead, Griggs Park, (Donna)

IMG_9878fix-2a

North end of Griggs Reservoir

Evening Primrose 2 080314 Griggs cp1

Evening Primrose, Griggs Park, (Donna)

Eastern Comma best 080414 Griggs cp1

Eastern Comma, Griggs Park, (Donna)

IMG_0682

Rocks along the Scioto Rive below Griggs Dam.

Solitary Sandpiper running 080514 Griggs cp1

Spotted Sandpiper, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Cedar Waxwing juvenile 080514 Griggs cp1

Immature Cedar Waxwing, north end of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Green bee on Monkey flower 080514 Griggs cp1

Green bee on Monkey flower, north end of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Monarch upright best 1 080414 Griggs cp1

Monarch, Griggs Park, (Donna)

IMG_3590

Tree roots, Scioto River below Griggs Dam

 

 

 

 

A Dark and Cloudy Day Along the Reservoir

As we walked along the reservoir we were sure that any minute the clouds would open up delivering a soaking rain but with cameras in hand we soldered on. We were desperate for a nature fix but what would we possibly see? Any pictures taken would probably be blurry or at least, with the Auto ISO on, full of noise. Attempts to visualize landscapes that might have something endearing to say proved futile so we concentrated on the smaller things where the very flat dim light might be an asset.

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Cormorant on a dark day

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Amazingly even under these circumstances beauty was found.

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False Sunflower

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My favorite stump.

Golden Star Duet 070814 Griggs cp1

Golden Star, (Donna)

Blue Vervain 070814 Griggs cp1

Blue Vervain, (Donna)

Queen Ann's Lace best 070814 Griggs cp1

Queen Ann’s Lace, (Donna)

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Milkweed

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The Mallard Ducks seemed happy enough.

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Female Mallard

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Female Mallard with young.

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The camera managed to capture a Nuthatch.

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Nuthatch (very low light)

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 .   .   .   a dragonfly even let us get close.

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Widow Skimmer

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But not all dragonflies were having a good day as witnessed buy this Great Crested Flycatcher that was showing off it’s prize.

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Great Crested Flycatcher, study 1

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Great Crested Flycatcher, study 2

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Great Crested Flycatcher, study 3

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On a lighter note during a recent bike ride we got an endearing picture of two young dear.

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Stopping to check out the turtles.

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Too cute!

 

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