While I Was Fishing

My wife had to carry most of the load in central Ohio over the past week or so while I was on my annual Michigan fishing trip. Based on the following pictures, many of which are hers, she had no trouble discovering things of interest.

Nature walk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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First there were the birds, a few of which when captured in unusual or even comical poses. Some just a little different than the usual “mug” shot.

Immature Robin, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna)

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

Just fledged Catbird, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Mealtime.

Great Blue Heron, Griggs Reservoir Park.

 

Goldfinch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Immature Red-bellied Woodpecker, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Immature Blue Jay, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Preening Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Flicker, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A juvenile Cedar Waxwing stretches it’s neck, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird visits Donna as she looks for caterpillars, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Cardinal is caught spying on a young Northern Flicker, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Green Heron showing it’s crest, Griggs Reservoir

Juvenile Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Take 2.

To cute to pass up, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Sometimes a bird picture was obtained as my wife happened to look up as she studyed an interesting “bug” and there were apparently no shortage of those.

Eupatorium Borer Moth , Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Milkweed Tussock Moth Catapillar, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wasp, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Monarch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Another view.

Orchard orbweaver, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Donna spotted this Robber Fly in Griggs Reservoir Park. Robber flies prey on other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, ants, dragon and damselflies, ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, some spiders and even other robber flies. They do so apparently irrespective of any offensive chemicals the prey may have at its disposal. Many robber flies when attacked in turn do not hesitate to defend themselves with their proboscides and may deliver intensely painful bites if handled carelessly, (Ref: WIKI), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sand Wasp, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sycamore Tussock Moth caterpillar , Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Robber fly, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Hover fly, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Green Bee, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Orange Sulphur, Griggs Reservoir Park.

My wife spotted these 2-marked Treehoppers in Griggs Reservoir Park, “Treehoppers tap into the stems of woody and herbaceous plants with their beaks and feed on the sap. Treehopper species are often closely associated with a single food source.  Some species gather in groups as adults or nymphs.  They slit the bark of their host plant to deposit eggs within, covering the eggs with a secretion called “egg froth” that provides protection from desiccation in winter, may shield the eggs from predators, and that contains an attractant pheromone that brings other ovipositing females to the spot (where, like cows, they may line up, all facing the same direction).  The eggs hatch in spring when they are re-hydrated by the rising sap of the host plant as its buds open and its shoots start to grow”.  Ref: Bug Lady, Riveredge Nature Center.

Mating Clouded Sulfurs, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Summer flowers grace areas along the reservoir.

On a cloudy morning Evening Primrose overlooks Griggs Reservoir

Coneflowers keep Cardinal Flowers company in one of the park rain gardens.

Tall Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Swamp Rose Mallow.

Wingstem, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Sunflowers rule this time of year.

Common Sneezeweed.

Boneset, Griggs Reservoir.

Square Stem Monkey Flower, Griggs Reservoir.

Sunflowers draw one’s gaze to the reservoir beyond.

Queen Ann’s Lace frames Griggs Reservoir.

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Finally a few pics from my fishing trip to the Rifle River Recreation Area. It always feels like a homecoming when I head north bringing back many fond childhood summer vacation memories. I always think I’ll take more pictures on this trip but it’s hard to wear two hats so I mostly just allow myself to be there and fish.

Common Loons are a real treat on Devoe Lake in the Rifle River Rec Area. Seemingly unconcerned they swim close to my canoe.

Taking a break.

One of a number of nice bass caught and released.

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Each trip into nature marks the passing of time. Summer moves along, things seen are ever changing, birds fledge and mature under parent’s attentive care, caterpillars and butterflies continue their amazing dance of life, wildflowers and bees are ever present companions, by late July the days have grown noticeably shorter.

 

Griggs reservoir Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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A Little East of Columbus, The Dingle Way and Killarney Natl Park, Ireland

Recently we found ourselves in exploring the Dingle Way and Killarney Natl Park with our friends Dave and Teresa. We did a lot of walking but were rewarded with much beauty both in scenery as well as the people we met along the way. The photos are what came my way as each day unfolded. At times I found myself wishing for different light or weather conditions but had to work with what I was given. In addition to the following photos, below is a Flickr link that you may glance at should you feel so inclined. It does a better job of chronicling our trip.

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Due to the length of the hikes and weather considerations all shots were taken with either a Canon SX260 or a Panasonic ZS50.

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Lady’s View Killaney Natl Park

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Yew woods, Killarney Natl Park

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Ross Castle, Killarney Natl Park

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Most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula near Duinquin

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View from the trail west end of the Dingle Peninsula.

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Torc Waterfall, Killarney Natl Park.

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Hiking the beach to Castlegregory, the Dingle Way

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Heading up the lakes, Killarney Natl Park.

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Hiking the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney Natl Park

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Flickr link if you’d like to see more:

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In our excitement about things seen we couldn’t help but share a glimpse of Ireland but our next post will take us back to nature in central Ohio.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Speaking With A Soft Voice


In recent days we’ve found ourselves visiting some of the usual places as well as making another trip the Clifton Gorge for a hike with friends. The gorge trip was interesting because, unlike our last visit, the day was cloudy and different light often means different photographic possibilities! Whether along the gorge or closer to home, we’re always on the lookout for things that interest us, some of which might even be worth sharing in a blog. Sometimes we’re not the only ones looking.

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A Raccoon watches as we walk along the Scioto River

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From a creative point of view this time of year, as colors start to fade, can be a challenge. Taking pictures just for the sake of taking a pictures, or trying to make a good picture of a subject that doesn’t really draw you in, has never been of much interest to me. The subject needs to speak to me in some way and in November it’s often with a very soft voice.

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Reflections on the last few leaves

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While on our recent gorge hike, it was fun to explore landscapes similar to those photographed a few weeks ago. What had changed? While exploring on cloudy days one often notices that photos taken come out of the camera “muddy”. With that in mind, contrast or saturation are often increased just a bit so the finished picture reflects what was “seen”.

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The Little Miami, similar to a shot posted a few weeks ago but this time with a cloudy sky.

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A few weeks ago

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This method of crossing the Little Miami works fine unless there’s been a big rain.

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Pillars along the Little Miami. A cloudy day means good detail in the shadows and river.

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Same spot a few weeks ago. Quite a bit of work was done in “Lightroom” to try and bring out shadow and river details as well as to address blown out highlights.

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Fallen leaves along the gorge. Notice how the shadows are well controlled. But on cloudy days just don’t have your heart set on a beautiful picture of the sky.

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Another comparison from a few weeks ago, which do you like better?

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The gang on one of the bridges over the Little Miami.

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Cliffs along the gorge. The lack of deep shadows allows one to enjoy the colors, as none are blown out, as well as textures and the underlying design.

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Through the trees.

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Trail along the Little Miami, (Donna).

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Water starts to pool as it leaves the gorge.

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In a few places color persists.

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Contrasts.

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Flowers persist long after you would think they’d be gone.

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Tall Bellflower, (Donna)

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Our friends in the world of fungi seem to like the cooler. damper, weather, bringing their color to an increasing drab landscape.

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Fungi, (Donna)

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Colorful fungi, (Donna).

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Whether we were walking or paddling, there were places where things looked pretty bleak so expectations for seeing critters aren’t real high, but .   .   .

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Male Kingfisher along Griggs Reservoir. They never seem to let us get close enough for a really good shot.

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Hunting season, not to worry we’re in the middle of the city.

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Common but beautiful. Under very dramatic but harsh light.

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The November morning sun warms Red-eared Sliders on Griggs Reservoir.

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It had been a very quiet outing but at on point during a recent walk along the Scioto River we were descended upon by a noisy group of Carolina Wrens.

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Take two.

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Always reliable this time of year, Downy Woodpeckers weren’t far away.

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This male Blue Bird seemed content to just sit and enjoy the late autumn sun, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Warm days in early November mean we’ve continued to see a few butterflies.

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Buckeye, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Along the trail near Clifton Gorge.

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Door Hinge

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Maybe the trick is to let go of expectations and allow yourself to hear the voice of each season. Even when it speaks very softly.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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***

A Walk In The Smoky Mountains

Recently we got together with friends for a few days hiking in the Smoky Mountains near Ashville, North Carolina. Basecamp was the Sourwood Inn located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many things of the seen are not unique to the area but put together they do paint a beautiful picture of one of the more interesting natural areas in the US. Our hikes were typically long, 6 – 10 miles, with a fair bit of climbing so camera equipment consisted of an Panasonic Fz200 and a Canon SX260.

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On the Looking Glass trail.

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Some of our group.

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The mountains of North Carolina are a great place for fungi so it always gets quite a bit of our attention. Unfortunately, based on visual characteristics alone, it can be very hard to ID so we’re always open to corrections and clarifications.

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A unidentified type of bolete.

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Turkey Tail

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Old Man of The Woods, (Donna)

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Bolete with a horizontal orientation which we had never seen before.

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Pestle-shaped Coral, (Donna)

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Shaggy-stalked Bolete, (Donna)

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Shaggy-stalked Bolete, a little older.

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Unidentified Mushroom

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Firm Russula, (Donna)

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Sharp-scaly Pholiota, (Donna)

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Crowded Parchment

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Sulfur Tuft, (Donna)

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Unidentified emergent mushrooms

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Tinder Polypore

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Fungus and moss.

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Mushroom Family

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Coral Fungus

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Rag-veil Amanita emerging.

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Rag-veil Amanita, too big to stand.

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Another type of bolete.

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Polypore on a fallen log.

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Puffball family.

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A view from the top during the Looking Glass hike.

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A great place to take a break before the trip down.

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Where there’s fungus there’s moss and lichen.

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Lichen and leaf abstract.

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Lung Lichen

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Moss

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Hanging garden.

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Old Man’s Beard

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Reindeer Lichen

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Parasitic plants, Beechdrops (Epifagus americana) along the Snowball Trail.

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The Mountain to Sea Trail is up and down with few long climbs.

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Mountain to Sea Trail

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Fascinating plants and flowers punctuated fungus and lichen sightings.

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Partridge Berry

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Aster

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Snakeroot and Alanthus Webworm Moth, (Donna)

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Foxglove?, (Donna)

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Coral Root, (Donna)

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Indian Pipe

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Late summer color

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Small Blue Flowers

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Butterfly Weed

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Lobelia?

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Aster

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Turtlehead

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Berries and Color

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Autumn Design

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Aster

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Some trails are easier than others.

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Just kidding.

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A few of our insect friends were also seen.

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Mating, (Donna)

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Red-spotted Purple

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It never hurts to be aware of your surroundings when your head is close to the ground looking for mushrooms .   .   .

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The first Black Bear we ever encountered on the trail, (Donna).

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We zoom in, (Donna).

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He’s curious, we’re curious.

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That’s close enough!, (Donna)

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The type of sign that most of us pay little attention to.

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When not running away from bears there are also reptiles to be seen.

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A Rat Snake checks us out.

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Then decides to wander off, (Donna).

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A skink plays hide and seek, (Donna)

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The group at the trail head after a long hike.

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Looking Glass trail head.

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The NC mountains are a wonderful place just to be.

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Sunrise from Sourwood Inn.

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The area around Ashville, NC is a hiker and nature lovers mecca. There are an almost infinite number of trails of varying degrees of difficulty to choose from. You may even get to see a bear!

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Thanks for stopping by.

Eagles and Ice

Yesterday we decided to check out the area along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam for ice formations. It was very cold and the reservoir had frozen over. It all seemed a little unreal because just a few days before very heavy rain had  accompanied 50F temperatures. Rain means the river level rises in proportion to the amount. Usually within a day or so the level drops leaving beautiful ice formations if it’s cold enough. The ice the only evidence of where the water had once been.

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Many waterfowl had taken up residence in the river’s open water . Amongst the Canada Geese and Mallards we did see Golden Eyes, Hooded Mergansers, Buffle Heads, Pie-billed Grebes. Kingfishers and Great Blue Herons were still making a living in the cold. However, one heron flying overhead appeared to have a least one of it’s feet encased in a small block of ice. Perhaps it stood in the wrong place to long.

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Just below the dam waterfowl escape the ice of the frozen reservoir.

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Waterfowl huddle just out of the river’s current.

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Fascinating ice shapes were everywhere.

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Scioto River looking north

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Ice cones.

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Different shapes.

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Icy landscape, Scioto River looking south.

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Very small Chandelier, (Donna)

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Shadows.

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Ice Ear Rings?, (Donna)

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Another chandelier, (Donna)

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There was evidence of birds walking in the fresh snow.

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Tracks

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Last year we noticed that when there are a lot of waterfowl concentrated in one spot it’s not uncommon to see Bald Eagles. Yesterday, with the concentration of waterfowl, we were rewarded with some great views of eagles perched near the top of tall trees along the river. In total we saw four, two appeared to be mature and two were immature. Pretty exciting for just two miles from our house!

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A Bald Eagle lands.

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Bald Eagles, study 2

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Bald Eagles, study 3, (Donna)

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Study 4, (Donna)

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Getting ready to take flight, study 5

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Immature Bald Eagle, (Donna)

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A Bluebird braving the cold. One of several that were seen.

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Bluebird, Hoover Park

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Thanks for looking in. We hope you have the opportunity to enjoy nature in our neighborhood in the coming week.

“Going Home”

Sometimes, if we’re lucky,  thoughts off our past bring back memories of a special place that may have been part of the lazy warm summer days of our childhood. Such thoughts often awaken a desire to return. But as we all are too well aware there is a danger in trying to go back, things change, and not always for the better.

When I was a young my family spent one or two weeks each summer in northern Michigan. Quite often it was in an area along Lake Huron near Oscoda. As folks would say in Detroit at that time, we went “Up North” for vacation. During those vacations, family drives along the Au Sable River captured my imagination as well as did the fishing trips with my dad to several of the clear, and still relatively undeveloped, lakes in the area.

Time went by with many wonderful bicycling and hiking trips over the years. But the urge to return steadily grew, so several years ago I did return to fish, as well as explore, the areas near to where my family had vacationed. Places like the Rifle River Recreation Area and the Au Sable River and the ponds that are part of that river system.

Recent camping/paddling trips to this area with my wife and fishing trips with friends have revealed an area more magical than I ever imagined as a child. Seemingly endless clear water, Bald Eagles soaring overhead, the song of the Whip-poor-will or the call of a Barred Owl or Loon at night, and great catch and release fishing for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass just to name a few of the things that keep drawing me back.

This year’s experience, our seventh annual fishing trip, was shared and enjoyed by myself and three friends who also enjoy kayak fishing, exploring beautiful lakes, as well as paddling beautiful rivers.

Reflecting on this year’s trip, my wish is that everyone have such a beautiful place. A place, that when returned to, invokes a feeling of “Going Home”.

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Checking gear at the campsite, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Joe-pye Weed, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Gliding across the lake, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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A hint of autumn, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Trumpeter Swan, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Study 2

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Study 3

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Grass-of-Parnassus, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Jeff catches a nice bass, Rifle River Recreation Area

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A nice Smallmouth is caught and released below Loud Pond Dam on the Au Sable River.

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Reeds, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Morning Fog, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Colorful Fungus (Lobster Mushroom?), Rifle River Recreation Area

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Reflections, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Along the Au Sable River below Alcona Dam

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Heading in, Devoe Lake, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Au Sable River below Alcona Dam

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Sky over the lake, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Au Sable River below Alcona Dam

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Lake through the trees, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Taking a break, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Keith on the Au Sable River.

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Nice Largemouth bass, caught and released, Rifle River Recreation Area.

 

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Loons, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Loons looking for dinner, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Immature Loon, first year, Rifle River Recreation Area.

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Adult Loon, Rifle River Recreation Area

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Floating the Au Sable River below Alcona Dam.

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Common Mergansers along the Au Sable River.

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Jim on the Au Sable River.

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Sunset, Rifle River Recreation Area.

 

 

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

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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.

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Red-spotted Purple, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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The reservoir, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Groundnut, north end of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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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

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False Dragonhead, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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North end of Griggs Reservoir

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Evening Primrose, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Eastern Comma, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Rocks along the Scioto Rive below Griggs Dam.

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Spotted Sandpiper, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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

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

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Monarch, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Tree roots, Scioto River below Griggs Dam

 

 

 

 

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