Posted on January 8, 2018
Every two or three years a period of unusually cold winter weather results in the land and water north as well as in central Ohio being covered with snow and ice for a prolonged period of time. When this happens waterfowl and other birds that may not be able to make a living further north are forced to seek suitable habitats in our area. The result is the opportunity to see birds in locations where it would be extremely unlikely other times of the year. A gift to nature lovers courtesy of cold arctic weather.
The negative to all of this is that windy 0 F to 15 F temperatures preclude the use of serious photographic equipment on long hikes. Briefly popping out of the car, if you are able to get close enough to your subject, is the only option. If one is set on doing a long hike, stuffing a smaller superzoom under your coat does work but fingers freeze almost immediately when you try to manipulate the camera.
A habitat that attracts birds almost at our doorstep is the open flowing water of the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir Dam. In the past couple of weeks we’ve been fortunate to observe a variety of waterfowl at that location. Others birds, such as Trumpeter Swans, have been reported but we’ve yet to see them. Timing is everything as the birds move up and down the river corridor. More often than not there is a least one Bald eagle present as the number of ducks and geese make for easy pickings.
It’s also been a good year for Snowy Owls in Ohio with numerous birds being reported. The mechanism for that invasion, while perhaps partly due to the weather, also is the result of the past breeding season being a good one resulting in young owls looking for new hunting grounds further south as the increased population puts pressure on resources further north. Other birds such as Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs, to a greater or lesser degree, find their way into Ohio from further north during most winters.
Other creatures have also been braving the cold.
Returning home after a recent outing we were treated to some interesting bird activity right in our front yard.
We feel very blessed to have so many fascinating creatures paying us a visit this winter. A very warm coat, that didn’t get worn once last winter, has come in very handy the last few days as we’ve been out and about. Today, as I finish writing this, the temperature is a balmy 35F. Time to get out and see what else we can find!
Finally, one of the joys of being a lover of nature is meeting kindred spirits like Ed and Sheila when out in the field. Ed, thanks again for supplying the pics!
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Griggs Reservoir Park Tagged: American Goldfinch, Cackling Geese, Canon 80D Sigma 150-600mm lens, Canvasback, Carolina Chickadee, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Screech Owl, Fox Squirrel, Great Blue Heron, hooded Megansers, Mute Swan, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 100-400mm, Red Head Duck, Ringed-neck Duck, Yellow-bellied sapsucker
Posted on February 27, 2015
February in Ohio has left us shivering. The abnormally cold weather has resulted in frozen lakes and reservoirs both here and further north. The open water that remains provides refuge to waterfowl that would normally be much more dispersed. One such area is the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir.
Below is a partial photographic inventory of the birds seen there in the last day. Some, such as the Common Golden Eye and Hooded Merganser, are fairly common winter visitors. Others are less so, and because of that they are a real treat to see.
We often think of there being less biodiversity in winter but the Scioto River below Griggs dam opens our eyes. Thanks for looking in.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Columbus, Hoover Park, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Bufflehead, Canada Geese, Canon T3i with Sigma 150-500mm, Canvasback, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Great Blue Heron, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Western X Glaucous-winged hybrid
Posted on March 28, 2014
It’s late March in central Ohio and the last few days we’ve occupied ourselves looking for whatever birds we could find. Rather than travelling far afield, we’ve enjoyed staying close to home and discovering all that we can along the Scioto River and Griggs and O’Shaughnessy Reservoirs. The early spring warblers haven’t yet started moving through in any appreciable numbers so what are we seeing?
A few days ago while patrolling the Griggs Park for Loons we came across a immature Bald Eagle being harassed by crows. Unfortunately, by the time the camera was ready for action, the eagle decided it had had enough of the crows and was flying off.
click on images for a better view
Not long after that we saw our first Great Egret of the year.
Double-crested Cormorants have also just arrived.
While I was busy taking pictures of birds that were either too far away or moving too fast for a really great picture, my wife got lovely pictures of a Downey Woodpecker and a Great Blue Heron.
Today, driving north along O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, we were fortunate to see Canvasbacks and there were even some other “bonus ducks” in the mix. However, the birds being pretty far from shore resulted in images that are not of the highest quality.
Finally, the latest addition to my birding equipment is the “Bird Bike”. It allows more ground to be covered but when something of interest is spotted it’s easy to stop and hop off.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, O'Shaughnessy Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Bald Eagle, Birding in Ohio, Canvasback, Downy Woodpecker, Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egret, Greater Scaup, Ringed-neck
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