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 May 25, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
As spring turns to summer insects are becoming much more common:
Flowers seen are unique to late spring and early summer:
The view down a short path leading to the reservoir shows the vegetation to be almost fully leafed out.
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.
Category: birding in central ohio, butterflies, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Fungi, Griggs Park, Griggs Reservoir, Litter in Ohio's lakes and streams, O'Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Ohio Nature, On Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfalls, Wildflowers Tagged: American Redstart, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Bittersweet Nightshade, Blue Flag Iris, Blue-eyed Grass, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Canada Anemone, Canon 80D Sigma 150-500mm lens, Catbird, Chipping Sparrow, Common Merganser, Eastern Spiny Soft Shell, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Gold-Backed Snipe Fly, Grape Leaffolder Moth, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Hairy Beardtongue, Hayden Run Falls, House Finch, Little Wood Sater, Mallard Duck, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Northern Water Snake, Ohio Bottle Law, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 100-400mm, Prothonotary Warbler, Small Black and White Moth, Snapping Turtle, Song Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper, Tree Swallow, Virginia Waterleaf, Wafer Ash, Wild Columbine, Zebulon Skipper
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 central 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 December 16, 2014
The other morning it was below freezing when I looked out the window and observed a Downy Woodpecker getting a drink. Had snow been on the ground I doubt it would have gone to this much trouble. But then again, who really knows the mind of a woodpecker.
Later that day we explored the area along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto river to see if any new migrating ducks had taken up residence or if a Bald Eagle might be about.
We did see a Common Merganser, Ruddy Ducks, Canada Geese, Ring-billed Gulls on the reservoir and an immature Red-tailed Hawk along the river, but alas, no Bald Eagle.
My wife continued her quest to discover interesting fungi and lichen.
While I managed to get a nice shot of a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Blue Bird even made an appearance.
Thanks for looking in.
Category: birding in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Park, Griggs Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Blue Bird, Canon SX40, Common Merganser, Downy Woodpecker, Panasonic FZ150, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk
Posted on March 6, 2014
With Griggs Reservoir frozen over we’ve continued our efforts to identify waterfowl in the open river just below the dam. As mentioned in previous posts the frozen reservoir tends to concentrate the birds in this area. We continued to see Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, as well as Bald Eagles and hawks in this area. My wife even noticed a White-winged Scoter in one of her pics but didn’t feel it was good enough to post
On the day we took most of the below pictures the birds were showing a real inclination to take flight whenever we got close. We haven’t paid much attention to the color of our clothing so we switched to drabber colors hoping to improve our success with the ducks. It didn’t seem to make much difference. We’re now thinking that they notice our movement even if it’s very slow.
Click on images for a better view.
The Common Mergansers were also flying:
Some ducks seemed content not to fly.
In recent days we’ve noticed that a Red-tailed Hawk has initiated nesting activities high in a Sycamore along the west bank of the river.
The highlight of the day was sighting this mature Bald Eagle:
Perhaps one of it’s offspring, cruising above the trees not far away.
We’ve had fun trying to identify this immature hawk spotted in the parking lot of Hoover Park’s Frisbee Golf Course:
My wife got a beautiful picture of a White-throated Sparrow and we obtained pics of other birds that seemed to be sitting on the side line as the eagles and ducks entertained us.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: birding in central ohio, Buffle Head, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Hoover Park, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River Tagged: Bald Eagle, Cardinal, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Greater Scaup, Hairy Woodpecker, Ring-necked Duck, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-throated Sparrow
Posted on March 2, 2014
Yesterday was very cold and windy and efforts to photograph birds meant immediately dealing with frozen fingers.
The highlight was being in the right place at the right time to get acceptable pics of an immature Bald Eagle as it flew along the river just a mile and a half from our house. We’ve seen a number a eagles in this area but this was the first time we were able to get a picture. This one may have been looking for an unsuspecting duck.
In addition to the eagle, we were able to get some reasonable shots of waterfowl along the river.
When we arrived home a Coopers Hawk was sunning itself near our bird feeder.
Today it was a balmy 45 F and very comfortable but for some reason the birds were a little harder to find. But a few good pics were obtained.
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on February 28, 2014
Yesterday, with the reservoir again frozen over, we were out looking for waterfowl along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam and spotted some interesting ice formations. Recent warmer temperature, snow melt and rain had resulted in high water along the river. The formations resulted when this was followed by very cold temperatures and dropping water levels.
With the wind was gusting to over 30 miles per hour and the temperature hovering around 15 F our fingers froze almost instantly as we tried to take pictures. Its amazing any turned out as well as these did.
For the record we did see Hooded, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers along the opposite shore of the river. Below are our meager attempts to record the sightings.
Thanks for stopping by.
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