Kinglet Quest

In central Ohio early April usually brings the seasons first migrating birds but before they really start moving through the area we like to spend time enjoying spring wildflowers. Unlike many of the birds, their world is located on the forest floor and exists before the overhead canopy all to quickly leafs out and cuts off their sunlight. It is a magical time as splashes of color find expression amid the dullness of last years leaf litter.

A Bloodroot flower waits to open, Duranceaux Park.

As pretty as any wildflower Virginia Waterleaf emerges from the leaf litter, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In what almost seems to be an act of defiance, a solitary Bloodroot blooms surrounded by the slowly decaying leaves, Duranceaux Park.

Cold weather has allowed this Snow Trillium to stay around longer than one usually expects, Duranceaux Park.

Just emerging blooms of Dutchmen’s Breeches, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A few days of warm weather, after a week or two of colder than normal spring temperatures, and things really started to open up.

Spring Beauty, Greenlawn Cemetery.

False Rue Anemone, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Bloodroot in full bloom, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The very tiny flowers of Common Speedwell, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Cutleaf Toothwart, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

Rue Anemone, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

Toadshade Trillium, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Yellow Trout Lilies “march” across the forest floor, High Banks Metro Park, (Donna).

A closer look, (Donna).

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Often, as we looked for wildflowers, there was activity overhead. A quick glance up indicated that many of the birds were kinglets and they seemed to be everywhere. Armed with that awareness, we dusted off the “bird cameras” and for the next few days made kinglets our primary objective. Often when one decides to look for a specific bird efforts are frustrated, but in this case the kinglets cooperated. “Cooperated” should be qualified by saying that they only do as much as such a hyper active bird can. As many birders know all to well, they’re a challenge to follow with binoculars much less a telephoto equipped camera.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Duranceaux Park.

Take 2, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 3, Duranceaux Park.

 

Take 4, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Not seen as often, we had less luck with the Ruby-crowned Kinglets. For the most part they stayed in the low thickets and brush and moved constantly, with fleeting views often partially obscured by small branches.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Showing off it’s ruby crown.

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Where there are kinglets there are often .   .   .

Carolina Chickadee, common but not always easy to photograph, Duranceaux Park.

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While the activity continued below, high overhead a Red-tailed Hawk surveyed it’s realm.

Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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On one outing a group of Black Vultures was seen perched in a Sycamore along the shore of the reservoir. Not a real common sight in central Ohio. Closer examination of the nearby area revealed the partially devoured carcass of a deer.

Black Vultures, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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We don’t want to forget some of the other birds seen as we looked for kinglets.

No bird’s song speaks to us in the spring like that of the the Song Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are often taken for granted as they are one of the most numerous of their kind but the beauty of this male is undeniable, Greenlawn Cemetery,

Momentarily fooling us into thinking it was a Goldfinch, this Pine Warbler was seen at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Later in the year as low lying bushes leaf out the Eastern Towhee, a large colorful sparrow, will be much harder to see, Greenlawn Cemetery.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Bluebirds never fail to put a smile on our face, Griggs Reservoir Park.

With fast departing remnants of a spring snow an American Goldfinch warms itself in the morning sun, Griggs Reservoir Park. surrounded by

Always a thrill to see, we were entertained by this acrobatic Black and White Warbler, Greenlawn Cemetery, (Donna).

If I were a first time visitor to Ohio from Europe, I would be enchanted by this American Cardinal, Griggs Reservoir Park.

On a cold spring morning we wonder what this Eastern Phoebe finds to eat, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A very healthy looking male House Finch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

This Wood Duck pair  landed in “the pit” at Greenlawn Cemetery but left just as quickly when they realized they were being watched by a rather large group of birders, (Donna).

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As the ephemeral days of spring pass there will be other wildflowers and winged migrants to enchant, but for a brief moment in time, while on their yearly journey north, kinglets became the seasons exclamation point.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Vernal Pools and Spring Wildflowers

The woods at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park  are a very good place to take a long walk. This time of the year, if you love spring wildflowers, it’s a great place. Yesterday, with that in mind, we packed water and a lunch and headed out with the goal of seeing trilliums and perhaps a few spring warblers.

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The park’s spring woods contain many shallow pools that usually last a few weeks and are gone. The aesthetics of these vernal pools is primarily what attracts me but the real magic is that, due to their lack of predatory fish, they are home to a variety insects and other small creatures. The most obvious of these being various species of frogs and toads which use the pools for reproduction. Salamanders may also use them to reproduce. Depending on location fairy shrimp may also be part of the mix.

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Some pools are small.

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Others larger.

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When not being fascinated by the vernal pools it was impossible not to be enchanted by the emerging life of the forest floor most dramatically represented by the wildflowers.

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It was the striking appearance of this Toad Shade Trillium’s leaves that attracted our attention. In a few short days they will be uniformly green.

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Dutchman’s Breeches were everywhere.

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A rare pink variant. (Donna)

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Wood Anemone

 

 

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While not quite as common as the Dutchman’s Breaches, we did see a lot of Cutleaf Toothwort. (Donna)

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Cutleaf Toothwort, another look.

 

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This Yellow Violet was one of a few we saw. (Donna)

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Beautiful but unusual Yellow Sedge. (Donna)

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The small flowers of the Yellow Corydalis. (Donna)

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The beauty of Virginia Waterleaf.

 

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Large groups of White Trout Lilies were seen.

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This one was ahead of the others. (Donna)

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Spring Beauties were well represented.

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Some were more pink in color. (Donna)

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Spicebush, (Donna)

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Fragile but beautiful Rue Anemone.

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Rue Anemone, another look.

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Purple Cress

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Spring showcases the beauty and symmetry of young leaves

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Virginia Bluebells that were slightly ahead of the rest.

 

But when your looking for wildflowers you just might see   .   .   .

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Common Water snakes enjoying the warmth of the spring sun.

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While no warblers were seen there were other birds to enjoy.

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Female Eastern Towhee

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The male was close by.

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet

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Male Downy Woodpecker. (Donna)

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With the female close by. (Donna)

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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The fact that the warblers and white trilliums eluded us has provided good reason for a return visit. Not that one is needed.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Between The Spring Rains

The last few days have brought a lot of, sometimes very hard, rain. We wondered what condition the spring wildflowers would be in as we ventured into the woods along Griggs reservoir and the Scioto river during the few dry spells.

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Below is some of what we found:

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Virginia Waterleaf was just about everywhere.

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The Bluebells are coming along.

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Encouraged by all the rain an Oyster mushroom makes an appearance, (Donna)

 

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An Eastern Coma getting ready for take off, (Donna)

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The Dutchman’s Breeches have really come into their own, (Donna)

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Dutchman’s Breeches

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Cutleaf Toothwort, (Donna)

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Bloodroot was found in large groups on the west side of the reservoir.

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Bloodroot

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Twinleaf group with buds, (Donna)

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Twinleaf, (Donna)

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Twinleaf group

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While looking for wildflowers we were fortunate to see Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and a White Crowned sparrow but none was willing to pose for a picture.

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A Tufted Titmouse watches from above, (Donna)

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“Red leaf flower”, (Donna)

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Meanwhile in our back yard a Chickadee continues to work on it’s nest.

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Taking a break.

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Donna photographing Mayapples

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Mayapples

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A Coot doesn’t seem quite sure what to do with the muddy water of the reservoir.

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Coot

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With an improving weather forecast for the next few days we are looking forward to venturing further afield in our search for spring warblers and wildflowers.

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But before we leave I thought I’d include a cute pic of a Grackle enjoying a bath.

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Not content with just the rain, a Grackle enjoys taking a little bath, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

Looking For Spring

Some out of town travel has resulted in fewer posts in the last couple of weeks but now we’re back searching for plants, animals, and birds that will encourage us that spring, which so far has been too slow to green, leaf, and flower, is not that far away. Based on things seen while walking along the river recently, which included Turkey Buzzards, Double Crested Cormorants, and Tree Swallows, we are encouraged.

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Below are some things seen along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River in the last week:

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Along the Scioto River some area Bluebell plants are just emerging, (Donna)

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A few days later we see progress, (Donna)

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Cutleaf Toothwort is getting ready to bloom, (Donna)

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Virginia Waterleaf doesn’t need to bloom to be beautiful, (Donna)

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A very close look at Harbinger of Spring reveals it’s beauty, (Donna)

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A solitary Trout Lilly bloom leads the way, (Donna)

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Spring Beauty does it’s best to add some color, (Donna)

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The Toad Shade Trillium are very close to blooming, (Donna)

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An island of unidentified green, (Donna)

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A Brown Creeper doing what it does best.

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Along the Scioto an Eastern Phoebe eludes a good picture. The first one seen this year..

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Eastern Phoebe along the Scioto.

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A White breasted Nuthatch finding lunch among the still bare branches

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White breasted Nuthatch

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Bloodroot, beautiful and one of the earliest wild flowers.

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Bloodroot, (Donna)

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Coltsfoot almost seeming to smile.

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Another view, (Donna).

 

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Buds getting ready to leaf out, (Donna)

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Common Chickweed is a welcome sight as it gets ready to bloom.

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We found still green Dutchmen’s Breaches along the river, (Donna)

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The fact is, if spring progressed any faster we would surely miss a lot. That’s something that undoubtedly happens anyway but at what seems like spring’s usual snails pace it feels like we at least have a chance to see it’s wonder.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Spring Wonder Along the Scioto

It’s mid April and changes in the plant and animal world are occurring at such a fast pace that it feels as though, were you to look away, you’d miss “it”. This is certainly the case for Hoover Park and the area along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

Below are some recent photos as we continue our spring wildflower and warbler quest.

click on the image for a better view

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The White Trout Lilly does not seem to be as common as the Yellow:

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White Trout Lilly

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White Trout Lilly, study 2

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Yellow Trout Lilly:

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Yellow Tout Lilly

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Yellow Trout Lilly, study 2 (Donna)

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Virginia Bluebells:

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Virginia Bluebells (Donna)

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Virginia Bluebells, study 2

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Be careful where you place your hand when crouching down to get a closer look:

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Common Water Snake

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Other wildflowers seen below the Griggs Reservoir Dam in the past few days:

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Dutchman’s Breeches

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Toadshade Trillium

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Marsh Marigolds

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Marsh Marigolds, study 2

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Cutleaf Toothwort

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Cutleaf Toothwort, study 2

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Mystery Flower in large group, (Donna)

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At the river’s edge:

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Great Egret across the river

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Crayfish in pool (Donna)

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Hints of Green

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Great Egret and Great Blue Heron

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Map Turtle

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Redbuds

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Spring Azure, a very small butterfly. (Donna)

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Blue-gray Gnatcatchers seem to be fairly common this year:

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Donna)

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, study 2

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, study 3

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Someone’s been busy:

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Robin’s Eggs (Donna)

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No walk is complete without a Downy Woodpecker or a Chickadee:

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Chickadee

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Male Downy Woodpecker

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A Yellow-throated warbler in the tree tops:

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Yellow-throated Warbler

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Yellow-throated Warbler, study 2 (Donna)

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Early spring stained glass:

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Stained Glass

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Thanks for stopping by.

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