High Banks Spring Walk; Concretions Seen, Warblers Heard

It was a beautiful day for a hike at Highbanks Metro Park with friends. Warblers were our main objective but no doubt there would be other things to fascinate if the warblers decided not to cooperate.

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One of those things turned out to be concretions. We’ve hiked and explored High Banks for years but one thing we’ve never noticed are the concretions that exist along creek bottoms in the park. This partly due to the fact that they are not visible from the main trail and generally we avoid going off trail so as to not damage the landscape which, as is the case with most metro parks, is easily overrun. In this particular case we wondered why there was a worn path leading off the main trail so we decided to follow it for awhile.

According Wikipedia, “A concretion is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. Concretions are often ovoid or spherical in shape, although irregular shapes also occur. Concretions form within layers of sedimentary strata that have already been deposited. They usually form early in the burial history of the sediment, before the rest of the sediment is hardened into rock. This concretionary cement often makes the concretion harder and more resistant to weathering than the host stratum.”

Typical of the area in High Banks Metro Park where concretions might be found.

Sometimes one might see the rock formations as just random.

But other times things seem just a little different.

The origin of some shapes are difficult to figure out.

Others not so much.

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After the fascination of the concretions we decided to wander down the trail and see what warblers we might find.

Early morning sun filters through the trees at High Banks.

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While not warblers, we hadn’t gone far when several Ruby-crowned Kinglets appeared in low lying bushes and weren’t shy about displaying their ruby crowns. They weren’t as good about sitting still of a picture. Along the Olentangy River Yellow-throated Warblers could be heard but not seen high in the Sycamores.

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 Other birds were more cooperative.

Tufted Titmouse

White-throated Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Female Red-winged Blackbird

Eastern Pheobe

Okay, I know I’m not a bird but would you take my picture?

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As is often the case in the spring if one thing eludes there are always other things to enjoy. On this particular day it was trilliums many of which had turned pink as well as the many other wildflowers.

Large-flowered Trillium

 

There were a number of beautiful specimens.

There were also nice groupings  .   .   .

Standing at attention, almost.

and phlox trillium bouquets.

Phlox and Large-flowered Trillium.

Other types of trilliums were also seen.

Red Nodding Trillium, (Donna).

Nodding Trillium, (Donna)

Another view of a Nodding Trillium, (Donna).

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May Apples were starting to bloom.

May Apples

Hiding under the leaves the flower is not always easy to see, (Donna).

A closer look.

View along the trail, High Banks Metro Park.

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Other flowers, some not real common on central Ohio, were also seen.

Wild Geranium, (Donna).

Soloman’s Seal, (Donna).

Philadelphia Fleabane, (Donna).

 

Dame’s Rocket, (Donna).

Corn Salad, not real common, (Donna).

Purple Cress, (Donna).

Goldenseal, also not a common flower. In herbal medicine, goldenseal is used as a multi-purpose remedy.

Dogwood

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To one that is so inclined, time spent in nature feeds the soul. In spring the uninterrupted songs of the various birds as they go about their day is sublime even when they remain unseen. The air seems especially fragrant and pure. The still deep blue sky frames the translucent green of the immerging overhead leaves. Flowers grace the forest floor with their varied and unique loveliness.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Should you wish, prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo.

An Unexpected Duck

A few days ago we found ourselves paddling the Twin Lakes area of O’Shaughnessy Reservoir looking for warblers. It was a good outing with Prothonotary and Yellow Warblers seen along with Tree and Bank Swallows, Great-crested Flycatchers, Cedar Waxwings, a Bald Eagle, etc.

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However, the Northern Shoveler pictured below was a bit of a surprise. Shouldn’t it be a little further north by now? Later, after we were off the water, additional investigation revealed the Northern Shoveler migration can cover a larger time period when compared to other waterfowl. So, maybe the sighting shouldn’t be a big surprise.

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Male Northern Shoveler, Twin Lakes

Northern Shoveler 2 LR on log good 1 052115 Twin Lakes   cp1

Take 2, Twin Lakes

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Adding to the excitement, Bank and Tree Swallows were nice enough to pose for their portrait.

Barn Swallow juvenile 2 good 2 052115 Twin Lakes cp1

Barn Swallow, Twin Lakes

 

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Tree Swallow, Twin Lakes

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Of course no late spring outing is complete, be it the Twin Lakes Area, Griggs Reservoir, or the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir, without acknowledging some of the other participants.

Great Blue Heron with fish 4 closer 1 052315 Alum Creek   cp1

Great Blue Heron with lunch, Alum Creek Reservoir

Fox Squirrel relaxing 1 052315 Alum Creek paddle cp1

Fox Squirrel relaxing on a branch overhanging the water, Alum Creek Reservoir

Canada Geese babies best 051915 Griggs south cp1

Canada Geese babies. Griggs Reservoir

 

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Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Reservoir

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Yellow Throated Warbler, Griggs Reservoir

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Northern Water snake, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Painted Turtle, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Let’s not forget some of the flowers seen.

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Dames Rocket, Griggs Reservoir

Honey Locust 2 052325 Alum Creek cp1

Honey Locust, Alum Creek Reservoir

 

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Yellow Flag Iris, Griggs Reservoir

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Wild Chives, Griggs Reservoir

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Haven’t had a mystery photo for quite a while so any idea what the object in the below photograph is?

Wool Sower wasp gall 052315 Alum Creek cp1

What is it?, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Along Griggs Reservoir a Season Moves On

Last evening we took a short walk along the reservoir and the river below the dam. The trees are now all leafed out creating dark shadowed places that not long ago were bright. The birds are not calling as much as a few weeks ago, and many that were here have moved north. Occasionally a Baltimore Oriole is seen among the leaves, now too illusive for a picture.

Other commitments take me away from CentralOhioNature for a while. Thanks to all for the many kind words, helpful hints, and information. So until the next post stay curious and celebrate that which is sacred to you!

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Lovely, but it might be a garden escapee.

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The Canada Geese goslings, cute!

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Dames Rocket

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A Crow enjoys the spring sunshine.

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Baked bread on the side of a tree?

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A Cedar Waxwing is seems curious about the camera.

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or maybe it’s just posing!

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Perfect!

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Yellow-flagged Iris at water’s edge.

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A Canada Goose family plus one.

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Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

 

Searching for Warblers by Canoe

This morning we decided to canoe the shoreline of Alum Creek Reservoir and look for warblers. After it leafs out, we’ve found this to be a great way to see birds while enjoying a day on the water.. When hiking a trail through the woods your line of sight can become very limited as the season progresses but paddling a shoreline can provide an unobstructed view of  the trees and brush as the birds move in and out of view.

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It was a beautiful cool clear day, a little windy but the blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds. The excitement started before we even got into the canoe with the unusual sighting of two deer swimming across a rather wide part of the reservoir.

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Below is a map of our route of about six and one half miles:

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Alum Creek Reservoir Paddling Route

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Exploring the many coves is a big part of the draw. Sometimes we’re able to beach the boat and explore on foot:

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Pullout, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Exploring on foot, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Pond, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Is wasn’t long before we spotted Yellow Warblers which nest in the area and are fairly common this time of the year:

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Yellow Warbler, Alum Creek Reservoir, study 1, (Donna)

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Yellow Warbler, Alum Creek Reservoir, study 2

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Yellow Warbler, Alum Creek Reservoir, study 3

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Sometimes it’s just about enjoying a beautiful secluded cove:

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Cove, Alum Creek Reservoir

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There were other birds, including Red-eyed Vireos, Wood Ducks, Green and Great Blue Herons, and Osprey, but only the following wanted their picture taken:

female Red-winged Blackbird 052314 Alum Creek Pond CP1

Female Red-winged Blackbird, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

Eastern Pewee 1 052314 Alum Creek CP1

Eastern Wood Pewee, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

Kingbird 2 looking left 052314 Alum Creek cp1

Kingbird, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

Indigo Bunting 052314 Alum Creek CP1

Indigo Bunting, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

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.   .   .   and turtles, including Painted and Spiny Soft Shells, but only this one sat still long enough for a photo:

Painted Turtle 2 052314 Alum Creek cp1 fix

Painted Turtle, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

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The early spring wildflowers are giving way those found in late spring and summer:

Dame's Rocket 052314 Alum Creek Pond cp1

Dames Rocket, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

Daisy Fleabane 052314 Alum Creek cp1

Daisy Fleabane, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

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Honey Locust, Alum Creek Reservoir

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A wonderful day enjoying nature:

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Alum Creek Reservoir

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