Posted on June 21, 2017
We often see Cliff Swallows when paddling central Ohio’s reservoirs. While seeing them is not rare, getting a good picture of one is. During a recent outing on Griggs Reservoir we had the opportunity to use the canoe to our advantage. We positioned ourselves so that, sitting motionless, a light breeze propelled the canoe toward swallow nests located on the bridge support structure. By being very still we were able to get much closer than we had previously. Once the paddles were picked up to reposition the boat, the birds flew.
During our trip, which covered the length of the reservoir, there were plenty of things to see. This was a good thing because I was testing a new Sigma 18-300mm lens. The hope is that the lens, mounted on my DSLR, will do most of what my Panasonic FZ200 does, landscapes, close-ups of insects, and to some extent birds, but with more creative control and exposure latitude while still having the convenance of not having to switch lenses. In harsh light DSLR APS-C sensors tend to do better with highlights and shadows (exposure latitude) when compared to the much smaller sensor used in the FZ200. The Sigma lens is a story of compromises given that it goes from extreme wide angle to telephoto. It’s not a macro lens but will take reasonable pictures of “bugs” while at the same time doing a decent job with landscapes and birds that aren’t to far away. Overall I’m satisfied with it’s performance realizing it will never compete with fixed focal length lenses for ultimate sharpness. For those not familiar with sensor sizes see the chart below. I’ve also included the type of camera used for each picture should the reader be curious.
It’s the insect time of the year along the reservoir ensuring that there are plenty of fascinating subjects.
Reptiles and amphibian greeted us during our journey.
Other things also watched our passing.
At the very north end of the reservoir, Kiwanis Riverway Park, we pulled the boat out for a snack break and spent some time checking out the area birds. Hopefully a few more challenging subjects for the Sigma lens would be found.
The below picture is interesting because this Wood Duck duckling, along with three of it’s siblings, was reacting to the presence of our canoe. We never chase birds but these guys shot out of the shoreline brush and took off across the water. Sadly, as we watched them head for another hiding spot, one duckling suddenly disappeared not to be seen again. The victim of a Large Mouth Bass or Snapping Turtle perhaps?
Recent wildflowers seen.
Often we find ourselves enchanted by a new view of something seen before. Such was the case with our close up encounter with the Cliff Swallows. Their nest building and graceful flight, what amazing birds! On the same day the celebration may be interrupted by an occurrence, like the sudden disappearance of a duckling, that is hard to watch.
Thanks for stopping by.
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Category: birding in central ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir Park, Ohio Nature, Wildflowers Tagged: Black-eyed Susan, bullfrog, Butterfly Weed, Button Bush, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm, Cliff Swallow, Coneflower, Day Lily, Double-crested Cormorant, Eastern Amberwing, Eastern Forktail, Eastern Pondhawk, Familiar Bluet, Fragile Forktail, Great Egret, Map Turtle, Milkweed Beetle, Moth Mullein, Northern Flicker, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 100-400mm, Panasonic ZS50, Red Winged Blackbird, Spiderwort, Tree Swallow, Trumpet Creeper, Water Willow, White-tailed Deer, Widow Skimmer, Wild Rose, Wood Duck
Posted on June 6, 2015
A recent walk along Griggs Reservoir was a study in small things. At times sunlight worked it’s way though the clouds, but mostly it was an early morning hazy sky. A lush new growth of green embraced the landscape threatening to squeeze out it’s air, creating close shadowy places among the leaves, and at times, under thickening clouds, a sense of foreboding.
Heard but not seen, the same growth now hides many of the birds. Others, those that don’t make their living in the leafed canopy, but on the ground or in open places, are still easy to spot.
Flowers also find their place, in the shade if they can, but often in the few patches that are open to sunlight for at least a few hour each day.
Time spent in nature often contains a counterpoint. On this particular day it was a Mute Swan an infrequent visitor. They are large birds even when compared to Canada Geese.
Then, looking away from the swan for a moment,
sunlight is seen playing in the grass.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, flowers in central ohio, fungus, Griggs Park, Griggs Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl, Wild flowers Tagged: Chipping Sparrow, Crown Vetch, Eastern Forktail, Eastern Wood Pewee, Foxglove Beardtongue, Hackberry Emperor, Moth Mullien, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Olympus E620 70-300 mm, Panasonic FZ200, Ravenel's Stinkhorn, Smooth Ruella, Song Sparrow, Summer Azure, Water Willow, Yellow Stone Crop
Posted on June 19, 2013
A few days ago we had the pleasure of doing a canoe/birding trip on Alum Creek Reservoir north of the Howard Rd. bridge with some friends. While prime spring birding has passed we were rewarded with great views of King Birds, Prothonotary Warblers, Red Eyed Vireos, Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, and Great Blue as will as Green Herons. In addition we also enjoyed observing various turtles on logs along the shoreline taking advantage of the intermittent sunshine as well as a Common Water Snake. Dragonflies and damselflies were also out in force as well as some early summer wildflowers.
The day started slow but after a couple of hours a good number of birds had been seen so we decided to take an early lunch break at a nice spot on a bluff overlooking the lake. We hadn’t been there very long when a mature Bald Eagle was spotted flying in the distance and a little later we saw what appeared to be an immature eagle.
Lunch was progressing rather nicely when my wife spotted a rather large snake patrolling the perimeter of our picnic area. It climbed up into a hollow tree and came back down and continued to check things out very near to where we were sitting. It seemed not to mind as we sat there eating our chocolate chip cookies. Turns out it was a Rat Snake and is one of the largest snakes in Ohio which can reach a length of 8 feet. It was all pretty exciting!
Below are some pics of that trip as well as other recent journeys into the wilds of Ohio. If you want a better view click on the image.
Wildflowers from the Alum Creek Paddle:
Common Water Snake seen during our Alum Creek paddle:
We continue to identify central Ohio dragon and damselflies:
On a recent trip to Prairie Oaks it was exciting to see Orchard Orioles feeding there young:
A Northern Flicker seemed as though it was watching as we looked for Damselflies at Prairie Oaks:
Finally some rather unexpected or unusual discoveries at Prairie Oaks:
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Alum Creek State Park, birding in central ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, flowers in central ohio, photography, wildlife Tagged: Alum Creek Reservoir, Blue-eyed Grass, Common Water Snake, Eastern Forktail, Fire Pink, Fragile Forktail, Northern Flicker, Orchard Oriole, photography, Rat Snake, Stream Bluet, Variable Dancer, Vesper Bluet, wildlife
Posted on June 5, 2013
This spring I’ve been busy looking for pictures of Baltimore Orioles that would improve on what I’ve taken in the past. Not as easy as you might think as they spent a lot of time in the tops of trees.
While pursuing Orioles, sometimes you just get lucky and stumble upon a male and female Wood Duck as you paddle the shoreline of Griggs. Or maybe it’s a female Mallard with babies. Then there are the unbelievable things that you can’t or don’t get a picture of, like a Kingbird actually riding on the back of a Red Tailed Hawk as they fly over the reservoir.
The warblers slowly give way to dragonflies and damselflies as we head into June. Young plants, still perfect, create beautiful patterns as sunlight plays on their leaves.
On the Scioto small mouth bass provide a welcome break from my Oriole quest.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: birding in central ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, fishing in central ohio, photography Tagged: Baltimore Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, canoeing, Common Whitetail, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Forktail, Ebony Jewelwing, Griggs Reservoir, Lancet Clubtail, Mallard Ducks, photography, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Rusty Snaketail, Smallmouth Bass, Song Sparrow, Wood Ducks
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