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.
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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 9, 2015
A 8:30 AM start to our paddle on Griggs Reservoir a few days ago meant we weren’t expecting to see much wildlife, but a sunny day with little wind meant a good day for a paddle.
The first order of business was to check out the cove, not far from our launch site, usually good for birds, to see what might be lurking. After a few minutes of quiet waiting, we were excited to see our first Black-crowned Night Heron of the year. It had apparently decided to hang around a little later into the day just for us.
Leaving the heron we hugged the west shore as we headed north.
We hadn’t paddled long when we saw a Red-tailed Hawk posed majestically in the top of a tall pine right along the shore.
I took a few pictures but it was hard not to notice the orange streaks in the viewfinder, so I kept shooting.
A little further on we see the reason of the orioles aggressive behavior. They were nesting.
We reached the Hayden Run Bridge and decided a break was in order. Once out of the canoe it wasn’t long before Donna was finding interesting things to look at and photograph.
Along with the beauty of Ohio’s waterways and natural areas there’s always the other stuff, predominately beverage containers, but also other associated trash. Based on observations paddling in states that have beverage container deposit laws, most of the trash seen in Ohio reservoirs is due to the lack of such a law. The trash either gets in them directly or via the storm sewers. Below is an example of some of the trash we were able to retrieve during our 3 hour 5 mile paddle.
The return trip was pleasant but relatively uneventful with few photo opportunities, but it had been a good day for a paddle. To end on a high note, I thought I’d dress up the end of this post with a few more nice butterfly photos taken by my wife.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: birding in central ohio, butterflies, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Park, Griggs Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography Tagged: Baltimore Oriole, Black-crowned Night Heron, Cabbage White, Eastern Comma, Fragile Forktail, Hackberry Emperor, Hairy Beardtongue, Northern Catalpa, Panasonic FZ200, Red-tailed Hawk
Posted on August 8, 2013
I’ve always amazed myself by how I react to a beautiful scene if I’ve driven 1000 miles versus just a couple of miles near home. Why we humans have a harder time getting excited about things close at hand versus far away is probably due to a number a factors not the least of which is the emotional investment of a long journey. Nonetheless a few years back I decided to make a concerted effort to appreciate natural beauty close to home. What better place to begin this adventure than Griggs Reservoir less than two miles from our house and within the city limits of Columbus. Below is a celebration of that beauty.
Click on the images to enlarge.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: birding in central ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Griggs Reservoir, photography Tagged: Belted Kingfisher, Button Bush, canoeing, Fragile Forktail, Great Egret, Griggs Reservoir, Indigo Bunting, Ironweed, Joe-pye Weed, Painted Turtle, photograpy, Swamp Rose-Mallow
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
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