Lots of Water Over The Dam

In the last couple of weeks snow depths have been pretty good for central Ohio. That, coupled with warmer weather and recent heavy rains, means lots of water in local rivers and flowing over the dam on Griggs Reservoir. We decided to take a look.

Large flow over Griggs Dam

Large flow over Griggs Dam

The Scioto River just below the dam

The Scioto River just below the dam, the trees are inundated.

High water looking down stream

High water looking down stream

Scioto River below the dam.

Same area, water 4 0r 5 ft lower, taken earlier in the winter.

Along with watching the water we did notice some interesting fungus.

Fungus

Ochre Spreading Tooth, Fungus

A thistle, looking amazingly good for being buried under snow for most of the winter, made an interesting pattern.

Thistle

Thistle

Finally, as if to let us know spring isn’t far away, we noticed this White-throated Sparrow near the dam.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

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White-winged Scoter

With rumblings that Snowy Owls had reached central Ohio we thought it might be a good day to head  to Prairie Oaks Metro Park. If there happened to be a Snowy Owl there, maybe we would be one of the first to see it. That would make for a very cool title for this blog.

But as you may have guessed, we didn’t see a Snowy Owl. Still cold when we arrived at the park, several intrepid souls were standing along the shoreline of one of the ponds with binoculars and spotting scopes. As we panned our binoculars through a large group of Canada Geese occupying open water, one person said, “Did you see the scoter?” I was embarrassed to admit that, at the distance we were from the birds, I was lucky to be able to tell that they were birds much less whether they were Mallards, Mergansers, Scoters or what ever. So I replied, “I think so.” Fortunately with a little more concentration and a look through a spotting scope, not necessarily in that order, I did see the scoter, a White-winged Scoter! Looking at our field guide we deduced that it was rare bird in these parts. Pretty exciting!

White-winged Scoter, Prairie Oaks

White-winged Scoter, Prairie Oaks (strictly a data acquisition pic, Canon SX40, 35x zoom, cropped)

After observing the scoter, we decided to head off into the park to see about the Snowy Owl. While there was no Snowy Owl for us today we did enjoy views of the Big Derby, some frozen fungi, and the usual small bird suspects. At one point a Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead with an unfortunate squirrel in it’s talons. A while later a Cooper’s Hawk crossed our path. Intent on getting our binoculars on the hawks we got no pictures. However my wife did manage to get a nice picture of a Robin. The White-throated Sparrows, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Juncos, Morning Doves, and Blue Jays just wouldn’t sit still.

Mallards on the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Mallards on the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Fungi turkey feathers, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi turkey tail, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi Ruffles family, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi family, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi Polypore looking underneath, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi Polypore looking underneath, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Robin, Donna

Robin, Donna

Frozen Pond, Prairie Oaks

Frozen Pond, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby Ice, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby Ice, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby looking north, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby looking north, Prairie Oaks

Canada Geese, Prairie Oaks

Canada Geese, Prairie Oaks

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Colors of December

When taking a early December walk in central Ohio one doesn’t usually expect a very colorful experience. This is true even if the weather decides to become momentarily spring like. If no snow is present, the landscape takes on a monochromatic brown appearance. The distant trees almost remind one of an old sepia tone. But if you are patient, and look carefully, things really aren’t all that bleak. Furthermore, some of what you see is hard to explain given the continuous subfreezing weather of the days before.

Many thanks to my wife Donna for sharing some of her photos from today’s walk along Griggs Reservoir.

For the curious, all these pictures were taken with either a Canon SX40 or Panasonic FZ150. 

IMG_1870

Fungus on a log

IMG_1875c

Another example of fungus on a fallen log.

IMG_1877c

Near the top a tree, a Cardinal surveys it’s realm

IMG_1879c

A vine growing on a tree produced these berries.

IMG_1881c

Near the river, the roots of a large tree show the effects of high water

IMG_1882c

Moss on a fallen log looks as though there’s been no cold weather

orange jelly-like mushrooms 2 120313 griggs cp1

These fellas looked as though they just popped out, Donna

Tan Chantrell Mushrooms 2 120313 griggs cp1

A nice example of fungus growing on a fallen log, Donna

underside mushroom family 120313 griggs cp1

A mushroom family, Donna

Best mushroom family 120313 griggs cp1

On a fallen log, Donna

Bluebird 2 closer 120313 Griggs cp1

Blue Birds seemed to be attracted to the Griggs Reservoir shoreline in winter, Donna

Downey Woodpecker closer 120313 Griggs cp 1

Downy Woodpecker, Donna

IMG_1835a

Blue Jay trying to warm up

IMG_1836c

There were many Ring-billed Gulls on the reservoir which hasn’t froze over yet

IMG_1847c

Just how far can a Downy Woodpecker turn it’s head?

IMG_1867

American Robin near the top of a tree

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