Posted on November 22, 2018
A half an hour before, we were standing in a cold wind just below a dam that has created one of central Ohio’s larger reservoirs trying our best to spot, and perhaps photograph, the Black-legged Kittiwake that was reported in the area. A unique opportunity because it’s a gull not usually seen in these parts. We finally did get a very average binocular view of the bird, another one for my “life list”, but in the process managed to journey pretty far down the road to hypothermia. Now we were looking forward to a hike in the woods with the thought that it wouldn’t be windy and the modest exertion might be enough to warm us up.
Char-Mar Ridge Park, is not far from the dam so it seemed like a good choice. The park is home to numerous species of large trees as well as a pond that usually contains waterfowl. A plus is that next to the pond is a nicely situated observation blind for undetected viewing. This time of the year finds most leaves, a significant portion of which are oak, on the forest floor as the bare branched sentinels, once their home, tower overhead. The lack of leaves on branches promotes a rather barren landscape but made it easy to spot a Pileated woodpecker just minutes into our walk. It insisted on maintaining its position between us and the sun foiling efforts to obtain a really good photo.
Once in the park it was hard not to notice the uniform blanket of leaves. They accentuated the park’s large rocks and fallen trees giving the sense that one was walking through a sculptor garden.
While I was amusing myself with stumps and fallen trees my wife was doing her best to locate fascinating fungi.
It was just a short distance to the blind overlooking the pond and despite the fact that the resident Red Headed Woodpecker was not seen the time spent there did not disappoint. A neighborhood of usual suspects was more than happy to entertain us.
There was also activity on the pond.
It is hard not to be enchanted when one finds color suspended in an otherwise drab gray landscape. Most leaves were down but those on the smaller beech trees hang on and even though their color is no match for the brilliant reds of a maple they did their best to supply color.
Recent rains meant that some areas still contained “ponds” of standing water on and along the path creating a challenge for dry feet but also provided a unique “looking-glass” into the late autumn woods.
In the cold November woods there always is more going on than we know. We move too fast and miss much, wishing for warmer days.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Char-Mar Ridge Park, Columbus, Fungi, Hiking in Ohio, Nature Photography, Ohio Nature Tagged: Beech Tree, Canon 60D with Sigma 150-600mm, Cardinal, Common Split Gill, Downy Woodpecker, Gadwalls, Hooded Merganser, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic G3 14-45 mm lens, Panasonic Lumix G7 Leica 100-400mm, Pileated Woodpecker, Resinous Polypore, Tufted Titmouse, Turkey Tail, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-throated Sparrow
Posted on December 19, 2012
If you are lucky, a walk at Prairie Oaks in December can mean white Sycamores against a deep blue sky.
The Sycamores come into their own this time of the year revealing beautiful patterns in their bark. Other than the Sycamores, you may see a tree that has gone completely unnoticed when the leaves are out but now the low sun really makes patterns in it’s bark stand out. You are a bit annoyed when its identity remains a mystery.
The Big Darby runs high as a result of recent rains but unlike the Scioto remains fairly clear. I wonder what if anything is biting biting.
On this December day the woods remain quiet. The low sun, even at mid-day, accounts for the beautiful sky, but unless it’s behind you, makes it a challenge to see birds. Even so, we see a Carolina Wren silently playing hide and seek in the low brush and a Brown Creeper not far away. Across one of the park ponds we see some Gadwalls, a not so common sight for us, and then without the leaves overhead easily spot a Red-tailed Hawk flying.
Twilight extends far into the afternoon and we start making our way back to our starting point but not before we’re entertained by a sculpture courtesy of one of the resident Beavers.
Thanks for stopping by.
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