Posted on December 31, 2017
The last day of 2017, what better time to stop for a moment and reflect back to the wonders of nature seen in central Ohio in the past year.
Looking at the landscape as we walked along the Scioto River yesterday it’s hard to believe it’s the same place. Very cold weather has made the river below the dam one of the few stretches of open water that waterfowl can now call home.
As always, thanks for stopping by and have a Happy New Year!
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Nature Photography, Ohio Nature Tagged: American Robin, Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Buckeye, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm, Canon 80D Sigma 150-600mm lens, Cardinal Flower, Caspian Tern, Catbird, Chicory, Cliff Swallow, Common Checkered Skipper, Common Loon, Giant Swallowtail, Golden Crown Kinglet, Gray Squirrel, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Hooded Mergansers, Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, mink, Monarch Butterfly, Northern Water Snake, Palm Warbler, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 100-400mm, Prothonotary Warbler, Red Admiral, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Red-spotted Purple, Ring-necked Ducks, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Scarlet Tanager, Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar, Tufted Titmouse, Turkey, Turtlehead, White-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-collared Scape Moth, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler
Posted on December 28, 2016
There is nothing particularly different about this winter in central Ohio. For a few days the temperature hovered around 5F then almost overnight it was 65F and raining making a recent light snow seem like an hallucination. Cold, snowy, icy, weather always seems to have a hard time taking up permanent residence.
Freezing, thawing, and then refreezing do make for interesting ice patterns. Below are a few I’ve taken the liberty to enhance so pattern and design stand out.
Walking along the Scioto River and seeing our old friend the Kingfisher is reassurance that unlike the weather some things don’t change much.
Along the reservoir a Junco looks on as a gull enjoys a good stretch while not far away a crow appears to be practicing his skating.
On a recent day, as the reservoir froze, a grebe seemed almost trapped in one of the few small areas of open water. Hopefully that wasn’t the case.
In late December so much is monochromatic brown gray dreariness but on a recent outing my wife’s tireless quest for very small but always cheerful kinglets paid off.
In the spring, fascination seems to offer itself at every turn but in winter one often needs to look closely and with intention. On a recent @40F day this little fella was spotted as we walked through the woods near our home.
Other things have also brought color to the landscape.
We hope this post has brought some cheer to what in the northern hemisphere can be a challenging time of year. So until next time, thanks for stopping by!
Category: birding in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Park, Griggs Reservoir, photography Tagged: Belted Kingfisher, Canon SX40, Crow, Dark-eyed Junco, Golden Crown Kinglet, ice patterns, Panasonic FZ200, Pied-billed Grebe, Ring-billed Gull, Sweet Autumn Clematis, sycamore
Posted on November 17, 2016
For those of you that follow this blog you know that we spend a lot of time walking in one park near our home. Part of the fascination has been to see what we can discover in this one specific location throughout the year. As the seasons change, it’s often about what we don’t see as much as what we do. From our house the park is also the perfect distance for a long walk which adds to the overall satisfaction of the experience. Finally, without making too much work out of it, we also try to help keep the park free of cans, bottles and other litter which provides a sense of ownership and makes the place just that much more special.
Having provided a rather circuitous introduction you’re probably wondering where this is going. Well it’s about the Kinglets! Several weeks ago we saw quite a few Golden and Ruby Crown Kinglets along the Scioto River below the Griggs Dam but since then nothing. Were had they gone? Had our timing since then just been bad? We were starting to wonder. Would we again see these little birds that do so much to brighten up late fall and winter in central Ohio?
In then a few days ago, in the company of Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers, there they were.
. . . and not far away.
Red-tailed Hawks are hard to miss this time of year.
My wife was trying to figure out what this crow was doing.
And as always there have been other things to notice.
Donna tried her hand at capturing the often ignored shapes and designs of late fall.
On future walks we hope the kinglets, along with their friends, will continue to charm and fascinate making this time of year just a little brighter. Thanks for stopping by.
Category: birding in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Park, Griggs Reservoir, nature, Ohio Nature, outdoors, photography Tagged: Canon 60D with Sigma 150-500mm, Clouded Sulphur, Crow, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, Fox Squirrel, Golden Crown Kinglet, Panasonic FZ200, Ravenel's Stinkhorn, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, Song Sparrow
Posted on December 13, 2014
A few weeks back we were walking along Griggs Reservoir looking for migrating waterfowl and we witnessed some unusual behavior by our resident population of Mallard ducks. At first it looked like a game, perhaps a Mallard version of water polo, but then we realized they were attempting to eat an object that keep scooting away , diving below the surface, and then bobbing up only to be nibbled on again.
It turned out to be the bright green barely floating fruit of an Osage Orange tree or what is sometimes referred to as a “hedge apple”. Apparently a somewhat tasty morsel to the ducks because they keep up their efforts as long as we watched.
Meanwhile one of the objects of our quest looked on.
A few days later on another outing along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, as I looked for Bald Eagles, my wife was able to get some interesting shots of fungi.
Finally, yesterday, after several rainy cloudy days, sunshine meant a hike at Battelle Darby Metro Park in the hopes of observing some bird activity. Perhaps we would even see a Northern Harrier. While no harriers presented themselves, we did see a Kestrel, and a Bald Eagle both of which eluded the cameras lens. However, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk did pose for us.
A Coopers Hawk wasen’t quite as cooperative.
. . . and no trip into the central Ohio woods this time of the year is complete unless we see our friends the Golden Crowned Kinglets who often when seen are in the company of Chickadees, Titmouse and Nuthatches.
That’s about it for this post. Hope you all have a chance to get out and enjoy nature in the coming days. Thanks for looking in.
Posted on November 29, 2014
During the last few days while travelling the highways and byways of central Ohio we managed to see three mature Bald Eagles in flight. Perhaps I’m easily amused but, given a childhood growing up in Michigan where I never once saw a Bald Eagle, and the fact that Ohio isn’t usually considered a hotbed for eagle activity, I found this pretty exciting. Since this was holiday related travel we didn’t have suitable photographic equipment with us. But even if we had, it all happened very quickly so I doubt we would have gotten much of a photograph. One sighting was near Dayton and the other two were just southwest of Wooster. In neither case were there sizable bodies of water nearby so it’s not clear what the birds were doing.
Recently while hiking along the Scioto just below Griggs Dam we were greeted by Golden Crowned Kinglets (a winter visitor from points north). The two or three that we saw came very close and seemed oblivious to us as they went about their business. We were enchanted. Due to the rapidity and total unpredictability of their movement, I opted to just enjoy the view. However, my wife, always up for a challenge, decided to try and get a few shots with her Panasonic FZ150 on burst mode. Below are the results.
During the excitement a Great Blue Heron was watching from a safe distance along the river’s edge.
Later, after spending some time along the river, we investigated the reservoir and found isolated groups of Ruddy Ducks and what appeared to be a lone Green-winged Teal (not a Blue as originally thought, thanks Lou!) and not a particularly common bird on the reservoir.
All the birds were great to see but the kinglets definitely carried the day.
Tip: work off that big turkey dinner by taking a walk in nature and don’t forget your binoculars. You’ll be amazed by what you see.
Thanks for looking in
Posted on April 12, 2014
Yesterday we decided to check out Prairie Oaks Metro Park wondering what migrating birds might be passing through or what wildflowers we might see. Prairie Oaks is one of our favorite parks due to three distinct areas that offer their own unique ecology; the ponds, the river, and the restored prairie areas.
click on image for a better view
Before heading out on the trail running along the river, we checked out the ponds and noticed Lesser (or Greater) Scaups, Hooded Mergansers, Pied-billed Grebes, Canada Geese, and one Common Loon in residence. All were too far away to make a picture worthwhile but a Killdeer not far away was willing to have it’s picture taken. I had never before noticed the large size of a Killdeer’s eyes.
Starting down the trail, we noticed a Northern Flicker in the tree tops.
The Eastern Towhees were elusive.
But continuing on, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was more cooperative.
Near the river a Eastern Phoebe posed for us.
The highlight of the trip was when, as we were heading back to the car, a Golden-crowned Kinglet appeared at eye level right next to the trail.
While the wildflowers were not out in any appreciable numbers, the forest floor, with some Virginia Waterleaf visible, was still interesting.
Small trees were leafing out
As we continued looking for interested signs of “new” life my wife noticed a rather unusual looking plant. After checking all of her plant books upon our return home, it’s identity remains a mystery. Plants often assume unusual appearances as they emerge in the spring. Maybe in a few days this one’s identity will be obvious. Do you know what it is?
Posted on November 20, 2013
It’s mid November and the winter birds, migrants from further north, are taking up residence in Columbus. One of our favorite places to look for them is along Griggs Reservoir. As mentioned in previous posts, it’s a six mile hike (round trip) from our house so we get a little exercise and also get to look for any creatures that might feel like showing themselves.
Along the reservoir we couldn’t help but notice the leaf bare Sycamores with their white bark highlighted against the blue sky.
As we continue on along the reservoir there are the usual suspects, Great Blue Herons and Mallard Ducks.
When it didn’t look as though we would be rewarded with anything special in the way of birds, we spent some time looking for fossils. The fossils we see in the shoreline rocks are from the Devonian Period about 350 million years ago.
We continued on, looking for a Chickadee or Titmouse which might be part of a flock that could contain something less common. Seeing a few birds in the tree tops, I get excited and train my binoculars on them. They turned out to be Gold Finches. Meanwhile my wife is enthusiastically whispering about something and I assume she must be looking at the same birds. Looking away from my binoculars I realize she is excited about something flitting around in the nearby shoreline brush.
Forgetting about the treetop birds, I join her as we both peer intently into the brush and are rewarded with great views of Golden Crown Kinglets, a winter resident in our area. How a bird, that essentially weighs the same as a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, can get two adults so excited is hard to explain, but the little guys sure made our day.
Thanks for stopping by.
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