While I Was Away Fishing

With the arrival of a granddaughter and my annual fishing trip to Michigan photographing the wonders of nature in central Ohio has been a bit neglected. Fortunately in my absence my wife took up the slack and was busy finding fascinating things closer to home. In fact, considering that it’s usually the slow time of year, there have been an amazing number of things to see.

.

Numerous Kingbirds nest along the reservoir in Griggs Reservoir Park and while the babies have fledged they still expect their meals to be catered. Fortunately, ample fresh berries and cicadas make the work a little easier.

Bringing dinner home, (Donna).

Trying to get noticed, (Donna).

Finally! (Donna).

.

When not being entertained by the kingbirds; vireos, numerous Great Crested Flycatchers, and even a Yellow Warbler were spotted.

A Warbling Vireo which is not often seen this time of year, (Donna).

An immature Red-eyed Vireo, (Donna).

Great Crested Flycatcher, (Donna).

Yellow Warbler, a rare find in the park in early August, (Donna).

Barn Swallows engage in a heated discussion about sharing a dragonfly, (Donna).

.

A first of the year Buckeye Butterfly and a seldom seen Royal River Cruiser were also spotted.

Buckeye, (Donna).

A Royal River Cruiser not often seen along Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

and not to ignore some of the more usual suspects .   .   .

A Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at waters edge, (Donna).

Amberwing Dragonflies are common but due to their small size are often hard to photograph, (Donna).

Monarch, (Donna).

.

***

It’s always hard to compete with my wife’s discoveries but as usual the Rifle River Recreation Area did not disappoint with some nice Large Mouth Bass caught. To eliminate as much trauma as possible the barbs were removed from the hooks which doesn’t seem to effect the catch rate and I’m sure the fish are much happier as they swim away.

A beautiful morning on Devoe Lake.

Typical of the Large Mouth Bass caught. This one was on Au Sable Lake.

.

There were often a pair of Trumpeter Swans not far off while fishing on Devoe Lake. In addition there were always loons to enjoy. An encouraging discovery was not only the number of loons seen on the lakes within the park, where they nest due to the absence of motorboat traffic/wakes, but on the cottage lined lakes nearby.

Common Loons, Devoe Lake.

Au Sable Lake

Rifle Lake

As can be seen from the above screen shots Rifle Lake does not have suitable habitat for nesting but Au Sable Lake does with a considerable amount of sheltered natural shoreline. To my joy immature loons were observed there.

Lily pads on Devoe Lake.

Trumpeter Swans, Devoe Lake.

Near sunset on Devoe Lake.

.

As I finished this post a task required that I briefly venture outside. In our front yard a hummingbird briefly hovered close by and then went about it’s business. Such a serendipitous occurrence caused me to stop for a moment, and as I did, ever so faintly, the call of a loon on Devoe Lake could be “heard”. I was left again with the realization that nature’s wonder can be found in many places. Whether on a lake in Michigan or in a city park of Columbus Ohio, all we need to do is open our eyes.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

The Orioles Fledge

It seems like just a few days ago that the Baltimore Orioles arrived in central Ohio. But in the bird world things happen fast and now their young are ready to fledge. Spring offers up a bounty of insects and berries so whether it’s a warbler or an oriole it’s no accident that it’s a popular time to raise young. Chickadees have also fledged and we were fortunate to be able to observe the young begging for the next morsel the parents offered up. 

.

Mature Baltimore Oriole at the nest in Griggs Reservoir Park.

Someone wants breakfast.

Breakfast is served.

Food keeps coming whether in the nest or out, (Donna).

Not long before the first flight.

.   .   .   and finally away from the nest.

.

Two young Carolina Chickadees beg for a meal in Griggs Reservoir Park.

They’re not much smaller than the adults.

And just as cute!

.

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were also observed busily flying about perhaps also collecting food for their young.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher in Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Some mom’s seemed to have a little more than they could deal with.

Female Mallard with young in Griggs Reservoir.

But that doesn’t seem to bother the males.

.

While looking for fledglings we were charmed by the presence of other birds in Griggs reservoir Park.

A Catbird sings.

With the presence of berry rich trees Cedar Waxwings were everywhere.

My wife spotted this Hairy Woodpecker, a bird not often seen in the park, (Donna).

A Spotted Sandpiper forages on a log in the rain swollen reservoir.

This Great Crested Flycatcher has a nest somewhere nearby.

It won’t be long before we see this Kingbird with young.

Redwing Blackbird nests are always hard to find but this female is happy to pose for a picture, (Donna).

.

Even with the departure of most warblers a couple of weeks ago, there was still plenty of bird activity to observe in the park.

.

Hay, what about me!

.

Thanks for stopping by.

***

 

A Journey Through Spring

It feels like we’ve been dodging raindrops at lot lately. However, the wetter than average spring, perhaps the new normal, has been great for the area wildflowers. We’ve continued to explore Griggs Reservoir Park near our home but have also made several trips to Glen Echo Park, Kiwanis Riverway Park, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, and have traveled west to Cedar Bog as well as north to Magee Marsh, to name some of the other places explored. With a partial record in pictures of things seen, this is a celebration of all that this fleeting season has given us. Of particular note are the Yellow-billed Cuckoos that decided to make Griggs Reservoir Park their home for a few days recently. We also saw Scarlet Tanagers in the park after seeing few to none last year. What a treat!

(Should you desire, click on the image for a better view.)

.

Birds:

Yellow-billed Cuckoos are one of the more entertaining birds to watch as they forage for food, Griggs Reservoir Park. They’re not a bird we see that often much less have an opportunity to photograph, (Donna).

A shot showing the distinctive markings of the underside of the tail.

This Tree Swallow was perched not far from it’s nesting cavity, Griggs Reservoir Park.

There are always a few Bluebirds to see at Griggs Reservoir Park undoubtedly due to numerous trees that provide nesting cavities.

Catching this female Wood Duck out of the very corner of my spectacled eye as it flew into a nearby tree I at first thought it was a Morning Dove.

On a sunny cool spring morning this male Mallard Duck just wanted to catch some rays.

Every year we look forward to the arrival of the Baltimore Orioles at Griggs Reservoir Park. This year was no exception.

They are another very entertaining bird to watch.

As if all the migrating warblers at Magee Marsh weren’t enough we see this guy, Great Horned Owl owlet.

A male Red-winged Blackbird in all it’s splendor. A common resident at Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Cedar Waxwings in love, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Being an acrobat.

Great Crested Flycatchers are heard more often than seen, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Kingbird ready to take flight, Griggs Reservoir Park.

An curious young male Cardinal, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Just finishing up a snack of “warbler”, this Red-tailed Hawk stares us down, Griggs Reservoir Park.

An Eastern Wood-Pewee is caught in a cute pose at Bigelow Pioneer Cemetery, (Donna).

Oblivious to our presence, a Prothonotary warbler collects nesting material, Magee Marsh.

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Scarlet Tanager at Magee Marsh.

A Warbling Vireo seems to stare us down, Magee Marsh.

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Magee Marsh.

Blackburnian Warbler, Glen Echo Park. This small park centered around a stream and ravine is a hotspot for observing spring migrants.

Wood Thrush. Glen Echo Park.

Red-eyed Vireo, Glen Echo Park.

A male American Redstart plays hide and seek, Glenn Echo Park.

Magnolia Warbler, Magee Marsh.

“I’m eating a bug, do you mind!” Carolina Wren, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Red-headed Woodpecker, the first ever sighting at O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Nest building, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve

Summer Tanager, Glen Echo Park.

Eastern Phoebe, Greenlawn Cemetery.

A busy Song Sparrow, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

A Yellow-throated Warbler looks down from above, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Yellow-throated Vireo, Glen Echo Park, (Donna).

Couldn’t resist another view of this lovely bird.

.

Other things:

How many turtles are on this log? Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Wildflowers:

Purple Rocket turns white with age, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Cabbage White on Dame’s Rocket, Griggs Reservoir Park.

These Toadshade Trilliums from a few weeks ago were some of the last seen, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Pawpaw blossoms, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Hoverfly on Spring beauty from a few weeks back.

Solomon’s Seal, Glenn Echo Park.

May Apple blossom from a few weeks ago, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Jacobs Ladder, Amberleigh Park.

Fleabane, Cedar Bog.

We were surprised to see this Morrel mushroom emerging through the mowed grass at Griggs Reservoir Park.

Wild Rose, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Blue Flag Iris, Cedar Bog.

Wild Geranium, Glenn Echo Park.

.

We hope you enjoyed this journey through spring into what now feels like early summer. We sadly leave the spring migrants behind for this year but experience tells us that there is always something new to see when exploring nature.

.

Future seasons become easier to count and the present one more precious with the passing of time, but in that scarceness we become richer with the sense of their magic.  

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Eastern Wood-Pewee, Cedar Bog.

 

A Favorite Florida State Park

After the previous post about early spring in Ohio we thought we’d travel back in time to late January and explore the natural beauty of Florida’s Lake Kissimmee State Park. After our third visit we now consider it a cornerstone for any winter camping trip to Florida.

Live Oak

.

An advantage to many of the parks we visit in Florida is that they’re not separated by great distances so it’s an easy matter to pull up stakes in one and head down the road to the next. Lake Kissimmee SP is not far from Little Manatee River, is a much larger park so there is plenty of nature to explore without ever leaving the park. The greatest variety of birds can be seen if one quietly paddles the lake shore, Zipper Canal, or Tiger Creek but birding is also very rewarding along the hiking trails. When not observing warblers, gnatcatchers, or kinglets. the trails are a great way to see the park’s many Red Headed Woodpeckers and there are rumors of Scrub Jays although that’s one we have yet to see.

.

Folks sometimes ask if we’re concerned about taking expensive camera equipment in a canoe. The answer is yes, but we’ve been blessed to see many birds that we wouldn’t have otherwise and are sometimes lucky enough to get a picture so we feel it’s worth the risk. Within reason the canoe doesn’t limit the amount of equipment one can take and while you may get lucky from time to time don’t expect tack sharp “tripod” images. Where the canoe fails as a photography platform is when wind and water conditions create excessive motion or make the boat hard to control leaving little opportunity for pictures. Although some might not agree, a bonus when exploring overgrown Florida shorelines in a small boat is wondering if around the next bend one will startle a large gator. It’s an experience of “wildness” not availible in places further north. With that intro, below are some of the “canoe” birds seen during our two weeks at the park.

A favorite Lake Kissimmee perch for a group of Anhingas

A closer look at a male.

Paddling Zipper Canal between Lake Kissimmee and Rosalie Lake.

A Bald Eagle along Tiger Creek which flows from Tiger Lake to Lake Kissimmee.

A Bald Eagle peers down at a prospective meal . .

. . then dives.

Hundreds of Tree Swallows in an early morning feeding frenzy on Lake Kissimmee.

A few take a break from the hunt, (Donna).

Clouds over Lake Kissimmee.

Immature Snail Kite along the Lake Kissimmee shoreline. The kites were a real treat because during last year’s visit, which was right after a hurricane, there were none to be seen.

Mature Snail Kite with snail, (Donna).

Mature Snail Kite.

A Glossy Ibis reveals how it got it’s name, (Donna).

Rosalie Creek between Rosalie and Tiger Lakes.

Young Alligator along Tiger Creek.

Tri-color Heron along Tiger Creek, (Donna).

Black-crowned Night Heron along the Zipper Canal, (Donna).

Great Egret with fish, (Donna).

Little Blue Heron, (Donna).

Lily pads, Lake Kissimmee.

Swallow-tailed Kite over Tiger Creek. Observing them it appears that they often catch their prey in their talons and proceed to devour it on the wing.

Common Moorhen along the grassy Lake Kissimmee shoreline, (Donna).

.

The hiking trails offer a different mix of birds and wildlife. The length of hike often dictates the type of equipment one decides to take along. Lugging ten pounds of camera equipment for seven or eight miles is not fun. One solution I saw this year was to modify a light weight golf cart to haul your equipment if the trail conditions and other restrictions allow.

The type of golf cart that would be easy to modify to carry a tripod and camera with long telephoto lens.

.

When hiking park trails one thing that always amazes me is how different species of birds stay together or flock. One can walk for miles and not see much of anything and then all of a sudden there will be birds everywhere. Chickadees, titmouse, kinglets, gnatcatchers, and warblers are often seen together and often there will even be a blue jay in the mix. With the Live Oaks draped in Spanish Moss, the palmettos, and the pines, the landscape is enchanting so if the birds aren’t cooperating there is always something to appreciate.

Tufted Titmouse often alert us to the fact there may be warblers in the area. (Donna).

Sure enough, a Black and White Warbler makes an appearance.

Along the trail.

Another view showing tail and flight feathers.

We weren’t quiet sure what this Red-bellied Woodpecker planned to do with the acorn, (Donna).

White-eyed Vireo.

Eastern Phoebe, (Donna).

Sandhill Cranes. As common as they are we did not have the many opportunities to photograph them.

Pine Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler

Bald Eagle and nest on Buster Island near the Cow Camp.

The Great Crested Flycatcher showed up near our campsite. It’s the largest of the flycatchers, (Donna).

Sunlight and Spanish Moss.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

A Northern Flicker shared the Red Headed Woodpeckers territory.

Buster Island trail.

Red-headed Woodpeckers are quite common in the park.

Yellow-rumped Warblers competed with Palm and Pine Warblers for most common status.

If Florida had a state hawk, it sound be the always vocal Red-shouldered.

.

The other things:

Curious deer, (Donna).

Bark Anole.

A large Golden Silk Orb-weaver.

A Golden Silk Orb-weaver sun lit with a background of dark shade.

Fascinating fungi along the trail.

Female Band-winged Dragonlet

Yellow Milkwort is native and found throughout most of the Florida peninsula. Interestingly, the only place in the world it grows is Florida.

Grass highlighted by the winter sun.

The long burrows, up to 40 feet wide and 10 feet deep, of the endangered Gopher Tortoise are home to over three dozen other animal species that use them for shelter from harsh weather and predators.

Anole displaying.

The winter light often highlights the Spanish Moss and creates deep shadows.

Yellow Jessamine is a common flowering vine in January and February.

A Spiny-backed Orb-weaver suspends over the trail.

Florida Baskettail.

Oak Toad, (Donna).

Eastern Racer, (Donna).

.

Lake Kissimmee SP is one place we will be returning to next year. With its long hiking trails and extensive areas to explore by canoe there is always a new adventure waiting.

.

Tiger Creek

Under a clear blue sky,

with the winter sun warming skin exposed to cool morning air,

paddles rhythmically break the still surface,

as the canoe glides with anticipation along a winding creek

wrapped in sage, bulrush and lily pads.

A solitary alligator swims slowly ahead

then slides below the surface and disappears

while not far away

herons, hawks, egrets, and eagles announce their presence.

 .

Thanks for stopping by.

.

.

A Special Place In Michigan

At least once a year for the last number of years we’ve traveled seven hours from central Ohio to the expansive 4500 acre Rifle River Recreation Area in Michigan. With it’s fairly extensive system of hiking and mountain bicycling trails, plus lakes that don’t allow motors, it’s a beautiful quiet nature lovers paradise. The park’s woods contain conifers, including some fairly large White Pine, as well as deciduous trees like oak and maple making it home to a great diversity of insects, plants, birds, and animals. The park has two campgrounds, one with electrical hookups, and one that is rustic. We prefer “tent” camping in the Devoe Lake rustic campground with it’s pit toilets and handpumps, whether in our small trailer or in a tent, because the sites are bigger, more secluded, and a variety of birds often come right to your campsite. In addition the rustic campground communicates with park’s best hiking trails without the need to get in your car.

rifle_river_map

Park Map.

A south loop hiking trail cuts through meadows interspersed with stands of trees that attract numerous species of butterflies and dragonflies not mention birds such as Indigo Buntings that love that type of habitat.

Bob looking out to meadow1 071618 Mi trip fz200 fix

South Trail

The northern loop takes the hiker on much more rolling terrain interspersed with swamps and culminating along a ridge that provides a panoramic view of four of the parks lakes.

IMG_8230fixd

Grousehaven Lake from the park loop road.

The lakes offer a variety of fish species to attract the angler including Brook and Brown Trout, Northern Pike, Large Mouth Bass and panfish.

IMGP0252fix

Typical catch and release LM Bass on Devoe Lake.

.

***

Many of the lakes just outside the park boundary offering public access are heavily developed with boat and dock filled shorelines and large year round homes which in recent years have replaced many smaller cabins set back in the trees. Some of the larger multistory dwellings seem almost ready to topple into the lake giving these small bodies of water more the feel of a large recreational swimming pool. Even so, the lakes do offer good fishing even if with somewhat diminished natural aesthetic. However, if communing with nature is your goal, it is worth it to travel away from the park to the nearby Au Sable River and it’s chain of lakes which offer a rewarding undeveloped destination for the photographer, fisherman, and nature lover.

IMG_2339

Loud Pond, Au Sable River chain of lakes.

 

IMG_2341fix

Loud Pond Au Sable River chain of lakes.

IMG_2361fix

Loud Pond Au Sable River chain of lakes.

.

***

Within the park, even without a very special species of bird, there is ample reason to  return year after year to enjoy the park’s beauty. But the very special bird that makes the park so irresistible is the Common Loon. Numbers seen vary year to year but they’re always there with their haunting cry breaking the silence of the night. To our knowledge it’s the closest location from central Ohio where nesting loons can be found.

IMG_5147fix

Common Loon

 

IMG_5158fix

With young, (Donna).

Loon1 LR1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

Another view, (Donna).

Loon group1 070918 MI trip birdcam fix

Meal time, (Donna).

IMG_5163fix

The young are growing fast.

.

IMG_8227

Lodge Lake.

.

***

An equally enchanting bird usually seen on Grebe Lake is the Trumpeter Swan. During one paddle the call of the adults across the lake gave ample evidence as to how they got their name.

Trumpeter Swan grp4 best1 071018 MI trip birdcam fix

Trumpeter Swam Family, (Donna).

IMG_7955

Another look.

.

***

Being old enough to remember when they suffered the ravages of DDT and were very rare Bald Eagles always have a high wow factor. We had a number of sightings in the park and at least five the day we paddled Loud Pond along the Au Sable River.

IMG_7854

I control the canoe and my wife often takes the pictures.

IMG_8254

Where there is a nest there is usually an eagle.

Eagle1 LR beak open1 071218 MI trip birdcam 1

Donna get’s a picture of one of the Bald Eagles seen on Loud Pond.

.

***

Equally fascinating were the other birds seen during our hikes and paddles.

P1210600fix

A Great Crested Flycatcher over looks a meadow on the south trail.

 

Great Crested Flycatcher baby2 beak open1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

An immature Great Crested Flycatcher asks to be fed, (Donna).

Catbird1 LR1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

A Catbird puts everything into it’s song, (Donna).

Cedar Waxwing2 LL wbug1 070918 Michigan trip fix

A good day for the Cedar Waxwing, not so much for the dragonfly, (Donna).

Chestnut-sided Warbler1 LL1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Along the south trail in the very top of a tree a Chestnut-sided Warbler sings it’s heart out, (Donna).

IMG_5186

A Green Heron makes a living along the shore of Devoe Lake.

IMG_7879fix

Too far away for a good pic, perhaps an immature Rose Breasted Grosbeak?

IMG_8171

Ever on the lookout for flying insects, like sentry’s Kingbirds lined the shore of Devoe Lake.

Kingbird3 LL1 best1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

Another look, (Donna).

Kingbird in nest2 LR2 best1 070918 Michigan trip birdcam fix

Near water’s edge a Kingbird sits on it’s nest, (Donna).

Kingfisher1 femaleLR1 best1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Donna catches this female Kingfisher along the shore of Devoe Lake.

Kingbird party2 flying1 also1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

A Tree Swallow party along the shore of Devoe Lake,(Donna).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak2 LL1 071018 MI trip birdcam fix

Numerous Rose Breasted Grosbeaks were seen but they proved a challenge to photograph, (Donna).

Spotted Sandpiper3 LR2 best1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Spotted sandpiper along the shore of Loud Pond, (Donna).

Spotted Sandpiper5 juvLR2 best1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Immature Spotted Sandpiper along Loud Pond, (Donna).

IMG_8253fix

Immature Baltimore Orioles hang out in a distant tree.

.

IMG_8324

The Rifle River just downstream of Grousehaven Lake.

.

***

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know we love dragonflies. While butterflies may initially catch your eye very few creatures fascinate in the air like the  dragonfly. But the relationship fraught with conflict because we also love birds and the dragonflies maneuverability is often not enough to avoid becoming a tasty high protein snack.

Calico Pennant3 headon3 wiping mouth1 071518 MI trip fz200 fix

Calico Pennant, (Donna).

P1210571

Female Ruby Meadowhawk

Blue Dasher1 LR1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Blue Dasher, (Donna).

IMG_8065

Chalk-fronted Corporal.

damselfly on flower1 LR1 070918 MIchigan trip birdcam fix

This Damsel fly on flower illustrates the capability 0f the micro 4/3rds Panasonic (Leica) 100-400mm lens, (Donna).

Dot-tailed Whiteface3 headon1 071018 MI trip bridcam fix

Dot-tailed Whiteface, (Donna).

Ebony Jewelwing mating1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

Mating Ebony Jewelwings, (Donna).

IMG_2368fix

Twelve-spotted Skimmer.

Lancet-Clubtail female2 LR best1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

Female Lancet Clubtail, (Donna).

P1210595fix

Female Calico Pennant.

IMG_7966fix

Male Halloween Pennant.

Halloween Pennant mating1 LL1 071518 MI trip birdcam fix

Mating Halloween Pennants, (Donna).

img_7973fix.jpg

Slaty Blue Skimmer, Tamron 18-400mm zoom.

 

IMG_7999

Most of the time when we take a picture we have a pretty good idea what the subject is. When we don’t part of the fun is during the research to figure out what it is. So far the ID of this rather nondescript dragonfly remains a mystery.

Vesper Bluet3 LR1 best1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

The Vesper Bluet is a late afternoon and evening damselfly, (Donna).

Vesper Bluet1 mating pair1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Mating Vesper Bluets, (Donna).

River Jewelwing4 LL2 best2 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

River Jewelwing seen along the Au Sable River, (Donna).

***

IMG_7852

The Rifle River near the park’s southern boundary.

.

***

Butterflies live a rough life. Subject to the effects of rain, wind, sun and sometimes attempted predation they often become rather tattered with age. Like wildflowers much of their magic come from the fact that they are only here for a short time. During this most recent visit it was interesting because we didn’t see as many as expected and often the ones seen were rather tattered. However, the few that were in nice enough shape to merit a photograph took up the slack.

Common Wood-NYmph2 LR2 closer1 071518 MI trip fz200 fix

Common Wood-Nymph, (Donna).

P1210579

Northern Pearly-eye

IMG_8048

Northern Pearly-eye another view.

American Copper1 LL1 071518 MI trip birdcam fix

American Copper, (Donna)

American Copper4 WPO1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Another view, (Donna).

IMG_5076

Great Spangled Fritillary, Tamron 18-400mm zoom.

IMG_8013

Peck’s Skipper with a partially shaded wing explores an iris.

IMG_8035

Northern Cloudywing Skipper

IMG_8337

Eastern Comma.

Monarch1 WFO male1 071518 MI trip birdcam fix

Monarch, (Donna).

Banded Hairstreak1 LL1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

The very small and seldom seen Banded Hairstreak, (Donna).

.

***

No matter when one visits the park in spring and summer there are some flowers that are seen and some that are not. Turtleheads and Cardinal flowers usually appear in August so we missed them this year but others were present.

IMG_8261

Certainly not a flower but one of a number of very large White Pines in the park. How do you capture it’s impressive size in a photograph?

St. John's wort1 070918 MI trip fz200 fix

St. John’s Wort, (Donna).

IMG_8125fix

Yellow Water Lily

Black-eyed Susan1 070918 MI trip fz200 fix

Black-eyed Susan’s appear to take flight, (Donna).

cluster white flowers1 071018 MI trip birdcam fix

This American Wintergreen was growing in a very moist area, (Donna).

IMG_2320fix

Spotted Knapweed along the Lake Huron shore.

IMG_7885

Pickerel Weed on Grebe Lake.

IMG_7984fix

Water Lily.

Water LIly2 duo1 071018 MI trip fz200 fix

Water Lily times two, (Donna).

IMG_8215fix

A hover fly checks out a water lily.

P1210552

Clustered-leaved Tick-trefoil.

P1210634fix

Small and very common in the meadow areas along the south trail this one has eluded identification.

Yellow Aquatic flowr1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

Bladderwort seen along the north trail, (Donna).

IMG_8234fix

New Jersey Tea or Wild Snowball, interestingly it has been used for treated such things as gonorrhea, syphilis, colds, cough, fever, chills, spasms, bleeding, . . . “.

Monkey flower2 side view1 071718 MI trip birdcam fix

Monkey Flower, (Donna).

Milkweed2 070918 MI trip fz200 fix

Swamp Milkweed, (Donna).

Indian Pipe1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

Indian Pipe, (Donna).

IMG_8085

Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

P1210557fix

Fern.

IMG_8092

At their peak these Picture Plant flowers will turn a deep burgundy. See below for the leaves.

IMG_8097

The leaves resemble a picture, imagine that!

IMG_8224

Daisy Fleabane, very small, very common, very beautiful.

.

IMG_7860fix

Early morning on Grebe Lake.

.

***

When out on a day’s hike looking for birds, flowers, or butterflies it’s hard not to notice other things and sometimes they become the most memorable.

IMG_8143fixs

Painted Turtle, Devoe Lake.

P1210566fix

Pixie Cups, north trail.

P1210612

We saw quite a bit of this colorful fungi the day we hiked the south trail.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle1 LL1 071118 MI trip birdcam fix

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle along the trail, (Donna).

Toad1 LR1 071618 MI trip birdcam fix

American Toad, (Donna).

IMG_8135fix

Garter Snake in an unusual location, Devoe Lake.

IMG_7857

A beaver lodge on Grebe Lake.

IMG_2326fix

British Soldier Lichen seems to love old fence posts.

P1210623

Early July is apparently not the best time for fungi. This was one of the few not very colorful examples seen.

P1210628

Crown-tipped Coral Fungi near our campsite.

Turtle on log2 Map LR1 071218 MI trip birdcam fix

A Map Turtle catches a few rays, (Donna).

Porkupine1 LL1 07518 MI trip birdcam fix

A large Porcupine is spotted along the south trail, (Donna).

.

***

So much natural diversity in one Michigan state park! This year we left the park wishing for a few more days to explore, to look more closely with intention, to breath in the fragrance of balsam, or just to gaze up into the splendor of the green canopy of trees surrounding our campsite. Perhaps that’s the best way to leave.

IMG_8116fixc

Devoe Lake.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

We didn’t see them all, but . . .

this spring the warbler migrants have been as enchanting as ever. While the mix of birds that pass through our area is undoubtedly fairly consistent from year to year what we end up seeing isn’t. There is always a little frustration when a favorite bird doesn’t present itself in our local park especially when they were almost impossible to miss the year before. With many birds having come and gone, and others now much harder to see and photograph due to the increased leaf cover, we thought it would be a good time to showcase some that were seen.

.

One doesn’t always have to travel far. One morning, after hearing it’s call, we found a Chestnut-sided Warbler in our front yard.

Chestnut-sided warbler on it’s way north.

2.

.

At our local park, sometimes not more than a few yards from each other, my wife might see a bird that I would miss completely. A persistent call helps, but unless one detects movement the often brightly marked birds can be hard to spot.

Black & White warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

With a small insect.

.

Blackpoll warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

2. (Donna).

.

Yellow warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Still further from home others were seen along Alum Creek Reservoir and the south shore of Lake Erie at Magee Marsh.

Yellow warbler, Magee Marsh.

.

Blackburnian warbler, Magee Marsh, (Donna).

.

Prothonotary warbler seen while canoeing the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir.

2.

.

Magnolia warbler, Magee Marsh.

2. (Donna).

.

Northern Parula warbler, Magee Marsh.

2.

.

***

In our local park, in addition to the warblers other birds have been active and hard to ignore.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2. (Donna).

.

Probably just passing through a Swainson’s thrush peeks out from behind a small branch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2.

.

Blue-headed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

.

Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2.

.

A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak is seen at Griggs Reservoir Park and appears to be nesting in the area.

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Reservoir Park.

.

Cedar Waxwing also nest in Griggs Reservoir Park .   .   .

2.

.

as does this male Red-winged Blackbird.

.

Seen more often in the winter this Hooded Merganser enjoys the morning sun along the Scioto River just below the Griggs Reservoir Dam .   .   .

then commences to tidy up.

3.

.

***

Wildflowers also continue to enchant and never fail to provide strong competition for our attention.

Wild Columbine along the rock faced shore of Griggs Reservoir.

.

While we will continue to see warblers for the next week or so it’s always a bit of a let down when one senses that spring migration is coming to an end. True, one can travel north and see birds but as nesting activities begin in earnest things become quieter and the birds more secretive.

.

But for this year in this writers eyes the gift has been given. It is the realization once again that we are part of a sacred world of diversity and wonder and no more noble, important, or worthy than the warblers that are also part of earth’s fabric of life and grace our lives each spring as they make they way north to continue the cycle.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

Spring along the Scioto River.

 

A Spring Gift Along The Reservoir

This post covers some of the birds as well as other things that have been seen along the Scioto River corridor in central Ohio in the past few days. Many of the birds seen will continue their migratory journey further north. It’s a magical time of year as green spaces, especially those along lakes and rivers, are transformed by the sights and sounds of birds perhaps not seen other times of the year.

.

Some birding days are better than others. In the spring a strong wind from the north usually means more birds. A wind from the south seems to send them on their way. All the birds may seem to be in the treetops one day while the next they’re at eye level making an impossible subject easy to photograph. While no one can guarantee what will be seen, even an inexpensive pair of binoculars will greatly increase your chances of seeing birds allowing you to enter their world and appreciate creatures with such unique beauty that it’s sometimes hard to believe.

.

Everyone has their own way of appreciating nature, while we do make a point of traveling to more distant locations, we try to concentrate on a few areas close to home, observing the changes as the year progresses. A benefit of visiting a “favorite spot” often is that one is blessed with a sense of ownership, not in a possessive sense, but rather as a caring participant. A litter bag is always part of our equipment as it’s especially hard to walk by litter after one has just seen a Scarlet Tanager. The real plus is that through listening, looking (perhaps taking a picture), and allowing myself to be in the place, I’m extended beyond myself to a larger whole. Through this experience, which I once heard referred to as “a prayer”, I become richer and more grateful.

 

Griggs Park along the reservoir.

.

A few days ago my wife was looking for warblers right along the river as I did likewise along a some trees a little further away from the water.  She was paying attention to the low lying brush at water’s edge when she decided to look up into the overhead tree branches and found herself confronting a much larger bird.

Bald Eagle along the Scioto River just below the Griggs Reservoir Dam, it didn’t stay long .   .   .

before it flew across the river .   .   .

to a safer perch. (Donna).

.

Out of the corner of my eye I did see the eagle as it flew by but right in front of me there was a Great Crested Flycatcher. What to do, a flycatcher in the bush or a flying eagle. I chose the bird in the bush.

Great-created Flycatcher along the Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir Dam..

Take 2.

.

Warblers are surprisingly small when compared to the Great Created Flycatcher but make up for their size in quantity. Many, including Cape May and Yellow-rumped, continue to be seen.

Black and White warbler, Emily Traphagen Park.

Take 2.

Male American Redstart, Griggs Park, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Redstart with mayfly, Griggs Park.

.

It’s hard to ignore the orioles which continue to be very common. Right now there are so many in Griggs Park that it’s quite possible that only a few will nest here with the remainder heading further north.

Male Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park.

Female Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park.

.

It was a real treat to see our first Cedar waxwings of the year.

Cedar Waxwings, they handed the berry back and forth several times. Griggs Park.

Cedar Waxwings, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

Red-eyed Vireos are often spotted in dense treetop leaf cover but every once in a while they come down so we can get a better look.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Park.

.

An Acadian Flycatcher was also seen.

Acadian Flycatcher? Griggs Park.

.

We first spotted a streak of white, black, and red. Open landing the Rose Breasted Grosbeak played hide and seek as it chowed down on what were apparently very tasty seeds.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Griggs Park.

.

Another bird seen only during spring migration is the Scarlet Tanager.

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Park.

Just a minute.

There, that’s better.

.

Morning sun and leaves, Griggs Park.

.

The Swainson’s Thrush is usually only seen during migration.

Swainson’s Thrushes were everywhere in Griggs Park.

.

Our first Kingbird of the year along Griggs Reservoir. Some will stick around to nest in the park.

Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

We also noticed a few “non-bird” type things.

Immature male Common Whitetail, Emily Traphagen Park.

False Solomon’s Seal, Griggs Park, (Donna).

Female Black Swallowtail, Emily Traphagen Park, (Donna).

The Northern Water snake orgy goes on, see previous post, (Donna).

A Woodchuck tries to blend in, Griggs Park.

Wild Columbine, Emily Traphagen Park, (Donna). This photo was inspired by one of our birding friends.

A chipmunk poses, Duranceaux Park.

Six Spotted Tiger Beetle, Emily Traphagen Park, (Donna).

Zebulon Skipper, Emily Traphagen Park. (Donna).

.

We can’t forget all the other birds seen in the past week. Many of these are year round or summer residents.

A very noisy Winter Wren, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Park.

Hidden in the leaf cover an immature Eastern Phoebe waits for it’s next meal, Duranceaux Park.

Blue Jays continue to be industrious, Griggs Park.

Red-bellied Woodpecker looks for a meal in Emily Traphagen Park.

The beautiful marking of a Northern Flicker are clearly seen as it briefly pauses overhead, Griggs Park.

Carolina Chickadee, Griggs Park.

Great Blue Heron, Griggs Park, (Donna).

Hairy Woodpecker, Griggs Park.

Easy eats may be why we’ve seen so many Great Egrets along the reservoir and river this spring, (Donna).

Great Egrets, Griggs Park

.

With spring in full swing, there’s almost too much is going on, but we hope everyone enjoyed this photographic celebration of spring in central Ohio.

Griggs Reservoir Cove, Griggs Park, (Donna).

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

XXX

.

Should you wish, prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

piecemealadventurer

Tales of the journeys of a piecemeal adventurer as a discontinuous narrative

Photos by Donna

Sharing My Passion of Birds and Wildlife

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography

Mike Powell

My journey through photography

The Prairie Ecologist

Essays, photos, and discussion about prairie ecology, restoration, and management

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Cat Tales

Mike and Lori adrift

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Exploring Nature in New Hampshire

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog