Posted on January 27, 2016
A beautiful sunrise can offer inspiration as well as motivation to get outside and see what’s going on. This is especially true when it may mean rain later in the day.
So after a quick breakfast, off we went. By way of explanation for the following few shots let me first say that we love Chickadees, whether they’re at our feeder or in the woods they never fail to put a smile on our face. Encountering one after several miles of hiking is extra special if for no other reason than that you’ve worked hard to get to the meeting place. “Free-range” Chickadees just can’t be beat. A further preface to the pics is that they were taken with a very pocketable Panasonic ZS50 a camera purchased with a hike of the Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula in mind. While no replacement for the capability of a DSLR when it comes to creative effects, low light capability, and fast and precise focus, I’ll let you be the judge is to just how well it does. Clicking on the image will give a slightly better idea of the resolution. All images are significant crops and were taken at 30x zoom.
The ZS50 was also pointed at a much more sedentary Red-bellied Woodpecker.
Finally, it’s capabilities were directed towards gulls far out on the reservoir.
A day later at the same location but now with the “bird camera” I was hoping to document interesting waterfowl and perhaps see the Mute or Trumpeter Swans that were observed flying over head the day before.
While the day was rather drab the waterfowl were cooperative even if it was at a distance.
All in all, the last two days were good. The Panasonic ZS50 appears quite capable of doing what’s needed in Ireland and having the “bird camera” out again reminded me why it is also in the stable. Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, nature, photography, Scioto River Tagged: Canon SD850, Canon T3i with Sigma 150-500mm, Chickadee, Common Goldeneye, Great Blue Heron, Greater Scaup, Hooded Mergansers, Kingfisher, Panasonic ZS50, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Ring-necked Duck, Ringed bill Gulls
Posted on March 8, 2015
We’ve been working our way around the Scioto River Watershed in Columbus looking for migrating waterfowl and signs of spring. The spring part has been tough as snow continues to cover most of the ground. But today we discovered the first unambiguous sign that spring can’t be far away.
On the road to discovery we noticed some things that weren’t that encouraging.
Still, while looking for birds we took an opportunity to direct our gaze towards the ground hoping to see Skunk Cabbage a plant that generates it’s own internal heat to get the jump on lesser plants.
After seeing the Skunk Cabbage it was hard not to notice and imagine the birds in the area celebrating our discovery.
Thank’s for looking in.
Posted on March 4, 2015
One of our favorite places to look for waterfowl this time of the year is along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam. It’s an area that’s accessible only on foot so using a car as a blind to get closer to the birds is not an option. When one ties to sneak up on waterfowl for a decent photo one quickly realizing why duck hunters use blinds. Truth is, after years of being shot at, the only the wary birds a left. The dumb ones have been selected out.
So recently I tired a new technique. Rather than stalking the birds, moving quietly from cover to cover. I decided to find a good spot and quietly lean against a tree and wait for the birds to float by. It was a sunny 20 degrees with no wind which made the process not uncomfortable. In the past the other technique I’ve used is to walk down river and then slowly work my way back upstream. It turns out that the birds are less interested in swimming upstream to get away from a low level treat. However, when the treat is sufficient they will fly.
So below are some of the results using the above techniques:
There were also a few other birds that made me smile:
It’s hard not to notice other forms of beauty when out looking for birds:
Thanks for looking in.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Hoover Park, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Canon T3i with Sigma 150-500mm, Cardinal, Chickadee, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Greater Scaup, Herring Gull, Red Head, Red-breasted Merganser, Song Sparrow
Posted on January 7, 2015
Yesterday it was a brisk 15 F but we decided to ignore the cold and do our six mile urban hike down to Griggs Reservoir. The goal was to see if any new birds had taken up residence. It had recently snowed so even if no birds were sighted we hoped to get a few nice landscape shots.
I have observed that the greater my affection for a place the better any photographs taken are likely to be. A beautiful photo just for the sake of a beautiful photo doesn’t excite me nearly as much as trying to express love for a place that I have come to know intimately. So we are lucky, as I suspect many of you are, that we have such places nearby, some within walking distance, that we return to many times throughout the year, looking for any birds, wildlife, fungi, lichen, and wildflowers that may be present. The resultant pictures hopefully become a way to celebrate a place, the adventure, and what we see.
Getting back to our walk. When we arrived at the park, we noticed a grouping of waterfowl out in the middle of the reservoir. They turned out to be Greater Scaup which are not as common as Lesser Scaup in central Ohio and the first we’ve seen this winter.
It was very cold so unless a bird looked as though it was going to be an easy shot we found ourselves concentrating on landscapes made possible by the fresh snow.
I couldn’t resist including the following picture which shows the position I assumed after we returned from our walk.
Thanks for looking in and we hope you have an opportunity to celebrate nature in your neighborhood this week.
Posted on March 28, 2014
It’s late March in central Ohio and the last few days we’ve occupied ourselves looking for whatever birds we could find. Rather than travelling far afield, we’ve enjoyed staying close to home and discovering all that we can along the Scioto River and Griggs and O’Shaughnessy Reservoirs. The early spring warblers haven’t yet started moving through in any appreciable numbers so what are we seeing?
A few days ago while patrolling the Griggs Park for Loons we came across a immature Bald Eagle being harassed by crows. Unfortunately, by the time the camera was ready for action, the eagle decided it had had enough of the crows and was flying off.
click on images for a better view
Not long after that we saw our first Great Egret of the year.
Double-crested Cormorants have also just arrived.
While I was busy taking pictures of birds that were either too far away or moving too fast for a really great picture, my wife got lovely pictures of a Downey Woodpecker and a Great Blue Heron.
Today, driving north along O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, we were fortunate to see Canvasbacks and there were even some other “bonus ducks” in the mix. However, the birds being pretty far from shore resulted in images that are not of the highest quality.
Finally, the latest addition to my birding equipment is the “Bird Bike”. It allows more ground to be covered but when something of interest is spotted it’s easy to stop and hop off.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, O'Shaughnessy Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Bald Eagle, Birding in Ohio, Canvasback, Downy Woodpecker, Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants, Great Egret, Greater Scaup, Ringed-neck
Posted on March 9, 2014
Yesterday we decided to try something different; just sit quietly at rivers edge just below Griggs Dam and wait for the birds to come to us. We usually photograph birds as we walk and what ever we happen to see is what we try to capture. Because we’re walking, sometimes relatively long distances, carrying a lot of equipment is usually not part of the plan. Most shots are hand held with maybe a convenient tree used as a brace
So there we sat on three legged collapsible stools and waited. We both had our cameras braced on lightweight tripods fitted with ball heads which allowed them to swivel easily to capture the action. The tripods weren’t heavy enough to fully support our DSLR’s with long telephotos but were light and portable and should provide additional support.
We hoped to accomplish two things; see if waiting quietly in one spot improved our ability to get more candid shots of waterfowl behavior, and secondly see if additional support (even if just a lightweight tripod) improved image sharpness and quality.
The first test shots were taken of a grebe on the other side of the river as, at that point, there was nothing else around. To be honest, since they were just “test shots”, I didn’t take a good look at the bird until writing this blog entry which was after reading Seasons Flow’s latest post. Thanks to this follow Columbus blogger we were able to correctly ID the bird as a Red-necked Grebe, rare for Ohio, and the first my wife and I had ever seen.
Click on the images for a better view.
It wasn’t long after we tired of photographing the grebe that a number of Goldeneyes flew in and landed right in front of us but on the other side of the river. What happened next was truly amazing. It was a mating dance of Goldeneyes with lots of movement among the birds. The following stills obviously don’t show the movement so just image a lot of movement between each pic and you’ll kind of get the idea.
The results of our experiment seem to show that, under the right circumstances, there is an advantage to waiting for the birds to come to you. Secondly there appears to be a definite advantage to using a lightweight tripod as a brace when shooting with a long telephoto lens.
Some other shots taken that day. All at relatively long distances and cropped.
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on March 6, 2014
With Griggs Reservoir frozen over we’ve continued our efforts to identify waterfowl in the open river just below the dam. As mentioned in previous posts the frozen reservoir tends to concentrate the birds in this area. We continued to see Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, Hooded Mergansers, as well as Bald Eagles and hawks in this area. My wife even noticed a White-winged Scoter in one of her pics but didn’t feel it was good enough to post
On the day we took most of the below pictures the birds were showing a real inclination to take flight whenever we got close. We haven’t paid much attention to the color of our clothing so we switched to drabber colors hoping to improve our success with the ducks. It didn’t seem to make much difference. We’re now thinking that they notice our movement even if it’s very slow.
Click on images for a better view.
The Common Mergansers were also flying:
Some ducks seemed content not to fly.
In recent days we’ve noticed that a Red-tailed Hawk has initiated nesting activities high in a Sycamore along the west bank of the river.
The highlight of the day was sighting this mature Bald Eagle:
Perhaps one of it’s offspring, cruising above the trees not far away.
We’ve had fun trying to identify this immature hawk spotted in the parking lot of Hoover Park’s Frisbee Golf Course:
My wife got a beautiful picture of a White-throated Sparrow and we obtained pics of other birds that seemed to be sitting on the side line as the eagles and ducks entertained us.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Buffle Head, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Hoover Park, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River Tagged: Bald Eagle, Cardinal, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Greater Scaup, Hairy Woodpecker, Ring-necked Duck, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-throated Sparrow
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