A Tropical Bird in Columbus

We decided to go for a walk below Griggs Reservoir Dam this morning hoping to see some migrating warblers. Usually Saturday morning is a weekly date with our tandem bicycle but the weather looked threatening so birding, where we could get back to the car quickly, seemed like the thing to do. The wind was supposed to pick up later in the day so we got an early start.

The first bird to greet us was one of our favorites, a Baltimore Oriole. Usually we see them at the top of tall trees after he trees have fully leafed out making them difficult to photograph. However, this one was lower in a tree whose leaves were not yet completely hiding it. It struck numerous poses for us as it busied itself eating what appeared to be young seed pods.

click on image for a better view

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Baltimore Oriole, study 1

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Baltimore Oriole, study 2

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Baltimore Oriole, study 3

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Baltimore Oriole, study 4

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Baltimore Oriole, study 5 (Donna)

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After almost being chased back to the car by a passing shower, we continued on, hearing lots of birds but not seeing much. Today, with it leafing out more, our line of sight wasn’t what it was just a few days ago. Cardinals seemed to be everywhere so we didn’t give it much thought when a bright red bird appeared in the distance. A quick look through the binoculars revealed it to be not a Cardinal but a Scarlet Tanager! We were excited as we usually have to travel some distance to see such a bird and here it was less than two miles from our house. It was undoubtedly just passing through but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. The Scarlet Tanager is one of those birds that, when seen, transports me to the jungles of South America. It looks just a little out of place in Ohio.

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Scarlet Tanager

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Scarlet Tanager, study 1

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Scarlet Tanager, study 2

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Energized buy the tanager we continued on, seeing other tropical and sub-tropical migrants including a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Warbling Vireo and numerous warblers.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler, study 1

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Warbling Vireo, hiding

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Palm Warbler, study 1

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Palm Warbler, study 2

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Great Crested Flycatcher

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Orchard Oriole, study 1

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Orchard Oriole, study 2

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Nashville Warblers, too far away!

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Yellow-rumped Warbler, study 2

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When the birds didn’t have our attention we couldn’t help but notice some beautiful fungus which was undoubtedly a product of recent rains.

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Dryad’s Saddle, study 1

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Dryad’s Saddle, study 2

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Mystery Mushroom, (Donna)

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Shelf Fungi, also Dryad’s Saddle?

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A Scarlet Tanager in the middle of Columbus. It doesn’t get much better.

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Scarlet Tanager, (Donna)

 

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Hiking and Birding as Spring Moves On

Yesterday morning we enjoyed a 6 mile hike with friends at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Everything was coming to life with numerous wildflowers including Trilliums and Celandine or Wood Poppies along the trail.

click on the images for a better view

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Celandine Poppy, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Celandine Poppy , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Celandine Poppy, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Buckeye Leaves, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Trillium, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

Later in the day we decided to see what warblers could be found along the reservoir in Griggs Park and the area below the dam. Several people stopped to ask what we were looking at as we peered up into the trees. One or two were fellow birders with binoculars which is always encouraging. The number of warblers seen exceeded our expectations.

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Palm Warbler, Griggs Park

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Palm Warbler, Griggs Park

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Warbling Vireo, Griggs Park

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Warbling Vireo, Griggs Park

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Yellow-throated Warbler, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam

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Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park

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Blackpoll Warbler, Griggs Park

Redbuds, other flowering trees, and wildflowers were making an already cheerful day even brighter.

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Redbud, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Violets, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Crabapple Blossoms, Griggs Park

The Map Turtles were definitely taking advantage of the warm afternoon sun.

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How many Map Turtles can you fit on a rock? Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Bigger Map Turtles on a smaller rock.

It wasn’t hard to imagine a Smallmouth Bass just below the surface.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

Green is now winning out over the colors of winter.

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Sycamore along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Spring Wonder Along the Scioto

It’s mid April and changes in the plant and animal world are occurring at such a fast pace that it feels as though, were you to look away, you’d miss “it”. This is certainly the case for Hoover Park and the area along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

Below are some recent photos as we continue our spring wildflower and warbler quest.

click on the image for a better view

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The White Trout Lilly does not seem to be as common as the Yellow:

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White Trout Lilly

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White Trout Lilly, study 2

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Yellow Trout Lilly:

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Yellow Tout Lilly

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Yellow Trout Lilly, study 2 (Donna)

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Virginia Bluebells:

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Virginia Bluebells (Donna)

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Virginia Bluebells, study 2

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Be careful where you place your hand when crouching down to get a closer look:

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Common Water Snake

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Other wildflowers seen below the Griggs Reservoir Dam in the past few days:

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Dutchman’s Breeches

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Toadshade Trillium

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Marsh Marigolds

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Marsh Marigolds, study 2

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Cutleaf Toothwort

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Cutleaf Toothwort, study 2

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Mystery Flower in large group, (Donna)

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At the river’s edge:

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Great Egret across the river

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Crayfish in pool (Donna)

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Hints of Green

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Great Egret and Great Blue Heron

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Map Turtle

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Redbuds

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Spring Azure, a very small butterfly. (Donna)

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Blue-gray Gnatcatchers seem to be fairly common this year:

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Donna)

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, study 2

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, study 3

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Someone’s been busy:

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Robin’s Eggs (Donna)

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No walk is complete without a Downy Woodpecker or a Chickadee:

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Chickadee

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Male Downy Woodpecker

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A Yellow-throated warbler in the tree tops:

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Yellow-throated Warbler

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Yellow-throated Warbler, study 2 (Donna)

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Early spring stained glass:

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Stained Glass

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Thanks for stopping by.

The Swan was Mute

Yesterday, after returning from a short trip to Florida, we decided to recondition ourselves to the winter weather by taking a walk along Griggs Reservoir.

Because it was slightly above freezing, the 8-10 inches of snow still on the ground was very wet so we decided to walk the plowed road running through the park rather than our usual route.  The reservoir was still iced over which may be a record for recent years. Last year, ice covered the reservoir for at most 7 days compared to this years thirty plus.

Walking along the reservoir, robins and woodpeckers greeted us with song sparrows singing like it was a sunny spring day.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker in front yard.

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Downy Woodpecker along Griggs Reservoir, Donna

Scanning the reservoir we noticed what appeared to be a strangely shaped clump of snow. The binoculars revealed the clump to be a Mute Swan. It appeared to be relaxing on the ice in the middle of the reservoir. A rather odd sight.

Mute Swan on Griggs Reservoir

Mute Swan on Griggs Reservoir

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Mute Swan

Why it choose that location to relax is anybody’s guess. In the winter we’ve seen swans in the river below the dam but never on the ice in the middle of the reservoir. One thing is for sure, it didn’t have to worry about predators sneaking up on it. About an hour passed and it was till there went we left the park amazed by what we’d seen.

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