Waterfalls, Birds, and Other Things

Outings in small boats can provide a unique opportunity to view and photograph wildlife. While we don’t pursue birds in our canoe, one will often take flight when approached. When it does, often crossing right in front of us, it offers an opportunity to get a nice “in flight” profile shot. Gliding silently without paddling often provides a chance to get very close to birds thus offering a photographic opportunity that may not be found while hiking.

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Prothonotary Warbler, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Immature Common Merganser, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

A Spotted Sandpiper let us get very close, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Easter Spiny Softshell, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

As we get closer a Great Blue Heron takes flight, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Near the end of our paddle we spot a Great Blue Heron trying to figure out what to do with a just captured snake, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Male House Finch, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

A few days ago Wild Columbine was still in bloom along Griggs Reservoir’s the low cliffs, from the canoe, (Donna).

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A small boat may also allow access to hard to reach points of interest for which there is limited or no access on land. In this case it was one named and one unnamed waterfall along Griggs Reservoir that were energized by the recent rain.

Entering a small creek leading to one of Griggs reservoirs waterfalls.

I’ve paddled as far as I can but fortunately it’s only a short walk to the falls.

Good flow over the falls which are about 6-8 feet high. The shot taken under cloudy conditions which controlled shadows.

Take 2. I’m not sure which shot I like best.

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Hayden Run Falls:

Paddling into the cove at Hayden Run Falls a Great Egret does a welcoming dance as two mallards look on.

Hayden Run Falls, about 35 feet high, benefitted from the recent rain. From the canoe pullout a not so easy hike up a rain swollen creek was required to get to the falls. Normally when using a digital single lens reflex I would have opted for a slower shutter speed to create a sense of motion in the water but a Canon SX40 superzoom and the lack of a tripod limited my options. Hayden Run Falls is also accessible via a boardwalk with parking provided off Hayden Run Road.

 

Take 2. Again, I’m not sure which shot I like best.

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When paddling it’s sometimes hard not to do a little cleanup. However, trying to clean up plastic, not to mention all the other stuff, after it’s already in the environment is next to impossible. While some litter is thrown directly into the reservoir, much finds it’s way in by way of storm drains. The reservoir, home to an amazing amount of biodiversity, thus becomes an aquatic “trash can” for a good percentage of the city’s litter.  This phenomena can be observed to a greater or lesser degree in all of Ohio’s lakes and streams. Paddle lakes and streams in states like Michigan or Maine and it’s obvious that a Ohio Beverage Container Deposit Law would largely eliminate this problem.

Trash canoe.

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<<<>>>

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In the past week, when not in the canoe, we’ve had opportunities explore Griggs Reservoir Park as well as a few other favorite spots.

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Birds:

Immature Song Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Catbird, Griggs Reservoir Park.

I know it’s a very common bird, but the lovely light compelled me to take the picture, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chipping Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Protonotary Warbler, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Mother Mallard with babies, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Perhaps the tail end of the warblers a female American Redstart poses for my wife, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Baltimore Orioles continue to be quite common in Griggs Reservoir Park.

Great Egret preening, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Great Blue Heron with fish, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tree Swallow, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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As spring turns to summer insects are becoming much more common:

Zebulon Skipper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Little Wood-sater, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Grape Leaffolder Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Golden-back Snipe Fly. Adults and larvae feed on a variety of small insects, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Making more flies, (Donna).

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Flowers seen are unique to late spring and early summer:

Blue-flagged Iris, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Canada Anemone, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In my humble opinion the flower of Virginia Waterleaf is not nearly as pretty as it’s early spring leaves, (Donna).

Blue-eyed Grass, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Bittersweet Nightshade, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wafer Ash flowers (not always in the shape of a heart), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Other things:

A Northern Water Snake creates patterns on the otherwise still surface, Twin Lakes, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Very small Snapping Turtle, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna).

After quite a bit of rain the fungus is doing well in Griggs Park.

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The view down a short path leading to the reservoir shows the vegetation to be almost fully leafed out.

Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A special thanks to my wife for supplying many of the photos in this post included those from the canoe as I handled the boat. Given that spring is winding down, my guess is that future posts will contain fewer warbler pictures and probably more insect pictures but one never knows for sure. Future posts may also document new Ohio places explored or at least unique places that haven’t been visited in awhile. Until then, thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Turtles, Snakes, Hawks . . . , Oh My!

Recent explorations in the central Ohio natural places have been good to us. As mentioned in previous posts the warblers are becoming quieter and much harder to find but as is often the case we find other things to fascinate. Below are some discoveries from the past week.

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Early summer wildflowers and flowering trees and bushes.

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Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

 

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Squaw Root, Highbanks Metro Park. Never what one would think of as attractive this example is a bit past it’s prime

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Purple Rocket, Griggs Park.

 

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Flower of the Tulip Tree, Highbanks.

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Fire Pink, Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

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Spiderwort, Glacier Ridge.

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Hairy Hawkweed, Glacier Ridge.

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Squarrose Sedge, Glacier Ridge.

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Mystery flowering bush, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

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Goats beard, non-native, Griggs Park, (Donna FZ200).

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Blue Flag Iris, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Virginia Waterleaf, Highbanks. It’s unusual that the leaves are still variegated. The variegated leaves are one of the beautiful things to look for on the forest floor in the early spring.

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Closer look at a waterleaf flower.

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While we’re not seeing the warblers now other birds are still cooperating.

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Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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An easy to hear hard to see Red-eyed Vireo, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, Twin Lakes Area.

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Great Blue Heron takes a momentary swim in Griggs Reservoir, Canon SX40.

 

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The Prothonotary Warblers continue their nesting activity below Griggs Dam along the Scioto River, SX40.

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In the Scioto Below Griggs Dam a Great Blue Heron waits for a lunch delivery, Canon SX40.

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Eastern Phoebe, Highbanks.

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Song Sparrow, Glacier Ridge.

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Barn Swallow, Glacier Ridge.

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Field Sparrow with a mouthful, Glacier Ridge.

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This past week it was fascinating to see Snapping Turtles laying their eggs at Griggs Park.

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Snapping Turtle, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Snapping turtle nest. This one may have already been raided by a raccoon.

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Other reptiles and amphibians also made an appearance.

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Rat Snake high off the forest floor in a tree hole, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50).

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Bullfrog tadpole, Glacier Ridge.

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Bullfrog, Glacier Ridge.

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We’re heading into the insect time of year. Confirmed by the number seen recent walks.

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Bumble Bee, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Zabulon Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Silver-spotted Skipper, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

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Cabbage White Bouquet, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

 

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Tawny-edged Skipper, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200).

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Common Whitetail, (F), Highbanks, ZS50.

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Common Whitetail (M), Highbanks, ZS50.

 

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Female Blue Dasher, Griggs Park, (Donna, FZ200)

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When you’re looking for interesting insects and flowers other things magically appear.

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Bleeding Tooth, Highbanks, (Donna, ZS50)

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Dead tree, the victim of “bootstrap fungus Bootstrap fungus is caused by honey mushrooms, which are parasitic on live wood and send out long root like structures called rhizomorphs between the wood of a tree and its bark”. (thanks NH Garden Solutions for the ID help!), Highbanks.

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Hope everyone enjoyed our nature menagerie.

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Fishing on the Scioto below Griggs Dam, SX40.

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Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

xxx

 

What’s a Hawk Supposed To Do?

A 8:30 AM start to our paddle on Griggs Reservoir a few days ago meant we weren’t expecting to see much wildlife, but a sunny day with little wind meant a good day for a paddle.

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The first order of business was to check out the cove, not far from our launch site, usually good for birds, to see what might be lurking. After a few minutes of quiet waiting, we were excited to see our first Black-crowned Night Heron of the year. It had apparently decided to hang around a little later into the day just for us.

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Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir

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Black-crowned Night Heron’s can be found in a few isolated locations around Columbus. Griggs Reservoir is one of them. A real treat!

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Leaving the heron we hugged the west shore as we headed north.

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Catalpa Flowers, (Donna)

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The west shore of the reservoir.

Purple Thistle flower 1 060515 Griggs paddle cp1

Thistle? (Donna)

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We hadn’t paddled long when we saw a Red-tailed Hawk posed majestically in the top of a tall pine right along the shore.

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Red-tailed Hawk

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I took a few pictures but it was hard not to notice the orange streaks in the viewfinder, so I kept shooting.

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The attack begins . . .

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From all angles.

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Reinforcements arrive.

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The attack continues . . .

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After more attacks than the number of pictures indicates, the hawk decides to take flight. Leaving the area to the orioles.

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A little further on we see the reason of the orioles aggressive behavior. They were nesting.

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Male Baltimore Oriole at nest.

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We reached the Hayden Run Bridge and decided a break was in order. Once out of the canoe it wasn’t long before Donna was finding interesting things to look at and photograph.

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Time for a break, Hayden Run Falls Park.

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Hayden Run

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Eastern Comma, (Donna)

Fragile Forktail 1 060515 Griggs paddle cp1

Fragile Forktail, (Donna)

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Hairy Beardtongue, (Donna)

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Along with the beauty of Ohio’s waterways and natural areas there’s always the other stuff, predominately beverage containers, but also other associated trash. Based on observations paddling in states that have beverage container deposit laws, most of the trash seen in Ohio reservoirs is due to the lack of such a law. The trash either gets in them directly or via the storm sewers. Below is an example of some of the trash we were able to retrieve during our 3 hour 5 mile paddle.

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By the time we got back to our launch site we had accumulated quite a bit more.

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The return trip was pleasant but relatively uneventful with few photo opportunities, but it had been a good day for a paddle. To end on a high note, I thought I’d dress up the end of this post with a few more nice butterfly photos taken by my wife.

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Cabbage White, (Donna)

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Cabbage White, (Donna)

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Red Admiral, (Donna)

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

While I Was Out Fishing

I’ve been drawn away from my pursuit of pictures in nature by an interest in wetting a line to see what fish might decide to cooperate. Actually, as those who’ve read this blog for awhile have already guessed, for me fishing is more about just being outdoors and messing around in a small boat.

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My wife has graciously offered to take up the slack. Below are some of her photos taken along Griggs Reservoir over the last few days.

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Milkweed budding, (Donna)

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Hairy Beardtongue, (Donna)

Canada Anemone 2 whole plant 1 053015 Griggs N. solo walk    cp1

Canada Anemone, (Donna)

Blue-eyed Grass 2 053015 Griggs N. solo walk cp1

Blue-eyed Grass, (Donna)

Bee on clover 2 better 1 053015 Griggs N. solo walk   cp1

Bumble Bee on clover, (Donna)

Wild Garlic or Onion 1 053015 Griggs N. solo walk cp1

Wild Garlic, (Donna)

Spiderwort 4 close-up 1 side view 2 053015 Griggs N. solo   walk cp1

Spiderwort, (Donna)

Northern Catalpa flower 2 closer 1 053015 Griggs N. solo   walk cp1

Northern Catalpa, (Donna)

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Sometimes nature decides to come to you, as did this Northern Flicker yesterday morning just as we were getting to head out on a bike ride. It left us scrabbling for our cameras as it’s a rare visitor to our city yard.

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Northern Flicker

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Northern Flicker, (take 2)

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Northern Flicker, (take 3)

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The beautiful markings deserve a closer look.

 

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Thanks for stopping by.

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