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.

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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.

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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.

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Blackpoll warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

2. (Donna).

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Yellow warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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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.

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Blackburnian warbler, Magee Marsh, (Donna).

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

2.

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Magnolia warbler, Magee Marsh.

2. (Donna).

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Northern Parula warbler, Magee Marsh.

2.

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***

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).

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

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

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Great Crested Flycatcher, Griggs Reservoir Park.

2.

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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.

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Cedar Waxwing also nest in Griggs Reservoir Park .   .   .

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as does this male Red-winged Blackbird.

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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.

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***

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.

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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.

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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.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Spring along the Scioto River.

 

A Thankful Reflection

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.

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Griggs Reservoir.

Bald Eagle along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Golden Crown Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Along the Scioto River

Tufted Titmouse, (Donna).

November reflection, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Covered Bridge, Mohican State Park.

The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Buckeye, (Donna).

Monarch, (Donna).

Griggs Reservoir

Solitary leaf

Chicory

Design, (Donna).

Red-spotted Purple, (Donna).

Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna).

Autumn color.

Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Giant Swallowtail

Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar.

Mink, Au Sable River MI, (Donna).

Au Sable River Smallmouth, MI, (Donna).

Devoe Lake, MI.

Cardinal Flowers, Rifle River Rec, Area, MI.

Turtlehead, Rifle River Rec. Area. MI.

Common Loons, Devoe Lake, MI, (Donna).

Meal time, Devoe lake, MI

Caspian Tern, Loud Pond, Au Sable River, MI.

Catbirds, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Griggs Reservoir waterfall.

Yellow-throated Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Common Checkered Skipper, (Donna).

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Red Admiral, (Donna).

Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Cliff Swallows, (Donna).

Gray Squirrel.

Baltimore Oriole.

Mohican River, Mohican State Park.

Prothonotary Warbler

Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir

Yellow-collared Scape Moth, (Donna).

Northern Water Snake.

Red-eyed Vireo, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Great Blue Heron, Scioto River, (Donna).

Hayden Run Falls

Mating Northern Water Snakes, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Scarlet Tanager, Griggs Reservoir Park.

White-crowned Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Palm Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Turkey, Blendon Woods Metro Park, (Donna).

<<<>>>

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.

Hooded Mergansers.

More robins than we could count took turns getting a cool drink at waters edge.

Ring-necked Ducks.

The Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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As always, thanks for stopping by and have a Happy New Year!

 

A Chickadee In The Woods

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.

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Sunrise from our front window.

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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.

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Chickadee, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Trying to hide.

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Going about it’s business.

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The ZS50 was also pointed at a much more sedentary Red-bellied Woodpecker.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker in the neighborhood.

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Whatever it was on the menu it was apparently to it’s liking.

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Finally, it’s capabilities were directed towards gulls far out on the reservoir.

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Gulls on ice, Griggs Reservoir.

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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.

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On this particular day the landscape did not cry out to be photographed, Griggs Reservoir Dam.

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While the day was rather drab the waterfowl were cooperative even if it was at a distance.

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Hooded Merganser, (F)

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Despite using trees for cover and moving very slowly, I’m spotted, and the Goldeneyes take flight.

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The Red-necked Ducks aren’t quite as cautious.

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On the other side of the river a male Kingfisher poses.

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A lone Greater Scaup is also seen.

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No stranger to these parts, a Great Blue Heron waits for the river’s flow to deliver lunch.

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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.

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Blue sky, morning sun, and a Cardinal.

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XXX

Waterfowl and Ice

A recent walk was filled with anticipation. Cold weather had resulted in a fresh covering of ice on Griggs Reservoir. When this occurs, the Scioto River, free flowing below the dam, concentrates any waterfowl that might be in the area.

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On the reservoir there were signs of animal activity.

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A light layer of snow reveals the movement of animals crossing the reservoir.

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Tracks, might be a Robin.

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A Canada Goose apparently changed it’s mind, (Donna).

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A frozen fish, and the promise of an easy meal, tempts a small animal. It didn’t make much progress so apparently the “frozen” part was not to it’s liking.

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Design, (Donna)

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What we hadn’t anticipated were the fascinating ice formations along the river. As mentioned in previous posts they are caused by freezing temperatures and receding water levels.

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The Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir.

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Admiring one of the many “Ice Chandeliers”.

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Ice chandeliers, (Donna)

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Chandelier variations, (Donna).

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Along the river, (Donna)

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Reflections.

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A closer look.

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The bigger picture, (Donna).

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A small formation, (Donna).

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After some time enjoying and trying the capture the beauty of the ice we continued our search for the anticipated waterfowl.

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Ring-necked ducks posing for the camera, (Donna).

 

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Another view through shoreline branches..

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While not as plentiful, across the river Hooded Mergansers also made an appearance.

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There were also a few Goldeneyes.

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.   .   .   and Buffleheads.

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A few other birds refused to be left out:

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A female house sparrow enjoys the late afternoon sun.

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Female Downy.

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A Goldfinch “photo bombs” the Junco’s portrait.

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Based on weather forecasts, the ice on the reservoir should be around for awhile. That considered, who knows what birds will be seen in the days to come. In their number there might even be a Bald Eagle.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

XXX

 

 

 

 

A Snipe Hunt

This started out as a post about things seen during a recent hike at Prairie Oaks Metro Park. With two or three inches of snow on the ground and moderating temperatures we thought we’d check out the park as it had been some time since our last visit. We were hoping to see/photograph some interesting waterfowl and perhaps a few other birds we happened to see during our four mile hike. While not much was seen in the way of birds as we worked our way along the shoreline of park ponds and then the Big Darby, we did find other things that intrigued. Then yesterday, frustrated by the lack of birds seen the day before, we decided to visit the area close to home along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River. One of our usual “hang outs” and it did not disappoint. Below is a record of the two day’s adventures.

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Unlike many rivers in central Ohio the Big Darby in Prairie Oaks Metro Park and the streams that feed it usually run pretty clear no matter how much rain we’ve had.

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Winter reflections.

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Some ponded areas along the river freeze over resulting in interesting ice formations.

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Frozen pond, Prairie Oaks

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Ice crystals on the pond surface.

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Some formations are the result of water levels that rise and then fall.

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Water’s edge.

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Ice design, (Donna)

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Interestingly enough we’ve found winter to be a good time for fungi and my wife does a great job of locating it.

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January fungi on log, (Donna).

Wet Rot P1190873

Wet Rot, (Donna)

Jelly fungi Dried out P1190852

Dried out Jelly fungi? (Donna)

Carbon Balls P1190871

Carbon Balls, (Donna)

Oyster Mushroom P1190845fix

Oyster Mushroom, (Donna)

Wet Rot variation P1190855

Wet Rot? (Donna)

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Fast forward one day and we find ourselves along the Scioto River. Black Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Kingfishers, and Carolina Wrens all allowed us to take a picture even if it was from some distance away.

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Black Ducks, Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir.

 

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Hooded Mergansers (M) (F) (IM), Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir.

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Kingfisher (F), Scioto River just below Griggs Reservoir

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A Carolina Wren doing what it does best! Griggs Park, (Donna)

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What really made our day, and really got us excited about this post, was seeing a Common Snipe. Several made their presence known at river’s edge as we stumbled around trying to photograph the ducks along the opposite bank. We couldn’t remember the last time we had seen one, for sure we’d never seen one at this location, so for us it was an uncommon snipe. Excited and elated, we retraced the mile and a half distance back to our car and headed home. It had been time well spent!

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Common Snipe, Scioto River shoreline just below Griggs Reservoir.

PS: I was tempted to photo shop the cinder block out of the picture but we are in the city after all.

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Hopefully on one of your outings in nature in the next few days you will find reason to get as excited as we did. Thanks for stopping by.

****

 

 

 

A Pileated Woodpecker Teaches Persistence

It was early afternoon and clouds were finally allowing some flirtation by the sun so we decided to do a hike at Battelle Derby Creek Metro Park. It wasn’t long after we started what was to be a six mile hike that the clouds again closed in and grew heavier through the remainder of the day. Not the most inspiring weather and certainly not the best for many types of photography.

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Big Darby Creek

 

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But we were hopeful because on quiet cloudy days one often see’s wildlife that normally would be in hiding. Today wasn’t going to be such a day as other than at the feeders near the start of our walk, and a few intrepid sparrows along the way, scanning the trees and brush for birds didn’t turn up much.

House Finch 012515 Battelle Darby cp1

House Finch, (Donna)

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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Tufted Titmouse

 

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Despite the lack of feathered friends we were treated to some interesting fungi made easier to spot by the scarcity of leaves this time of the year.

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Parchment Fungi, (Donna)

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Evening Primrose, (Donna)

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Some type of parchment Fungi

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Common Split Gill

Leafy Lichen 012515 Battelle Darby cp1

Pale Shield (Foliose) Lichen, (Donna)

Jelly Ear Fungus 2 012515 Battelle Darby cp1

Jelly Ear Fungus, (Donna)

Fluffy Mushroom wavy one 012515 Battelle Darby cp1

Mushroom, (Donna)

 

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.   .   .   but yes I forgot, there were a few Canada Geese along the Dig Darby.

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Canada Geese along the Big Darby

 

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Now finally to the point of this post. Near the end of our walk the wind had picked up, it wasn’t getting any warmer, and I had packed my camera away when my wife, with parking lot and car in view, announced “Pileated Woodpecker!!”. With visions of a comfortable car seat and warmth I left her as she headed off into the woods in an effort to get a shot of the bird in the fading light. A few minutes later she retuned with arms raised in victory.

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Pileated Woodpecker, (Donna)

I don’t suppose there’s any need to discuss the moral of this story.

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PS: Recently I got an interesting shot of a Hooded Merganser with a fish. Not something I’d actually seen before.

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A male and female Hooded Merganser were spotted in Griggs Reservoir.

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. . . but close behind came this guy with a fish in his mouth. “Hey you guys, wait for me!”

 

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Thanks for looking in.

 

A Winter Meditation

A typical winter day in central Ohio is cloudy gray and often punctuated by light rain or snow. However, due to temperatures that regularly get above freezing, there’s usually no snow cover. All this contributes to a somber landscape.

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Today a Chickadee, a female Cardinal, and a Nuthatch at our feeder said why don’t you come out and join us it’s really not so bad out here. So we did.

(click on image for a better view)

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Chickadee

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Female Cardinal

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Nuthatch, (Donna)

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Given that it wasn’t a very seductive day we stayed closed to home and went for a walk along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam. We saw no Bald Eagles, or Goldeneyes or other “exotics” today. Even if we had, the low ambient light made photographing anything that was moving a chancy proposition.

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So mostly we walked, stopped periodically to look, and listened. Mallards were quieter today but still occasionally announced their presence, and a Kingfisher could be heard somewhere in the distance while a Great Blue Heron watched from the other bank. The quiet provided the perfect setting to reflect on all the wonderful experiences we’ve had exploring nature in this very small inconspicuous piece of real estate located in the middle of the city. It was a time to be with nature and give thanks.

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Below are a few images from the last few days:

Hooded Mergansers flying 011915 Griggs south cp1

Hooded Mergansers, (Donna)

Black Jelly Roll fungi close-up better 1 012215 Griggs south cp1

Black Jelly Roll Fungi, (Donna)

winter abstract

Winter Abstract

Paper Fungi close-up 012215 Griggs south cp1783

Paper Fungi, (Donna)

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Gray Squirrel along the river.

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Brown Creeper, moving a little too fast for the camera.

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Great Blue Heron across the river.

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Hooded Mergansers

Moss, lichen and fungi abstract 012215 Griggs south cp196

Moss, fungi and lichen, (Donna)

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A Coot makes it’s getaway.

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Thanks for looking in.

Photos by Donna

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