A Moment of Magic

The central Ohio winter landscape seldom beckons with snow draped conifers or the flowing design of a meandering creek through a landscape blanketed in white.

Still, if one looks closely there is beauty. “Flowers” in a season when there are none.

Female Northern Cardinal
Tufted Titmouse
This Merlin makes it’s living in the abandoned section of an operating quarry. We only recall seeing them in central Ohio during migration and in the winter.
Female House Finch
We’re always on the lookout for the tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet in the winter but sometimes we only get a fleeting glimpse.
White-throated Sparrows are winter residents that make their living in thickets.
This Song Sparrow really blends in.

***

For several days temperatures struggled to get out of the teens.

Surrounded by ice chandeliers the mallards don’t seem too concerned about the 15F temperature.
With its feet in the water and surrounded by ice this Great Blue Heron looks cold
Cold temperatures and flowing water may mean ice pancakes.
Maybe these Hooded Mergansers are just trying to stay warm.
Icy water.

***

Yesterday it finally warmed into the thirties. Even though our social schedule meant we only had time for a quick look along the river before darkness fell, given recent activity, we thought it was worth checking out. Perhaps the mergansers would still be there. After walking about a half mile along the river, we were not disappointed.

(Photo by Donna)
(Photo by Donna)

Not only did we see mergansers, but there was more than the day before, and most mature males were engaged in breeding displays. Thinking back, we couldn’t remember a time when we had seen such an extensive display. Had the increase in temperature of some twenty degrees triggered the behavior? We could only guess.

For us finding nature’s magic in the woods, on a river, or secluded lake has never been hard, but in the embrace of Ohio’s stark January landscape it’s truly something special.

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