Hoping For A Bald Eagle

My wife said she saw a Bald Eagle along Griggs Reservoir not far from our home two days ago. Given that the forecast was heavy rain all day today, we thought we’d better look for the eagle before the rains came. So yesterday we did check out the reservoir and the Scioto River below the dam. New arrivals were seen but no Bald Eagle. Some birds seen but not photographed included Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black Ducks, Ruddy Ducks and some of the usual suspects including; Ringed Billed Gulls and Great Blue Herons.

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Compared to last winter which was much colder and drove the birds to open water further south into our area, interesting migrating waterfowl have been much harder to find this year. That could always change as the winter progresses.

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We were excited when a Kingfisher let us get a little closer than usual.

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Male Kingfisher along the Scioto

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Male Kingfisher take two.

 

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A Red-bellied Woodpecker posed briefly for my wife.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker along the Scioto

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Then flew away.

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Making it’s getaway!

 

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Along the reservoir Bluebirds were enjoying the sunshine in Griggs Park.

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Bluebird (male), Griggs Park

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Bluebird (female), Griggs Park (Donna)

 

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We saw Hooded Mergansers along the river for the first time this winter.

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Hooded Mergansers, Scioto River below Griggs Dam, (Donna)

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Two more.

 

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Ice was just forming on the reservoir and the Mallards seemed to be enjoying it.

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Mallard Ducks munching on ice.

 

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Thanks for looking in. In the coming week we hope you have an opportunity to enjoy nature in your neighborhood.

 

 

An Unlikely Bird for Thanksgiving

Yesterday the wind blew at 40 – 50 miles per hour for most of the day so we occupied ourselves with indoor activities. Today the wind moderated but clouds moved in. A recent warm spell had taken care of the cover of snow from a few days earlier. All of which resulted in a rather dreary landscape. But realizing that this is the type of day interesting birds are often seen, we headed down to Griggs Park to see what we might see.

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For the first part of our walk nothing out of the ordinary presented itself so to reassure ourselves that we were seeing birds we compiled a list:

Mallard Ducks

Canada Geese

Robins

Gold Finch

Carolina Wren

Kingfisher

Dark Eyed Juncos

Song Sparrow

Cardinals

Great Blue Herons

Chickadees

Blue Birds

Pied Billed Grebe

Cedar Waxwings

.    .    .    and I may have missed a few.

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You are probably wondering why the list. That would be because, due to the amount of light available, there were few pictures.

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Before yesterday’s big wind striped the few remaining leaves off the trees, things were a little more cheerful and I was able to get a few front yard feeder shots.

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A Cardinal looks for seeds under the feeder.

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A Nuthatch enjoys the peanut butter log.

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. . . and so does a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

 

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However, during today’s walk my wife did capture a Kingfisher while attempting to photograph something else. Not a national Geographic shot by any stretch of the imagination but rather amazing considering the day.

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Kingfisher along the Scioto, (Donna)

 

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Almost back to the car we spotted a Killdeer. What was a Killdeer doing along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, especially this time of the year? While certainly not uncommon, it nevertheless was an exciting find as we couldn’t recall ever seeing one along the reservoir before.

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Killdeer (It never let us get real close), Griggs Park

 

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Sometimes it’s an ordinary bird in unordinary circumstances that fascinates. We hope you make time to enjoy nature in your neighborhood. You never know what you might find.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Griggs Reservoir, a Haven for Herons

Since Griggs Reservoir is close to home we often use it for our “workout” paddles during the week when things are quiet. On those paddles we hope to see a few things worth a closer look or maybe even a picture. On a typical ten mile paddle we’ll have fifteen to twenty Great Blue Heron sightings. On some days one or two Black Crowned Night Herons will be seen and on most days two or three Green Herons. The Green Herons are one of our favorites because, as well as being less common, their behavior is often curious or even comical.

On a recent paddle a young Green Heron decided to pose for a few pictures while either hunting for food or preening. It was quite a show. Of course before we encountered the heron there were other things to see.

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Near our launch on Griggs Reservoir

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No shortage of Cedar Waxwings and Kingbirds near our launch in Griggs Park.

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A tree full of Cedar Waxwings, Griggs Park

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Cedar Waxwing, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Kingbird, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Across the reservoir as we head north a Kingfisher tries to hide.

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Kingfisher, Griggs Reservoir

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One of many Great Blue Herons seen.

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A heron for every dock (almost)! (Donna)

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A little further north we even see a Great Egret. They never let us get very close.

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Great Egret high in a tree, Griggs Reservoir

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Great Egret, a graceful acrobat, (Donna)

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Still further north heading into the “wetlands” area.

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Paddling the north end of Griggs Reservoir

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Griggs Reservoir “Wetlands” landscape.

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Landing, “wetlands” area, Griggs Reservoir.

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But it was an immature Green Heron won the day.

Whether it was hunting:

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Green Heron, study 1, hunting.

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Green Heron, study 2, hunting.

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Green Heron, study 3, hunting

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Green Heron, study 4, hunting.

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.   .   .   or preening:

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During lunch a Green Heron lands near by.

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Green Heron, study 1, preening, (Donna)

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Green Heron, study 2, preening, (Donna)

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Green Heron, study 3, preening, (Donna)

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Green Heron, study 4, preening, (Donna)

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Green Heron, study 5, preening, (Donna)

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When the heron was through entertaining us there was plenty of other things to see.

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Water Willow

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Wasp on Boneset

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Asiatic Dayflower (invasive)

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Wingstem with beetle and Bumblebee

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Virginia White Moth, (Donna)

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Mushroom emerging, (Donna)

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False Dragonhead

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Bee on False Dagonhead

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Silver Spotted Skipper on False Dragonhead

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Ironweed

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Ironweed with bee, a closer look.

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A day to remember as a fresh wind out of the north made for a easy paddle home.

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North end of Griggs Reservoir.

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Too Many Ospreys To Count

Recently we decided the paddle the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir. To get started we put in at the Howard Rd launch and headed north. Early in the year we can expect to see both migrating and breeding warblers along the shore. In late July, from all we can tell, the warblers are no longer present. If they are, they’re being real quite.  So what would we see? Since it was a beautiful day, cool temperatures and a light wind, it didn’t matter too much. It was a great day for a paddle.

As we made our way up the reservoir we did manage to see Spotted Sandpipers, Green Herons, Cormorants, Kingfishers, Terns, Great Blue Herons, Hummingbirds, Peewee’s, Phoebe’s, a Bald Eagle and even a Yellow Billed Cuckoo. Not bad! However, the real star’s of the day were all the Osprey’s. The nesting platforms at the north end of Alum Creek Reservoir were very successful this year. There were too many birds to count!

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The route.

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Bluffs overlooking north end Alum Creek Reservoir

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Spotted Sandpiper near the bluffs, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Cormorants, Alum Creek Reservoir, (Donna)

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Alum Creek, submerged tree.

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Quite a few Eastern Amber wings were out, (Donna)

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Eastern Comma, looking a little tired.

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Large Wolf Spider along the shore, Alum Creek Reservoir

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Cliff along Alum Creek where it flows into the reservoir.

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Kingfisher perched along the cliff.

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Osprey, north end of Alum Creek Reservoir

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Osprey, north end of Alum Creek Reservoir, study 2

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Osprey, north end of Alum Creek Reservoir, study 3

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Sandbar on Alum Creek, as far up the river as we could paddle.

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Alum Creek

 

 

A Puffy White Cloud Sort of Day

Mid-July and it was a perfect day for a long paddle on Griggs Reservoir. Temperature in the low seventies, little wind, with puffy white clouds dotting a very blue sky. The canoe seemed to glide along effortlessly.

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Paddle, drops and ripples, the aesthetic of canoeing.

Are we really in Columbus?

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A Puffy White Cloud Kind of Day, (Donna)

 

It wasn’t long before we started seeing birds. First it was a Kingfisher as we entered a cove.

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Female Kingfisher

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Just barely two pictures.

A little further a Double Crested Cormorant enjoys the morning sun.

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Double Crested Cormorant

As does a Painted Turtle.

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Painted Turtle on Griggs Reservoir

 

A little while later, north along the west shore we surprised a Red-tailed Hawk as it enjoyed breakfast. A bad day for the snake.

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Red-tailed Hawk

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Not a happy day for the snake.

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Red-tailed Hawk, study 2

 

Continuing on north of Hayden Run.

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Mallards in the morning mist.

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Griggs Reservoir natural area.

 

Several Ospreys were seen just south of the 161 bridge.

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Osprey on Griggs Reservoir

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Taking flight

 

In the same area a White Tail Dear made it’s way across the Scioto River.

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Where the Scioto flows into Griggs Reservoir.

A Green Heron plays hide and seek.

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Immature Green Heron

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Hiding

 

While in the north end of the reservoir we pulled out to explore the “wetlands area”.

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Normally this area would be covered with vegetation but recent high water has slowed that down.

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Wetlands Area

 

As is usually the case, my wife was hot on the trail of any wildflowers or birds she could find.

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Water Willow, (Donna)

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House Wren, (Donna)

 

It was hard to head back to our launch but we did have five miles ahead of us before we could call it a day.

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A great day to be on the water, Scioto River just north of Griggs Reservoir.

 

 

Kingfisher

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Kingfisher

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Our canoe moves quietly along the shore.

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Sensing our approach

it flies

from a bare branched tree

and then another

noisily protesting

always just ahead.

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Something is seen and just as quickly

it dives

breaking the water’s surface

disappearing into another world.

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Quickly reemerging with a fish

it flies from the surface as if water and air are one

stopping to rest on a branch.

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For a moment, paddling closer, we are ignored.

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Then

as if destined to always be just ahead

off it flies

to another bare branched tree.

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rsp

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Kingfisher, Griggs Reservoir

Kingfisher, Griggs Reservoir

 

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