The Orioles Fledge

It seems like just a few days ago that the Baltimore Orioles arrived in central Ohio. But in the bird world things happen fast and now their young are ready to fledge. Spring offers up a bounty of insects and berries so whether it’s a warbler or an oriole it’s no accident that it’s a popular time to raise young. Chickadees have also fledged and we were fortunate to be able to observe the young begging for the next morsel the parents offered up. 

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Mature Baltimore Oriole at the nest in Griggs Reservoir Park.

Someone wants breakfast.

Breakfast is served.

Food keeps coming whether in the nest or out, (Donna).

Not long before the first flight.

.   .   .   and finally away from the nest.

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Two young Carolina Chickadees beg for a meal in Griggs Reservoir Park.

They’re not much smaller than the adults.

And just as cute!

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Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were also observed busily flying about perhaps also collecting food for their young.

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher in Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Some mom’s seemed to have a little more than they could deal with.

Female Mallard with young in Griggs Reservoir.

But that doesn’t seem to bother the males.

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While looking for fledglings we were charmed by the presence of other birds in Griggs reservoir Park.

A Catbird sings.

With the presence of berry rich trees Cedar Waxwings were everywhere.

My wife spotted this Hairy Woodpecker, a bird not often seen in the park, (Donna).

A Spotted Sandpiper forages on a log in the rain swollen reservoir.

This Great Crested Flycatcher has a nest somewhere nearby.

It won’t be long before we see this Kingbird with young.

Redwing Blackbird nests are always hard to find but this female is happy to pose for a picture, (Donna).

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Even with the departure of most warblers a couple of weeks ago, there was still plenty of bird activity to observe in the park.

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Hay, what about me!

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Thanks for stopping by.

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First Snow Meditation

The time between the departure of the last fall color and the first snow is always hard.  Ohio’s cloudy late November skies don’t help.

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It is true that even with the lack of snow cold weather can provide fascinating things to look at.

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Ice patterns along the Big Darby, (Donna)

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However, given the recent brown grey landscape, todays light snow beckoned us to venture out and again wonder at the transformation.

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Picnic table, Griggs Park.

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With snow outlining shoreline branches the view across the reservoir was now quite different.

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Boats on the opposite shore, Griggs Reservoir.

 

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Mallards, even with snow on their backs, didn’t seem too bothered.

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Recalling pictures taken a few days earlier it was easy to imagine that the birds were in a better mood without the cold wet snow.

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Chickadee

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Female Downy Woodpecker, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Black Ducks along the Scioto River, (Donna).

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Except maybe for this guy.

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Grumpy White-throated Sparrow, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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We continued our walk along the Scioto River seeing and hearing nuthatches, kinglets, creepers, and kingfishers but mostly just enjoying the place.

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Just below Griggs Dam

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Looking south.

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Water soon to be ice.

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The snow clings to the trees.

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A small shallow pond freezes over early.

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Rocks which might have gone unnoticed before.

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In the stillness the snow continues to fall.

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Unlike an April snowfall a late November or early December first snow is always magic. It opens our eyes to a world whose subtle beauty had been forgotten and is now again new. Thanks for stopping by.

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In the holiday spirit a bulb had been placed on a tree along the reservoir, Griggs Park.

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Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

Little Things and The Whole

Sometimes when in nature it’s not about a new discovery to photograph,  it’s about being in the moment, awake, content with the “usual” flowers, insects, or birds, their motion, colors, sounds, feeling the cool early morning air, drawing it into our lungs, aware as treetop leave rustle and small ripples appear along the reservoir shore.

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Reflection of a small branch breaking the water’s surface.

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But even during those times, in that experience, we do see things that draw us out, that asked to be photographed, and in doing so embrace us in a feeling of oneness with something that is part but also beyond ourselves.  In that moment time, as if also captured by the photograph, stands still.

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Recent dry weather has resulted in low water levels.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Flower’s continue to be a part of the wonder.

Moth mullein, an invasive species native to Eurasia and North Africa, it has naturalized in the US.

Moth mullein, an invasive species native to Eurasia and North Africa, it has naturalized in North America..

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White Mulberry, Griggs Park.

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Scarlet Pimpernel, probably an escapee, (Donna), Griggs Park.

 

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Backyard Day Lily.

Thimbleweed, Griggs Park

Thimbleweed, Griggs Park.

 

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Park.

Butterfly Weed, Griggs Park.

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Motherwort, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Chicory, Griggs Park.

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Pokeweed, Griggs Park.

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Wild Lettuce, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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When looking at flowers other things are seen.

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Female Powdered Dancer, (Donna) Griggs Park.

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Female Blue Fronted Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Stream Bluets, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Blue Fronted Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Powdered Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Dusky Dancer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Widow Skimmer, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Question Mark, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Question Mark, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Bronze Copper, Griggs Park.

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Hackberry Emperor, Griggs Park.

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Crane Fly along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Black and Yellow Wasp, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Canadian Petrophila Moths, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Black Swallowtail caterpillar, (Donna) Griggs Park.

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On a recent walk an Osprey was spotted in what appeared to be an agitated state.

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Osprey being dive bombed by a Baltimore Oriole. Along the Scioto below Griggs Dam

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The oriole kept at it.

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The Osprey finally flew away.

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We’ve also been fortunate to enjoy a few other birds.

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Eastern Phoebe, (immature), Griggs Park.

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Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park.

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With an insect.

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Prothonotary warbler, (immature) Griggs Park. We have at least two nesting pairs along the reservoir and river just below the dam.

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Griggs Reservoir nature.

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There seem to be lots of chipmunks right now.

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Chipmunk, (Donna), Griggs Park.

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Being a mom isn’t easy.

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All right kids could you swim the other way I’m getting dizzy.

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That’s better!

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Sometimes being in nature just means relaxing.

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Not a lunker but a nice Smallmouth Bass that went swimming right after this picture, Griggs Reservoir.

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Sometimes the opportunity to reflect on what’s been experienced is as good as reliving it a second time.

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Different Mood

Light creates different moods and brings to our attention beauty in design, shape, and form not noticed before. Such was the case walking along the Scioto River a few days ago.

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Tree roots along the Scioto River

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Other things were also noticed. Some, like the Golden Crowned Kinglets and Brown Creepers, eluded the camera’s lens.

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Mallards swimming.

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These folks quickly swam away as I approach indicating that they are not part of the year round resident population accustomed to being feed.

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Mallards on ice.

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Mallards kind of walking, sliding, and skating. A video would have done it more justice. (Donna)

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Overhead a Tufted Titmouse looks out from a decaying tree.

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How about getting just a little closer? (Donna)

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Colors and patterns not seen in the warmer months.

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Tree bark, (Donna)

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There’s never a shortage  of robins and downy woodpeckers always cheer up the landscape this time of year.

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A Robin perches contently, (Donna).

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Downy Woodpecker (F), (Donna).

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Recent warm weather has some plants confused. Wonder what these little guys are doing today. The temperature as I write this is 9 F.

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New growth, (Donna)

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It has gotten much colder but still not much snow. We look forward to changes that will again draw our attention to beauty not noticed before.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Molly Cat.

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A Mink and a Dragonfly

Minks are not something one usually thinks of when exploring natural areas within the confines of a city like Columbus, Ohio. Over the years we’ve seen a few, but they’re rare, and it had been awhile since our last sighting. We debated between a drive to the Hocking Hills, a beautiful area near Columbus, for a fall color hike, or a paddle on the reservoir near our home. We decided to take advantage of a sunny relatively calm day and put the canoe in the water. As you may have guessed, our decision resulted in seeing a Mink and a dragonfly.

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Recently, while walking along Griggs Reservoir, color and scenery has been about as good as it gets.

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Along the reservoir, Griggs Park.

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West shore.

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Looking up.

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Walking along the reservoir.

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While we don’t have the brilliant red’s of the state up north, autumn in Ohio has it’s own beauty.

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The same color and scenery drew us in as we started our paddle. We had the reservoir to ourselves, not another boat, not even a fisherman, to be seen. For a place in the middle if the city, it was quiet. A very slight 55 degree morning breeze greeted us and we had to keep moving to stay warm. The temperature, the sound of our paddles and that of the canoe as it knifed through the water, as well as the autumn shore quietly passing by, all served to encourage us on.

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Photographing a Griggs Reservoir cove.

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No shortage of leaves on the water

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Hayden Run as it flows into the reservoir.

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Trees and leaves.

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Working our way north.

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Pool along Hayden Run

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The north end of the reservoir has fewer boat docks and can be quite beautiful.

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Green giving way to yellow.

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Cove along the west shore.

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A red leaf!

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During recent walks, as well as during our paddle, we’ve seen numerous birds. They’ve been very active.

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A Goldfinch blends in.

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A resident Great Blue Heron enjoying the autumn sun.

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But we get too close.

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Poetry .   .   .

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Cormorants flying high overhead, (Donna).

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A male Wood Duck stays put as two females streak by overhead, (Donna).

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A Nuthatch goes about it’s business along the shore.

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Mallard’s stand at attention, almost, (Donna).

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A Red tail hawk soars overhead, (Donna)

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Male Downy Woodpecker

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A Bluebird seeming to enjoy the fall colors.

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Inspecting it’s new digs, (Donna).

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

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Our interest in birds was interrupted when, after travelling about a mile north along the western shore, we saw the Mink. We almost fell out of the canoe. Normally, when one get’s really excited about something seen, you screw up when attempting to photograph it. We were lucky, between the two of us we managed to get a few good shots.

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Mink, (Donna)

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Take 2, (Donna)

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Take 3.

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And as if the Mink wasn’t enough, at the very north end of the reservoir we pulled out to explore a low lying often wet area that’s home to birds, insects, and wildflowers .   .   .

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Very north end of the reservoir.

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.  .  .  and while there wasn’t much in the way of wildflowers we did manage to discover a new for us dragonfly, an Autumn Meadowhawk. Needless to say we were excited!

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The weathered, sun warmed, surface of a log attracts mating Autumn Meadowhawks, (Donna)

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It had been an invigorating, wonderful day, brisk and clear, with some wind, but never enough to effect our speed as we made our way south and home. Thinking about all we had seen, it was hard to believe our good fortune.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Revisiting The Falls Of Griggs Reservoir

We thought before we did another post on Algonquin Provincial Park, we’d take a look around our neighborhood since returning from the north country, and see what’s going on.

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While we were gone and since our return there’s been a lot of rain in central Ohio. This has left the reservoirs high and muddy, conditions hardly conducive to canoeing. For a few days we contented ourselves exploring on “dry” land. Finally yesterday, deciding that a paddle was in order, off we went to explore Griggs Reservoir. My wife was thinking that the waterfalls might have benefited from all the rain, and since we last looked at them a couple of years ago, they might be worth checking out. I was a bit skeptical as conditions have to be just right for the waterfalls to show well.

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Water overflowing Griggs Reservoir Dam inundating the trees below.

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With rain then sun, early morning walks reveal a special beauty.

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Sunlight filters through the trees.

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As the flowers and insects celebrate.

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Goats Beard, (Donna)

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Stream Bluet, (Donna)

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Red Admiral, (Donna)

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Ailanthus Webworm Moth with fliy

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Hackberry Emperor Butterfly

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Coneflower

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Milkweed

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Pearl Cresent

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The birds, not to be left out, were taking advantage of the insect bounty and whatever else was offered by the rains.

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Eastern Phoebe

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Babies, (Donna)

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A Kingbird waits for it’s next meal.

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A mother mallard with family cruise for edible tidbits washed into the reservoir.

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The primary purpose of our paddle was to see the waterfalls. We weren’t disappointed.

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As close as our canoe could get to the first falls.

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Yours truly exploring the second falls, (Donna)

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The second falls.

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The falls at Hayden Run, the largest along the reservoir.

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Our next post will return the Algonquin. Thanks for stopping by.

A Caterpillar Has a Bad Day

Often I’m so caught up the beauty of nature and that I lose touch with it’s other “darker” side. It’s easy to forget that it’s “a jungle out there”. When in such an elevated state it’s usually not long before I see something that brings me back to reality and the awareness of just how tough nature can be. It’s about trying to eat and keep from being eaten. In the sequence below it’s obvious that whatever defenses the caterpillar had they weren’t effective. It’s hard not to feel sorry of the caterpillar and lower our opinion of the nuthatch. We humans tend to do that. Trying to feel better, I find myself thinking about the consequences of an unchecked caterpillar population, but of course I’m left with the realization that unchecked population growth in any group is bad for the system as a whole.

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Nuthatch with caterpillar, 1

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2

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5

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Then, as it often does, being out in nature brings me back from darker thoughts with a message of hope, and gives reason to smile.

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Baby Mallards, (Donna)

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Thanks for stopping by.

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