Paddling Into Nature On Griggs Reservoir

This post is a partial summary of the wonderful diversity of life seen during a recent nine mile paddle on Griggs Reservoir. The reservoir is located within the “city limits” of Columbus, Ohio. Except for a few isolated cases where (Bob) is under the photo my wife was kind enough to handle the photography.

.

It’s been a wet spring with not many nice days to beckon one out into nature. The wet weather in central Ohio has given many rivers and reservoirs a “chocolate milk” appearance, not the preferred aesthetic when paddling. But finally with a good forecast, wildflowers blooming, and the landscape turning evermore green, we decided it was time to get the boat in the water and do some exploring. Over the years we’ve seen many wonderful things in and along the reservoir but given it’s urban location we always try keep our expectations low. If nothing else we’ll get some exercise and we’ll be outdoors.

We enter one of Griggs Reservoirs small coves looking for Black-crowned Night Herons. The rock outcroppings are a favorite place for Wild Columbine, (Bob).

.

The first clue that it might be a better than average day in nature was seeing the Wild Columbine along the reservoirs many rocky outcroppings.

Wild Columbine, (Bob)

A closer look, (Bob).

.

While on the subject of wildflowers we also noticed Wild Stonecrop in the same area.

Wild Stonecrop, (Bob)

.

A little further on we spotted a snapping turtle in the shallows of one of the reservoir’s small coves. The first of many turtles seen.

A Snapping Turtle checks us out from the safety of the water, (Bob).

Not far away a snapper was also observed sunning itself, a rare behavior for this always submerged creature that only occurs in the spring.

Snapping Turtle.

.

Not seen as often as Red Eared Sliders or Map turtles a few softshell turtles were also seen.

Eastern Spiny Softshell.

A second later it disappeared below the surface.

.

We probably shouldn’t ignore some of the other turtles:

A Map Turtle catches some rays.

A very small turtle surveys a big world.

.

We expected to see more water snakes but only one was spotted.

Northern Water Snake.

.

While no Green and Black-crowned Night Herons were seen, a few Great Egrets and countless Great Blue Herons made up for it.

Great Blue Heron.

.

Something not fully appreciated is that four species of swallows make there living along the reservoir; Tree, Cliff, Barn and Rough-winged. The Tree, Cliff, and Barn Swallows are fairly numerous and easy to observe. The Rough-winged don’t seem to be as common.

Barn Swallow, (Bob).

On this particular day the Cliff Swallows were putting on the best show as they busily went about building their nests under the Hayden Run bridge.

Cliff Swallow nest building, (Bob).

Caught with it’s mouth full!

.

We were really excited to see a pair of Wood Ducks because getting a great picture of this duck usually involves using a blind as you can seldom get close enough in a canoe.

Male and female Wood Ducks.

A slightly closer look.

.

Along with the Wood Ducks a much more common and approachable female Mallard is seen with babies.

Female Mallard Duck.

.

Remembering an area at the north end of the reservoir where a nested Prothonotary Warbler was observed last year, we headed for that location and were not disappointed.

Prothonotary Warbler.

With nesting material.

.

As if in comic relief we couldn’t help but notice a Canada Goose that seem ready to set sail while perched high overhead their mate wondered what was going to happen next.

Canada Goose.

 

***

.

A Spotted Sandpiper was spotted and seemed to be in a cooperative mood as it didn’t immediately take flight as we approached.

Spotted Sandpiper.

Eventually it did get tired of the attention.

.

A few other birds were also seen:

Eastern Phoebe.

Tufted Titmouse.

.

Over the years we’ve seen Gray, Red and Fox Squirrels but on this day it was a not uncommon Fox Squirrel. They always seem a bit curious about what we’re doing.

Fox Squirrel.

.

Near a large beaver lodge at the north end of the reservoir we spotted what we first thought was a young beaver but was probably a Muskrat.

Muskrat.

.

It had been awhile since we had seen one along the reservoir so our “Wood Duck” excitement  was more than duplicated with the discovery of a Mink making it’s way along the shore. It’s rapid movement made getting a sharp image a challenge.

Mink.

***

.

We hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some Griggs Reservoir nature. A canoe or kayak can be a great tool for exploring and seeing things that would otherwise not be possible. As a platform for observations with binoculars it’s relatively straight forward. Should you decide to try canoe/kayak nature photography be prepared for more challenges than would be encountered shooting from land and a higher failure rate. The best scenario would be to have someone that loves to paddle handle the boat when you are taking pictures. But even if you are solo it is possible to get some great shots.

Hayden Run Falls framed in spring’s green and with a nice flow, (Bob)

.

Thanks for stopping by.

An Owl, Eagles, and a Muskrat?

The Barred Owl at High Banks Metro Park is probably one of the photographed birds in central Ohio this winter. However, since it would be a life bird for our daughter-in-law we set out to see if we could find it. Besides, considering  all the holiday food that had been consumed in the last few days, a nice long walk in the woods was definitely in order. Finding an owl, depending on where they are in the tree, can be next to impossible. Normally I look for silhouettes, which wouldn’t have worked in this case as the bird was perched against the trunk of a tree. Fortunately, two young birders with better eyes than mine had already found it when we arrived on the scene.

.

P1190584use

Barred Owl, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

.

With our primary objective accomplished we walked on with the hope that he resident pair of Bald Eagles would be near their nest along the Olentangy River. We weren’t disappointed. For several years now the pair has successfully nested  in an area that isn’t all that remote which gives us hope the one day we may have a nesting pair even closer to home (for Bald Eagles closer to home click here).

.

P1190588use

A Bald Eagle pair along the Olentangy River, (Donna).

IMG_6202use

Civilization is close by.

.

The next stop was the wetlands area where we hoped to see some waterfowl. Only one female mallard was in residence perhaps because recent cold weather had caused the pond to partially freeze over. But what was that brown furry thing out on the ice, a Muskrat?

.

IMG_6239

Out on the ice in plan view of soaring eagles, the Muskrat appeared to be eating something. Wetlands Area, Highbanks Metro Park.

.

During the hike we also encountered other furry creatures.

.

P1190612use

Red Squirrel, Donna.

IMG_6217use

Take 2.

P1190620

Fox Squirrel, (Donna).

.

As we made our way back we were treated to nice views of one of our favorite birds.

.

P1190640use

Bluebird, (Donna).

IMG_6273

Take 2.

.

Perhaps due to very wet soil due to recent rains followed by freezing weather, we noticed these ground level ice formations along the trail.

.

IMG_6262

Ice crystals along the trail.

P1190627

A closer look, (Donna).

.

A traditional winter walk with a pleasant covering of snow was not in the offing but there’s alway seems to be something to see.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

.

IMG_1328

January 1 flowers in our front yard??

 

As Summer Goes On . . .

Photos often result from our time spent in nature but they are seldom the only reason we’re out there. Truth is, we just love being outdoors. Part of the fun is looking closely to see what each new day brings. Perhaps it’s a flower, butterfly, bird, or something else that appears unexpectedly.

.

Below is a pictorial ramble through things seen in the last few weeks in central Ohio that amazed or enchanted.

.

The summer flowers have really been coming through for us this year.

R P1040852c

Swamp Rose Mallow, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

R Halberd-leaved Rose-Mallow IMG_5823

Halberd-leaved Rose-Mallow along water’s edge, Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5800

Monkey Face along Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5795

Trumpet Flower along Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5791-2

Checking out the Lizard’s tail, Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5788

A closer look.

.

While things are starting to dry out from an unusual amount of early summer rain, it continues to be a good year for fungi.

IMG_1219

Taking a close look at mushrooms in a neighbors lawn reveals unexpected beauty.

IMG_5734

White Jelly fungus, Griggs Park

IMG_5684

Chicken Mushroom, Griggs Park

.

It’s harder to find warblers now but other birds are filling in.

B IMG_1209 (2)

While kayak fishing on O’Shaughnessy Reservoir this immature Black-crowned Night Heron was spotted along the shore. A real treat!

 

B IMG_5774

Adult Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Solitary IMG_9056

Solitary Sandpiper on mudflats, Paint Creek Reservoir

Phoebe 2 LR 2 with bug 2 closer 1 080415 paint creek   cp1

Eastern Phoebe with a snack, Paint Creek, (Donna)

IMG_9044

Killdeer on mud flats, Paint Creek

IMG_8977

Green Heron, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

IMG_9003

Great Egret, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

IMG_9004-2

Taking flight, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

IMG_8744

Baby mallard, Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5693

Double Crested Cormorants in the middle of Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5687-2

Portrait of a Great Blue Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

.

At first we thought it might be a beaver.

IMG_9015

Muskrat, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.

.

Insects continue to satisfy our curiosity.

IMG_9081

Black Swallowtail, Paint Creek

Puddling 5 better 2 080415 Paint Creek cp1

Eastern Tiger Swallowtails puddling, Paint Creek, (Donna)

IMG_9096

A closer look, Paint Creek

Blue-fronted Dancer 2 head on 1 good 1 080415 Paint Creek   cp1

Blue-fronted Dancer, Paint Creek, (Donna)

American Rubyspot 3 on stick 2 closer better 1 080415   Paint Creek cp1

American Rubyspot, Paint Creek, (Donna)

Stream Bluet and American Rubyspot 1 best 1 080415 Paint   Creek cp1

Stream Bluet and American Rubyspot , Paint Creek, (Donna)

PPowdered Dancer 4 LR 3 closer 1 080415 Paint Creek   cp1

Powdered Dancer, Paint Creek, (Donna)

IMG_1180

Ebony Jewelwing, Griggs Reservoir.

IMG_5804

Female Ebony Jewelwing, Griggs Reservoir

IMG_5806

Stream Bluets mating, Griggs Reservoir

IMG_1225

Cicada, front yard.

.

.   .   .   and it’s always nice to see turtles and snakes some of which were in unexpected locations due to recent high water.

IMG_8995-2

Painted Turtle, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir.

IMG_5724

Snapping Turtle, Scioto River just below Griggs Dam.

IMG_5720

Garter Snake, Scioto River just below Griggs Dam.

IMG_5715

Common Water Snake, Scioto River just below Griggs Dam.

.

Sometimes it’s just the place.

IMG_1170-2

Cove, Griggs Reservoir

P1040896

Paint Creek riffles, heading further upstream would have meant more dragging than paddling.

P1040879

Cliffs along Paint Creek.

P1040887

Lunch stop, Paint Creek

P1040869

It was very quiet as we paddled along the cliffs, Paint Creek Reservoir.

P1040859crop use

Looking north on Paint Creek Reservoir as cormorants enjoy their sunny perch.

P1040846-3

O’Shaughnessy Reservoir looking much more isolated than it actually is.

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Quietly Looking, Grebes and Loons

Yesterday the air was cool, the sun warm, and there was little wind, so I decided to peddle the bike  down to Watermark Quarries with the idea of enjoying the Loons one more time before they continued their journey north. I found myself feeling very content as I sat quietly on the bank, in the presence of the birds, looking. The Loons, along with a few grebes, and some other suspects, almost seemed to be looking back.

as always click on the image for a better view

 

IMG_2861

Even a Muskrat swam by, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2867

Common Loon, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2870

Common Loon, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2857

Common Loon, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2858

Common Loon taking a bath?, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2875

Red-necked Grebe, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2907

Pied-bill Grebes, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2914

Horned Grebe, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2926

Horned Grebe, Watermark Quarries

IMG_2915

Horned Grebe, Watermark Quarries

.

Thanks for stopping by.

Photos by Donna

Sharing My Passion of Birds and Wildlife

Londonsenior

The life of an elderly Londoner and her travels.

Tootlepedal's Blog

A look at life in the borders

Eloquent Images by Gary Hart

Insight, information, and inspiration for the inquisitive nature photographer

gordoneaglesham

The Wildlife in Nature

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

My Best Short Nature Poems

Ellen Grace Olinger

through the luminary lens

The sun is the great luminary of all life - Frank Lloyd Wright

talainsphotographyblog

Nature photography

Mike Powell

My journey through photography

The Prairie Ecologist

Essays, photos, and discussion about prairie ecology, restoration, and management

Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog

Kerry Mark Leibowitz's musings on the wonderful world of nature photography

Montana Outdoors

A weblog dedicated to the world outside the cities.

Cat Tales

Mike and Lori adrift

New Hampshire Garden Solutions

Exploring Nature in New Hampshire

Jessica's Nature Blog

https://natureinfocus.blog

Quiet Solo Pursuits

My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan