Celebrating Mother’s Day on Griggs Reservoir

We decided to paddle Griggs Reservoir with the goal of hopefully seeing some unique wildflowers that populate the low shoreline cliffs. In addition, while the migrating waterfowl have long since left, we might see one of our favorite local residents, the Wood Duck. Considering the number that nest in the area, we were pretty sure we would also see a few Baltimore Orioles. Given the wind, which presented significant boats control issues, my wife was kind enough to take care of most of the photography while I took care of the boat.

click on images for a better view

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After a short paddle to the cliff area, we discovered the flowers we were looking for.

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Wild Columbine, Griggs Reservoir

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Wild Stonecrop, Griggs Reservoir

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European Bird Cherry, Griggs Reservoir

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Prior to setting up house keeping the male and female Wood Ducks always seem to stay together.

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Wood Ducks, Griggs Reservoir (Bob)

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Male Wood Duck, Griggs Reservoir

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A few other suspects, including a Black-crowned Night Heron, greeted us as we paddled on.

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Red-eared Slider, Griggs Reservoir

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Spotted Sandpiper, Griggs Reservoir

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Black-crowned Night Heron, Griggs Reservoir (Bob)

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But not to be outdone and as if they were celebrating Mothers Day in advance, the female Mallards decided to introduce their recently hatched ducklings. It was a real treat!

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Crossing Griggs Reservoir to safety, Female Mallard with ducklings, (Bob)

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Later we found them safe on the other side.

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One duckling decided it wanted to go exploring.

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Mom and the others followed.

Baby Mallards 5 and Mom in water 050914 Griggs cp1

Heading for adventure.

Baby Mallards 6 and Mom all in a row 050914 cp1

Mom kept an eye on the flotilla.

Baby Mallards 10 rock explore 050914 Griggs cp1

This is fun!

Baby Mallards 9 climbing up on rock 050914 Griggs cp1

To swim or to climb?

Baby Mallards 13 tasty lunchtime 050914 Griggs cp1

. . . or maybe eat!

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One mother Mallard seems to have an adopted duckling.

1 Baby Golden Duckling with Mom 050914 Griggs cp1-2

A mother’s love!

2 Baby Golden duckling 050914 Griggs cp1

Very young and very cute!

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And not to be left out. The “Hey wait, what about me!”, Baltimore Oriole.

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A Baltimore Oriole at waters edge, Griggs Reservoir.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

The Fish Was Just Too Big

It’s fascinating how often something interesting happens in nature when you’re on your way to do something else. An outing recently along the Scioto below Griggs Dam was intended to be a test session after we changed some settings on my wife’s Panasonic FZ150 and Olympus E620 to improve performance in the branch infested, fast paced, world of warbler photography.

click on image for a better view

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Before even starting to look for warblers we noticed a Great Blue Heron at river’s edge quite frustrated with something it was trying to eat. A closer look revealed the problem.

 

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The heron was acting strange.

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It was trying to eat a fish.

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It’s eyes might be bigger than it’s stomach.

The fish was just too big!

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Further on, Baltimore Orioles seemed to be everywhere. At one point, four males were flying circles around us as they chased each other.

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Baltimore Oriole, study 1 (Donna)

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Baltimore Oriole, study 2

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A bird was seen quietly moving around in the brush and lower trees. It turned out to be a Swainson’s Thrush. Not a bird we were looking for but exciting nonetheless.

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Swainson’s Thrush, (Donna)

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The first Red-eyed Vireos we’ve seen this year,

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Red-eyed Vireo, study 1

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Red-eyed Vireo, study 2 (Donna)

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along with our first Prothonotary Warbler.

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Prothonotary Warbler, study 1

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Prothonotary Warbler, study 2

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Prothonotary Warbler, study 3

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We finished our outing seeing warblers seen before over the few days,

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Palm Warbler

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Yellow-rumped Warbler coming in for a landing

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Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

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Yellow-throated Warbler

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along with a few other birds that call the area home all summer.

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow

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Blue Jay, (Donna)

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Song Sparrow

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As I write this I can’t help but notice a Common Grackle at our feeder. A very beautiful but common bird that’s easy to take for granted.

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Common Grackle

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Celebrating Spring at Prairie Oaks

Recently we spent several hours at Prairie Oaks Metro Park looking for migrating warblers and other signs of spring. We were completely drawn into the moment with butterflies, wildflowers, warblers and other migrating birds surrounding us as we walked along the river. Sunlight filtering through the emerging translucent leaves creating the effect of green stained glass further setting the mood.

In addition to the pictures below a number of birds and butterflies were seen where no photograph was possible. So below is just a glimpse of what you might have seen had you walked the trails in the last few days. Some pictures turned out amazingly well and others fall into the category of “data acquisition” but they all, in their own small way, celebrate spring at Prairie Oaks.

as always you can click on and image for a better view

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At Prairie Oaks many forms of life are attracted to the river.

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The Big Darby, study 1

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Like warblers, flycatchers and other birds.

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A Baltimore Oriole watches as we head down the trail.

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Black and White Warbler, (Donna)

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A Tufted Titmouse looks for insects

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A Great Crested Flycatcher announces it’s presence with a unmistakable call.

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A Eastern Towhee peeks from behind the leaves.

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A Kingbird surveys it’s realm from a tree top.

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Blue-gray Gnatcatchers like to be around water.

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Yellow-throated Vireo

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Palm Warbler

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Yellow-throated Warbler

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Catbird, (Donna)

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Magnolia Warbler

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Warbling Vireo, study 1

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Warbling Vireo, study 2

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Nashville Warbler

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Nashville Warbler

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Constantly in motion, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet plays hide and seek.

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The smaller creeks that feed into the river are often dry by mid summer.

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Spring flow.

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Butterflies were enjoying the spring sun.

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Eastern Comma

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Painted Lady

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A pond that may also be dried up by July.

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Spring Pond

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But right now the pond is home.

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Leopard Frog in hiding.

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Water Strider

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Fungi run a very close second to wildflowers in natures beauty contest.

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Shelf Fungi, (Donna)

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Wildflowers compete for our attention.

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Wild Geraniums, (Donna)

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Phlox, (Donna)

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Dandelion along the trail.

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Buckeye leafing out, (Donna)

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The Big Darby was flowing clear.

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The Big Darby, study 2

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Translucent leaves contribute to the magic of spring.

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The springs woods at Prairie Oaks

On My Passion For Nature

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To Be Alive

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Let life draw you in

not push you from behind.

Have good habits

but don’t live by habit.

Ask questions

even when at first

your not interested in the answer.

Don’t just be entertained

but entertain yourself.

Allow youself to be seduced

by a passion.

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rsp

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White Trout Lilly

White Trout Lilly

A Tropical Bird in Columbus

We decided to go for a walk below Griggs Reservoir Dam this morning hoping to see some migrating warblers. Usually Saturday morning is a weekly date with our tandem bicycle but the weather looked threatening so birding, where we could get back to the car quickly, seemed like the thing to do. The wind was supposed to pick up later in the day so we got an early start.

The first bird to greet us was one of our favorites, a Baltimore Oriole. Usually we see them at the top of tall trees after he trees have fully leafed out making them difficult to photograph. However, this one was lower in a tree whose leaves were not yet completely hiding it. It struck numerous poses for us as it busied itself eating what appeared to be young seed pods.

click on image for a better view

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Baltimore Oriole, study 1

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Baltimore Oriole, study 2

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Baltimore Oriole, study 3

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Baltimore Oriole, study 4

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Baltimore Oriole, study 5 (Donna)

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After almost being chased back to the car by a passing shower, we continued on, hearing lots of birds but not seeing much. Today, with it leafing out more, our line of sight wasn’t what it was just a few days ago. Cardinals seemed to be everywhere so we didn’t give it much thought when a bright red bird appeared in the distance. A quick look through the binoculars revealed it to be not a Cardinal but a Scarlet Tanager! We were excited as we usually have to travel some distance to see such a bird and here it was less than two miles from our house. It was undoubtedly just passing through but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. The Scarlet Tanager is one of those birds that, when seen, transports me to the jungles of South America. It looks just a little out of place in Ohio.

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Scarlet Tanager

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Scarlet Tanager, study 1

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Scarlet Tanager, study 2

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Energized buy the tanager we continued on, seeing other tropical and sub-tropical migrants including a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Warbling Vireo and numerous warblers.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler, study 1

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Warbling Vireo, hiding

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Palm Warbler, study 1

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Palm Warbler, study 2

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Great Crested Flycatcher

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Orchard Oriole, study 1

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Orchard Oriole, study 2

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Nashville Warblers, too far away!

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Yellow-rumped Warbler, study 2

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When the birds didn’t have our attention we couldn’t help but notice some beautiful fungus which was undoubtedly a product of recent rains.

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Dryad’s Saddle, study 1

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Dryad’s Saddle, study 2

Acorn Fungi family 050314 Griggs cp1

Mystery Mushroom, (Donna)

Tan shelf fungi 050314 Griggs cp1

Shelf Fungi, also Dryad’s Saddle?

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A Scarlet Tanager in the middle of Columbus. It doesn’t get much better.

Scarlet Tanager 050314 Griggs cp1

Scarlet Tanager, (Donna)

 

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pr

A Spring Summer Tanager

Today we had an enjoyable time birding with friends at Battelle Darby Metro Park. Originally the plan was to drive up to Magee Marsh along Lake Erie for a spring warbler trip but a cool and windy forecast convinced us to stay closer to home. The south shore of lake Erie tends to concentrate travel weary migrating birds during the spring and fall allowing easy viewing. However, that phenomena doesn’t occur in central Ohio so we’re never sure what we’ll see.

But it turned out to be a good day with sightings of Northern Parula, and Yellow-throated Warblers as well as Yellow-throated Vireos. Also seen were a Great Crested Flycatcher, Bluebird, Hairy Woodpecker, Catbird, White-throated and Chipping Sparrows, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

click on images for  better view

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Catbird

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Chipping Sparrow IMG_3204

Chipping Sparrow

Male Pine Warbler IMG_3195

Yellow-throated Vireo

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Rose-breasted Grosbeak

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White-throated Sparrow

 

With the recent rain the fungus was doing very well.

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Fungus (Sulphur Polyporus?)

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Dryad’s Saddle

 

Flowering Buckeye Trees, Buttercups, and Phlox were seen as well as a mystery flower.

White flwrs 050114 Battelle Darby (Donna)

Mystery Flower, (Donna) ID’d as Corn Salad Valerianella locusta by a reader of this blog..

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Phlox

Buttercup 050114 Battelle Darby cp1

Buttercup, (Donna)

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Flowering Buckeye Tree

 

However, the highlight of the day was the first Summer Tanager that we have seen in central Ohio.

Summer Tanager IMG_3230 (Donna)

Summer Tanager, (Donna)

Summer Tanager IMG_3229

Summer Tanager

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Hiking and Birding as Spring Moves On

Yesterday morning we enjoyed a 6 mile hike with friends at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park. Everything was coming to life with numerous wildflowers including Trilliums and Celandine or Wood Poppies along the trail.

click on the images for a better view

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Celandine Poppy, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Celandine Poppy , Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Celandine Poppy, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Buckeye Leaves, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Trillium, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

 

Later in the day we decided to see what warblers could be found along the reservoir in Griggs Park and the area below the dam. Several people stopped to ask what we were looking at as we peered up into the trees. One or two were fellow birders with binoculars which is always encouraging. The number of warblers seen exceeded our expectations.

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Palm Warbler, Griggs Park

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Palm Warbler, Griggs Park

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Warbling Vireo, Griggs Park

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Warbling Vireo, Griggs Park

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Yellow-throated Warbler, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam

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Baltimore Oriole, Griggs Park

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Blackpoll Warbler, Griggs Park

Redbuds, other flowering trees, and wildflowers were making an already cheerful day even brighter.

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Redbud, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Violets, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Crabapple Blossoms, Griggs Park

The Map Turtles were definitely taking advantage of the warm afternoon sun.

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How many Map Turtles can you fit on a rock? Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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Bigger Map Turtles on a smaller rock.

It wasn’t hard to imagine a Smallmouth Bass just below the surface.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

Green is now winning out over the colors of winter.

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Sycamore along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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