While I Was Fishing

My wife had to carry most of the load in central Ohio over the past week or so while I was on my annual Michigan fishing trip. Based on the following pictures, many of which are hers, she had no trouble discovering things of interest.

Nature walk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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First there were the birds, a few of which when captured in unusual or even comical poses. Some just a little different than the usual “mug” shot.

Immature Robin, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Just fledged Catbird, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Mealtime.

Great Blue Heron, Griggs Reservoir Park.

 

Goldfinch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Immature Red-bellied Woodpecker, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Immature Blue Jay, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Preening Eastern Phoebe, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Flicker, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A juvenile Cedar Waxwing stretches it’s neck, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird visits Donna as she looks for caterpillars, Griggs Reservoir Park.

A Cardinal is caught spying on a young Northern Flicker, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Green Heron showing it’s crest, Griggs Reservoir

Juvenile Green Heron, Griggs Reservoir.

Take 2.

To cute to pass up, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Sometimes a bird picture was obtained as my wife happened to look up as she studyed an interesting “bug” and there were apparently no shortage of those.

Eupatorium Borer Moth , Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Milkweed Tussock Moth Catapillar, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wasp, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Monarch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Another view.

Orchard orbweaver, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Donna spotted this Robber Fly in Griggs Reservoir Park. Robber flies prey on other flies, beetles, butterflies and moths, various bees, ants, dragon and damselflies, ichneumon wasps, grasshoppers, some spiders and even other robber flies. They do so apparently irrespective of any offensive chemicals the prey may have at its disposal. Many robber flies when attacked in turn do not hesitate to defend themselves with their proboscides and may deliver intensely painful bites if handled carelessly, (Ref: WIKI), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sand Wasp, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sycamore Tussock Moth caterpillar , Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Robber fly, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Hover fly, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Green Bee, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Orange Sulphur, Griggs Reservoir Park.

My wife spotted these 2-marked Treehoppers in Griggs Reservoir Park, “Treehoppers tap into the stems of woody and herbaceous plants with their beaks and feed on the sap. Treehopper species are often closely associated with a single food source.  Some species gather in groups as adults or nymphs.  They slit the bark of their host plant to deposit eggs within, covering the eggs with a secretion called “egg froth” that provides protection from desiccation in winter, may shield the eggs from predators, and that contains an attractant pheromone that brings other ovipositing females to the spot (where, like cows, they may line up, all facing the same direction).  The eggs hatch in spring when they are re-hydrated by the rising sap of the host plant as its buds open and its shoots start to grow”.  Ref: Bug Lady, Riveredge Nature Center.

Mating Clouded Sulfurs, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Summer flowers grace areas along the reservoir.

On a cloudy morning Evening Primrose overlooks Griggs Reservoir

Coneflowers keep Cardinal Flowers company in one of the park rain gardens.

Tall Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Swamp Rose Mallow.

Wingstem, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Sunflowers rule this time of year.

Common Sneezeweed.

Boneset, Griggs Reservoir.

Square Stem Monkey Flower, Griggs Reservoir.

Sunflowers draw one’s gaze to the reservoir beyond.

Queen Ann’s Lace frames Griggs Reservoir.

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Finally a few pics from my fishing trip to the Rifle River Recreation Area. It always feels like a homecoming when I head north bringing back many fond childhood summer vacation memories. I always think I’ll take more pictures on this trip but it’s hard to wear two hats so I mostly just allow myself to be there and fish.

Common Loons are a real treat on Devoe Lake in the Rifle River Rec Area. Seemingly unconcerned they swim close to my canoe.

Taking a break.

One of a number of nice bass caught and released.

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Each trip into nature marks the passing of time. Summer moves along, things seen are ever changing, birds fledge and mature under parent’s attentive care, caterpillars and butterflies continue their amazing dance of life, wildflowers and bees are ever present companions, by late July the days have grown noticeably shorter.

 

Griggs reservoir Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

Waterfalls, Birds, and Other Things

Outings in small boats can provide a unique opportunity to view and photograph wildlife. While we don’t pursue birds in our canoe, one will often take flight when approached. When it does, often crossing right in front of us, it offers an opportunity to get a nice “in flight” profile shot. Gliding silently without paddling often provides a chance to get very close to birds thus offering a photographic opportunity that may not be found while hiking.

Note: underlined text denotes a link which may be clicked on for additional information.

Prothonotary Warbler, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

Immature Common Merganser, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

A Spotted Sandpiper let us get very close, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Easter Spiny Softshell, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

As we get closer a Great Blue Heron takes flight, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Near the end of our paddle we spot a Great Blue Heron trying to figure out what to do with a just captured snake, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Male House Finch, from the canoe on Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

A few days ago Wild Columbine was still in bloom along Griggs Reservoir’s the low cliffs, from the canoe, (Donna).

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A small boat may also allow access to hard to reach points of interest for which there is limited or no access on land. In this case it was one named and one unnamed waterfall along Griggs Reservoir that were energized by the recent rain.

Entering a small creek leading to one of Griggs reservoirs waterfalls.

I’ve paddled as far as I can but fortunately it’s only a short walk to the falls.

Good flow over the falls which are about 6-8 feet high. The shot taken under cloudy conditions which controlled shadows.

Take 2. I’m not sure which shot I like best.

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Hayden Run Falls:

Paddling into the cove at Hayden Run Falls a Great Egret does a welcoming dance as two mallards look on.

Hayden Run Falls, about 35 feet high, benefitted from the recent rain. From the canoe pullout a not so easy hike up a rain swollen creek was required to get to the falls. Normally when using a digital single lens reflex I would have opted for a slower shutter speed to create a sense of motion in the water but a Canon SX40 superzoom and the lack of a tripod limited my options. Hayden Run Falls is also accessible via a boardwalk with parking provided off Hayden Run Road.

 

Take 2. Again, I’m not sure which shot I like best.

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When paddling it’s sometimes hard not to do a little cleanup. However, trying to clean up plastic, not to mention all the other stuff, after it’s already in the environment is next to impossible. While some litter is thrown directly into the reservoir, much finds it’s way in by way of storm drains. The reservoir, home to an amazing amount of biodiversity, thus becomes an aquatic “trash can” for a good percentage of the city’s litter.  This phenomena can be observed to a greater or lesser degree in all of Ohio’s lakes and streams. Paddle lakes and streams in states like Michigan or Maine and it’s obvious that a Ohio Beverage Container Deposit Law would largely eliminate this problem.

Trash canoe.

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In the past week, when not in the canoe, we’ve had opportunities explore Griggs Reservoir Park as well as a few other favorite spots.

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Birds:

Immature Song Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Catbird, Griggs Reservoir Park.

I know it’s a very common bird, but the lovely light compelled me to take the picture, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Chipping Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Protonotary Warbler, Kiwanis Riverway Park.

Mother Mallard with babies, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Perhaps the tail end of the warblers a female American Redstart poses for my wife, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Baltimore Orioles continue to be quite common in Griggs Reservoir Park.

Great Egret preening, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Great Blue Heron with fish, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tree Swallow, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

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As spring turns to summer insects are becoming much more common:

Zebulon Skipper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Little Wood-sater, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Take 2, (Donna).

Grape Leaffolder Moth, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Golden-back Snipe Fly. Adults and larvae feed on a variety of small insects, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve, (Donna).

Making more flies, (Donna).

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Flowers seen are unique to late spring and early summer:

Blue-flagged Iris, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Canada Anemone, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Hairy Beardtongue, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In my humble opinion the flower of Virginia Waterleaf is not nearly as pretty as it’s early spring leaves, (Donna).

Blue-eyed Grass, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Bittersweet Nightshade, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Wafer Ash flowers (not always in the shape of a heart), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Other things:

A Northern Water Snake creates patterns on the otherwise still surface, Twin Lakes, O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve.

Very small Snapping Turtle, Kiwanis Riverway Park, (Donna).

After quite a bit of rain the fungus is doing well in Griggs Park.

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The view down a short path leading to the reservoir shows the vegetation to be almost fully leafed out.

Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A special thanks to my wife for supplying many of the photos in this post included those from the canoe as I handled the boat. Given that spring is winding down, my guess is that future posts will contain fewer warbler pictures and probably more insect pictures but one never knows for sure. Future posts may also document new Ohio places explored or at least unique places that haven’t been visited in awhile. Until then, thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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Should you wish prints from various posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. If you don’t find it on the link drop us a line.

Birding By Canoe, Alum Creek Reservoir

There may be a few birds that are easier to see from a canoe but for us the real reason for using one is that we enjoy messing around in small boats and it does offer a unique perspective on the landscape. The north end of Alum Creek reservoir in central Ohio is a beautiful place to explore. With an endless number of coves you never know what you’ll discover so there’s always anticipation. On the down side, while using binoculars to observe birds is usually not too difficult, taking acceptable pictures is another story as holding the camera steady while you and everything else is moving is almost impossible. The stronger the breeze the greater the challenge so often when we’re in the canoe my wife becomes the photographer and I handle the boat.

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The following celebrates a recent adventure on the reservoir:

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Exploring a cove.

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We often direct our gaze upward as we follow the shoreline.

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Looking for birds.

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Along the shore a Red-tailed hawk seemed to be tending a nest but no immature birds were seen.

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There was no shortage of Baltimore Orioles.

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow, (Donna)

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Double-crested Cormorants, (Donna).

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While enjoying the birds, out of the corner of our eye we noticed a flowering plant unlike anything we recalled seeing before. So often when we discover a “new to us” plant it turns out to be invasive but that was not the case with this one.

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Close-up photography of a flower is not easy when you are in a canoe.

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Limber Honeysuckle, native to Ohio, very exotic looking.

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Another view, (Donna).

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Looking up isn’t always necessary, down lower a few birds and turtles also cooperated for the camera.

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A Pileated Woodpecker liked something about this log.

 

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How many ducklings can a mother Wood Duck care for?

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A moment later they heading up into the grass, (Donna)

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Small Map Turtle, (Donna)

 

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Spotted Sandpiper along the shore.

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Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, (Donna).

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There was no shortage of Prothonotary Warblers, (Donna).

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Singing, (Donna).

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These birds are flexible!, (Donna).

 

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Other plants also fascinated.

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Pussytoes, (Donna).

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Shoreline grass, (Donna)

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Corn Salad, (Donna).

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In addition to the birds and fascinating plants my wife spotted this small butterfly.

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Pearl Crescent, (Donna).

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Pearl Crescent from below, (Donna).

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Did I say Alum Creek Reservoir is a beautiful place? It is, but the dark side is that there’s a lot of thrash.

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Just part of the trash we collected during our paddle. The bow and stern areas of the canoe were full.

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But ending on a more upbeat note:

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Cove, Alum Creek Reservoir.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

Small Things and . . .

A recent walk along Griggs Reservoir was a study in small things. At times sunlight worked it’s way though the clouds, but mostly it was an early morning hazy sky. A lush new growth of green embraced the landscape threatening to squeeze out it’s air, creating close shadowy places among the leaves, and at times, under thickening clouds, a sense of foreboding.

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Wooded shore along the Scioto River

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Heard but not seen, the same growth now hides many of the birds. Others, those that don’t make their living in the leafed canopy, but on the ground or in open places, are still easy to spot.

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Chipping Sparrow, one of our smallest sparrows.

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Eastern Wood Peewee

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Song Sparrow

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow

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Flowers also find their place, in the shade if they can, but often in the few patches that are open to sunlight for at least a few hour each day.

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Crown Vetch, (non-native)

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Flower to seed

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Not yet green.

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English or Buckhorn Plantain

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Yellow Stone Crop (non-native)

 

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Moth Mullein

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.   .   .  and as if to challenge our sensibilities, Ravenel’s Stinkhorn

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Hackberry Emperor, (Donna)

 

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Foxglove Beardtongue

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Eastern Forktail (F), (Donna)

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Water-willow, (Donna)

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A very small Summer Azure with wings closed, (Donna)

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Summer Azure with wings open, (Donna)

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Smooth Ruella, (Donna)

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Time spent in nature often contains a counterpoint. On this particular day it was a Mute Swan an infrequent visitor. They are large birds even when compared to Canada Geese.

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Mute Swan, Griggs Reservoir

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A closer look.

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Then, looking away from the swan for a moment,

sunlight is seen playing in the grass.

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Sun light graces the grass, but just for a moment.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Birding By Canoe, A Perfect Day, Thursday, May 7th

We were on the reservoir early, just as the sun was starting to filter through the trees. There was no wind. Resting your paddle for a quick look around, the canoe, with small ripples, continues moving quietly, just as you left it. A perfect day to see birds as we glided along the wooded shore.

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Morning, Alum Creek Reservoir.

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Our route on Alum Creek Reservoir looked something like this:

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Alum Creek Reservior

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It wasn’t long before we were hearing birds. In fact we were hearing a lot more than we were seeing. But as is often the case when canoeing on the beautiful morning, it’s tough to complain.

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But as we continued to look we managed to catch a Great Crested Flycatcher.

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Great Crested Flycatcher, (Donna)

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A little further, we pulled out to look for wildflowers.

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Sometimes getting out of the canoe to explore the shoreline presents a bit of a tripping hazard.

 

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Bluets, (Donna)

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Solomon Seal, (Donna)

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Young ferns

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Not long after, back in the canoe, we spot a sandpiper.

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Spotted Sandpiper

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Normally so common as to be a nuisance, it was hard not to admire the parenting skills of Canada Geese.

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Canada Geese, Alum Creek

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Safely ashore.

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In the middle of the lake a male Wood Duck let’s us get close enough for a photo.

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Wood Duck, Alum Creek Reservoir

 

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But one picture was enough.

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We finally reach the Osprey nesting area and noticed a least two pair were now nesting in trees along the shore rather than on the nesting platforms situated in the lake. Pretty exciting!

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Osprey perched near it’s nest, (Donna)

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Osprey nest, (Donna).

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Osprey in flight, (Donna)

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Several different types of swallows were seen. These two posed.

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow

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Tree Swallow, (Donna)

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We paddled up the creek and looked for a spot to pull out for lunch. The river flowed quietly, dragonflies cruised by but didn’t land, and a House Wren announced it’s presence, as we ate.

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Lunch spot, Alum Creek.

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After lunch my wife went exploring for insects

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Tiger Beetle, (Donna)

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The very tiny White-striped Black Moth, not one we’ve seen or noticed before, (Donna)

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Others were also enjoying the river.

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Fishing on Alum Creek

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As we headed back to our launch site the warm sun had started to draw turtles out of the water.

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Eastern Spiny Soft Shell

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Being a rather large reservoir with many inlets, there’s always another one to explore.

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Cove, Alum Creek Reservoir

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We arrived back at our starting point with tired bodies but rested spirits.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Griggs Park Birding, April 28th & 29th

My wife and I were looking at photos and talking about all the birds we’d seen over a period of 24 hours along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River just below the dam. These included a first of the year Baltimore Oriole and an Eastern Kingbird.

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As some of you that visit this blog on a regular basis may already realize, we tend to concentrate on several areas close to our home in central Ohio. This is partly to avoid long drives in the car but more importantly it’s a way to visit areas more frequently and become knowledgeable of their unique features and natural rhythms. Of course the drawback with type of focus is that there are many birds we may never personally see.

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Still when you consider that the below photos are representative of what we saw in late April, within the city limits, and don’t include the birds seen but not photographed such as; Red Tailed Hawks, Double Crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, Song Sparrows, Mallard Ducks, Kingfishers, Blue Birds, Downy Woodpeckers, and Ring-billed Gulls, it’s pretty amazing.

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Even if you weren’t looking for birds it’s a great time of the year to be outdoors.

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Griggs Park, early spring.

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But because we were looking for birds it doesn’t take long to spot that previously mentioned Eastern Kingbird in the top of a tree.

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Eastern Kingbird

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Conveniently a Red-bellied Woodpecker was nearby.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker perches beside it’s handiwork.

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The Yellow-rumped was the most common warbler seen.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler.

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Just showing it’s yellow crest.

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Singing, (Donna)

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Palm Warblers were also about.

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Palm Warbler

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Singing, (Donna)

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A Blue Jay lands near by and is impossible to ignore.

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Blue jay

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.   .   .    and a White-breasted Nuthatch also asked to be noticed.

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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.   .   .    and then a beautiful Cardinal.

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Cardinal

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Okay let’s get back to the warblers.

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Pine Warbler, (Donna)

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Take two

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Hey wait those aren’t warblers!

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Turkey Vultures along the reservoir.

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A Starling peers out wondering what is going on.

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Starling

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In the evening we see our first Prothonotary Warbler of the year.

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Prothonotary Warbler along the Scioto River

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Singing, (Donna)

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While I’m looking at the treetops for warblers my wife is looking at the ground and notices flowering Wild Ginger.

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Flowering Wild Ginger, (Donna)

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A closer look at the flower, (Donna).

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A little further down the river a Great Blue Heron strikes a beautiful pose.

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Great Blue Heron

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.   .   .   and in a tree overhanging the river a swallow takes a break.

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow along the Scioto River.

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.   .   .   and then our first Baltimore Oriole of the year.

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Baltimore Oriole

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However, when not seeing it’s more “exotic” cousins we can always count on a Robin to entertain.

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Robin taking a bath in a pool along the river.

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. . . now let’s get the head.

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. . . flap those wings!

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Almost done.

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Even some creature without feathers make an appearance.

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Woodchuck

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Usually found high up in the top of Sycamores, a Yellow-throated Warbler is seen in a bush alone the reservoir.

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Yellow-throated Warbler, (Donna)

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.   .   .   and as if the birds weren’t enough.

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Crab Apple Blossoms

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Thanks for stopping by.

Early Autumn Notebook

The last several days have been beautiful. Clear skies, cool nights and comfortable days with very little wind. Certainly something to remember, especially three months from now.

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When the weather is this nice you certainly want to put it to good use. With that in mind we’ve enjoyed paddling with friends on Griggs Reservoir and have also spent some time in Griggs Park as well as Prairie Oaks and Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park looking for migrating birds. We haven’t seen as many warblers as we were expecting but other birds and the hint of fall colors have made up for it.

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When you’re paddling the shoreline of a lake or walking in the woods on a trail that for a time may follow a quiet a stream, there’s always the possibility that you’ll see something totally unexpected and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

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A quiet morning, Griggs Reservoir

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A Painted Turtle enjoys the autumn sun, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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A Mallard on Griggs Reservoir

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Autumn colors on Griggs Reservoir

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Reflections, Griggs Reservoir

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Paddling, Griggs Reservoir

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A Blue Bird enjoys the autumn sun, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Just a hint of fall color on the opposite shore, Griggs Reservoir

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Downy Woodpecker, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Griggs Reservoir, looking south.

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Along the park road, Griggs Park

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Mallards, Griggs Reservoir.

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Coopers Hawk, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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Fall colors, Griggs Park

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My favorite stump, Griggs Park

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The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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Dryad’s Saddle, Prairie Oaks

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Early autumn sky, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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Least Flycatcher, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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Mushroom Family, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna)

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A Great Blue Heron watches during a paddle on Griggs Reservoir

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Chipping Sparrow, Griggs Park

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Eastern Wahoo, Griggs Park

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Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks, (Donna)

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Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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Asters in early morning light, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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Blue Lettuce, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna)

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Female Magnolia warber, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Griggs Park

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Chipping Sparrow, Griggs Park

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American Toad, Battelle Darby Metro Park, (Donna)

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Walking by a pond, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

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