Bluebirds of Happiness

Recently we explored one of our local haunts, Griggs Park and the river below the dam, hoping to see migrating warblers. Just the day before an immature Bald Eagle had been perched over my head as I fished in the river. Maybe it would be there again today. If the birds didn’t cooperate we would be rewarded with some fall colors which, while past their peek, were still nice.

Remember: for a better view click on the image.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam as autumn progresses.

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Walking south we did see warblers but they were in the tree tops making a “serious” photo impossible. There were the usual woodpeckers flying about and we were rewarded with a good sighting of a Golden-crown Kinglet that refused to sit still for a picture. The eagle had apparently moved on so after checking out the usual “good spots” we decided to head back to the car. It was warming up so perhaps we’d see more birds as we worked our way back.

In the fall Bluebirds from further north find Griggs Park to be a good location for insects and other edibles. We don’t see them in the winter so they apparently move further south as the cold eliminates their food source. On this particular day we got lucky and sighted a number of birds right along the shore of the reservoir as we walked north.

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Female Bluebird, Griggs Park

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Male Bluebird

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Off to look for his mate.

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Happy at last, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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During the Bluebird excitement I glanced over my shoulder and saw a Nuthatch, almost close enough to touch, seriously investigating something in a tree. I swung the camera around and just started shooting hoping for the best.

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Nuthatch, study 1, (Griggs Park)

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Nuthatch, study 2

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Nuthatch, study 3

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Usually I don’t get too excited about photographing House Finches but this male was striking and seemed to enjoy having it’s picture taken.

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Male House Finch, study 1, Griggs Park

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Male House Finch, study 2

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While shooting the House Finch a Song Sparrow stopped by.

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Song Sparrow, Griggs Park

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A little further along a White-crowned Sparrow posed.

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White-crowned Sparrow below Griggs Dam.

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Not all our friends were feathered.

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Gray Squirrel with a mouthful, Griggs Park, (Donna)

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I’m in love with this scene so, as autumn has progressed, I’ve taken the liberty to post several shots.

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Tree roots along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

A Dark and Cloudy Day Along the Reservoir

As we walked along the reservoir we were sure that any minute the clouds would open up delivering a soaking rain but with cameras in hand we soldered on. We were desperate for a nature fix but what would we possibly see? Any pictures taken would probably be blurry or at least, with the Auto ISO on, full of noise. Attempts to visualize landscapes that might have something endearing to say proved futile so we concentrated on the smaller things where the very flat dim light might be an asset.

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Cormorant on a dark day

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Amazingly even under these circumstances beauty was found.

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False Sunflower

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My favorite stump.

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Golden Star, (Donna)

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Blue Vervain, (Donna)

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Queen Ann’s Lace, (Donna)

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Milkweed

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The Mallard Ducks seemed happy enough.

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Female Mallard

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Female Mallard with young.

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The camera managed to capture a Nuthatch.

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Nuthatch (very low light)

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 .   .   .   a dragonfly even let us get close.

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Widow Skimmer

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But not all dragonflies were having a good day as witnessed buy this Great Crested Flycatcher that was showing off it’s prize.

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Great Crested Flycatcher, study 1

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Great Crested Flycatcher, study 2

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Great Crested Flycatcher, study 3

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On a lighter note during a recent bike ride we got an endearing picture of two young dear.

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Stopping to check out the turtles.

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Too cute!

 

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From The Living Room Sofa

It’s been very cold the last few days. As I write this, the thermometer is hovering around zero. Having lived many years north of here in Michigan, I don’t think of zero degrees as being terribly cold but it can be dangerous. Something as simple as a road trip may pose a serious health risk, rather than just an annoyance, if one has a breakdown. I must confess that I’ve been just a little frustrated, while one can dress for the temperature, it’s been too cold to comfortably use a camera outdoors for any length of time. So, for the last few days our outdoor photography has been very limited.

Careful to keep all exposed skin covered, we did go for a short walk yesterday. When it’s colder than @ 15 degrees F we take our small cameras because they can easily be kept warm by placing them under several layers of clothing. A combination of fresh snow, wind, the right humidity, and cold temperatures overnight, resulted in the creation of “snow rollers”. It’s been years since I’ve seen this phenomena so it was very fascinating. They seemed to be just about everywhere a little open space was available, including the frozen surface of the reservoir.

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Snow rollers

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Snow rollers, Griggs Reservoir, study 2

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Snow rollers, Griggs Reservoir, study 3

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Snow rollers, study 4

Birds were trying to stay warm in the river below the dam, and were even more huddled together than they had been a few days earlier. Despite the cold, we did manage to see Goldeneyes, Redheads, Hooded Mergansers, and Ring-necks.

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Waterfowl in the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, temp about 6 degrees F

Today, the lower temperatures resulted in increased activity around our feeders which allowed a few pics to be taken from the comfort of the living room sofa. The sparrows, cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and wrens appear to be totally adaptable to temperature as long as they have adequate food. The wrens and sparrows put a smile on my face with their feathers puffed up against the cold. Without realizing it, they will provide cheerfulness for a few more days until the severe cold releases it’s grip.

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Nuthatch, by Donna

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Song Sparrow

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Carolina Wren

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Cardinal

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, by Donna

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, study 2

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Red-bellied Woodpecker, study 3

Winter to Spring?

A few days ago the temperature was hovering around zero degrees. A couple of days later, after a fair amount of rain, it was close to fifty. If the temperature had stayed below freezing and the reservoir ice covered, we had hoped to continue our observation of waterfowl concentrated in the river. That had now all changed. The ice was pretty much gone and the waterfowl had dispersed.

We checked below the dam but the river was running high with a strong current and there were no birds. However, not far away at an abandoned quarry, now a very clear nice size lake, we were successful. Unfortunately, due to economics and/or lack of vision, this lovely body of water has been surrounded by office buildings and asphalt parking lots rather than a nice urban park but the birds don’t seem to mind.

Buffle Heads and Pie-billed Grebes

Buffle Heads and Pied-billed Grebes

Ring-necks and Buffle-heads

Ring-necked and Buffle-heads

Gulls on Ice

Ring-billed Gulls on Ice

Ring Necks and Coots

Ring-necked and Coots

The next day was sunny so we walked along Griggs Reservoir wondering what we would see but glad to be outside. The birds were apparently also happy about the sun as they were quite active. When not looking at birds my wife yielded to her recently acquired interest in lichens and mosses.

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Nuthatch, study 1

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Red-shouldered Hawk, study 1

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Red-shouldered Hawk, study 2

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Tender Polypore on tree, Donna

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Downy Woodpecker, study 1, Donna

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Male Bluebird, Donna

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Female Bluebird, Donna

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Fungi, Donna

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Nuthatch, study 2,  Donna

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Ochre Spreading Tooth, Donna

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Mallards, Donna

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Lichen, Donna

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Moss

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Turkey Tail

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Downy Woodpecker, study 2

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Thanks for stopping by.

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