An Unlikely Bird for Thanksgiving

Yesterday the wind blew at 40 – 50 miles per hour for most of the day so we occupied ourselves with indoor activities. Today the wind moderated but clouds moved in. A recent warm spell had taken care of the cover of snow from a few days earlier. All of which resulted in a rather dreary landscape. But realizing that this is the type of day interesting birds are often seen, we headed down to Griggs Park to see what we might see.

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For the first part of our walk nothing out of the ordinary presented itself so to reassure ourselves that we were seeing birds we compiled a list:

Mallard Ducks

Canada Geese

Robins

Gold Finch

Carolina Wren

Kingfisher

Dark Eyed Juncos

Song Sparrow

Cardinals

Great Blue Herons

Chickadees

Blue Birds

Pied Billed Grebe

Cedar Waxwings

.    .    .    and I may have missed a few.

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You are probably wondering why the list. That would be because, due to the amount of light available, there were few pictures.

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Before yesterday’s big wind striped the few remaining leaves off the trees, things were a little more cheerful and I was able to get a few front yard feeder shots.

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A Cardinal looks for seeds under the feeder.

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A Nuthatch enjoys the peanut butter log.

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. . . and so does a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

 

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However, during today’s walk my wife did capture a Kingfisher while attempting to photograph something else. Not a national Geographic shot by any stretch of the imagination but rather amazing considering the day.

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Kingfisher along the Scioto, (Donna)

 

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Almost back to the car we spotted a Killdeer. What was a Killdeer doing along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, especially this time of the year? While certainly not uncommon, it nevertheless was an exciting find as we couldn’t recall ever seeing one along the reservoir before.

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Killdeer (It never let us get real close), Griggs Park

 

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Sometimes it’s an ordinary bird in unordinary circumstances that fascinates. We hope you make time to enjoy nature in your neighborhood. You never know what you might find.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Jeepers Brown Creepers

Less than a week ago, after returning from a trip south to visit relatives in the sunny and warm state of Georgia, it was still in the sixties here in central Ohio and we were on our tandem bicycle enjoying a ride. Two days later it was windy with temps in the thirties dropping into the twenties at night. As a result autumn colors that entranced are now gone, replaced by a more subtle beauty.

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With the departure of most of the warblers to points further south we started looking more intently for other birds that seem to be more noticeable in the winter when on our walks along the Scioto River. These include Brown Creepers and Golden Crowned Kinglets some of which may travel from areas further north. Noteworthy is the Dark Eyed Junco which arrives from further north and seems to do well in in our area most winters.

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Thin layers of ice have greeted us during recent morning walks.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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A couple of days ago we were about to embark on one of our urban hikes and noticed something in our neighbor’s shrub. I ran back into the house a grabbed a camera.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, study 1

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Kinglet, study 2

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Where there are Golden-crowned Kinglets there are often Chickadees.

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Chickadee

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Chickadee, study 2

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Chickadee, study 3

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There was a little more color along the river just a week ago.

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Scioto River below Griggs Dam

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But depending on which way you pointed the camera the light could be pretty harsh.

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Looking south below Griggs Dam.

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A low sun illuminates the landscape, Scioto River.

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It’s probably been two or three weeks since we saw our first Junco.

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Dark Eyed Junco, study 1

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Junco, study 2, (Donna)

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More recently, study 3

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A Kingfisher waits patently along the river. While too far away for a good picture of the bird I thought the play of light on the branches and the hints of color in the background made for a pleasing composition.

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Kingfisher along the Sciotoj

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The ever present Great Blue Herons along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Great Blue Heron along the Scioto River

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Sensing my presence.

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As we looked for kinglets and creepers we were being watched from across the river.

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Red Tailed Hawks along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Trying to get a little closer I was spotted

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Our first Black Duck sighting of the season.

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A little too far away but they are Black Ducks, Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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While I was busy with the ducks my wife got a nice shot of a colorful House Finch that was nearby.

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A male House Finch close to the ground in vegetation that’s still green, (Donna)

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But jeepers better not forget the creepers.

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Brown Creeper along the Scioto, study 1

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Creeper, study 2

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Creeper, study 3

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Creeper, study 4

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Until next time we hope you have an opportunity to notice and enjoy nature in your neighborhood.

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.

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