Posted on August 19, 2017
Last week we spent a few days in Michigan in the Rifle River Recreation Area not far from the town of West Branch on the northeast side of the lower peninsula. With a number of excellent hiking trails, and lakes that don’t allow motors, it’s an excellent place for nature viewing. The lack of boat generated wakes on Devoe Lake means that Loons nest there. To the best of our knowledge it’s the closest location from central Ohio where nesting Loons can be seen. There are also Bald Eagles, Osprey as well as other birds to enjoy. When out exploring one is also treated to dragonflies and butterflies, as well as a number wildflowers not seen in central Ohio. Not far from the park is the AuSable River and the adjacent National Forest create even more opportunities for paddling and outdoor adventure.
We could spend hours watching loons. A quiet paddle on Devoe Lake allows one to observe them as they go about their day.
A view from the canoe.
Bald Eagles are sometimes seen flying overhead as we observe the loons with their young. If they get too close the adult loons create quite a commotion!
Other birds of prey also frequent the area.
Early morning solitude near our campsite.
Most birds were seen from the canoe as we made our way along the shoreline of Devoe and Grebe Lakes, as well as Loud Pond on the Au Sable River.
While hiking, especially this time of year, birds usually give way to the wildflowers and interesting types of fungus.
Dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies were seen as we enjoyed the wildflowers included one butterfly not typically seen in central Ohio.
A sense of place.
Shall we go for a hike or paddle? The decision is often made based on the weather conditions. Wind and choppy water make canoe photography with long lenses almost impossible. However, should conditions permit we’re usually not disappointed be the flowers seen as we paddle!
Sometimes when hiking you don’t have to look real close to be overwhelmed by the beauty.
No post would be complete without touching on some of the reptiles and amphibians seen. Seeing the skink was a surprise.
While fishing along the Au Sable River upstream of Loud Pond, a Mink is sighted!
We spend a lot of time looking and exploring but sometimes there’s a lot to be said for just being there.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this very incomplete sample of things that can be seen and experienced in the Rifle River Recreation Area.
The beauty is, the more time spent in nature the more you will see, the more you see the more you will want to understand and soon you’ll be carried away by the wonder and magic of it all.
As always thanks for stopping by!
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.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Michigan, Michigan State Parks, Paddling and Nature Photography, Rifle River Recreation Area Tagged: American Copper, American White Water Lily, Appalachian Brown, Bad-wing Moths, Bald Eagle, Baltimore Oriole, Belted Kingfisher, Broad-leaved Arrowhead, bullfrog, Burr Reed, Canada Darner, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm, Canon 80D Sigma 150-600mm lens, Cardinal Flower, Caspian Tern, Common Loon, Common Wood Nymph, Coral Fungus, Crab Spider, Doll's Eyes, Dragon Hunter, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Five-lined Skink, Foam Flower, Fringed Loosestrife, Garter Snake, Grass-of-Parnassus, Great Spangled Fritillary, Green Heron, Hawkweed, Indian Pipe, Katydid, Kingbird, Knapweed, Meadow Sweet, mink, Monarch Butterfly, Ontario Lobelia, Osprey, Painted Turtle, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 100-400mm, Pelecinid Wasp, Pickerel Weed, Picture Plant, Red-spotted Purple, Robber Fly, Ruby Meadowhawk, Small Mouth Bass, Spotted Sandpiper, Spotted Spreadwing, St John's Wort, Swamp Smartweed, Trumpeter Swan, Turtlehead, Vesper Bluet, Virgin's Bower, Water Shield, Wood Frog, Yellow Pond Lilly
Posted on July 18, 2017
Recently we were thinking about all the birds that nest in Griggs Reservoir Park or in the immediate environs. A list of some of the more interesting ones would go something like this:
Cardinal, Northern Flicker,
Black-crowned Night Heron,
Northern Parula Warbler,
Kingfisher, Wood Duck,
Great Blue Heron
. . . ,
well I think you get the idea. It’s amazing that just a few years ago we were ignorant of much of this. To become more aware has taken time coupled with repeated outings to the park and reservoir. While some visits have been pretty quiet, in general learning about the birds has been a rewarding activity.
Too further this point, recently we’ve been fortunate to photograph a few of the “youngsters”. The always active Kingbirds have been hard to miss.
While we’ve heard them calling from time to time over the past few weeks, Yellow-throated Warblers have been illusive so the one below was a pretty exciting find!
Always cute, a few Mallard ducklings were present along the reservoir. Interesting because we’ve seen a stream of ducklings over the last two months indicating there is no fixed time to mate.
While not youngsters, a few other birds also allowed us to take their picture. For those of you that have tried to photograph a Kingfisher you know they don’t usually cooperate so even an average picture is an accomplishment.
As mentioned above the birds have been rewarding but we never imaged we would discover a new snake right within the city limits of Columbus! It was seen while canoeing Griggs Reservoir and was located in a low lying bush overhanging the water. While looking at the one below another one splashed into the water. Needless to say we were very excited by this discovery!
Summer wildflowers have benefited from the recent rain.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you know that in the summer we tend to focus more on insects. This year is no exception, except I’ve finally really caught the “bug” from my wife. Having made that declaration, as hard as I look I will never match her ability to see these little guys!
The photo of the below dragonfly was an especially exciting because it very seldom lands.
There was a time when I wasn’t all that excited about “insects”, pointing my camera at butterflies, dragonflies, and the like only when the birds weren’t cooperating. Arriving home after one such an outing I took a close look at the images obtained and was amazed at the beauty of many of these creatures that are so easy for us to disregard. It’s hardly breaking news but some time ago I heard that if we compared the weight of all humans with that of all insects we would make up a very small piece of the pie. The below chart illustrates that point. For life to exist on this small sphere we stand on the shoulders of giants but in our case they are very small giants. Something to think about!
Thanks for stopping by.
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.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Griggs Reservoir, Griggs Reservoir Park, Nature Photography, Ohio Insects, Ohio Nature, waterfalls, Wildflowers Tagged: Belted Kingfisher, Black-crowned Night Heron, Blue Dasher, Blue Jay, Blue Vervain, Canon 60D with Sigma 18-300mm, Common Dogbane Beetle, Duke's Skipper, Eastern-tailed Blue, Giant Spreadwing, Joe-pye Weed, Kingbird, Lazard's Tail, Mallard Ducklings, Metillic Gold Fly, Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar, Orange Sulfur, Panasonic FZ200, Pelecinid Wasp, Queen Snake, Question Mark, Robber Fly, Silvery Checkerspot, Soldier Fly, Spicebush Swallowtail, Swamp Milkweed, Tall Blue Lettuce, Wandering Glider, Yellow-throated Warbler
Posted on September 7, 2016
Late August isn’t usually when I think of seeing fall warblers in central Ohio. Although I’m sure that’s the result of a certain level of ignorance on my part. So not really expecting the warblers this early, most of our efforts in recent days have been spent looking for, and enjoying, the “bugs” that currently seem to be in their prime. What started as a way to say curious during the summer doldrums has now become a real goal of our explorations.
Whether a spider, butterfly, moth, bee, or dragonfly their unique beauty and behavior, so unlike our own, takes us into a truly different world. Fascinating as they are I wouldn’t want to return “in the next life” as an insect. The dragonfly is too efficient and maneuverable a flying machine bringing a quick end to anything flying nearby that it considers a meal. The life cycle of many wasps requires that caterpillars become live hosts for their larva. A convenient meal for the future wasps but undoubtedly not a pleasant experience for the caterpillar. A garden spider quickly dispatches and gift wraps a careless fly in silk for later consumption. And just when you think your the biggest, baddest, “bug” around, a bird comes along. I could go on but it is sufficient to say, it’s not for me.
It’s not as if there haven’t been birds around. Sometimes, in our quest for insects, we get so engaged in looking down we forget to look up! The Osprey was discovered as we were looking for warblers and provided many great poses as he devoured a fish just two of which are shown below.
. . . and then there were the warblers, always more seen than successfully photographed.
When in nature take a moment to enjoy the whole, allowing yourself just to be.
With the fall migration just getting started we’re looking forward to what will be seen in the coming weeks.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Alum Creek State Park, Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, nature, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River Tagged: American Redstart, Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Black and White Warbler, Bumble Bee, Canon 60D with Sigma 150-500mm, Cape May Warbler, Clouded Sulphur, Funnel Weaver Grass Spider, Grasshopper, Great Blue Heron, Great Crested Flycatcher, Katydid, Marbled Orbweaver, Mayfly, Monarch Butterfly, Northern Flicker, Osprey, Panasonic FZ200, Pelecinid Wasp, Praying Mantis, Question Mark, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-eyed Vireo, Spotted Orbweaver, Triangle-bearing Orbweaver, Variegated Fritillary, Walnut Caterpiller, wasps, Yellow-throated Warbler
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