White-winged Scoter

With rumblings that Snowy Owls had reached central Ohio we thought it might be a good day to head  to Prairie Oaks Metro Park. If there happened to be a Snowy Owl there, maybe we would be one of the first to see it. That would make for a very cool title for this blog.

But as you may have guessed, we didn’t see a Snowy Owl. Still cold when we arrived at the park, several intrepid souls were standing along the shoreline of one of the ponds with binoculars and spotting scopes. As we panned our binoculars through a large group of Canada Geese occupying open water, one person said, “Did you see the scoter?” I was embarrassed to admit that, at the distance we were from the birds, I was lucky to be able to tell that they were birds much less whether they were Mallards, Mergansers, Scoters or what ever. So I replied, “I think so.” Fortunately with a little more concentration and a look through a spotting scope, not necessarily in that order, I did see the scoter, a White-winged Scoter! Looking at our field guide we deduced that it was rare bird in these parts. Pretty exciting!

White-winged Scoter, Prairie Oaks

White-winged Scoter, Prairie Oaks (strictly a data acquisition pic, Canon SX40, 35x zoom, cropped)

After observing the scoter, we decided to head off into the park to see about the Snowy Owl. While there was no Snowy Owl for us today we did enjoy views of the Big Derby, some frozen fungi, and the usual small bird suspects. At one point a Red-tailed Hawk flew overhead with an unfortunate squirrel in it’s talons. A while later a Cooper’s Hawk crossed our path. Intent on getting our binoculars on the hawks we got no pictures. However my wife did manage to get a nice picture of a Robin. The White-throated Sparrows, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Juncos, Morning Doves, and Blue Jays just wouldn’t sit still.

Mallards on the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Mallards on the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Fungi turkey feathers, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi turkey tail, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi Ruffles family, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi family, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi Polypore looking underneath, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Fungi Polypore looking underneath, Prairie Oaks, Donna

Robin, Donna

Robin, Donna

Frozen Pond, Prairie Oaks

Frozen Pond, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby Ice, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby Ice, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby looking north, Prairie Oaks

Big Darby looking north, Prairie Oaks

Canada Geese, Prairie Oaks

Canada Geese, Prairie Oaks


Thanks for stopping by.

A Year Of Dragonflies

I was getting ready to look though some more 2013 photos with the idea of another “Best of 2013” post. Across the room my wife was trying to figure out how many dragonflies she had photographed this year. As she announced she had found eighteen, I realized that she had done all my work for me.

Particularly meaningful to me is that not that long ago I would be asked to photograph bugs, birds, or flowers that she found interesting. She  apparently felt that she would never be able to do it as well as me. But with a new camera, and some encouragement, she started out. So what follows are those eighteen pictures which reflect her adventure into the world of dragonflies.

Small Cove - Alum Creek

Looking for dragonflies, Alum Creek State Park

Dragonfly Twelve-spotted Skimmer,

Dragonfly Twelve-spotted Skimmer, MI trip

Cyrano Darner Twin Lakes

Cyrano Darner Twin Lakes, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

Common Whitetail, male MI trip

Common Whitetail, male, MI trip

Calico Pennant (male)  RRR area

Calico Pennant (male) Rifle River Rec Area, MI

Blue Dasher, Beaver Lake area

Blue Dasher, Beaver Lake area, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Black-Shouldered Spinyleg Cooke Pond, MI

Black-Shouldered Spinyleg, Cooke Pond, Au Sable River, MI

Dragonfly Black Saddlebags Dragonfly Griggs

Dragonfly Black Saddlebags Dragonfly, Griggs Reservoir

Widow Skimmer Prairie Oaks Beaver Lake Area

Widow Skimmer Prairie Oaks Beaver Lake Area, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

 White-faced Meadowhawk, female RRR area

White-faced Meadowhawk, female, Rifle River Rec Area, MI

Unicorn Clubtail MI trip

Unicorn Clubtail, MI trip

Sulpher-tipped Clubtail, Prairie Oaks

Sulpher-tipped Clubtail, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Rusty Snaketail, Prairie Oaks

Rusty Snaketail, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Ruby Meadowhawk, male RRR area

Ruby Meadowhawk, male, Rifle River Rec Area, MI

Lancet Clubtail (female),  Battelle Darby

Lancet Clubtail (female), Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Halloween Pennant Prairie Oaks

Halloween Pennant, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Eastern Pondhawk, Beaver Lake area

Eastern Pondhawk, Beaver Lake area, Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Eastern Amberwing, Twin Lakes

Eastern Amberwing, Twin Lakes, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

Dot-tailed Whiteface, MI trip

Dot-tailed Whiteface, MI trip


I need to start by being honest. While fall is my second most favorite time of the year, behind spring, it is also a time of reduced expectations. Bird and insect activity seem to be in decline, the colors of spring and summer wildflowers give way to Goldenrod, Asters, autumn leaves, and then slowly   .   .   .  , better start thinking about next year adventures while catching up on reading and working on some favorite photographs.

But wait, this morning while walking along Griggs Reservoir the air was autumn day pure and cool, a Bald Eagle swooped down to the water’s surface before rising and circling against a Royal Blue sky, Gold Finches, looking for a meal, lighted on Cone Flowers, now devoid of their petals, as they made their way south, warblers flitted In the tree tops, a Black and White here a Magnolia there, and what about that vireo in the bush at the water’s edge.


Goldenrod and a Cloud Studded Blue Sky




Monarch and Goldenrod


Fly-fishing below Griggs Dam


Stump with Asters


Sharing a Rock


Thanks for stopping by.

Snow, Ice and Cornbread

What a treat, over a week of sub freezing temperatures had preserved the snow cover in central Ohio offering plenty of time to explore Prairie Oaks and Battalle Darby Metro Parks as patterns and shapes in snow and ice transformed the landscape.

 The birds always amaze us with their ability to survive in such hostile conditions. Mallards and Canada Geese seem to bask in a river that looks too icy to flow.  A male Golden-crowned Kinglet flits from branch to branch feeding on insects that you wouldn’t think would be there making it hard the follow with binoculars much less a camera. Some Tufted Titmouse entertained us with a snowy wrestling match. White-throated Sparrows and Nuthatches, busy eating seeds and berries, pause only for a second to have their picture taken.

Then the good feeling of returning home to warm soup and cornbread after several hours in the clear crisp air having walked more miles than you intended as the beauty drew you in.



Canada Geese find some open water on the Big Darby.


White-breasted Nuthatch



White-crowned Sparrow


Tufted-titmouse in a confrontation.


. . . the confrontation continues.


Not sure who’s winning.


Downy Woodpecker


Tufted Titmouse


The Big Darby, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.


The Big Darby, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.


Prairie Oaks Metro Park.


Prairie Oaks Metro Park.


The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.


Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.


Thanks for stopping by.

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