Posted on May 18, 2015
Spring is a wonderful time of year. It seems that nature is in it’s most generous mood. “New” arrives everyday whether it’s in the form of a bird, flower, or other creature. Places that may seem ordinary later in the year are magically transformed by this new life. Even for those of us that spend large amounts of time walking in the woods or paddling along rivers, this time each year is no less fascinating. This is certainly the case for a special place to us, Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River just below the dam, which is not far from our home. For those of you that follow this blog you know we write about this place often. Residents of central Ohio probably know where it is, for all others, it’s located right within the city limits of Columbus, Ohio. For us, this fact greatly contributes to the magic.
In an attempt to document this magic, the photos below are a record of some things seen over the last two weeks.
Common Red-breasted Mergansers along the Scioto River.
The early spring wildflowers are gone but others have taken their place.
. . . and one of the more unique late spring wildflowers has appeared on the low cliffs along the reservoir.
A good selection of reptiles have also been observed.
On one of our paddles, two deer look on as we glide by.
Then there are the birds.
There are mothers and fathers with babies.
But among the birds, the real treat is the return of mating pairs of Wood Ducks.
. . . and it’s all happening so close to our home! What’s happening close to yours?
Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by.
Category: Birding in Ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Griggs Reservoir, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, Spring, Wild flowers Tagged: Baltimore Oriole, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Canada Geese, Canon SX40, Canon T3i with Sigma 150-500mm, Cedar Waxwing, Common Water Snake, Eastern Spiny Soft Shell, Panasonic FZ200, Prothonotary Warbler, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-eared Slider, Tree Swallow, White Tail Deer, Wild Columbine, Wood Duck, Yellow-rumped Warbler
Posted on March 4, 2015
One of our favorite places to look for waterfowl this time of the year is along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam. It’s an area that’s accessible only on foot so using a car as a blind to get closer to the birds is not an option. When one ties to sneak up on waterfowl for a decent photo one quickly realizing why duck hunters use blinds. Truth is, after years of being shot at, the only the wary birds a left. The dumb ones have been selected out.
So recently I tired a new technique. Rather than stalking the birds, moving quietly from cover to cover. I decided to find a good spot and quietly lean against a tree and wait for the birds to float by. It was a sunny 20 degrees with no wind which made the process not uncomfortable. In the past the other technique I’ve used is to walk down river and then slowly work my way back upstream. It turns out that the birds are less interested in swimming upstream to get away from a low level treat. However, when the treat is sufficient they will fly.
So below are some of the results using the above techniques:
There were also a few other birds that made me smile:
It’s hard not to notice other forms of beauty when out looking for birds:
Thanks for looking in.
Category: Central Ohio Nature, Central Ohio Parks, Columbus, Hoover Park, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Canon T3i with Sigma 150-500mm, Cardinal, Chickadee, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Greater Scaup, Herring Gull, Red Head, Red-breasted Merganser, Song Sparrow
Posted on February 27, 2015
February in Ohio has left us shivering. The abnormally cold weather has resulted in frozen lakes and reservoirs both here and further north. The open water that remains provides refuge to waterfowl that would normally be much more dispersed. One such area is the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir.
Below is a partial photographic inventory of the birds seen there in the last day. Some, such as the Common Golden Eye and Hooded Merganser, are fairly common winter visitors. Others are less so, and because of that they are a real treat to see.
We often think of there being less biodiversity in winter but the Scioto River below Griggs dam opens our eyes. Thanks for looking in.
Category: Birding in Ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Columbus, Hoover Park, Ohio Nature, photography, Scioto River, waterfowl Tagged: Bufflehead, Canada Geese, Canon T3i with Sigma 150-500mm, Canvasback, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Great Blue Heron, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Western X Glaucous-winged hybrid
Posted on March 21, 2014
Yesterday we set off on another training walk for our upcoming hiking trip. Since it was going to be a long walk we decided to travel light and take only a few snacks, small 8×25 binoculars, and our Canon SX260 cameras. This decision was also prompted by the fact that on recent walks we hadn’t seen as many waterfowl in the reservoir/river and the spring wildflowers were just starting to stir.
But with this kind of a lead in you probably suspect that we must have seen something special and you would be right. As we walked along the Scioto below Griggs Dam, other than a few Mallard Ducks there were only two other birds of interest visible on the river. The larger one, without the help of binoculars, appeared to be a Common Merganser. A bird that we’ve seen quite often this winter. But a closer look through the bino’s revealed it to be a Red-breasted Merganser. A bird that we’ve seen less often and seldom at this close distance. Tagging along behind was a female (confused?) Bufflehead. Given that in recent days the majority of the ducks had moved on and for one of the last that we might see this year to be such a beautiful and illusive bird, left us feeling ecstatic. We spent some time looking and savoring the moment.
The lesson in this story may very well be, Always make sure you have to right equipment. Evident from the pictures below, wonderful little camera that it is, the Canon SX260 is not the best bird camera.
click on image for a better look
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on February 28, 2014
Yesterday, with the reservoir again frozen over, we were out looking for waterfowl along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam and spotted some interesting ice formations. Recent warmer temperature, snow melt and rain had resulted in high water along the river. The formations resulted when this was followed by very cold temperatures and dropping water levels.
With the wind was gusting to over 30 miles per hour and the temperature hovering around 15 F our fingers froze almost instantly as we tried to take pictures. Its amazing any turned out as well as these did.
For the record we did see Hooded, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers along the opposite shore of the river. Below are our meager attempts to record the sightings.
Thanks for stopping by.
Posted on December 25, 2012
A sunny day provided a great opportunity to see what birds were calling Greenlawn Cemetery home in the days before Christmas. Reports of White-winged Crossbills were what got us down there, but in a place as big as Greenlawn, they might be easy to miss.
For the first hour or so not many birds were spotted. However, the many mature Oaks and Evergreens were at least beautiful to look at even if they weren’t appealing to the birds.
Continuing to appreciate the trees, we spotted an interesting Oak in the distance that was worth investigating. Approaching it we found that it was full of White and Red-breasted Nuthatches! The Red-breasted Nuthatches, like the White-winged Crossbills, are winter visitors in this area.
A little while later we finally found the Crossbills in some Sweet Gum trees but not before we had nice views of Downy Woodpeckers, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Chickadees, Brown Creepers, and a Carolina Wren.
All in all a good day. Thanks for stopping by.
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