An Early June Paddle On Griggs Reservoir

A few days ago while fishing I was fortunate to see two Black-crowned Night Herons. Such a sighting is always a treat in Ohio as, unlike Great Blue Herons, they are only found in a few isolated locations with Griggs Reservoir being one. As you might expect most of their activity is a night so during the day they are usually found perched quietly in trees at waters edge.

 

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Fishing rig for the reservoir.

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Black-crowned Night Heron

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Given my good fortune the day before, my wife expressed the desire to do a paddle, bird camera in hand, with the express goal of seeing and perhaps photographing the herons. Of course as most birders know there is an element of uncertainty to these endeavors. After eight miles of paddling no Black-crowned Night Herons were seen much less photographed but as is often the case other things made up for it.

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As I moved the canoe closer a very young White Tail fawn at waters edge tries to remain unnoticed, (Donna).

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An also very young Map Turtle, about the size of a fifty cent piece, enjoys the morning sun, (Donna).

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We catch a rare glimpse of a female wood slinking along the shore with young ones. Usually by the time we get this close they’ve scattered. An outcome we try to avoid, (Donna).

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Typical evasive “wounded” maneuver by a female with young when you get too close, (Donna).

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In a second he was gone but that was all the time my wife needed to catch this Mink. Pretty exciting as it had been a while since we’d seen one, (Donna).

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A Red-eared Slider poses for a picture. It may now be more common in the reservoir than the Map Turtle, (Donna).

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Usually several groups of mallard duckling are seen during early June paddles, (Donna).

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Like all youngsters this immature Red-tailed Hawk was making a lot of noise, demanding to be noticed.

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Given the number of nesting boxes Prothonotary Warblers are certainly not rare in central Ohio. However, whenever we find one “setting up housekeeping” in a natural tree cavity it’s particularly exciting. Such was the case with the below female at the north end of Griggs.

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Prothonotary Warbler, (Donna).

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Another view, (Donna).

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We were almost to the 161 bridge and Kiwanis Riverway Park when we saw the prothonotary and usually go just a little further before turning for the journey home. However, on this particular day it was hard to imagine what would be discovered that would top that already seen so with a fair breeze off our stern we somewhat reluctantly pointed the bow south and headed home. A wonderful way to finish the day.

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Thanks for stopping by

 

 

Kinglet Quest

In central Ohio early April usually brings the seasons first migrating birds but before they really start moving through the area we like to spend time enjoying spring wildflowers. Unlike many of the birds, their world is located on the forest floor and exists before the overhead canopy all to quickly leafs out and cuts off their sunlight. It is a magical time as splashes of color find expression amid the dullness of last years leaf litter.

A Bloodroot flower waits to open, Duranceaux Park.

As pretty as any wildflower Virginia Waterleaf emerges from the leaf litter, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In what almost seems to be an act of defiance, a solitary Bloodroot blooms surrounded by the slowly decaying leaves, Duranceaux Park.

Cold weather has allowed this Snow Trillium to stay around longer than one usually expects, Duranceaux Park.

Just emerging blooms of Dutchmen’s Breeches, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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A few days of warm weather, after a week or two of colder than normal spring temperatures, and things really started to open up.

Spring Beauty, Greenlawn Cemetery.

False Rue Anemone, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Bloodroot in full bloom, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The very tiny flowers of Common Speedwell, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Cutleaf Toothwart, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

Rue Anemone, Highbanks Metro Park, (Donna).

Toadshade Trillium, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Yellow Trout Lilies “march” across the forest floor, High Banks Metro Park, (Donna).

A closer look, (Donna).

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Often, as we looked for wildflowers, there was activity overhead. A quick glance up indicated that many of the birds were kinglets and they seemed to be everywhere. Armed with that awareness, we dusted off the “bird cameras” and for the next few days made kinglets our primary objective. Often when one decides to look for a specific bird efforts are frustrated, but in this case the kinglets cooperated. “Cooperated” should be qualified by saying that they only do as much as such a hyper active bird can. As many birders know all to well, they’re a challenge to follow with binoculars much less a telephoto equipped camera.

Golden-crowned Kinglet, Duranceaux Park.

Take 2, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Take 3, Duranceaux Park.

 

Take 4, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Not seen as often, we had less luck with the Ruby-crowned Kinglets. For the most part they stayed in the low thickets and brush and moved constantly, with fleeting views often partially obscured by small branches.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Showing off it’s ruby crown.

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Where there are kinglets there are often .   .   .

Carolina Chickadee, common but not always easy to photograph, Duranceaux Park.

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While the activity continued below, high overhead a Red-tailed Hawk surveyed it’s realm.

Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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On one outing a group of Black Vultures was seen perched in a Sycamore along the shore of the reservoir. Not a real common sight in central Ohio. Closer examination of the nearby area revealed the partially devoured carcass of a deer.

Black Vultures, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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We don’t want to forget some of the other birds seen as we looked for kinglets.

No bird’s song speaks to us in the spring like that of the the Song Sparrow, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are often taken for granted as they are one of the most numerous of their kind but the beauty of this male is undeniable, Greenlawn Cemetery,

Momentarily fooling us into thinking it was a Goldfinch, this Pine Warbler was seen at Greenlawn Cemetery.

Later in the year as low lying bushes leaf out the Eastern Towhee, a large colorful sparrow, will be much harder to see, Greenlawn Cemetery.

White-breasted Nuthatch, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Bluebirds never fail to put a smile on our face, Griggs Reservoir Park.

With fast departing remnants of a spring snow an American Goldfinch warms itself in the morning sun, Griggs Reservoir Park. surrounded by

Always a thrill to see, we were entertained by this acrobatic Black and White Warbler, Greenlawn Cemetery, (Donna).

If I were a first time visitor to Ohio from Europe, I would be enchanted by this American Cardinal, Griggs Reservoir Park.

On a cold spring morning we wonder what this Eastern Phoebe finds to eat, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

A very healthy looking male House Finch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

This Wood Duck pair  landed in “the pit” at Greenlawn Cemetery but left just as quickly when they realized they were being watched by a rather large group of birders, (Donna).

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As the ephemeral days of spring pass there will be other wildflowers and winged migrants to enchant, but for a brief moment in time, while on their yearly journey north, kinglets became the seasons exclamation point.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Reluctant Treasures

We enjoy being outdoors no matter what the time of year. However, when it comes to providing a sense of wonder, unlike spring, summer and early autumn, late autumn and early winter give up their subtle treasures reluctantly. One must move slowly and look closely or much will be missed.

With the leaves now gone the convoluted bark of the Osage Orange is hard not to notice, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Better in B&W?

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A cloudy cold early November morning gives way to the fleeting sun of an unexpectedly warm afternoon and as if by magic things appear not seen a few hours earlier.

A warm early November afternoon and the first sighting of a Variegated Fritillary for the year, (Donna).

A pond quiet in the cold morning air comes to life in the warm afternoon sun, Leopard Frog, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

An Autumn Meadowhawk enjoys the afternoon sun, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

A Striped Wolf Spider sunning itself along the trail just avoids being stepped on, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.

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A sheltered place, warmed by the sun, gives refuge to flowers that should be gone for the year. Fungi fruit in response to more generous rain defying the below freezing nights.

In the low late autumn sun Nodding Bur-Marigold defies the season, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Moss and lichen, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Fruiting lichen, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Unexpectedly colorful Changing Pholiota, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Tinged with green an unidentified shelf fungi, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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More isolated now, some color still remains.

Road through Griggs Reservoir Park.

Sweatgum leaves, (Donna).

Poison Ivy, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The road along the reservoir evites us to walk further, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Fewer leaves, and a forest canopy of bare branches, allow one to better see the birds that haven’t made their way south.

Against a deep blue November sky a sentinel stands along the Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Better in B&W?

Song Sparrow, Battelle Darby Metro Park, (Donna).

American Goldfinch, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Great Blue Herons continue to make a living along the shore of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

Downy Woodpecker (M), Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

We continue to see Bald Eagles along the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir Dam.

Backing off a bit we noticed a Coopers Hawk watching from the distance.

A dark morph American Robin from further north? Griggs Reservoir Park.

Thankfully, with the migrating warblers pretty much gone, the Carolina Wrens continue to entertain along the Scioto River.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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For the last few weeks almost every squirrel has had a nut in its mouth.

Gray Squirrel, Griggs Reservoir Park.

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It’s the time of year when short cloudy days, a landscapes of muted colors, and breezes often too cool to be comfortable tell us that things are going to be quieter for a while.

A shoreline reflection reveals November’s bare branches, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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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.

 

A Red-tailed Hawk Takes a Bath

The goal for the day was to catch a nice Smallmouth Bass at the north end of Griggs Reservoir. Before I left to house my wife reminded me, “You better take a camera because you never know what you might see!” Heeding her words I stuffed a small Panasonic ZS50 travel zoom into a pocket. Not exactly a serious wildlife camera but at least if I saw something interesting I just might get a picture. Besides I was going fishing and didn’t want to be encumbered by larger more competent equipment.

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Low water and a hint of autumn along the Scioto River.

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After two hours of casting into what appeared to be promising smallmouth habitats and trying various lures, I had one small bluegill to show for my angling efforts. But I sure was happy I took the camera as I witnessed something I’d never seen before!

At first just looking . . .

the immature Red-tailed Hawk then decides to test the water.

Is that me?

A little deeper, don’t want to get those wing wet . . .

One more picture and I’m out of here!

I guess he wasn’t kidding!

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In the words of a very wise person, you never know what you’re going to see so take your camera! Thanks for stopping by.

Light filters through the leaves of a fallen Sycamore along the Scioto River.

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XXX

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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.

 

Autumn Contemplation

Most of the time it’s nice to have a central theme. However, for the most part, this post just meanders through early autumn and celebrates the time of year in some of our central Ohio parks. I continue to enjoy shooting a portion of my photos with a Sony A7, adapter, and legacy Canon FD lenses. It’s nice to have so much control over depth of field. My wife is ever on the lookout for things small, be it insects or details that charm in the fall foliage.

The Big Darby, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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Monarchs continue to work their way south while a few late summer buckeyes, having made their way to central Ohio, enchant. Painted Ladies and Viceroys also continue to be seen. Are Painted Ladies more beautiful with wings closed or open?

Viceroy, (Donna)

Take 2.

Buckeye, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Painted Lady, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Take 2, (Donna).

Eastern-tailed Blue, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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Leaves continue to grace a long fallen Sycamore along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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There still may be time before the first hard frost results in an abrupt end to most of the current insect activity. Katydids and crickets that so willingly provide the late summer soundtrack for our outdoor adventures will fall silent. The purpose of their time here will emerge next spring and take up the charge as the dance of death and life continues. Meanwhile as autumn moves on we continue to enjoy their life.

Widow Skimmer, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Bees on Nodding Bur-marigold, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Male Eastern Pondhawk, Prairie Oaks Metro Park, (Donna).

Black and Yellow Garden Spider, the bee managed to allude the spiders web, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Scarlet and Green Leaf Hopper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Long Horned Beetle, not sure which one, Griggs reservoir park, (Donna).

Grasshopper, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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The Scioto River.

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Recently we were fascinated by an immature Red-tailed Hawk that posed to have it’s picture taken and then decided to fly into a nearby tree in an attempt to extract a meal from a squirrels nest. It did succeed in arousing the occupants but standing on top of the nest it was no match for them as they circled and sprang from branch to branch until they were out of harms way.

Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Come on out of there, I just went to play, honest!

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A hint of autumn, Griggs Reservoir.

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With the days now much shorter, other creatures seem to sense that colder weather is just around the corner as they enjoy the morning sun or in the case of the squirrels and chipmunks busy themselves collecting stores for winter.

Painted Turtle, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Chipmunk with acorn, Griggs reservoir Park, (Donna).

Red Squirrel, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Groundhog, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

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A favorite tree.

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Asters and other late summer flowers now compete with leaves for the seasons beauty.

Neighbors

Evening Primrose, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

The Scioto River pays tribute to autumn.

The river peeks through windblown leaves as they struggle to hang on, Griggs Reservoir Park.

In the autumn breeze milkweed seeds prepare to take flight, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

Reflections.

Virginia Creeper, Griggs Reservoir.

Sunflowers, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Color along Griggs Reservoir.

Changing leaves, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Sycamore bark, Griggs Reservoir Park.

Red, yellow, green, Griggs Reservoir Park, (Donna).

Suspended color along the Scioto River.

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Rocks often washed by the river’s high water are now covered with the litter of trees.

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We often journey into nature equipped with expectations, perhaps it’s seeing a certain bird, insect, or wildflower, but the key to the magic may be to let go, allowing each day, each season, to speak in it’s own voice.

Autumn from the canoe, Griggs Reservoir.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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XXX

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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.

The Bird That Thinks It’s a Mouse

At least that impression one gets watching a Winter Wren  foraging for food. These very small dark colored birds with a very pronounced turned up tail are hard to see much less photograph as they make their way around dense underbrush usually near water. In fact I don’t think we’ve ever seen one very far from water although that could be due to the fact that we spent a large amount of our time looking for birds near water along the Scioto River in Griggs Reservoir Park.

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Winter Wren along the Scioto River, (Donna).

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Study 2, (Donna).

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Study 3.

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Study 4.

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Winter Wren habitat along the Scioto River.

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From the very small to very large, a Sycamore along the Scioto River. What could it tell us of this place if it could talk?

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Sycamore along the Scioto, (Donna).

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This time of year it’s always a joy when common birds entertain us. Not so easy to capture in their natural habitat away from feeders.

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Carolina Chickadee, Griggs Park.

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Carolina Chickadee, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Tufted Titmouse, Griggs Park.

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Study 2.

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While closer to the ground there is still a presence of green, in many areas overhead it’s a different story.

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November branches.

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Other birds continue to make their presence known.

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A female Downy lets the chips fly, Griggs Park.

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A White-throated Sparrow plays hide and seek, Prairie Oaks Metro Park.

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White-throated Sparrow, study 2, Griggs Park.

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Apparently one of this Red-bellied Woodpeckers favorite trees, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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A Red-tailed Hawk waits patently for it’s next meal, Griggs Park.

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Almost always heard before they’re seen this Carolina Wren was determined to get noticed, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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Song Sparrow, Griggs Park.

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We were looking for the Winter Wren but some previously hard to fine Golden-crowned Kinglets kept getting in the way, along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Take 2.

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A noisy Northern Flicker also demanded to be noticed, Griggs Park.

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This Dark-eyed Junco was acting like it might have hurt feelings if I didn’t take it’s picture, Griggs Park.

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Goldfinch, winter plumage, Griggs Park.

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Wait, you’re not a bird!, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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A fascinating and unexpected find during a recent walk along the Scioto River was this very nice example of a Horn Coral fossil. The fossil was about 4 inches long!

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Rugose corals, often called “horn corals”, because their form may resemble the horn of a cow or goat. This coral became extinct at or near the end of the Permian period, about 240 million years ago. It first appeared in the early Ordovician period and peaked during the Devonian. photo by Donna. Ref: http://fallsoftheohio.org/DevonianCorals.html

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Up until just four days ago warm weather was allowing some of our insect friends to hang around but with this mornings temperature around 20F we don’t expect to see them again any time soon.

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So long until next spring! (Donna).

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Likewise! (Donna)

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Given that it’s Thanksgiving week here in central Ohio the next bird we will be investigating will probably be a turkey. On that note we wish everyone a happy holiday. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Milkweed seeds take flight, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

Searching For Kinglets

For those of you that follow this blog you know that we spend a lot of time walking in one park near our home. Part of the fascination has been to see what we can discover in this one specific location throughout the year. As the seasons change, it’s often about what we don’t see as much as what we do. From our house the park is also the perfect distance for a long walk which adds to the overall satisfaction of the experience. Finally, without making too much work out of it, we also try to help keep the park free of cans, bottles and other litter which provides a sense of ownership and makes the place just that much more special.

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The leaves are mostly on the ground now in Griggs Park.

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Having provided a rather circuitous introduction you’re probably wondering where this is going. Well it’s about the Kinglets! Several weeks ago we saw quite a few Golden and Ruby Crown Kinglets along the Scioto River below the Griggs Dam but since then nothing. Were had they gone? Had our timing since then just been bad? We were starting to wonder. Would we again see these little birds that do so much to brighten up late fall and winter in central Ohio?

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In then a few days ago, in the company of Chickadees and Downy Woodpeckers, there they were.

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Golden Crown Kinglet along the Scioto below Griggs Dam.

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Take 2.

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Take 3, (Donna)

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Take 4, (Donna).

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.   .   .  and not far away.

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Downy Woodpecker (F), a common resident this time of year.

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A Red-bellied Woodpecker contrasts nicely with the fall color.

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A male Cardinal in the afternoon sun puts a smile on our face.

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Male Bluebird Griggs Park. They are easy to spot this time of year.

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Dark Eyed Junco, a winter visitor from the north, Griggs Park.

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Take 2.

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A Song Sparrow with attitude, (Donna).

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Red-tailed Hawks are hard to miss this time of year.

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Red-tailed Hawk, Griggs Park.

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Take 2.

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Take 3.

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My wife was trying to figure out what this crow was doing.

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Crow playing with Northern Catalpa seed pod, (Donna)

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Take 2.

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And as always there have been other things to notice.

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A Fox Squirrel checks us out, Griggs Park.

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Stink Horn mushroom, Griggs Park, only this one example was found.

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Amazingly, after a number of below freezing nights, we continue to see butterflies, Griggs Park, (Donna).

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Not in the best shape but pretty amazing considering the time of year.

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Donna tried her hand at capturing the often ignored shapes and designs of late fall.

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Take 1.

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Take 2.

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Take 3.

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Take 4.

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Take 5.

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On future walks we hope the kinglets, along with their friends, will continue to charm and fascinate making this time of year just a little brighter. Thanks for stopping by.

 

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Sunset, Griggs Reservoir, (Donna).

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Should you wish, various prints from this and other posts may be purchased at Purchase a Photo. and Donna’s 2017 Birds of Griggs Park calendar is available at Calendar.

 

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