A Chickadee In The Woods

A beautiful sunrise can offer inspiration as well as motivation to get outside and see what’s going on. This is especially true when it may mean rain later in the day.


Sunrise from our front window.


So after a quick breakfast, off we went. By way of explanation for the following few shots let me first say that we love Chickadees, whether they’re at our feeder or in the woods they never fail to put a smile on our face. Encountering one after several miles of hiking is extra special if for no other reason than that you’ve worked hard to get to the meeting place. “Free-range” Chickadees just can’t be beat. A further preface to the pics is that they were taken with a very pocketable Panasonic ZS50 a camera purchased with a hike of the Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula in mind. While no replacement for the capability of a DSLR when it comes to creative effects, low light capability, and fast and precise focus, I’ll let you be the judge is to just how well it does. Clicking on the image will give a slightly better idea of the resolution. All images are significant crops and were taken at 30x zoom.


Chickadee, along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam


Trying to hide.


Going about it’s business.


The ZS50 was also pointed at a much more sedentary Red-bellied Woodpecker.


Red-bellied Woodpecker in the neighborhood.


Whatever it was on the menu it was apparently to it’s liking.


Finally, it’s capabilities were directed towards gulls far out on the reservoir.


Gulls on ice, Griggs Reservoir.


A day later at the same location but now with the “bird camera” I was hoping to document interesting waterfowl and perhaps see the Mute or Trumpeter Swans that were observed flying over head the day before.

merge copy

On this particular day the landscape did not cry out to be photographed, Griggs Reservoir Dam.


While the day was rather drab the waterfowl were cooperative even if it was at a distance.


Hooded Merganser, (F)


Despite using trees for cover and moving very slowly, I’m spotted, and the Goldeneyes take flight.


The Red-necked Ducks aren’t quite as cautious.


On the other side of the river a male Kingfisher poses.


A lone Greater Scaup is also seen.


No stranger to these parts, a Great Blue Heron waits for the river’s flow to deliver lunch.


All in all, the last two days were good. The Panasonic ZS50 appears quite capable of doing what’s needed in Ireland and having the “bird camera” out again reminded me why it is also in the stable. Thanks for stopping by.


Blue sky, morning sun, and a Cardinal.



An Early Spring Gathering of “Ducks” in Central Ohio

Yesterday, with our son in town for a visit, we decided to take advantage of his good eyes and go birding. He was more than happy to accommodate us. Rather than one of our usual long walks, this time we took the car. Our destinations included the Scioto river below Griggs Dam, Griggs Reservoir along Griggs Reservoir Park, the very northern end of the reservoir the Kiwanis Riverway Park Area which is part of Griggs Reservoir Nature Preserve, and Glacier Ridge Metro Park.

In terms of numbers of birds, the reservoir was the most productive. However, we did see a beaver along with some birds that included Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and Nuthatches, below Griggs Dam. Glacier Ridge was also productive with views of Red tail Hawks (light and dark morphs), Flickers, Bluebirds, Song Sparrows, Northern Tree Sparrows and Meadowlarks.


Bluebird, Glacier Ridge Metro Park

Bluebird flying toward hole 031514 Glacier Ridge cp1

Bluebirds, Glacier Ridge Metro Park, study 2 (Donna)

Bluebird facing away 031514 Glacier Ridge cp1

Bluebirds, Glacier Ridge Metro Park, study 3 (Donna)

Northern Flicker 031514 Glacier Ridge cp1

Northern Flicker, Glacier Ridge Metro Park (Donna)

But now back to Griggs Reservoir where we managed to see, Hooded and Common Mergansers, Greater and Lesser Scaups, Buffleheads, Redhead Ducks, Horned Grebes, Ring-necked Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Canvasbacks, Mallards, American Coots, Ringed bill Gulls, Canada Geese, Great Blue Herons and Double-crested Cormorants.

As we drove along the reservoir, stopping periodically to look around, all the waterfowl were about a quarter of a mile away along the opposite shore. Our first exciting find was a Horned Grebe. A bird not often seen in this area. It was was far enough away to be at the limit of our binocular’s reach. A spotting scope would have been the best tool to verify the bird’s ID but I decided to put my Canon SX40 at full zoom, use a low ISO, support the camera against a tree as best I could, and snap away. It was “Data acquisition” in the hopes of confirming the bird ID’s later. These were not going to be National Geographic quality photos! The below “data strips”, cropped but full frame width photos, contained the information.


data strip, Horned Grebe, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Horned Grebe, study 1


Horned Grebe, study 2

We drove on to the very northern end of the reservoir and again the situation was the same and again I used the camera to collect data for later review. What was really exciting at this last stop was that we thought we could make out several Canvasbacks. Would the images in the camera provide verification? Below are the results:


data strip, Canvasback, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Male Canvasback?


data strip, Greater & Lesser Scaup, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Greater Scaup


Lesser Scaup


data strip, Common Mergansers, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Male Common Merganser


Female Common Merganser


data strip, female Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Female Canvasback?


Male and Female Greater Scaups


data strip, Male Canvasback, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Male Canvasback on left


data strip, Red Heads, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Male and Female Red Head Ducks


data strip, Great Blue Heron, Common Mergansers, Greater Scaup, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Greater Scaup


Female Merganser


Great Blue Heron, do you see it on the data strip?


data strip, Lesser Scaup, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Greater Scaups, male and female


data strip, Buffleheads, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image




data strip, Ring-necked Ducks, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Ring-necked Ducks


Ring-necked Ducks


data strip, Goldeneye, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Common Goldeneye


data strip, male Canvasback and Red Head Ducks, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Male Canvasback (behind)


Redhead Duck


data srip, Greater and Lesser Scaups, Canon SX40, full optical zoom, full width of image


Greater Scaup


Lesser Scaup

Based on the above results, it appears that a super-zoom digital camera can be a useful tool to aid in bird identification.

Finally, in celebration of spring, below is a just emerging Skunk Cabbage at Kiwanis Riverway Park. A rather attractive plant but as you might guess by the name not processing the sweetest fragrance.

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage, Kiwanis Riverway Park

Skunk Cabbage 2 031514 griggs wetland cp1

Skunk Cabbage showing some interior structure, Kiwanis Riverway Park (Donna)


Thanks for stopping by.


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