Looking for Birds But Not Warblers

It’s late March in central Ohio and the last few days we’ve occupied ourselves looking for whatever birds we could find. Rather than travelling far afield, we’ve enjoyed staying close to home and discovering all that we can along the Scioto River and Griggs and O’Shaughnessy Reservoirs. The early spring warblers haven’t yet started moving through in any appreciable numbers so what are we seeing?

A few days ago while patrolling the Griggs Park for Loons we came across a immature Bald Eagle being harassed by crows. Unfortunately, by the time the camera was ready for action, the eagle decided it had had enough of the crows and was flying off.

click on images for a better view

 

1 Bald Eagle (IM) use

Immature Bald Eagle, Griggs Park

2 Bald Eagle (IM) use

Immature Bald Eagle saying goodbye to the crows, Griggs Park

 

Not long after that we saw our first Great Egret of the year.

11 Great Egret use

Great Egret, Griggs Reservoir

Double-crested Cormorants have also just arrived.

3 Double-crested Cormorant use

Double-crested Cormorants conversing, Griggs Reservoir

4 Double-crested Cormorant use

A short conversation, Double-crested Cormorants, Griggs Reservoir

While I was busy taking pictures of birds that were either too far away or moving too fast for a really great picture, my wife got lovely pictures of a Downey Woodpecker and a Great Blue Heron.

Drummer boy Downy 032614 Griggs cp1

Downy Woodpecker, Griggs Park (Donna)

Great Blue Heron 032614 Griggs N cove cp1

Great Blue Heron, Griggs Park, (Donna)

 

12 Gulls use

Gulls enjoying the warm sun on a cool spring day, Griggs Reservoir

Today, driving north along O’Shaughnessy Reservoir, we were fortunate to see Canvasbacks and there were even some other “bonus ducks” in the mix. However, the birds being pretty far from shore resulted in images that are not of the highest quality.

10 Hooded Mergansers use

Hooded Mergansers making a getaway, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

9 Hooded Mergansers use

Hooded Mergansers take flight, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

8 Canvasbacks use

Canvasbacks, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

7 Ring-necked use

Ring-necked Ducks, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

6a IMG_4829use

American Coots, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

6 Greater Scaup use

Greater Scaups, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

5 Canvasbacks use

Canvasbacks, O’Shaughnessy Reservoir

Finally, the latest addition to my birding equipment is the “Bird Bike”. It allows more ground to be covered but when something of interest is spotted it’s easy to stop and hop off.

13 Bob and the Bird Bike

Bird Bike

Winter to Spring?

A few days ago the temperature was hovering around zero degrees. A couple of days later, after a fair amount of rain, it was close to fifty. If the temperature had stayed below freezing and the reservoir ice covered, we had hoped to continue our observation of waterfowl concentrated in the river. That had now all changed. The ice was pretty much gone and the waterfowl had dispersed.

We checked below the dam but the river was running high with a strong current and there were no birds. However, not far away at an abandoned quarry, now a very clear nice size lake, we were successful. Unfortunately, due to economics and/or lack of vision, this lovely body of water has been surrounded by office buildings and asphalt parking lots rather than a nice urban park but the birds don’t seem to mind.

Buffle Heads and Pie-billed Grebes

Buffle Heads and Pied-billed Grebes

Ring-necks and Buffle-heads

Ring-necked and Buffle-heads

Gulls on Ice

Ring-billed Gulls on Ice

Ring Necks and Coots

Ring-necked and Coots

The next day was sunny so we walked along Griggs Reservoir wondering what we would see but glad to be outside. The birds were apparently also happy about the sun as they were quite active. When not looking at birds my wife yielded to her recently acquired interest in lichens and mosses.

IMG_2170

Nuthatch, study 1

IMG_2151

Red-shouldered Hawk, study 1

IMG_2150use-2

Red-shouldered Hawk, study 2

fungi shells on tree 011414 griggs cp1

Tender Polypore on tree, Donna

Downy pecking 011414 Griggs cp1

Downy Woodpecker, study 1, Donna

Bluebird on branch 011414 Griggs better cp1

Male Bluebird, Donna

Bluebird female on branch 2 011414 Griggs cp1

Female Bluebird, Donna

Yellow-orange fungi better 011414 Griggs cp1

Fungi, Donna

White-Breasted Nuthatch 011414 Griggs cp1

Nuthatch, study 2,  Donna

Tan Fungi better 011414 Griggs cp1

Ochre Spreading Tooth, Donna

Mallard pair 011414 Griggs cp1

Mallards, Donna

Lichen with pink 011414 Griggs cp1

Lichen, Donna

IMG_2196

Moss

IMG_2192

Turkey Tail

IMG_2181

Downy Woodpecker, study 2

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Thanks for stopping by.

Open Water and Winter Ducks

Once the Griggs Reservoir freezes over, the Scioto River below the dam is one of the nearest locations for open water. Today, with five inches of fresh snow on the ground, the river flowed free but was down a little from a few days before. Ducks and geese took advantage of this open water with many in the river and many noisily flying overhead as they moved from one location to another.

Along with the Canada Geese and the usual Mallard ducks there were Hooded Mergansers, Black ducks, Red Head ducks, as well as Ringed-neck ducks. In this area the Mallards and Canada geese are common year round but the others, which may be visitors from further north, are more often seen in winter as they concentrate in open water.

The snow always seems to make for some interesting landscape shots and today was no exception. We were also fortunate to see Golden-crown Kinglets, Juncos, Song Sparrows and Red-bellied and Hairy Woodpeckers. It’s been a good year for Kinglet sightings.

Perhaps because it was so cold the day before and hadn’t warmed up that much, we had the area pretty much to ourselves. For a few hours it made for a nice escape into nature.

Yesterday's snow - wind sculpture.

Yesterday’s snow – wind sculpture.

Snow and lovely light made this picture

Snow and lovely light

Hooded- Mergansers and Red Head Ducks

Hooded- Mergansers and Red Head Ducks, Donna

How you usually see a Kinglet.

How we usually see a Kinglet.

Kinglet looking for insects around the base of a tree.

Kinglet looking for insects.

Kinglet stopping for a picture.

Kinglet posing for a picture.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers, low light a full zoom SX40 HS cropped.

Ring-necked Ducks

Mallard Ducks, low light full zoom SX40 HS cropped.

Ring-necked Ducks

Ring-necked Ducks, low light, full zoom SX40 HS, cropped.

Leaf trapped in ice at rivers edge..

Leaf trapped in ice at rivers edge..

Scioto River below the dam.

Scioto River below the dam.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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