A Rare Flower

After several weeks birding, hiking, and paddling in warm and sunny Florida fifteen hundred miles to our south, we’ve returned to early spring in Ohio.

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Fortunately the welcoming committee was out when we decided to get reacquainted with some of our favorite places.

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This year our timing was just right to see a number of rare Snow Trillium along Griggs Reservoir. This made the day because in past years we often waited too long and missed them. This smallest of Ohio’s trilliums typically arrives in middle to late March and doesn’t hang around. That fact coupled with their small numbers makes them a challenge to find.

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Snow Trillium

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This one’s looking up.

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It’s very unusual to see a group like this, (Donna).

 

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Bloodroot were also out but the previous night’s heavy rain was hard on their fragile petals.

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Bloodroot

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Some show color before the flower opens.

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Crab apple blossoms in early spring are always a delight.

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Crab apple Blossoms

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As though pretended to be flowers, spring leaves emerge.

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Leafing out.

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Turkey tail joins in on the competition for the camera’s lens.

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Turkey Tail

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Along Griggs Reservoir Cedar Waxwings announce spring’s arrival.

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Cedar Waxwing

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On the reservoir, marking the time of year, a lone Ruddy Duck seems to be on it’s way to somewhere further north.

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Ruddy Duck

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I apologize for the longer than normal absence of posts. To compensate we hope to have some interesting shots of things seen in Florida in the coming weeks as we continue to celebrate spring in central Ohio.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Bobbing For “Hedge Apples”

A few weeks back we were walking along Griggs Reservoir looking for migrating waterfowl and we witnessed some unusual behavior by our resident population of Mallard ducks. At first it looked like a game, perhaps a Mallard version of water polo, but then we realized they were attempting to eat an object that keep scooting away , diving below the surface, and then bobbing up only to be nibbled on again.

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They went this way   .   .   .

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then that   .   .   .

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then around   .   .   .

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and back again

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It turned out to be the bright green barely floating fruit of an Osage Orange tree or what is sometimes referred to as a “hedge apple”. Apparently a somewhat tasty morsel to the ducks because they keep up their efforts as long as we watched.

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Meanwhile one of the objects of our quest looked on.

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“What are those Mallards doing anyway?”, Ruddy Duck, Griggs Reservoir

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“Perhaps the other side of the lake will be quieter”, Ruddy Duck, Griggs Reservoir

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A few days later on another outing along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, as I looked for Bald Eagles, my wife was able to get some interesting shots of fungi.

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“Furry Fungi”, Donna

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Patterns in wood, (Donna)

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Mushroom Cluster, (Donna)

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Mushrooms on a log, (Donna)

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Another group, (Donna)

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Contrasting colors, (Donna)

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Finally, yesterday, after several rainy cloudy days, sunshine meant a hike at Battelle Darby Metro Park in the hopes of observing some bird activity. Perhaps we would even see a Northern Harrier.  While no harriers presented themselves, we did see a Kestrel, and a Bald Eagle both of which eluded the cameras lens. However, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk did pose for us.

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Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, study 1, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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study 2

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study 3

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study 4

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study 5

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A Coopers Hawk wasen’t quite as cooperative.

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Coopers Hawk, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

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.    .    .    and no trip into the central Ohio woods this time of the year is complete unless we see our friends the Golden Crowned Kinglets who often when seen are in the company of Chickadees, Titmouse and Nuthatches.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, (Donna)

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, (Donna)

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Golden-crowned Kinglet

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That’s about it for this post. Hope you all have a chance to get out and enjoy nature in the coming days. Thanks for looking in.

Bald Eagles and a Kinglet Celebration

During the last few days while travelling the highways and byways of central Ohio we managed to see three mature Bald Eagles in flight. Perhaps I’m easily amused but, given a childhood growing up in Michigan where I never once saw a Bald Eagle, and the fact that Ohio isn’t usually considered a hotbed for eagle activity, I found this pretty exciting.  Since this was holiday related travel we didn’t have suitable photographic equipment with us. But even if we had, it all happened very quickly so I doubt we would have gotten much of a photograph. One sighting was near Dayton and the other two were just southwest of Wooster.  In neither case were there sizable bodies of water nearby so it’s not clear what the birds were doing.

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Recently while hiking along the Scioto just below Griggs Dam we were greeted by Golden Crowned Kinglets (a winter visitor from points north). The two or three that we saw came very close and seemed oblivious to us as they went about their business. We were enchanted. Due to the rapidity and total unpredictability of their movement, I opted to just enjoy the view. However, my wife, always up for a challenge, decided to try and get a few shots with her Panasonic FZ150 on burst mode. Below are the results.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, study 1, (Donna)

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, study 2, (Donna)

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, study 3, (Donna)

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During the excitement a Great Blue Heron was watching from a safe distance along the river’s edge.

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Great Blue Heron, Scioto River

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Later, after spending some time along the river, we investigated the reservoir and found isolated groups of Ruddy Ducks and what appeared to be a lone Green-winged Teal (not a Blue as originally thought, thanks Lou!) and not a particularly common bird on the reservoir.

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Male Ruddy Duck, Griggs Reservoir (A little far away for a decent shot)

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Female Ruddy Duck, Griggs Reservoir

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Green-winged Teal, (it was much smaller than the Mallards nearby), Griggs Reservoir

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All the birds were great to see but the kinglets definitely carried the day.

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Tip: work off that big turkey dinner by taking a walk in nature and don’t forget your binoculars. You’ll be amazed by what you see.

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Thanks for looking in

 

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