A Red-eyed Vireo Entertains Us

For the past several weeks we’ve been hearing Northern Parula Warblers in the small wooded area along the Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir Dam. Hoping to get photograph before it leafs out making the bird(s) impossible to find, we’ve made several trips trying to locate them. So far we haven’t had any luck getting a photograph but have been compensated for our efforts by other things.


Tree roots intrigue along the river running high from recent rains;


Tree roots, Scioto River below Griggs Reservoir


Trying to make up for the absence of the Northern Parula a Red-eyed Vireo puts forth it’s best effort;


Red-eyed Vireo below the dam at Griggs Reservoir


Red-eyed Vireo, study 2


Wildflowers continue to fascinate;

Appendaged Waterleaf 051314 Griggs cp1

Appendaged Waterleaf below the dam at Griggs Reservoir (Donna)


Appendaged Waterleaf , study 2


A male American Redstart in a nearby bush checks us out;


American Redstart, immature male, below the dam at Griggs Reservoir


Finally, a quick trip to Houston for our son’s graduation from Rice and a stop in Georgia to visit my aging mom resulted in a few pictures that have nothing to do with central Ohio but seemed too nice not to share.

One Violet best 1 051914 GA Papps home cp19

Violet, northeastern Georgia, (Donna)

IMG_6676 (2) cuse

Nodding Thistle and leaffooted bug, probably Leptoglossus phyllopus (Linnaeus), northeast Georgia


Nodding Thistle, northeast Georgia

Butterfly duet on flower 1 051914 GA Papps home cp1

Nodding Thistle with Gulf Fritillaries, northeast Georgia (Donna)


Nodding Thistle, invasive, northeast Georgia

IMG_6654 (2) use

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Herman Park, Houston


Red-eared Slider, Herman Park, Houston

Brown Thrasher with bug 1 051914 GA Papps home cp1

Brown Thrasher, northeast Georgia (Donna)

Spring Wonder Along the Scioto

It’s mid April and changes in the plant and animal world are occurring at such a fast pace that it feels as though, were you to look away, you’d miss “it”. This is certainly the case for Hoover Park and the area along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

Below are some recent photos as we continue our spring wildflower and warbler quest.

click on the image for a better view


The White Trout Lilly does not seem to be as common as the Yellow:

IMG_3067 (2)

White Trout Lilly


White Trout Lilly, study 2


Yellow Trout Lilly:

4 IMG_3091 (2)

Yellow Tout Lilly

5 Yellow Trout Lily and shadow 042014 Griggs cp1

Yellow Trout Lilly, study 2 (Donna)


Virginia Bluebells:

Virginia Bluebells up close 042014 Griggs cp1

Virginia Bluebells (Donna)


Virginia Bluebells, study 2


Be careful where you place your hand when crouching down to get a closer look:


Common Water Snake


Other wildflowers seen below the Griggs Reservoir Dam in the past few days:


Dutchman’s Breeches


Toadshade Trillium

IMG_3058 (2)

Marsh Marigolds


Marsh Marigolds, study 2


Cutleaf Toothwort


Cutleaf Toothwort, study 2

Mystery Flowers 042014 Griggs cp1

Mystery Flower in large group, (Donna)


At the river’s edge:


Great Egret across the river

Crawfish in water 041914 Griggs cp1

Crayfish in pool (Donna)


Hints of Green


Great Egret and Great Blue Heron


Map Turtle



Spring Azure Griggs cp1

Spring Azure, a very small butterfly. (Donna)


Blue-gray Gnatcatchers seem to be fairly common this year:

1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher best 042014 Griggs cp182

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Donna)

2 IMG_5381use

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, study 2

3 IMG_5330use

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, study 3


Someone’s been busy:

Robins eggs in nest 042014 Griggs cp1

Robin’s Eggs (Donna)


No walk is complete without a Downy Woodpecker or a Chickadee:




Male Downy Woodpecker


A Yellow-throated warbler in the tree tops:


Yellow-throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warbler best 042014 cp1

Yellow-throated Warbler, study 2 (Donna)


Early spring stained glass:

z20 IMG_0116

Stained Glass


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Be Quick or You’ll Miss Them

One of the rights of spring that my wife and I truly enjoy is looking for the early spring wildflowers. These are the flowers that came out before the forest canopy leafs out and blocks the light. Some appear for only a day or two so there are years that we miss them altogether. Some are very small and easy to miss unless you look very carefully. Others are fairly rare so you count your good fortune when you see them. All are beautiful in their own way. The flowers below were all seen in central Ohio above and below the dam at Griggs and Hoover Parks not far from where we live.

click on the images for a better look

Toadshade Trillium, common but only if you look in the right place!

Toadshade Trillium family 2 040614 Griggs east cp1

At this point the leaves are competing with the flowers for our attention. In a few days a purple flower should appear. (Donna)

toadshade trillium best 040514 Griggs cp1

The purple flower is yet to come. (Donna)


The Snow Trillium is smaller than the more common later blooming trilliums and is rare in central Ohio.



Snow Trillium, not real common in central Ohio so we were fortunate to see this one.

Snow Trillium 2 040614 Griggs west cp1

Snow Trillium, (Donna)


Duchman’s Breeches are fairly common and a close look when the flowers are fully developed will make you smile.


Dutchman’s Breeches, a little early the flowers are still coming out. It will be better in a couple of days.

Dutchman's Breeches 040614 Griggs east cp1

A closer look, (Donna)

Cutleaf Toothwort

Cutleaf Toothwort 3 040514 Griggs cp1

Cutleaf Toothwort, a few days before it blooms, (Donna)



Blood Root has a nice sized but fragile and short lived flower.


Bloodroot family 040514 Griggs cp1

Blood Root, (Donna)



Bloodroot trio closeup 040614 Griggs east cp1

Bloodroot, (Donna)


Hepatica is fairly common.



Hepatica sharp-lobed 2 040614 Griggs west cp1

Hepatica, study 2, (Donna)


Hepatica, study 3

Hepatica closeup 040614 Griggs west cp1

Hepatica, study 4, (Donna)


Virginia Waterleaf

Virginia Waterleaf 040514 Griggs cp1

Virginia waterleaf, the leaves are beautiful but loose this appearance as spring progresses, (Donna)


Harbinger of Spring, a very small, very close to the ground, flower.

Little White Flowers 2 040514 Griggs cp1

Harbinger of Spring, (Donna)


I took a break from the wildflowers so that a pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets could again show me just how difficult they can be to photograph. As they fluttered from branch to branch, never stopping for more than a fraction of a second, even on a single point focus setting the camera didn’t know what to focus on.


Trust me! It’s a Golden-crowned Kinglet


Golden-crowned Kinglet, take two.


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Icicles and Ice Chandeliers

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.


Ice Chandeliers


Along the river

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.

The ice was very clear giving the appearance of glass

The ice was very clear giving the appearance of glass

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.

Common Merganser with Red Head

Common Merganser with a Red Head Duck

Red Breasted Merganser

Red Breasted Merganser

Male Common Mergansers

Male Common Mergansers


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Lots of Water Over The Dam

In the last couple of weeks snow depths have been pretty good for central Ohio. That, coupled with warmer weather and recent heavy rains, means lots of water in local rivers and flowing over the dam on Griggs Reservoir. We decided to take a look.

Large flow over Griggs Dam

Large flow over Griggs Dam

The Scioto River just below the dam

The Scioto River just below the dam, the trees are inundated.

High water looking down stream

High water looking down stream

Scioto River below the dam.

Same area, water 4 0r 5 ft lower, taken earlier in the winter.

Along with watching the water we did notice some interesting fungus.


Ochre Spreading Tooth, Fungus

A thistle, looking amazingly good for being buried under snow for most of the winter, made an interesting pattern.



Finally, as if to let us know spring isn’t far away, we noticed this White-throated Sparrow near the dam.

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow


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From The Living Room Sofa

It’s been very cold the last few days. As I write this, the thermometer is hovering around zero. Having lived many years north of here in Michigan, I don’t think of zero degrees as being terribly cold but it can be dangerous. Something as simple as a road trip may pose a serious health risk, rather than just an annoyance, if one has a breakdown. I must confess that I’ve been just a little frustrated, while one can dress for the temperature, it’s been too cold to comfortably use a camera outdoors for any length of time. So, for the last few days our outdoor photography has been very limited.

Careful to keep all exposed skin covered, we did go for a short walk yesterday. When it’s colder than @ 15 degrees F we take our small cameras because they can easily be kept warm by placing them under several layers of clothing. A combination of fresh snow, wind, the right humidity, and cold temperatures overnight, resulted in the creation of “snow rollers”. It’s been years since I’ve seen this phenomena so it was very fascinating. They seemed to be just about everywhere a little open space was available, including the frozen surface of the reservoir.

photo 5

Snow rollers


Snow rollers, Griggs Reservoir, study 2


Snow rollers, Griggs Reservoir, study 3


Snow rollers, study 4

Birds were trying to stay warm in the river below the dam, and were even more huddled together than they had been a few days earlier. Despite the cold, we did manage to see Goldeneyes, Redheads, Hooded Mergansers, and Ring-necks.


Waterfowl in the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, temp about 6 degrees F

Today, the lower temperatures resulted in increased activity around our feeders which allowed a few pics to be taken from the comfort of the living room sofa. The sparrows, cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and wrens appear to be totally adaptable to temperature as long as they have adequate food. The wrens and sparrows put a smile on my face with their feathers puffed up against the cold. Without realizing it, they will provide cheerfulness for a few more days until the severe cold releases it’s grip.

White-breasted thinking 012814 fyard cp1

Nuthatch, by Donna


Song Sparrow


Carolina Wren



Red-bellied Woodpecker in tree 012814 front yard cp1

Red-bellied Woodpecker, by Donna


Red-bellied Woodpecker, study 2


Red-bellied Woodpecker, study 3

Ice Necklesses and Winter Ducks

Griggs Reservoir remains frozen so the river below the dam (adjacent to Hoover Park), continues to concentrate waterfowl. In the last few days we’ve made two trips to this area hoping to take advantage of the conditions.

On the first trip, Horned Grebes, Golden Eyes, and Hooded Mergansers were seen. However, what really blew us away were three Bald Eagles flying up the river, two mature and one immature, the most we’ve ever seen at this location. The Grebes were also exciting because we hadn’t seen them below the dam before. Unfortunately, in addition to mini-binoculars we both had only our Canon SX260’s so any thought of getting flying eagle pictures was just that, a thought. If they landed nearby we were never able to determine the location. As our exploration continued my wife found an interesting ice formation caused by the slowly receding river. Also, ever on the lookout for fungi, she found some that she felt was worth a photograph.

The following day we tried again. This time with our “bird cameras” hoping that there would be another eagle fly by. However, as is often the case when you roll out the “heavy equipment”, no eagles were seen. We were happy to add a Common Merganser to our list of birds seen below the dam.

Many Hooded Mergansers were seen, Donna, Olympus E-620 600 mm

Many Hooded Mergansers were seen, Donna, Olympus E-620 300 mm

Ice necklace, Donna, Canon sx260

Ice necklace, Donna, Canon sx260

Horned Grebes, Canon sx260

Horned Grebes, Canon sx260

Golden Eyes, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Golden Eyes, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Horned Grebes, Canon sx260

Hooded Mergansers, Canon sx260

Hooded Mergansers & Golden Eyes, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Hooded Mergansers & Golden Eyes, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Common Merganser, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Common Merganser, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Cormorant & Hooded Mergansers, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Cormorant & Hooded Mergansers, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Warmer weather, Chipping Sparrow taking a bath, Canon t3i 500 mm

Warmer weather, Chipping Sparrow taking a bath, Canon t3i, 500 mm

Fungi close-up, Donna, Canon sx260

Fungi close-up, Donna, Canon sx260

Fungi, Donna, Canon sx260

Fungi, Donna, Canon sx260


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