Posted on July 4, 2018
It promised to be another hot day, but with the sun just rising when we launched it was still pleasant, giving only a hint of the heat to come.
Considering the forecast our goal was to be off the water by noon. The wind hardly rippled the water’s surface as quiet paddle strokes moved the canoe toward an area of Alum Creek Reservoir that we hadn’t explored in a while. Two days earlier during an early morning fishing trip I had surprised a Bald Eagle in a tall tree at waters edge. Now with my wife along to handle photography from the bow, I was hoping we would see, and perhaps photograph, some equally interesting things as we explored the coves along our route. For those new to this blog, we love to paddle and to eliminate the need to shuttle cars we usually paddle reservoirs, the more convoluted the better, to maximize time in the canoe.
No matter how one feels about damming up rivers to create reservoirs, in the case of Alum Creek Reservoir it did result a wonderful place to explore containing a rich variety of wildlife. Unlike the often cottage lined predictable shorelines of spring fed glacial lakes in northern states like Michigan, the many small ravines that followed slopes down to the creek resulting in an almost endless number of coves to explore with the coming of the reservoir. In addition, because the reservoir is surrounded by parkland there are virtually no buildings or homes along it’s shore.
With rainfall this year about six inches above normal giving rise to higher water levels, the lush shoreline vegetation reached right down to waters edge and at times gave the feeling of paddling through a jungle.
As nature photographers know, what one sees and what one has a chance to photograph are seldom the same. Particularly when in a canoe which has it’s own stability, speed, and mobility constraints. It turns out that at the very north end of our route we saw a Yellow-crowned Night Heron. The first one we’ve ever seen in Ohio. A little later a pair of very wary Great Horned Owls were seen. The surprised heron spotted us just as we rounded a tight bend in what had become a narrow snag infested creek. It flew before we could react. The outcome was similar for the owls. They were perched high in a tree canopy partially obscured by low lying brush and saw us coming despite our best efforts, moving a little further away each time we tried to get closer.
But there are always other things to marvel at.
As we paddled along the shore we were often overwhelmed by the aroma of wild roses.
Entering some coves small, noisy, and mostly invisible birds were everywhere.
Along one stretch of open rocky shore a group of sandpipers, always just a little ahead of us, hurried as we approached.
On this particular day the turtles were a little more cooperative than the birds.
If you travel north to Michigan with it’s colder clearer lakes and streams you typically don’t see as many egrets and herons but in Ohio they are very common. I could be wrong but I’ve often thought it’s because the rough fish (catfish, suckers, carp, shad, etc.) that call Ohio’s often turbid waters home are just easier to catch.
Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes persistence, and yes it’s true knowledge and skill do come into play, but if you hike a trail or paddle a lake often enough you will see new and fascinating things.
In the woods or by a meadow, stream, or lake on any given day, even if nothing new is seen, you will at least return having allowed yourself to be there for a time, in the still freshness of the early morning with the call of the Wood Thrush, or later to the sound of wind as it dances with leaves, breathing air with a hint of wild rose.
Thanks for stopping by.
Category: Alum Creek Reservoir, birding in central ohio, canoeing in central ohio, Central Ohio Nature, Nature Photography, Ohio Nature Tagged: Canon 80D Tamrom 18-400, Eastern Amberwing, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Lizard's Tail, Map Turtle, Panasonic FZ200, Panasonic Lumix G7 Leica 100-400mm, Slaty Skimmer, Spiny Soft Shell Turtle, Spotted Sandpiper, Wild Rose
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