A Primal Experience

Later wishing for a more serious camera, I stuffed a small travel zoom into my pocket as I left the house just in case something of interest was spotted. Loading the 14′ Hornbeck and associated fishing equipment I was on a quest for central Ohio’s elusive Smallmouth Bass in the river near our home. The small camera was a concession. When fishing, it’s important not to be encumbered by “serious” photographic equipment. Either fish or photograph, it’s hard if not impossible to do both justice.

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A cloudy, cool, and quiet late October afternoon offered conditions where you would almost expect the fish to jump into the boat but even so it had been over an hour since two reasonable sized fish had paid attention to any of my offerings. I was thinking about calling it quits for the day. But perhaps just one more pass along the west bank of the river was in order. You never know.

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It was then that a small dark brown fury creature with a white chin was spotted enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. A Mink! As I moved closer it showed no intention of abandoning it’s meal, which turned out to be a recently deceased and very large Channel Catfish. It alternately glanced my way then pulled and tore at the hapless creature’s flesh each time backing away with a healthy mouthful.  A unambiguous reminder that in nature almost everything is dinner for something else. The Mink looked ferocious and seemed even larger when fully engaged with the catfish so I was glad to be in the canoe.

The catfish is considerably larger than the Mink. What caused it’s death is unclear. (Scioto River just below Griggs Dam)

The Mink may not have been the only creature that stopped by to enjoy the catfish.

There are also Coyotes, Racoons, Bald Eagles, and vultures in the area.

It’s hard to imagine any of these other creatures trying to horn in while the Mink worked on the carcass.

The Mink with it’s distinctive white chin.

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Over the years we have seen a number of these fascinating creatures along the shore of Griggs Reservoir. They usually move quickly with short pauses as they explore the shoreline rocks and exposed tree roots for their next meal and we are often in a moving canoe when one is seen. Getting a good picture has always been a challenge. Never has one stayed in the same spot for so long. The reasonably fresh catfish sushi was apparently just too enticing.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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So Close To Home

Usually when one thinks about life in Columbus, shopping malls, the local college football team, and rapid urban development come to mind. Columbus, with its multifaceted economy has escaped the malaise of many midwestern cities that relied on manufacturing and heavy industry for their prosperity so outlying farm fields continue to give way the strip malls and housing developments.

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Still, embedded right in the center of the metropolitan area, there is nature.  During outings along the Scioto River or on Griggs Reservoir I can’t help but feel blessed. Recently while fishing (catch, photograph, release) the surprisingly productive waters for Small Mouth Bass and otherwise being on or near the river and reservoir I’ve been treated the sights and sounds of Belted Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons, Black Crowned Night Herons, Great Egrets, Osprey, Spotted Sandpipers and even an occasional Bald Eagle.  After time spent in these places I can only hope that the treasure I get to enjoy endures and is here for those that come after me.

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Black-crowned Night Heron taken while fishing in the reservoir. A not real common bird!

Another look.

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The river:

The Scioto River.

The Scioto River below Griggs Dam is a favorite spot for fishermen.

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.   .   .  and for good reason.

A beautiful Scioto River Small Mouth Bass.

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The reservoir:

An Osprey looks on as I fish in the reservoir.

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Fishing in the reservoir is very good also.

Okay bear with my enthusiasm but just wanted to show the above fish wasn’t an accident.

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Immature Black-crowned Night Heron along the reservoir.

Juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron? If I’m right it’s our first sighting ever along Griggs Reservoir, exciting to say the least!

While paddling Spotted Sandpipers often frequent the water’s edge.

In late August Green Herons seem to be more common along the river and reservoir.

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my enthusiasm. I hope that where ever you live you are blessed to have a special place so close to home.

Taking a break along Griggs reservoir at Hayden Run Falls.

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