What We Saw After We Didn’t See The Kirtlands Warbler

The report was that a Kirtlands Warbler had been seen at Highbanks Metro Park. There were even pictures on the Central Ohio Birders Facebook page.  We don’t usually chase birds but this one wasn’t far from home. Besides, if we weren’t successful in finding it, High Banks, with it’s many nice trails, would be a great place for a hike.

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Stream, High Banks Metro Park

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Well, as the title of this post indicates, we didn’t see the Kirtlands Warbler, but not wanting to waste a good day, we set off to see what else we could find.

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It was a great day to be in the woods. New green was everywhere. It was quiet except for birds calling, now harder to see with leaves almost fully out. The earth dampened by a recent rain, as well as the flowering plants, released the scent of spring.

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Not far down the trail:

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Berries will soon be on their way.

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Daisy Fleabane

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Sassafras Leaves

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Jelly Ear Fungus

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Common Split Gill that has aged a bit. (Based on input from a mushroom expert.)

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Witches’ Butter

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Sensitive Fern

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As the air started to warm more insects were about:

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Tiger Beetle and female Common Whitetail

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A closer look at the Tiger Beetle

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Golden-backed Snipe Fly

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Duskywing

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Male Zabulon Skipper

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Female Zabulon Skipper

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Silver Spotted Skipper

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Pearl Crescent

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While not the Kirtlands Warbler, we did see a few birds.

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Summer Tanager in a treetop. Too far away for a good pic.

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A Cape May Warbler (F) checks us out.

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Female Bluebird.

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Indigo Bunting

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By hikes end, the day had given so much we’d pretty much forgotten about the warbler.

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Thanks for stopping by.

Birding By Canoe, A Perfect Day, Thursday, May 7th

We were on the reservoir early, just as the sun was starting to filter through the trees. There was no wind. Resting your paddle for a quick look around, the canoe, with small ripples, continues moving quietly, just as you left it. A perfect day to see birds as we glided along the wooded shore.

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Morning, Alum Creek Reservoir.

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Our route on Alum Creek Reservoir looked something like this:

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Alum Creek Reservior

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It wasn’t long before we were hearing birds. In fact we were hearing a lot more than we were seeing. But as is often the case when canoeing on the beautiful morning, it’s tough to complain.

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But as we continued to look we managed to catch a Great Crested Flycatcher.

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Great Crested Flycatcher, (Donna)

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A little further, we pulled out to look for wildflowers.

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Sometimes getting out of the canoe to explore the shoreline presents a bit of a tripping hazard.

 

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Bluets, (Donna)

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Solomon Seal, (Donna)

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Young ferns

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Not long after, back in the canoe, we spot a sandpiper.

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Spotted Sandpiper

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Normally so common as to be a nuisance, it was hard not to admire the parenting skills of Canada Geese.

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Canada Geese, Alum Creek

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Safely ashore.

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In the middle of the lake a male Wood Duck let’s us get close enough for a photo.

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Wood Duck, Alum Creek Reservoir

 

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But one picture was enough.

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We finally reach the Osprey nesting area and noticed a least two pair were now nesting in trees along the shore rather than on the nesting platforms situated in the lake. Pretty exciting!

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Osprey perched near it’s nest, (Donna)

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Osprey nest, (Donna).

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Osprey in flight, (Donna)

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Several different types of swallows were seen. These two posed.

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow

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Tree Swallow, (Donna)

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We paddled up the creek and looked for a spot to pull out for lunch. The river flowed quietly, dragonflies cruised by but didn’t land, and a House Wren announced it’s presence, as we ate.

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Lunch spot, Alum Creek.

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After lunch my wife went exploring for insects

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Tiger Beetle, (Donna)

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The very tiny White-striped Black Moth, not one we’ve seen or noticed before, (Donna)

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Others were also enjoying the river.

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Fishing on Alum Creek

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As we headed back to our launch site the warm sun had started to draw turtles out of the water.

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Eastern Spiny Soft Shell

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Being a rather large reservoir with many inlets, there’s always another one to explore.

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Cove, Alum Creek Reservoir

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We arrived back at our starting point with tired bodies but rested spirits.

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Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

Springing to Life

Right now nature is being deceptive. Driving along one of the rural highways that takes us to a local central Ohio metro park, things don’t seem to be coming to life very fast.

click on the images for a better view

 

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Mailbox and abandoned farm machinery near Battelle Darby

Even when we arrive at the park, in this case Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, the mostly brown landscape doesn’t look very promising.

 

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Creek, Battelle Darby

But, walking into the woods, we can’t help but see and hear birds; Juncos, Louisiana Waterthrushes, Cardinals, Robins, Carolina Wrens, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Eastern Phoebe, Song Sparrows, Prothonotary Warblers, Downy, Red-bellied, and Pileated Woodpeckers, just to name a few. They seem to be everywhere. Some are no doubt just passing through, but other’s are busy settling in for the season.

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Louisiana Waterthrush, Bettelle Darby

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Eastern Phoebe, Battelle Darby

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Pileated Woodpecker, Battelle Darby

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Downy Woodpecker, Battelle Darby

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Carolina Wren, Battelle Darby

Perhaps encouraged by the birds, we start looking closer and discover that there are small wildflowers almost everywhere and that many of the small trees leafing out!

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Bloodroot, Battelle Darby

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Virginia Waterleaf, Battelle Darby

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Spring Beauty, Battelle Darby, (Donna)

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Bloodroot, Battelle Darby, (Donna)

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Harbinger of Spring with Virginia Water Leaf, Battelle Darby, (Donna)

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Leafing out, Battelle Darby

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Spring Beauty, Battelle Darby

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Very Young, Battelle Darby

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Moss flowering, Battelle Darby

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Hepatica, Battelle Darby, (Donna)

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Harbinger of Spring, Battelle Darby, (Donna)

 

Further on, excited and encouraged by what has been seen so far, we can’t miss an Eastern Box Turtle sunning itself on the creek bank.

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Eastern Box Turtle, Battelle Darby

 

We stop by a vernal pool hoping to see one of the many Chorus Frogs that are singing. It gets quiet and we see none. But on the way back to the car, as if to put a colorful “period” at the end of our sentence, a Tiger Beetle lands right before us on the trail.

 

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Tiger Beetle, Battelle Darby

Later, reflecting on the beautiful day and the brief time spent in the park, it felt as though we had been embraced by all the new life seen and heard, and that maybe, just for a time, it had become us.

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