A Late Spring Celebration of Nature

Whether paddling or walking our explorations in the last week or so have been very close to home in Griggs Park and the reservoir. We hardly feel deprived. As the pictures below will attest, especially in the case of my wife, the closer you look the more you see.

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Some of the flowers we are now seeing will continue to bloom for most of the summer. Others will not. Part of the ever changing scene.

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Ox-eye Daises, (Donna), FZ200.

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Hairy Ruellia, (Donna), FZ200.

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Rough-fruited Cinquefoil, (Donna) FZ200

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Northern Catalpa, Griggs Park, FZ200.

 

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Along the shore of Griggs Reservoir the Blue Flag Iris continues to enchant, (Donna), FZ200.

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Goats Beard, (Donna), FZ200.

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Mushrooms, (Donna), FZ200.

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Some things seen have been unusual. Many thanks to New Hampshire Garden Solutions for help in identifying what was going on in the following pic, Elm Pouch Galls.

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Produced by aphids, Elm Pouch Galls rise from the upper leaf surface, Griggs Park, FZ200.

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While we are still hearing them, many birds choose to peer at us from behind the leaf cover so my wife has directed more of her attention to more cooperative subjects.

 

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Peck’s Skipper, (Donna), FZ200.

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Zebulon Skipper, (Donna), FZ200

 

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Bronze Copper, (Donna), FZ200

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Top view.

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Clouded Sulfur with a friend, (Donna), FZ200.

 

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Black Swallowtail, Griggs Park, (Donna), FZ200.

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A busy bee, Griggs Park, Canon 3ti, 18-135.

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Eastern Pondhawk (F), (Donna), FZ200.

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Widow Skimmer (F), (Donna), FZ200.

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Look even closer and you’ll see tiny insects with jewel like qualities.

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Stream Bluet, (Donna), FZ200.

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Stream Bluet (F)?, (Donna), FZ200.

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Powdered Dancer (M), (Donna), FZ200.

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Very small gold fly, (Donna), FZ200.

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Thankfully not all of our feathered friends were in hiding.

 

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Male Bluebird, Griggs Park, FZ200.

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Kingbird, Griggs Park, FZ200.

 

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Robin, Griggs Park, ZS50.

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We haven’t had much luck getting a close pic so far this year but we did catch the male Baltimore Oriole along the Scioto below Griggs Dam,  ZS50.

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What were these White-breasted Nuthatches doing? ZS50.

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Fledglings! along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam.

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With so many beautiful Great Blue Herons along the reservoir so it hard to resist taking a picture, Canon 60D sigma 150-500.

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We watched this Great Blue Heron for some time as he struggled and went through all kinds of contortions but never did see him swallow the poor fish which by heron standards wasn’t all that large, ZS50.

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As we walk along park path, just overhead a Turkey Vulture sizes us up, “Still Moving, @?%#!!!”, ZS50

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Mother Mallard with baby along Griggs Reservoir, FZ200.

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An Osprey watches as we paddle by, north end of Griggs Reservoir, Canon 60D, sigma 150-500.

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A Red-tailed Hawk does likewise, Canon 60D, sigma 150-500.

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And a few other creatures too.

 

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Sunfish, sometimes what a fish lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This little fella went swimming right after the pic, Griggs Reservoir, Canon SD850.

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A turtle convention along the Scioto River below Griggs Dam, ZS50.

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Looking like somewhere in northern Michigan a deer crosses the Scioto north of Griggs Reservoir, (Donna), FZ200.

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Not seen as often as Map Turtles and Red-eared Sliders, we were excited to see two Painted Turtles enjoying the sun along the Griggs Reservoir shore, (Donna), FZ200.

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Sometimes it’s good to just step back and admire it all from a distance.

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North end of Griggs reservoir, FZ200

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Thanks for stopping by.

A Heron, Egret, and Cormorant Rookery in Columbus

If you’d like to see nesting Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Double-crested Cormorants pack up your binoculars or better yet a spotting scope, and head over to Campbell Park off McKinley Avenue and just south of Trabue Rd. The park is interesting in it’s own right because it’s one of the last ancient cone-shaped burial mounds in Columbus, but in addition, the top of the mound happens to be a great vantage point to view an island rookery located in the middle of the adjacent quarry.

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We learned about the spot by chance from a fellow birding enthusiast while looking for migrating warblers along the Scioto River in Columbus. So before we get to the rookery, below are a few shots from our adventures along the Scioto in recent days.

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Prothonotary Warbler along the Scioto below Griggs Dam, FZ200.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker being a good parent along the Scioto below Griggs Dam, FZ200.

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Turkey Vultures along the Scioto below Griggs Dam, FZ200, (Donna).

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Robin singing, Scioto River below Griggs Dam, FZ200. (Donna)

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White-breasted Nuthatch, Kiwanis River Way Park

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. . . just a minute I’m not quite ready!

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Palm Warbler, Kiwanis River Way Park

 

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Bluebird, Kiwanis River Way Park

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Yellow-throated Warbler, Kiwanis River Way Park.

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Cardinal, Kiwanis River Way Park.

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When we’re not looking for birds .   .   .

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Kiwanis River Way Park

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Butterweed, Kiwanis River Way Park

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Shooting Star, Kiwanis River Way Park.

 

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???, Kiwanis River Way Park, FZ200, (Donna).

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Wood Sorrel, Kiwanis River Way Park, FZ200, (Donna).

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Spring Beauty, Kiwanis River Way Park, FZ200, (Donna).

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Wild Hyacinth, Campbell Park, FZ200, (Donna).

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Black Swallowtail, Campbell Park, FZ200, (Donna).

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Fleabane, Campbell Park, FZ200, (Donna).

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Campbell Park and the rookery. Views through our spotting scope were much better!

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Entrance to the mound. Campbell Park.

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Historical Marker

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The best view of the island and rookery (the only view really), was from the top of the mound.

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The bird camera at full zoom, Canon D50, Sigma 150-500.

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Looking around the island, nesting Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Double-crested Cormorants, Canon D50, Sigma 150-500.

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Another view, Black-crowned Night Herons can just be made out in the lower lift corner, Canon D50, Sigma 150-500.

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Donna’s FZ200 takes a look at a variety of nesting birds.

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Nests, , Canon D50, Sigma 150-500.

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Nesting cormorants, Canon D50, Sigma 150-500.

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While my wife was investigating the wildflowers and butterflies I also tried some photos with a Digi-scope rig but the results were disappointing no doubt the result of operator error. If you have such equipment I recommend giving it a try. At the very least bring your spotting scope and enjoy the view while many of the birds are still on their nests.

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Thanks for stopping by.

“Who Put This Thing Up Here Anyway?”

It was very windy today but even so we thought a long walk to our local slice of nature along the Scioto River might be in order. So off we went. An incriminating statement as to how seriously I take my windy day nature photography was that at the last minute I dropped a Panasonic ZS50 in my pocket along with a small pair of binoculars. I wasn’t expecting much.

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Arriving at the reservoir we noticed most birds seen seemed to be flying sideways so we decided to concentrate on looking for newly emergent wildflowers.

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As we shuffled along, looking down towards our feet at any small flower that managed to avoid being stepped on, it wasn’t long before a fellow nature lover and friend got our attention. Camera in hand, he was hoping to spot a Bald Eagle or other bird of interest. He asked if we’d seen the dead raccoon. Equipped with my negative response he lend us to a spot where the poor raccoon could be seen across the river, seemingly impaled high up in a very tall tree.

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Exactly how it got there and what caused it’s demise will remain a mystery but what we witnessed happening afterward was equally intriguing.

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At first it was hard to tell what the object being devoured was.

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Nonetheless the Turkey Vultures appeared to be enjoying it, if not the seating arrangements.

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“Who put this thing way up here anyway?”

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The vultures took their turn at “the table” for some time but finally before the next in line could get seated, the sorry fellow (an immature raccoon) understandably lost his grip and fell out of the tree.

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For those that have an appetite for it, a closer look.

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Desperate to cleanse my photographic palette, I aimed the ZS50 at anything that would sit still.

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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

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Along the river a Great Blue Heron feels the wind’s effect.

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Since this type of thing doesn’t happen in our neighborhood very often I promise a the next post will be easier to stomach.

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As always, thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Griggs Park Birding, April 28th & 29th

My wife and I were looking at photos and talking about all the birds we’d seen over a period of 24 hours along Griggs Reservoir and the Scioto River just below the dam. These included a first of the year Baltimore Oriole and an Eastern Kingbird.

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As some of you that visit this blog on a regular basis may already realize, we tend to concentrate on several areas close to our home in central Ohio. This is partly to avoid long drives in the car but more importantly it’s a way to visit areas more frequently and become knowledgeable of their unique features and natural rhythms. Of course the drawback with type of focus is that there are many birds we may never personally see.

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Still when you consider that the below photos are representative of what we saw in late April, within the city limits, and don’t include the birds seen but not photographed such as; Red Tailed Hawks, Double Crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, Song Sparrows, Mallard Ducks, Kingfishers, Blue Birds, Downy Woodpeckers, and Ring-billed Gulls, it’s pretty amazing.

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Even if you weren’t looking for birds it’s a great time of the year to be outdoors.

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Griggs Park, early spring.

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But because we were looking for birds it doesn’t take long to spot that previously mentioned Eastern Kingbird in the top of a tree.

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Eastern Kingbird

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Conveniently a Red-bellied Woodpecker was nearby.

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Red-bellied Woodpecker perches beside it’s handiwork.

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The Yellow-rumped was the most common warbler seen.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler.

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Just showing it’s yellow crest.

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Singing, (Donna)

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Palm Warblers were also about.

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Palm Warbler

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Singing, (Donna)

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A Blue Jay lands near by and is impossible to ignore.

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Blue jay

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.   .   .    and a White-breasted Nuthatch also asked to be noticed.

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White-breasted Nuthatch

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.   .   .    and then a beautiful Cardinal.

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Cardinal

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Okay let’s get back to the warblers.

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Pine Warbler, (Donna)

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Take two

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Hey wait those aren’t warblers!

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Turkey Vultures along the reservoir.

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A Starling peers out wondering what is going on.

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Starling

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In the evening we see our first Prothonotary Warbler of the year.

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Prothonotary Warbler along the Scioto River

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Singing, (Donna)

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While I’m looking at the treetops for warblers my wife is looking at the ground and notices flowering Wild Ginger.

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Flowering Wild Ginger, (Donna)

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A closer look at the flower, (Donna).

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A little further down the river a Great Blue Heron strikes a beautiful pose.

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Great Blue Heron

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.   .   .   and in a tree overhanging the river a swallow takes a break.

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Northern Rough-winged Swallow along the Scioto River.

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.   .   .   and then our first Baltimore Oriole of the year.

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Baltimore Oriole

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However, when not seeing it’s more “exotic” cousins we can always count on a Robin to entertain.

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Robin taking a bath in a pool along the river.

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. . . now let’s get the head.

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. . . flap those wings!

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Almost done.

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Even some creature without feathers make an appearance.

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Woodchuck

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Usually found high up in the top of Sycamores, a Yellow-throated Warbler is seen in a bush alone the reservoir.

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Yellow-throated Warbler, (Donna)

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.   .   .   and as if the birds weren’t enough.

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Crab Apple Blossoms

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Thanks for stopping by.

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