Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wildlife Diversity Conference, Birds @ Kenny Park

I attended the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife's Wildlife Diversity Conference today. What an event! In previous years, the conference has topped 600 people, but today, over 900 people gathered in Columbus to hear several excellent speakers. Today's more interesting topics: Coyote ecology and behavior near Chicago's O'Hare airport, a review of southern flying squirrel biology, and a very informative talk about the many Ohio firefly species.

Yesterday, I shot a few neat bird pictures at Kenny Park. My photos are small and grainy compared other birding blog shots, but I am happy to have Megan's Kodak p850. This camera's zoom lens brings me 12 times closer to the action, allowing me to document what I see. It am not able to take publishable pictures, but it is still quite an amazing tool.

First, I watched a female downy woodpecker taking out her aggressions on a soggy box elder snag.

After shooting Miss downy, I headed down to the river. Unfortunately, I did this rather clumsily, and aroused a pair of hooded Mergansers. They bolted upstream, flying low across the water, out towards the middle of the river. They spotted me again, took to the air once more, heading directly downstream and out of my sight. I was able to get a quick shot of the male.

I headed upstream and scared another first of the season, a male belted kingfisher. The loud rattle really got my attention. He found a branch across the stream, and stayed put for a few minutes, allowing me to get several shots.

What an amazing spring that we have had so far. My awareness of Spring has never been better. This is partly due to my close proximity to a natural area. I love it.


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