Every once in a while I have one of those magical moments where light, circumstance, and technology come together to result in a great image. Although there are dozens of deer along the Olentangy River corridor here in Columbus, they are extremely weary of people and tough to photograph. That was until yesterday morning, when I finally got some decent shots of the elusive Odocoileus virginianus.
I am certainly lucky to live so close to a natural area, especially since Megan and I live in the City of Columbus. Yesterday morning I was walking along down the river to the south towards the end of the park. In this area, there are some gigantic 80 year old homes built high up on the bluff overlooking the river. Their grassy yards continue down the bluff to the water. I approached the homes and all of the sudden several creatures came bounding towards me. I'm thinking, damn, I've got some dogs on me, but then they stopped and froze rather un-doglike and perked up there ears. "Ahh...deer" I thought to myself and I breathed a sigh of relief. My blood pressure shot right back up though, because once I realized that I wasn't going to get attacked by dogs, I realized I had a great opportunity to finally get decent deer images. In total, there were four young animals, all fairly healthy looking.
After ther deer grew accustomed to me and went on their way, I turned around and headed upstream to see if I could catch a great blue heron fishing. No luck with the heron, but the river has finally lowered enough for me to get out on the cobble bar that I fish from during the summer. Again, signs of the city can be seen, with several weathered and rounded asphalt chunks mixed in with the Delaware limestone, shale, glacial erratics and chert.
Mallards and Canada geese are the waterfowl to be seen on the river right now. I'm sure that come spring, a few wood ducks will pop up here and there. This female mallard is resting on a bar covered with water willow (Justicia americana), which I was happy to see is starting to green up. Yet another sign of spring.
The gravel bar provided plenty of interesting photographic opportunities, including this ice formation which I shot across the river with my telephoto lens. I used a tripod and a very slow shutter speed to blur the motion of the water.
My position at the gravel bar was fairly birdy. Not only did I capture the mallard images, I also had a red tailed hawk cruise above me.
And to the north, a white-breasted nuthatch was twitting about the uppermost branches of a streamside silver maple.
On the opposite bank flicking in and out of washed up tree branches was this tiny wren. This is what I call a "documentary" shot. A crappy picture none the less but maybe someone could get an ID from this? I'm speculating this may have been a winter wren. Any other thoughts?
And finally, several American robins were perched in the leafless Amur honeysuckle shrubs (Lonicera maackii, a really nasty invasive species) that cover the floodplain. Here in Columbus, robins are with us during all but the harshest winters.
I hope you enjoyed this Saturday morning walk.