Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Shoveler Armada

This afternoon below the dam, Hoover Reservoir, Columbus, Ohio.

And if you like ducks, don't miss the upcoming Waterfowl Symposium being held right here in Columbus, including field trips, some of which will be visiting this very spot.

Return to Kenney Park

It's always nice to have a warm spell during winter, and last Saturday, our January thaw was the perfect opportunity to visit one of my old stomping gounds, Kenney Park. For those of you that have been visiting this corner of cyberspace for a while, you'll remember this place. It was virtually my home for two years. I photographed the Olentangy River almost every day.

Although I can't make it back there as often as I would like, it is worth the trip, especially during the winter to see birds. And this time it didn't disappoint, as I added two new species to my 2010 list- a beautiful male yellow-bellied sapsucker and a drab yellow-rumped warbler. My purpose of the trip was bird photography, and these individuals were kind enough to oblige.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wonderful Waterfowl

The valley of Big Walnut Creek, just downstream from Hoover Dam and Reservoir, part of the Big Walnut Audubon Ohio Important Bird area.

In the pool below the dam is one my favorite spots to photograph birds, and last Saturday this area did not dissapoint. The reservoir was frozen, so the the pool below the dam was full of waterfowl.

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser with Fish

Ruddy Duck

Northern Shoveler



American Wigeon, Male above, female below

If you haven't discovered how interesting waterfowl can be, the Hoover reservoir is a great place to start. During migration, thousands of ducks raft on the open waters. And in the winter, when much of the reservoir is frozen, just below the dam is a great place for close encounters with our quacky friends.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Best Camera....

Good Morning Squirrel, originally uploaded by Tom Arbour. the one that's with you. That's the title of a book about iphone photography by Chase Jarvis, and I have to agree with him. Yesterday morning, while driving to work headed east along Worthington's Dublin Granville Road, the sky was on fire with purples, pinks, and indigo blue. This was just too good of a sky not to photograph, and as I came to a park along the south side of the road, I knew that I had to pull over. My camera of choice? My trusty new Canon D10, waterproof and ultra-durable, served me well on this cold, dry morning.

2010 Ohio Botanical Symposium

Once the calendar turns to a new year, I think all nature enthusiasts begin the count down to spring. There's no better way to feel that "spring fever" than by attending the Ohio Botanical Symposium in Columbus. Please consider joining over 400 botanically minded people for this year's 2010 Ohio Botanical Symposium. I'll be there, most likely running the AV equipment, so be sure to say hello.

Native plants, pollinators, prairie restoration, rare plant discoveries and sedges are some of the topics to be discussed on Friday, March 26, during the 10th Annual Ohio Botanical Symposium.

Presented by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Nature Conservancy and The Ohio State University, the event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Road in north Columbus.

This year, we are very excited about having Dr. Doug Tallamy as our keynote speaker. His book “Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens” won the 2008 silver medal by the Garden Writer’s Association.

Jim McCormac, who was instrumental in starting the symposium ten years ago, is returning to present the best plant discoveries talk. The first 3 years of the symposium Jim gave this talk and started the annual tradition of highlighting Ohio plant discoveries.

Dr. Tony Reznicek, the sedge guru, is going to speak about sedges and the diversity and richness of the genus in Ohio and worldwide.

Martin McAllister is returning to speak on the restoration efforts at Agave Ridge Prairie where famous ecologist E. Lucy Braun sampled in the 1920s. Natural Areas has been monitoring the restoration effort with her original transect for over 15 years. Martin always gives a humorous, informative talk.

With the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid right on Ohio’s doorstep in Pennsylvania, it is important that we become familiar with the serious pest. Brad Onken of the U.S. Forest Service is one of the authorities on this insect and he will talk about the efforts to control this highly destructive species.

Finally, Dr. Lynn Loveless, who has been studying evolutionary biology of plants and pollinators, will discuss the relationships between pollinators and plants and how they have co-evolved over thousands of years.

The event will also feature displays from a number private and public conservation organizations and vendors offering conservation-related items for purchase.

The $25 attendance fee includes conference materials, continental breakfast, buffet lunch and break refreshments. Registrations will be accepted until March 22. For registration forms and more details, visit or contact Rick Gardner at 614-265-6419.

Please spread the word about the symposium to your friends and colleagues.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Columbus Hope for Haiti

Columbus and Central Ohio- Here's the bottom line-

-The City, Columbus media and the Red Cross are partnering to put on a one-day fundraiser tomorrow, Thursday January 21.

-City and Red Cross staff, as well as local media personalities, will be on hand at the Ohio Historical Society from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. to accept cash or check donations local residents.

-You can also donate online ( or by texting Haiti to 90999


Sunday, January 17, 2010

White-Tailed Doe

There were no less than five does looking to eat at the feeder at Blendon Woods. Apparently, they just aren't comfortable coming up to the feeder when there are people in the observation building, because this was as close as any one of them came. We did watch them browse the crusty, dried vegetation for a few minutes before they meandered back into the fields and forests. I'm sure bird seed would have been more to their liking.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The dark-eyed junco, one of Ohio's "snowbirds".

Megan, Weston and I are going to do the "snowbird" thing this year and fly, courtesy of U.S. Airways, to Puerto Rico and hang out in the beach town of Rincon with her grandmother. She's a true snowbird who visits the island territory for several weeks each winter. We'll have just one week of winter reprieve, but I can't wait to escape the ice and snow of Ohio for the warm beaches and surf of Peurto Rico.

Having never been to the Island, I'm in need of advice. Have you visited Puerto Rico? Have you naturalized or birded the island and have any tips for us?


After writing this post, I re-thought my desire to escape my rather comfortable life for a trip to Puerto Rico, while those in the nearby island nation of Haiti have no opportunities to escape their dire predicament. Here is a link to the Red Cross donation page.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Snowflakes have been on my list of things to photograph for quite some time. Their fragility, complexity, and uniqueness make we want to spend hours photographing every snowflake that ever fell. But it's just too darn cold to do that.

So why photograph snowflakes now? Yesterday evening, as I was getting into my black-interior 2003 Toyota Corolla, I noticed that a few perfect snowflakes had landed on the plastic elbow rest on my driver side door. DING DING DING. A bell or light, or something like that went off in my head. The photographic fever hit me, and I wouldn't be satisfied until I got a few decent shots of these wondrous parts of nature.


Friday, January 08, 2010

When Iguanas Drop from Trees.......

After hearing about Iguanas going into a temporary torpor in Florida from our recent cold snap, I wondered if I could find a map that showed what areas of the country are currently covered with snow. It's so snowy right now, that we could fly from New York City to Los Angeles without ever seeing bare ground until the last little bit of the flight.

Here's that video of non-native Iguanas dropping from the trees in southern Florida.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Are you Cold Yet?

Just in case this eastern U.S. cold snap doesn't have you in the mood for winter, or if it's not cold where you live, this video is for you. The weather was amazingly brisk on this day last week in Maine. With a high of 10 degrees or so, you can only imagine what the wind chill was like.


P.S. The line down the middle of the video is flare from the sun.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Raucous Ringbills

I froze my parts off photographing these ring-billed gulls today at Hoover reservoir while Megan and Weston ate snacks in the heated car. Why do I spend time photographing common birds? Well, they're great practice for photographing rare birds, plus, they're an extra special challenge. It isn't difficult to photograph ring billed gulls-just head to your nearest large parking lot. It is more of a challenge to get photos of them that are interesting- something that not only shows the birds, but also their behavior, and let's you in on little slices of their lives.


Friday, January 01, 2010

Back from the Land of Ice & Snow: Sky Watch Friday

Crap, it's 2010. When did that happen?

We must have missed that on our marathon holiday trip that started on Christmas Eve. Drive to Akron, stay with parents & brother, Fly to Maine through Detroit, stay with parents, siblings, & grandparents (12 people in all!) fly back to Akron via Detroit, stay with parents and brother. Drive back home. Finally, yes, I am back home, and it feels wonderful. Happy New Year.


And since I just realized it's Friday, and It's been months since I participated in the ultimate nature blog meme for everyone, "Sky Watch", and this picture works for that, happy Sky Watch!