Category Archives: animals

Backyard Birds After A Rain Shower

A Sparrow And A Robin After Rain

Robin bathes in mud puddle.
A robin bathing in a mud puddle.

I like the sound, light, and cooler weather after a rainstorm. The activity of the birds always increases just a little to as they come out from cover. After this Spring rain shower, this robin took to bathing immediately in a newly formed puddle.

Sparrow on a post.
Sparrow on a post.

This sparrow was just chirping away after the rain passed. An interesting theory I read about sparrows; Sparrows are often around man because man scares away many of their predators. I’m not sure if it’s true, but in Ohio, they always seem to be near.

There are certain more exciting and unique subjects to be photographed, but these photos are relaxing and fun. The gear was just a cheap Canon Rebel with the 250mm lens that I’ve discussed about using for nature photography previously.

Shots like these are good training for other photography too. They train your eye and muscles to react quickly to photo opportunities. If you miss a shot of a common bird, no big deal. The bird will return. That readies you for the important shots.

Birds At Dawes Arboretum

Just A Few Of The Birds And Butterflies At Dawes Arboretum

Today I took my lunch at Dawes Arboretum. What a great Spring day to take a few minutes observing wildlife. I went to the newer swamp area today and the birds were very active.

The Butterflies

I don’t know how one can look at a butterfly and not want to photograph it. They are graceful, delicate, beauty. It seems that they are all a unique piece of artwork.

Butterfly with orange and black markings.
An orange and black butterfly.
Black and blue butterfly.
Butterfly with black and blue markings.

Dawes Arboretum Has Birds In Abundance

There are many species of birds that thrive at Dawes Arboretum. Today, I was lucky to find red-tailed hawks and a Green Heron. This was my first time seeing a green heron, It stalked fish in the pond.

Red-tailed Hawk in flight.
Red-tailed hawk in flight.
Green Heron hunting in the swamp.
Green Heron hunting in the Dawes Arboretum swamp.
Blue heron in flight.
Blue heron flying.

Trying To Cheer Hunter Up With Toys

Fetch To Cheer An Old Dog Up

Hunter With His Toy
Hunter With His Toy Rope

My dog Hunter is a mutt with German Shepherd, Husky, and who knows what else in him. He is a handful even in his old age. Recently, he lost his old buddy Gomez. I would say he mourns. He still looks around for him. He’s much less active. He’s lost some bounce in his personality. If that’s mourning in a dog, then he’s mourning.

I was looking for a way to cheer him up and playing sticks works sometimes. I think he’s losing some eyesight and he jammed himself in the eye with one of the sticks. It got to me to see him hurting. That’s how he ended up with these new ropes.

When playing fetch with Hunter, 2 objects must be used. He won’t drop the one he has until you throw another. Trying to get whatever he’s holding away from him is just a bad idea. I did get a couple of returns on these, but he tired quickly and just chewed around on them some.

After playing with him like this at this stage of life, I realize it’s not the toy he’s interested in, it’s me. It’s the attention. The more I hype the playing up, the more he likes it.

Now food is a different matter. He don’t care about me a bit. It’s 100% the food!

Gomez Spearman Obituary

Gomez Spearman

June 2007 – 2 May 2017

Gomez Spearman died Tuesday after a long illness. He leaves behind 2 grieving parents, 2 sisters, 1 brother and numerous grieving friends.

Gomez was adopted in 2008 after taking the job as a companion for Hunter Spearman. He immediately took to the family and quickly taught Hunter the ways of not biting people and playing joyfully instead. Over a course of a few weeks he befriended even Hunter. Everyone else, he befriended in a few seconds.

Gomez enjoyed high decibel barking, but only in limited bursts. He awoke each morning to greet the day with loud, window rattling barks to alert everyone that he was ready to start the day. He loved big hugs, kisses, ear rubs, and butt scratches. He was also a big fan of anything that made it his way out of the frying pan. He had a fondness of couches and on one occasion, ate one.

Gomez taught humans on the side. His lesson was to try to make friends with everyone, even if they think you’re a goofy looking bastard. If that doesn’t work, let them talk to Hunter. He was also the house comedian.

He will be sorely missed. In lieu of flowers and cards please answer a “Free Dog To Good Home” ad at least once in your lifetime.

Osprey At Buckeye Lake And More Changes for 2017

Osprey At Buckeye Lake, Coffee On Motorcycles, And Spring

Osprey At Buckeye Lake In Ohio.

This past weekend was my first encounter with Osprey. They were at Fairfield Beach in Buckeye Lake, Ohio. They were so beautiful to watch as they circled the air and fished out of the lake. I had to look them up online to find out what type of bird they were.
I’m not sure if they are rare or if I just never seen them before. I found this information at the ODNR that tells more about the Ohio Osprey reintroduction program started in 1996.

Spring Feels Like It’s Here

Purple flowers.
Spring flowers at Buckeye Lake, Ohio.

April 8th was the first day I could say it really felt like Spring in Ohio. That’s not bad for timing. A little early actually. Some warmth, sunshine, and plants starting to come to life are my ideas of when Spring actually starts.

Coffee On Motorcycles Project

Coffee At Buckeye Lake, Ohio
Coffee At Buckeye Lake, Ohio.

For 2017 I have a new project in mind. It’s called Coffee On Motorcycles. I’ll be taking a thermos full of hot coffee or cold tea with me and stopping to photograph wherever I think a good place to stop and have a coffee break is.

I got the idea from stopping smoking. I used to love to stop and just take in the scenery while I had a smoke. Obviously, that’s bad for you so I quit in Spring of last year. Great, right? Well, not completely. I gained weight. I knew I would and while quitting, I didn’t care.

While stopping smoking has been great, it could be better. I won’t consider it in the green until the weight I gained is gone, and then some. To make that weight loss a reality, I can’t stop in bars for a beer very often while I’m out on the bike.

Now before all you nervous nellies e-mail me about the dangers of drinking on a bike, I say bullshit. You can have an occasional beer while out riding. One doesn’t make you drunk. It does make you fatter though, but that’s a long story to tell you about that science. You can have coffee at a bar too though!

This project should be a fun way to fill that void left by losing the smokes and bars. In this case, with the Osprey and the beach, it was great.

The Rain, Cheap Gear, And Deer

Wildlife Photography Minus The Gear

Deer In The Rain
Deer In The Rain

Wildlife photography is something I always wanted to do. The problem is that the world only needs so many wildlife photos and I cannot justify the cost of the gear. It is one genre of photography where the gear actually does matter.

I cannot compete with photographers that spend over $10k for a lens. I don’t even want to spend $5k for substandard lenses. With that being the case, knowing where herds tend to gather and waiting until a gentle rain to subdue your sound and smell is a good idea. It worked for this shot. It got me close enough for this shot with a cheap Canon 250mm STM lens.

I Met Hi-Low On A Hike Today


Dog with a deer leg.
Hi-Low the dog with a deer leg.

A Hike Near Gambier

Hikes and drives around the Gambier area are always fun. Today was perfect for a short walk in the woods. That’s were we met Hi-Low.

Hi-Low was ignoring his owner and teasing his buddy, a coonhound, with a deer leg he’d found. The owner was just recovering from a deer’s head that Hi-Low wanted to bring on the hike. He had so much exuberance that it was fun to watch his mischief.

Everett Field Park Wildlife

Everett Field Park In Newark, Ohio

About the Park

Everett Field Park is off of Everett Avenue near the Owens-Corning Plant in Newark, Ohio. It’s a large park with bicycle paths, a small river, frisbee golf, gardens, and ball diamonds. Sadly, there’s a lot of trash and it’s been heavily vandalized.

Unexpected Wildlife

This view of Owens-Corning dominates the park. It’s smell dominates too.

Owens-Corning Fiberglas plant in Newark, Ohio.
Owens-Corning Fiberglas in Newark, Ohio

If you relax, walk quietly, and start taking in the sound of the flow of the river, wildlife will start to show itself. I was looking for interesting photos. It’s was slow at first. Just dead weeds and vandalized park equipment at first glance.

Dead weeds with thorns.
Dead weeds.

I really don’t know what weeds these are in their dead state like this.

I walked along quietly. I was hoping to catch more photos of deer. This morning was different for my routine. I’d added an extra hour to allow time for photos. I ended up here with that idea. As I went on, I found some government employees passing a joint. They bolted quickly giving me an evil stare. As if I’m the bad guy, to funny.  I’m not that bad. No photos, no drama. I’ve got better things to do.

A few minutes later, I heard the uproar of ducks taking flight quickly. I swung my camera and shot. There’s nothing to original with duck photos, but I like to attempt to catch any bird in flight.

Ducks taking flight.
Ducks take flight.

When ducks just gather and take off, it’s a slow buildup to the take off. They will quack to each other and their body language will communicate that they are about to take off. This was different. One bolted and the others just instinctively took immediate flight. This was my signal that something predatory was around.

I knew I didn’t scare them to that degree. I thought maybe a group of people would be coming around the bend. I looked up to see if a hawk or an eagle was in the area. I heard some geese hissing and then, the fox seen me and bolted up the hill. He stopped to stare at me, probably hoping I’d leave so he could get breakfast.

A red fox.
A red fox staring down the hill at me.

What a rush it was to get the photo! Usually, I just get a fleeting glimpse of one running across the road.

Crow flying between power lines.
Crow flying in between the power lines.

All of this happened in about an hour of just quietly walking and observing. I never left the city limits. The world is full of cool things if you make time for them. It’s easier to sit at a desk after enjoying a little bit of nature. Realistic perspectives come easier. Life just flows better.

A Sunday Walk In The Woods Turns Exciting When An Eagle Appears

Fungus on an Old Log
Fungus grows on an old log in the forest.

The walk started out boring. The western end of The Blackhand Gorge trail is that way. If you’re quiet, you can catch deer out in the field or even a Hooded Merganser Duck in the river. Most of the time though, it’s just a well-shaded, level walk down an old railroad bed. This time was different. I’ve heard about an eagle in the area, but I never was lucky enough to see them.

We heard a loud clap on the water. Soon, we seen the huge wing span making it’s way through the woods. I thought it might be a buzzard, but the clap on the water made me pretty sure it was an eagle. Then I seen the white tail feathers to confirm that it was an eagle.

An eagle flying over Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve
An eagle flying at Blackhand Gorge Nature Preserve near Newark, Ohio.

By the time we confirmed it was an eagle, it was far away. I could only make out a tiny speck on a branch. With my camera equipment, I need light and at least a monopod. I didn’t have either to get any great photos, but I love that I could at least capture a recognizable shot with what I did have.

An eagle fishing in The Licking River
Eagle scanning The Licking River for more fish.

My camera was good enough to see that he was eating a fish. I watched him for a while as he scanned for more. My wife walked down near towards him to get him to fly. It worked, but he had seen us and just moved further away. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that we were annoying the bird’s fishing so we turned and left him alone.

It’s great to see some of Ohio’s wildlife return and to be as common as this. I remember when seeing a deer was somewhat rare when I was a boy believe it or not. I still get excited when I get a chance to take photos of deer too. It’s these shots that make me wonder why I’m not in the woods more.