Category Archives: animals

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.

Squirrel!

Squirrels on the powerline.
Squirrels Scramble down the powerline outside my house.

Backyard Squirrels

The squirrels around here are fun. I watch them scramble from my dogs and succeed in escaping them every time. Sometimes it’s close.

Squirrels only seem to have a few tools in their survival kit. Speed, agility, and energy. When I watch them take risks at darting around the dogs for no good reason, I have to wonder what stupidity brings that on. Certainly they’re not just daredevils.

They’re good photography practice. Finding them in the viewer and getting the shot is a challenge. Nearly as difficult as birds, but easy enough to get practice.

Squirrels only live 2-5 years and many probably die quicker due to predators and other early demises. Animals like this don’t get a lot of time in this world to hone their smarts. Like all rodents, what intelligence they do have is centered around obtaining food. Nothing is safe from these little omnivores.

Winter Deer


Deer in a Winter field.
Deer in winter in an Ohio field.

These deer ran in front of my car on a country road. There wasn’t any traffic around so I stopped and watched them for a while.

Whitetail Deer Facts

  • Like common cattle, deer have four chambers in their stomachs for eating things like grass.
  • Deer can run 40mph, jump 9 feet high, and broad jump 30 feet. Kind of like woodland super heroes.
  • Their ears can rotate in any direction without moving their head.
  • They taste great.

Spring Calves Grazing

Calves grazing in the Spring
Calves grazing in the Spring.

It was getting read to rain on a late Spring evening. I came across these calves grazing as I was riding down an old gravel road. This was in the northwest part of Licking County, Ohio.

They get so curious. I suppose any approaching human at all means a high possibility of food to them, so it doesn’t take much to spark interest.