A male wild Turkey — the faux eyebrow is a shadow from a fold of skin over the eye.
This past Saturday I stopped by Blendon Woods Metro Park in central Ohio. While going on a walk there I watched a large flock of turkeys slowly move from one side of the trail to the other. The females were the most shy, and they scooted across the trail lickety-split. The males, however, took their time, often pausing in the middle of the trail as if to say, “I’m big and tough, and if anything you should be intimidated by me.” Consequently the photos below are all males, what with them posing and all.
This is Sam.
I met Sam while participating in the Hocking Hills Annual Winter Hike. A naturalist with the state of Ohio was holding him on his arm as the crowd walked past. I took several photos of Sam while he was turning his head every which way as he looked over the crowd. I decided to combine these images into one animated image that shows off his amazing head-turning skills. Check out the image below.
I decided to set up a bird feeder a few years back because there was just so much snow that year that I felt bad for the little creatures.
Heron photographed last month
One of our favorite locales for bird watching is Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk. We’ve previously posted about it here. This locale is constantly changing with the season and the level of Hoover reservoir, but it rarely disappoints.
Isn’t this little guy charming?
We have bird feeders in our backyard. I like to sit in our breakfast nook reading or working on the computer. Then from time to time I’ll lift my head to see what birds are out there now. The feeders are located far enough away from our house to make it unlikely that a bird will strike our windows. But that means that I sometimes resort to using binoculars if I want to get a good look at a particular bird.
This photo of an American Chestnut tree was taken in 1914 before the blight reached it.
This Metro Park gets its name from a tree that has largely disappeared from North America: the American chestnut tree (Castanea dentata). The American chestnut tree dominated America’s forests in the east and in the Ohio Valley until the start of the 20th century. A true giant, the tree grew to be 100 to 150 feet tall (30 to 45 meters) and up to 10 feet (3 m) in diameter. It crowned the ridgeline of the Appalachian mountains; when in bloom, its white blossoms made the mountains look as though they were capped with snow.
Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk is part of the Hoover Nature Preserve operated by the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department. It is one of the best birding sites in central Ohio. In the fall the city lowers the water level in Hoover Reservoir, so it’s more hospitable to migrating shore birds. The area around the boardwalk is also used for fishing and launching kayaks, and I’ve seen crew teams training here. Beyond that, the site is just lovely.
The Emily Traphagen Preserve is part of Delaware County’s Preservation Park system. There are two short trails in the park:
- White Tail Loop (0.6 miles), and
- Meadow Trail (0.5 miles)
Both trails are loops. As you might expect, Meadow Trail is a mown path. However the White Tail Loop is an improved dirt trail that passes through the woods and by a marsh area. From White Tail Loop there is a side trail to what’s called the Pond Overlook. I spotted the red-shouldered hawk pictured below while visiting the overlook.
Red-shouldered Hawk near the Pond Overlook
Boyer Nature Preserve is wonderful, mini-wetland that sits in the middle of suburban Westerville, Ohio. The site’s main feature is its stream-fed pond. Although it may look like an ordinary pond, it’s actually very special due to the way that it was formed. During the last ice age, Westerville was beneath approximately one thousand feet of ice (305 m). As the climate warmed, a large fracture formed near the edge of the melting glacier. Once that fracture became large enough, a huge slab of ice separated from the main body of the glacier and landed with a great thud in what is now known as Boyer Nature Preserve. When huge chunks of ice break off a glacier like this, it’s called calving.
It turns out that the immense glacier over Ohio had eroded great quantities of land as it moved south from Canada, and this eroded material became frozen inside the glacier while it was still growing in size. However as the glacier melted and shrank, it released the sand and gravel that it had carried with it. Together this sand and gravel is called glacial sediment. So much glacial sediment was deposited in what’s now Westerville that it buried the calved-off chunk of ice under a thick layer of sediment, and this sediment kind of insulated the calved ice. When that calved chunk of ice eventually melted, the layer of glacial sediments that used to be on top of the ice sank lower and lower as the ice melted. This created a low area that filled with water from the melting ice. A body of water that’s formed in this way is called a glacial kettle.
The glacial kettle in Boyer Nature Preserve
Posted in Central Ohio, Geology, Nature
Tagged "Boyer Nature Preserve", "dog friendly", "Franklin County", "glacial kettle", "Ice Age", birds, Park Review, vocabulary, waterfowl
Cormorants perching on a log