Susan and I went for a bird and nature walk on Sunday at the Camp Dennison gravel pits, which has undergone a transformation from a run-down gravel pit to the up-scale "Grand Valley." Now, you have to be a resident of Indian Hill or Camp Dennison and have a super-secret, computer algorithm-embedded RIF chip in your car so that the spyware on the gate will recognize you and let you in. No low-class birders allowed without an escort! Luckily, Susan has a friend with a permit, so the three of us spent two hours walking around to see and hear what we could.
I hadn't been out birding during the whole month of July, which explains why I was eager to traipse around in the hot and steamy valley, with no shade, in the hopes of seeing or hearing a bird. One of the first things we spotted was GV's two year old Purple Martin colony.
Established only two years, and already they have 135 fledglings from this year's efforts. Wow, those are some big numbers! As well as the resident breeders and their clutches, the valley is used as a roosting and staging area, in preparation for fall migration. I couldn't believe the vast numbers of martins all around us.
As well as birds, there were plenty of other flying things around on Sunday, including this dragonfly. I am no Odonata-pro, but Susan tells me this is a saddlebag dragon.
By now, you may be wondering about the black and white photos. I could lie and tell you I was feeling all artsy and melodramatic, but the truth is, I had accidentally left my camera set on "monochrome." This picture is the point when I recognized my error. Actually, I tend to think of this as a "happy accident," not a mistake, since I like the black and white dragonfly photographed in black and white.
I did wise up and switch back to color in time to grab this skipper on a teasel bloom,
but my only bird pictures were these B&Ws of a killdeer.Ansel Adams has nothing to worry about. That is, he wouldn't if he were alive.