Wildlife

Hanging Out With the Squirrels at Riverside Park, Findlay, Ohio

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One of my favorite spots to sit and relax is Riverside Park in Findlay, Ohio. Opened in 1906, Riverside Park used to have amusement rides, including a carousel and train. Currently, Riverside is home to a pool, band shell, and numerous well-kept buildings that can be used for picnics and parties.  Sitting along the Blanchard River, Riverside also offers delightful trails, observations areas, and boat rentals.

Recently, my wife and celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. After eating dinner at Red Lobster on Tiffin Avenue, we headed to Riverside Park to walk off our meal. Riverside is home to numerous squirrels, two of which graciously “posed” for me.

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The Raccoon Invasion

raccoon ney ohio 2016For two weeks in late July and early August our backyard bird feeders were visited by numerous raccoons. All told, twelve raccoons stopped by Gerencser’s Seed and Feed Restaurant to eat. After doing some reading and observing their behavior, we were able to figure out that there were two families of raccoons: one family with two females and three kits and another family with one female and three kits. On several nights, three super-sized male raccoons visited our feeders.

Every night, for two weeks, between the hours of 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM, these raccoons would make their way into our yard to eat. Most of them were content to eat the seed that had fallen to the ground. One raccoon, however, decided he would tempt fate and climb our fence so he could have ready access to the feeders. The following pictures were taken from a distance of less than ten feet. Each night, I would as quietly as possible slide up the living room window screen so I could extend my camera and flash outside the window. The raccoon in these pictures quickly ascertained that I was not his enemy, and, for the most part, ignored me when I raised the screen.

And then one day, the raccoons stopped coming to our yard. I still watch for them during restless, painful nights that keep me from sleeping, but so far they seem to have moved on to other feeding sites.

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Trumpeter Swan – Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

trumpeter swan ottawa national wildlife refuge

Trumpeter Swan Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is located fifteen miles east of Toledo, Ohio on the south shore of Lake Erie. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

Much of Ottawa Refuge and the surrounding lands were once part of the Great Black Swamp. The 1,500 square mile Great Black Swamp was a vast network of forests, wetlands, and grasslands. The refuge manages about 6,500 acres of wetland, grassland, and wooded habitat. It provides valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds, resident wildlife, and endangered and threatened species. It provides a place for people to enjoy wildlife-dependent activities and learn about the complexities of the natural world through education and interpretive programming. The refuge adds to the richness of the community by holding in trust a portion of the natural heritage of the Great Lakes ecosystem for the continuing benefit of the American people.

The Ottawa Refuge is a great place to visit to watch and photograph wildlife.

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Muskrat — Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

muskrat metzger marsh wildlife area

Muskrat Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area

Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area is located thirteen miles of Toledo, Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website:

Metzger Marsh is a remnant of the 300,000-acre marsh which once bordered most of western Lake Erie from Vermilion, Ohio to Gibraltar, Michigan. The construction of a high retaining dike and an internal pattern of drainage canals in conjunction with a large steam driven, water-life elevator allowed the Metzger Farms to operate throughout the early 1920s as a highly productive truck crop farm. In 1929, waters of Lake Erie broke through the dikes and flooded the area. The dikes were not rebuilt and with loss of water control, the area reverted rapidly to its original marsh condition and became high quality duck habitat. For several years, extremely good waterfowling was enjoyed by members of the Metzger Marsh Duck Club. High water levels in the 1940s eroded the remaining beach barriers and by 1952 the marsh resembled a cove off Lake Erie. Presently, about 70 percent of the area consists of open shallow water.

The marsh was purchased by the Division of Wildlife in 1955. Waterfowl hunting, trapping, and fishing in the marsh and Lake Erie are major uses of the area. The outer dike was restored in 1995 to allow for water level management. This work was accomplished through a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, local conservation groups, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Metzger March is a great place to visit to watch and photograph wildlife.

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