Field Commander
Kicks and Grins

Fernald Preserve

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I've been wanting to visit Fernald Preserve near Harrison, Ohio ever since Kyler's family moved into that area.

Kyler and Kara live only about 5 miles from the preserve, but the timing just never seemed to work out.

Until last week. When Peggy (Kara's mom who happens to be one of my best friends) and I made it a point to leave home early and visit Fernald before we went to see our grandbabies.


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It was a lovely early October morning, and the fog that had settled over the preserve was just burning off.

 


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We knew the Visitor's Center was still closed (another victim of Covid), but the trails were open.

And there was a portapot available. So we had the essentials covered...


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Fernald has an interesting history. Built in the 1950s, Fernald was a nuclear production facility. Uranium, radium, and other radioactive materials were mined there, contaminating the soil and water. In the late 1980s, the facility closed for good and the site restoration began, decontaminating areas and allowing native vegetation to take hold.

The preserve opened in 2008, and it is one of the premier birdwatching sites in Ohio, with lots of other wildlife as well.

Peggy and I were there about 2 1/2 hours and barely scratched the surface of trail-walking. But we did see some interesting wildlife in the short time we were there....

 

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Lots of Canada geese...if we couldn't see them, we could hear them just about constantly.

 

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The dew was heavy on the grass, making even the ground foliage lovely...

 

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We saw several deer...


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...but I'm pretty sure they saw us first. And kept an eye on us...


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I was excited to see this male wood duck and his two girlfriends...


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What a handsome duck-dude!


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Even spiders, some of the smallest of God's creatures, fascinate me. I don't particularly LIKE them, but they are fascinating!

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How glitterly their webs are in the dew!


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A northern flicker...


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Our pair of wood ducks again...


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Doe and her youngun watched us from the edge of the woods...

 

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Pretty sure these are juvenile red-wing blackbirds, probably migrating as there were dozens hanging around in the trees together near the ponds.


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Diamonds in the grass!

 

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Northern mockingbird...


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A hawk...


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Raccoon digging in the mud for food...


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Greater yellowlegs do not live in this area year-round, but they do make rest stops on their migration south.

 

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A couple of lady mallards were taking a splash bath...


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Several herons standing sentry...


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We saw one lone swan, which seemed unusual as they are usually found in groups. 


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A pied-billed grebe entertained us with his twitchy swimming and diving antics...


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We surprised a few deer who didn't stick around for a photo op...

 

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What a lovely way to begin a gorgeous autumn day!

At Fernald Preserve.

 

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