Covid & Nature Part 2 – Covington Park – June 2020


COVINGTON – As a little boy we played outside all the time, anything with a ball was a given, camping, fishing, going to the lake … basically doing anything outside was a piece of heaven.

Due to Covid and itching to be outside I thought it would be nice to wander down memory lane and visited the Park in Covington, Ohio whereas a little boy I lived up the hill on Main Street which allowed me the opportunity to wander into the park often.

I have lots of good memories from those days and decided to sit on the swing and reminisce then walked over the diamonds where we played midget league baseball ages 7—9 and little league baseball ages 10-12.  It brought back great memories of my dad coaching us to many championships which seemed to be the most important thing in the world at the time.

Overhead view of the baseball diamond in Covington Park where I played baseball as a kid.  (Ben Robinson Photo)

Gone are the days when there was snow on the ground where we slid down the large hills on cardboard, or if you were lucky a sled.

One day a boyhood friend challenged me to walk on top of the fence from the bottom of the hill to the top entrance of the park.  Of course, I was up to the challenge and nearly made it before losing my balance doing the splits onto the top rail.  I don’t have to explain the pain and to add insult to injury falling over into a bush with thorns.  That was a painful memory but one I can laugh about today.

But life takes us through many stages of growth and the memories of the Covington Park are strong for many reasons and now I’m seeing it with the same eyes as that young boy only this time from a different perspective and a greater appreciation from a natural aspect and the beauty the park has to offer.

As I strolled along the riverbank I caught out of the corner of my eye a bird under a big Eastern Cottonwood tree and taking my camera I was able to capture a few pictures.

It was dark under the trees with very little sunlight piercing the broad foliage, so I bumped up my ISO to allow more light into the camera.  After finally getting a couple of images I was still unclear what type of bird I had photographed.

Photo of Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker Covington Park 2020 (Dale Barger Photo)

Later after inputting the image into my computer l discovered, it was Northern Flicker.  A medium sized woodpecker and up to this point I had never heard of before but now was in awe of the discovery.

Young Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker in Michigan June 2023 (Dale Barger Photo)

Moments later I stumbled upon a baby bird appearing as an “ugly duckling” so to speak and later discovered it was a Common Grackle, a medium sized blackbird.

Common Grackle “Ugly Duckling” Baby – 2020 Covington Park (Dale Barger Photo)

Adult Common Grackle – 2020 (Dale Barger Photo)

The park offered up one more photographic capture, this time a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  It must have been Woodpecker Day at the Park.

Red-bellied Wood Pecker – June 2020 Covington Park. (Dale Barger Photo)

I ended my visit admiring the large American Sycamore trees. I love the beautiful white bark on this tree.  The Park is full of Sycamores and Cottonwoods that loom high into the sky.

Ironically enough the Sycamore and Cottonwood trees as I came to learn are two of the most popular trees for the American Bald Eagles to build their nest and raise their young.

Eagles for many years were placed on the endangered list and have made a strong comeback over the last 10 years and although they aren’t on the endangered list at this time they are still federally protected and are the National Bird of the United States.

I’ve always enjoyed admiring the large American Sycamore Trees at the Covington Park and the beautiful white bark.  (Dale Barger Photo)

Eagles fascinate me and will be featured in my next column as we celebrate Independence Day.

Although I didn’t see a lot of birds or wildlife it was a great day at the Covington Park and a different perspective from that little boy so many years ago … and that’s my “View of Nature”.