Notes From The Field

Boone County Cliffs

With the threat of rain, with thunder and lightning a real possibility, nothing says Father’s Day more than a bird outing to Boone County Cliffs. I meet up with my friend Jonathan Frodge at Cincinnati’s Public Landing, where he jumped into the bird-mobile for the 30 odd minute drive to the park. With the window of opportunity narrowing with the impending rain, we hurried over to start our day. The drive over  was uneventful, until we turned onto Middle Creek Road. This a one of those 1 1/2 lane country road with a scattering of houses and barns, with dense vegetation on both sides for most of the drive. This road would be great just to walk and see what kind of birds you’d spot. However today, we wanted to hike the cliffs.

The overcast skies, and being early in the morning made for a dark forest to walk into. The trail was slick with mud as we made our way up hill.

It was real difficult to visualize the birds today. For one thing, they weren’t singing like i would have expected. The forest seemed too quiet for me. Also they were hard to see in the canopy. You would have to walk a little bit, then stop and listen and look for movement. This was the nature of today till it started to rain. We were there for no more than 90 minuted till it started. As you well know, birding is a listening, as well as a visual activity. So when you have problems seeing the birds because of one reason or another, you start to depend on you hearing to help you locate birds. Well when it starts to rain, the noise of the rain falling through the trees and smacking into the leaves, it makes a lot of noise, and subsequently makes it harder to hear the birds sing.

We had pretty good luck by ID’ing birds by sight and sound. However with the rain coming down harder, and not wanting to get my binoculars any more wet than  they already are, we made more of a concentrated effort to get out of the woods. The trail we were descending  was beginning to turn into a stream, and this made for a slippery slope. I had already fallen once, and didn’t want to do it again. We popped out of the forest a short time later, feeling a little disappointed in the fact that we couldn’t have stayed longer.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Barred Owl
  2. Wild Turkey
  3. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  4. Acadian Flycatcher
  5. Eastern Goldfinch
  6. Pileated Woodpecker
  7. Wood Thrush
  8. Eastern Towhee
  9. Baltimore Oriole
  10. Scarlet Tanager
  11. Worm-eating Warbler
  12. Kentucky Warbler
  13. Hooded Warbler
  14. Eastern Wood Pewee
  15. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  16. Carolina Chickadee
  17. White-breasted Nuthatch
  18. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  19. Blue Jay
  20. Red-eyed Vireo
  21. Indigo Bunting
  22. American Robin
  23. Northern Cardinal
  24. Brown-headed Cowbird
  25. Common Crow
  26. Great-crested Flycatcher
  27. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  28. Chimney Swift
  29. Cliff Swallow
  30. Common Grackle
  31. Mallard
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