Tag Archives: French Park

Notes From The Field

With the promise of a beautiful day and sunny skies you could hardly blame a person for being outside for most of the day. And considering the amount of people I meet today they to had the same idea. So without further delay it was off to do some birding.

My youngest son, Ethan had a film workshop today that was going to last for several hours, so this gave me an opportunity to go to a couple of parks that I’ve not been to in a long time. The first one was Glenwood Gardens, which is a park in the Hamilton County Parks District.

I arrived a little past 10:00 am and immediately started to bird. I spotted a Mockingbird and took a pretty terrible picture of it.

Glenwood Gardens is first and foremost a garden, and with Spring right around the corner you could really notice how plants and flowers were starting to green up, and ready to bloom.

A bed of Daffodils

I really wasn’t planning on having the water tower in the picture with the gazebo.

After you pass through the carriage house, you are greeted with this great view of the park.

Normally this quiet little stream is just that, however with all the rain it has turned into rather a torrent of water. Very fast moving and deep. And in the midst of it all sits this Mallard asleep. Or maybe just resting.

It was a very windy day, and it seemed that the variety of birds was low. I worked the park pretty good considering I had only about 90  minutes before I had to get back for lunch with Ethan.

I came upon an area that the park district was working to create a grassland/wetlands. They had constructed some berms to hold back water to catch water and form sky pools.

There were several small sky pool like this scattered throughout the area. Unfortunately there were hardly any birds. Granted this is a city park, however one would think that this might attract a good variety. It maybe a little early in the season.

I did notice some Mallards fly into this area and when I went to investigate, I noticed this really large sky pool which held a few Mallard Drakes trying to catch the attention of a Mallard Hen.

A better view of the pond.

One of the reasons I went to Glenwood Gardens was to catch a Eastern Screech Owl. It has been my nemesis bird for some time now. And Glenwood Gardens has been a hotspot for them for some time. My friend Paul recommends this place, and with all the owl boxes this place has I’m really surprised I was skunked again.

Another empty owl box.

With time running out, it was time to head back to the bird-mobile and pick up Ethan. Then I noticed that some of the early flowers were blooming in spots. So as a nice reminder to my readers, that yes Spring is right around the corner.

A Daffodil in bloom on March 12th.

One of several small clumps of Daffodils I found throughout the park.

Notable birds for this park include:

  1. American Robin
  2. Song Sparrow
  3. Carolina Wren
  4. Red-tailed Hawk
  5. Northern Mockingbird
  6. Northern Cardinal
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Mallard
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  10. Tufted Titmouse
  11. Purple Finch
  12. Carolina Chickadee
  13. Turkey Vulture

After lunch I still had a couple of hours to kill, so what better way to kill a few hours then to go somewhere else to go birding. It’s like hitting the daily double at the track. Huuuuummmmm, where to go. How about my old neighborhood. French Park. Growing up in Pleasant Ridge this was one of my favorite parks to go to as a kid. It’s been a long since I’ve been here, and there has been reports recently of Screech Owls here.

This park was once a private residence, with a large home and lots of acreage. It has a extensive trail system throughout and several shelters for people to use. The house can be reserved for special occasions like weddings. Hopefully I’ll have better luck here.

The trails were pretty much like this. They were well marked and I took with me a map that I downloaded from the Hamilton County Parks web site. Here it wasn’t much different, with stiff winds and they constant companion of mud. The trails were really holding the water and it didn’t take long for my boots to take on that brown oozy color.

This is one of several small streams that criss-cross the park.

I found some small patches of Snow Drops and some other low growing yellow flower.

I pretty much stayed to the outer trails. I wanted to circumnavigate the park. So when I came to a fork in the trail I kept to the left and it wound and wound on for a long time.

Even when you think you’re in the middle of nowhere, you look up an notice a cell tower looming overhead. Needless to say I had plenty of bars. What and eyesore.

I love the fungus that grows on fallen trees.

And the trail keeps on winding on and on.

Along the way I would stop and listen, however with the wind howling through the trees, it was difficult to pick out the little ones calls. However I was able to pick out my Eastern Screech Owl. Big Time Score for me! Number 267

About half way through the my hike the trail takes a drop down and opens up to this beautiful valley with a sparkling stream flowing through. I could have stayed down here for hours it was that restful and tranquil.

Pictures can’t pay it justice, for how nice it was in the area. I did have to move along, so my visit here was short but long remembered. And just when it couldn’t get any better, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eyes and noticed a butterfly going by. I couldn’t believe it, butterflies, this early. I’m not an expert on them, but I certainly hope they have someplace to go when it gets cold. Remember it’s still March.

I’ll put a name to this beautiful creature as soon as I can. After further review, I think that this butterfly is a Grey Coma. Now if there is anyone out there that knows what this might be, just drop me a line in the comments section at the end of the post.

Upon closer inspection you might notice that there is a rivulet flowing down the middle of the trail. Lovely stuff to walk through.

After I leave this area the trail starts  to drop down to Section Road and that’s when it really starts to get muddy. It totally envelopes you and your footwear. This makes birding difficult. When you spend more of your time watching the footing and not the birds, then it isn’t fun anymore. Time to get out of the woods. So when I break free of the trees, this is what I’m greeted with.

French House

Across the front lawn and through some rather tall grass with a path mowed into it, and I’m back at the bird-mobile for the drive to pick up Ethan.

Another fantastic afternoon of birding. I did have better luck here than at Glenwood Gardens. Notable birds for this trip include:

  1. American Goldfinch
  2. White-breasted Nuthatch
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Cooper’s Hawk
  5. Tufted Titmouse
  6. Carolina Chickadee
  7. American Robin
  8. Grackle
  9. Downy Woodpecker
  10. Turkey Vulture
  11. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  12. Brown Creeper
  13. House Finch
  14. EASTERN SCREECH OWL-Lifer
  15. Song Sparrow
  16. Northern Flicker
  17. Northern Cardinal
  18. White-throated Sparrow
  19. Pileated Woodpecker
  20. Carolina Wren
  21. Red-winded Black Bird