Notes From The Field

We all know that “Life” can certainly get in the way of some of our favorite past times, and I’m no exception. My first Grand Child was born and visiting with    him up in Michigan does cut into birding time. Then I was sick with Walking Pneumonia, which took several weeks to finally get over.

Our last child moved out of the house to Georgia and I had to help with that move. My wife and myself had some minor surgical procedures that cut into any birding time available. And when I did go birding it was usually up to Caesar Creek State Park to scan for ducks.

WHEW, I’m exhausted, and in  need of Spring.

So for the past week Pine Warblers have taken up residence at Mitchell Memorial Forest and with it being such a beautiful day I had to take off to check it out.

Pine Warblers are some of the first warblers that show up in the Spring. In the past I’ve had reasonable luck with locating them, but when they’re consistently in one location I’m all over it, especially since I don’t have any pictures of one.

After arriving it didn’t take long to locate one. All I had to do was listen for a song very similar to a Chipping Sparrow, but sweeter.

 Sometimes all we’re going to get is a shot like this, from below, however diagnostic of the species.

Then one of these little beauties flew in a small tree that was just beginning to flower about 20 feet away. Holy cow, how lucky can one get!



Notes From The Field

Grand Valley Preserve

Jon and myself only had a couple of hours of birding yesterday so we didn’t want to squander any minute. We first went to Grand Valley to check on the ducks. As it turns out this preserve which in the past has held vast numbers of birds was totally void. Granted there was some ice covering the lake, however there was enough open water for something.

I wonder if these 2 Bald Eagles had anything to do with this?

Views From A Window

Well it finally looks like the Ohio Valley is in for a nice warm up this coming week, however with this warm up we usually get some rain. It was during this deep freeze we were experiencing I was only able to go birding a couple of times. For the most lakes and ponds were still frozen over and finding any waterfowl proved to be pretty difficult.

As is the case when it becomes really cold, my feeders were very busy. So I kept my camera close at hand, and whenever the feeders started to draw a lot of birds I would sneak into the dining room and snap a few shots of my visitors.

Nothing unusual, just your normal feeder birds. But it’s so satisfying.

 Eastern Towhee

Northern Cardinal


Dark-eyed Junco

White-throated Sparrow

Tufted Titmouse

Blue Jay

Female Northern Cardinal

Eastern Bluebird

Yes, I’m still Alive….Barely

As the title implies it has been a pretty rough 4 weeks for myself. A series of events have kept me sidelined from doing what I enjoy the most. And now that the month has settled down I hope to get back to doing some birding.

First let’s start with the good news. I’m a Grandfather. My daughter delivered a 8 lb 2 oz baby boy named Graham and we’re all very happy. For myself it was kind of bitter sweet since at the time of the delivery I was laid up with walking pneumonia. I felt so bad there was no way for me to make the 4 hour drive to Detroit. So my wife went and kept me up to date. And for the pneumonia, it’s been hanging on now for a little over 3 weeks. Needless to say I’m really tired of it.

On Christmas Eve, still feeling ill from the pneumonia, I had to check out one of our down spouts on the house. I thought it had been clogged with leaves and it really needed to be cleared out. A simple task that should only take a few minutes. I live in a ranch house so I wasn’t up on the ladder very far when the whole thing slid out from under me taking me to the ground, hitting really hard. Fortunately there were no broken bones but I’ve been sore. My left arm is still sore and it’s been a couple weeks since the accident.

Oh, and let’s not forget the holidays. We were real busy as I’m sure everyone was.

So today I told myself I’m going out to do a little birding. Armleder Park is hosting a Snow Bunting and some Lapland Longspurs mixed in with a small flock of Horned Larks.

 Lapland Longspur

Snow Bunting with Lapland Longspur

Snowy Owls

If you’re like me, I tend to keep my ears open on social media and other birding outlets for anything unusual. This year is no exception as it’s turning into a eruption year for Snowy Owls. For the most part the Owls are being seen along Lake Erie, with a few exceptions. Late last week a Snowy was photographed roosting along the Great Miami River right next to the University of Dayton. The next day myself and others scoured the area with no luck in relocating the Snowy. This bird was the furthest south any Snowy had traveled so far this season. That was until Saturday.

Located on top of a parking lot light at the local Dave and Busters was a Snowy Owl. Now you would think that the female King Eider (which is a lot rarer than a Snowy) would attract more attention since the Eider is still showing down on the river, but you’d be mistaken. There’s something about a Snowy Owl that makes photographers and birders alike start to salivate. Myself, I love the bird and I’ll chase one if it’s relatively close, however I’ll observe the bird and move along. I really don’t want to stress the bird more than it’s already.

So Sunday afternoon I was off to a really busy part of town where there are more shopping malls and strip malls and free standing box stores than you could shake a stick at. Springdale Ohio, in the area where 2 major interstates come together, I-75 and I-275.

Setting my scope up high above the street below, I was able to look across the street and see down on the Costco store roof. And perched 380 yards away (I calculated the distance on Google Earth) on top of a air conditioning compressor was the Snowy.



Notes From The Field/ New Lifer

Yesterday evening while my wife and I were visiting a local Cincinnati brewery with another couple, my Belgian Quad consumption was interrupted by my birding associate Jon with a text.

Next is how our conversation went.

Jon: Female King Eider found at Crooked Run today by Don Morse

Les: Holy Cow.   You chasing it?

Jon: I would love to but not unless Samantha (wife) changes her mind. I’d like to be out there at dawn.       We’ll see.      Check the Cincinnati birders Facebook page- there’s photos.

Les: Saw the picture. This is worth chasing

Jon:  Seems legit

Les: Let me know. I’m willing to run after it

Jon: I’m working on it…probably meet you out there early if I can get the necessary approval here.             I’d bring Phoebe (child) as part of my negotiations.

Les: Kathy (my wife) said go, so I’m leaving early and try to be there by dawn.

So as you can see this is how our conversation went last evening. And yes Jon, Phoebe and myself were able to tick off King Eider as another lifer. This is the 2nd sighting of a King Eider in Ohio this year. Just a few weeks ago another one was sighted on Lake Erie, so seeing this one on the Ohio River is very exciting for all area birders.

The weather conditions on the river were very foggy, and getting sharp clear photos this morning was next to impossible. Granted I could have waited around for a few more hours, however I have stuff to get done today.

Life Bird # 448