‘Tweren’t a fit mornin’ for man nor beast, as I pulled on my rain pants over my jeans. The conflict that was going on in my head at the time was rather or not to stay home or brave the elements. Earlier, while watching the weather radar, I couldn’t help notice all the different colors splashed across the Tri-state area. Pinks, blues, greens, and whites, a kaleidoscope of hazardous crap from the sky was awaiting me. The true test was going to be taking my gear out to the truck. If I fell on the steps and bust my ass, I stay home. If not, I go.
It’s only 30 miles down to Spring Grove Cemetery, but in the drive I certainly ran into a mixed bag of water in various, solidified forms. However the drive was uneventful, and I arrived in one piece.
This is only the second time I’ve been to Spring Grove, the first being the spring when the Night Herons were on the nest. This time the weather kept a lot of people away, with only 2 other persons showing up. Steve Bobonick was the trip leader with David Helm as the other birder with us.
One of the target birds for the day was a Merlin that has been a regular at the cemetery. And sure enough we found him over near section 143.
Trust me when I tell you that small bird shape in the tree is the Merlin. It’s a good thing that Steve brought his spotting scope.
After this we went to a small wooded lot located in the center of the cemetery. The weather at this point taken a down turn with sleet coming down.
David and Steve in the wood lot.
Even in the Winter, the trail through the wood lot was easy to follow. With the sleet and rain and the constant crunching of the snow under foot, it was difficult to hear even the smallest of bird calls.
Some of the fungus among us.
After leaving the wood lot, we continued to walk a little and drive a little. With over 100 miles of roads in this place, driving was a must, especially on a day like today. The problem was keeping the optics from fogging up as you got into the car. You’d have to turn the heat up on the vent, and hold your binos in front to de-fog.
Birds were rather sparse except for the Robins. Which were everywhere.
One of the many small buildings that are spread throughout Spring Grove. This is the area where we ran into several Red-breasted Nuthatches.
A view out over the cemetery from one of the higher points. The yellow line painted on the road helps so you won’t get lost. Unfortunately not every road had lines at all, which lead me to get turned around quite a bit. You definitely need a map to navigate this place.
Though the birds weren’t cooperating today, it was a grand time. This place has so much potential for some great birding, I’ll have to visit here again this coming Spring. I’m always looking for some hot spots for the warbler migration. After I was dropped off by the bird-mobile after 2 solid hours of birding, I took a few more pictures of some of the detail work on the chapel.
Notable birds for the day include:
- Common Crow
- American Robin
- Blue Jay
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Carolina Chickadee
- Canada Goose
- Mute Swan
- Northern Cardinal
- Mourning Dove
- Northern Mockingbird
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Cooper’s Hawk
- Red-breasted Nuthatch
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
- Cedar Waxwing
- Tufted Titmouse
- House Finch