Monthly Archives: March 2011

A Birder’s Haiku

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

Nights waning bright star

Raptor, quiet solitude

The chilled morning haze

Notes From The Field

With crisp blue skies and a stiff Northwest wind, I set out once again back to Lost Bridge to see if I can get a better view of the Little Gull. Yesterday was more of a fly-over than anything else. Today my plan was to get there somewhat early and stay till I got a good view. The next couple of pictures leave something to be desired, however it’s the best I could do under the conditions. The wind was unrelenting which proved that holding the camera still would be rather difficult. I know that’s it no consolation, but the view through my spotting scope was 100% better. This to will change.

As you look at this picture you can see the group of Gulls on that small patch of mud. Now if you look to the right, that smallish looking Gull sitting alone is the Little Gull.

This picture is more from the right side than the previous picture. The Little Gull is the one to the right.

Here’s a sad example of the Little Gull as I try to zoom in.

It may be real blurry, but it’s him.

I had to do some changing of my plans for the day. I needed to cut out the field trip to Miami Whitewater simply because I didn’t want to be out that late. Also I need to let the dog out every now and then. The responsibilities of pet ownership weigh heavy on the bird watcher.

However I made the best of what time I had and covered some ground by going back to some of my favorite haunts. After Lost Bridge I felt the need to re-cycle some morning coffee, so I headed over to Shawnee Lookout to use the facility.

Drove around the park and pulled over and did a little bit of birding before I decided to head over to Fernald Preserve.

By the time I arrived at Fernald the sky had clouded over and the wind was bone chilling. I’m usually a hardy soul who doesn’t mind the cold, but today it just seemed to chill me to the core. The birds were few and far between and even if you tried to listen for them the wind was howling past your ears, which made sound identification difficult. And as open as Fernald is, the wind really blows out there. I really wanted to hike more than I did, however I did manage to view some of the larger ponds and hike on this one trail in hopes of catching some Pine Warblers.

With it already past one o’clock, and having nothing to eat, I was fading fast. So the decision was made by all present, me, myself, and I, to head home and eat something and take a nap. Ahhh, one of life’s little pleasures. On the way out I did get this Goose to pose for a picture.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Bonaparte’s Gull
  2. Ring-billed Gull
  3. Little Gull
  4. Great Blue Heron
  5. Blue-winged Teal
  6. Ring-necked Duck
  7. Pied-billed Grebe
  8. Eastern Bluebird
  9. Turkey Vulture
  10. American Robin
  11. Carolina Chickadee
  12. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  13. Eastern Towhee
  14. Dark-eyed Junco
  15. Northern Cardinal
  16. Crow
  17. Field Sparrow
  18. Brown-headed Cowbird
  19. Mourning Dove
  20. Northern Shoveler
  21. Coot
  22. Mute Swan
  23. Killdeer
  24. Northern Harrier
  25. Eastern Meadowlark
  26. Song Sparrow
  27. Carolina Wren
  28. Tree Sparrow
  29. Green-winged Teal
  30. American Kestrel
  31. Lesser Scaup
  32. Mallard

Notes form the Field/Little Gull #269

It’s been over 24 hours since a Little Gull was sighted down along Lawrenceburg Road as you were heading towards Lost Bridge. Leaving work today at 1:00 pm I made my way over there and was able to spot it as it was flying back and forth across Lawrenceburg Road. I only wished that it had lighted so I could get a better look at it. I may stop over tomorrow before heading over to Fernald Preserve to see if it’s still there. A picture will be forth coming.

Picture courtesy of Allan Claybon

A Birder’s Haiku

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

October visit

Hummingbird at the feeder

Bright spark in the morn

By Phil Burgio

Notes From The Field/3-19-2011

With Kathy off to work today, and Ethan still asleep, there was no use burning daylight just sitting around the house. I was thinking about doing some birding over in the Kilby Road, Route 50, and Lost Bridge area this morning. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in this neck of the woods, and with the sun coming up, a very enjoyable drive is just what the doctor prescribed. Sometimes I wish I lived closer to this part of the Tri-state. There is such good birding opportunities with the Oxbow, Miami Whitewater Forest and Fernald Preserve in such close proximity to where I was at today.

Exiting off of I-275 at Kilby Road, I make my way towards Route 50 and past acres and acres of farm land. As I was nearing Route 50 you could start to see the remnants of the flooding that just ended. Right at the intersection of Kilby Road and Route 50 this field is still holding water where waterfowl is holding up in.

Those trees that are running left to right in the background are growing parallel to Route 50. This was the area when it was flooding hundreds upon hundreds of ducks were spotted in. Now not so many.

A good example of how large these sky ponds get in these massive fields down in this flood plain.

If you look real close you can see some Northern Shovelers.

I drove onto Route 50 for a short distance, then pulled over onto this ramp that went down into the field I was just scoping out. I’m assuming the the farmers the cultivate this field use this ramp to access the field. For me it was a handy way to try and get closer to the ducks. In this first picture the debris on the ramp is corn stalks that flowed up to the high water mark from the flood. By the looks of it, the field was probably underwater.

Looking left from the ramp.

Looking right from the ramp.

After I departed from here I made my way over to Lost Bridge. I wish I knew why they call it Lost Bridge, anyway it’s a good area for birding.

Looking downstream from Lost Bridge.

The Great Miami River was still up and flowing fast so there wasn’t anything on the river. However on the opposite side there are some flooded fields that held some promise. You have to be careful when you pull off the road here, the traffic can get busy with lots of cars and large trucks. This is the area that I did catch the sight of a Bald Eagle. He was flying around scaring the hell out of some gulls that were feeding on some mud flats.

That brown spot is the Bald Eagle. He eventually landed and started to eat on something he found. Or should I say stole from the gulls.

A closer view of the Bald Eagle.

Now it was time to go over to Smith Tract County Park, going in the opposite direction on Kilby Road. This is the park where last year a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was sighted for a couple of days. And yours truly was one of the lucky ones to see it.

Walking the gravel road in.

One of several large ponds that dot the park.

Song Sparrow

First Brown Thrasher of the year.

I made my way over to this high spot where I was able to take this picture with the park spread out in front of me. When I was talking to a ranger last year about this park, he informed me that they plan on doing nothing to this park. Leave it just like it is. More of a wildlife refuge without actually calling it a refuge. In the Spring this place turns into a 50 bird area, so to here that they don’t plan on developing it is music to my ears.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Crow
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. American Robin
  4. Mourning Dove
  5. Canada Goose
  6. House Finch
  7. Tufted Titmouse
  8. Pigeon
  9. Common Grackle
  10. Great Blue Heron
  11. Gadwall
  12. Mallard
  13. Northern Shoveler
  14. Wood Duck
  15. Ring-necked Duck
  16. Northern Cardinal
  17. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  18. Killdeer
  19. White-breasted Nuthatch
  20. Carolina Chickadee
  21. American Goldfinch
  22. Downy Woodpecker
  23. Bald Eagle
  24. Cooper’s Hawk
  25. Ring-billed Gull
  26. Song Sparrow
  27. Bonaparte’s Gull
  28. Bufflehead
  29. Lesser Scaup
  30. Red-winged Black Bird
  31. Green-winged Teal
  32. Turkey Vulture
  33. Northern Mockingbird
  34. Northern Flicker
  35. Field Sparrow
  36. Tree Swallow
  37. Coot
  38. Brown Thrasher
  39. American Wigeon
  40. Redhead

American White Pelican #268

With the sighting of American White Pelicans at Cowan Lake State Park yesterday, I’ve been chomping at the bit to see them first hand. Being closer to home than say Caesar Creek, it took no time to stop by the Post Office, run home to grab my gear, pick up Phil and make it up there in plenty of time.

Phil knew exactly where we need to go, since I don’t frequent Cowan Lake as much as he does. I had talked to Allan Claybon a few hours earlier to confirm their location, so without haste we arrived and set up the scope. Even from a distance you can make out their white shape as they rest on this log.

This shot was taken without any zoom applied

This shot was with the optical zoom all the way out.

This shot was when I pushed the limit of the digital zoom added to the optical zoom. Now at least you can see the shape of the birds. Their heads tucked back into their wings.

Now this is the kind of shot you can get with a kick-ass rig that Allan has. This picture courtesy of Allan Claybon.

Anyway you look at it, this is a new bird for me and I’m a very happy boy.