Notes From The Field

Well today is day 2 for Ethan’s film workshop, and Kathy is still cramming for finals tomorrow night. Gosh, with all this activity going on around me, I guess I’ll have to birding again. So let’s go someplace I’ve not been to in a while.

I had some pretty good luck at Winton Woods in the past, and granted it’s a wee bit early for warblers, I do know that Pine Warblers are starting to show up, and there’s a part of the park that is great for Pine Warblers. However my first stop will be at the settling pond over by the dam. I’ve not been there since they gated off the access road that goes all the way around. The park district did this to protect migrating and nesting birds. It seems that people took advantage of it being open and with too many people and pets it made for a  bad situation. So this is a good thing.

There were quite a few ducks in the settling pond. I came away with 7 different species. This place can be either hit or miss when it comes to waterfowl.

So if you do a 180 from where you stand looking out over the pond, you can look down into this small, depression with a trail running around. There were also a lot of little birds playing around just begging me to come explore. So I did.

It’s a rather boggy and wet area. Lots of little sky ponds, with some tall vegetation throughout, and this place has the potential to produce some bird species. Especially when the peeps and waders start to make their way back. I noticed that someone places several bat houses around the perimeter. I would assume that it gets kind of buggy here. On to the dam.

One thing I did notice while I was here, was a Bluebird searching among the rocks at the bottom of the dam. After my stop over here, It was onto my next stop, the Par Course Trail.

So while I was driving to the Par Course Trail, I was on Sharon Road going towards Winton Road. When out of the corner of my left eye I noticed a chevron shaped flight of birds. Good thing there wasn’t much traffic, because when I looked again I saw 30 Sandhill Cranes crossing Sharon Road in front of me. I pulled over quickly and got off a couple of shots.

I drove on down to a church parking lot where I noticed the flock split into 2.  I was able to take one more picture before they flew off. This really got the blood flowing.

The Par Course Trail is tucked back into Winton Woods kind of off the beaten path. There’s not much back there. A Frisbee Golf Course, and a baseball field and a all purpose field that today was being used by a group of people playing Ultimate Frisbee. For me I just wanted to hit the woods.

The trail is nice and wide with gravel covering the surface. It gets a little too  crunchy for me, especially when you’re listening for birds. However where I want to go the trail is softened up by pine needles and leaves. And with the recent rainfall the ground is still moist. I’m looking for this tall stand of Pine trees which tower above everything else in the woods.

The trail comes to a point where several trails meet. And a small stream flows in from the right to go under the trail.

This portion of the trail goes off to the right, and up into those tall pines you can see in the distance.

You can tell by this picture just how tall the trees are in this area.

The atmosphere was surreal in this section of the woods. It was almost too quiet, with very little noise except for some traffic on a nearby road. With the ground being soft under foot, you never heard your own footsteps. This would be a great place to walk in the middle of the night on a full moon.

For my final stop, Kingfisher Trail. How can a birder not go birding on a trail named after a bird.

The trail starts out running parallel to Kingfisher Stream, and then leaves the stream bottom to climb up and into the woods that divides the trail into two. However since time is running out on me I only do half of the trail.

Ma and Pa Mallard

Closer look at Pa.

A nice parting shot of Kingfisher Stream with the trail running along side of it. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I leave the park, the sun starts to come out. I guess my sunny day was yesterday.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Ruddy Duck
  3. Coot
  4. Greater Scaup
  5. Ring-necked Duck
  6. Gadwall
  7. American Wigeon
  8. Mallard
  9. Song Sparrow
  10. Red-winged Black Bird
  11. White-throated Sparrow
  12. Mourning Dove
  13. Carolina Chickadee
  14. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  15. American Robin
  16. Cooper’s Hawk
  17. Blue Jay
  18. Downy Woodpecker
  19. Eastern Bluebird
  20. Tufted Titmouse
  21. Sandhill Crane
  22. Northern Mockingbird
  23. Northern Cardinal
  24. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  25. White-breasted Nuthatch
  26. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  27. Dark-eyed Junco
  28. Turkey Vulture
  29. Pileated Woodpecker


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