Notes From The Field/Fernald Preserve

Even though I went to bed in a funk, things were looking up as I checked my E-mail prior to hitting the hay. John had sent me a note wanting to know if I wanted to go birding with him tomorrow. So the time was set for 8am today to meet at Fernald Preserve for some morning birding and to catch up on each others lives. He’d been away for some time and I enjoy hearing all that’s going on. And he’s a really good birder, if I haven’t said this already. (Sorry John I don’t mean to embarrass you).

Even with a chill in the air, there was hardly any breeze this morning as we meet at Lodge Pond on the right side of the road as you enter. We were meet with the usual waterfowl as we squinted into the sun as it rose in the East. This pond can be either hit or miss, and today it was kind of a miss. There wasn’t a whole lot of species or numbers, so I packed the spotting scope away and we followed Lodge Pond Trail that runs parallel to the road, but on the other side of the row of Evergreens. Looking back towards the pond with the sun more towards our back I snapped of this picture.

As we followed the 1.4 mile trail towards Wiley Road it starts to circle this immense field with small ponds scattered throughout. And as you circle the field on this gravel trail you are gently climbing in elevation. And then you get some fantastic views of the whole area. This is the field that we noticed all the Wilson’s Snipes.

Not just one or two mind you, lots of them. Good numbers and very active. They almost seemed like they were under foot each step you took. They put on quite a show, and it was difficult to concentrate on looking for other birds with so many Snipes flying around. They’re so difficult to spot on the ground, you don’t even know they’re there till you spook one. On our return loop we had the opportunity to get some close views of  2 Chipping Sparrows (first of the year) and a Eastern Bluebird.

Chipping Sparrow

Eastern Bluebird

A little bit closer view.

We followed the trail back to our vehicles and made our way to the Visitors Center to use the facility and decide where to go next. We walked over to the Biowetland Pond, that’s to the West of the Visitors Center, which turned out to be completely empty.

Running North from the Visitors Center is the 3 mile Hickory Trail. This wide gravel path bisects open grasslands with small ponds dotted on both sides. This area is great for your open  prairie/grassland birds. It was on this trail that we spotted a Sparrow that is still causing us to pause and scratch our heads. We both saw the bird, however John had a better view and heard it better than I did.

Anyway, we had a good morning birding and even though we couldn’t positively ID this little-brown-bird, I consider it a success.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Tree Swallow
  2. Mallard
  3. Mute Swan
  4. Gadwall
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Killdeer
  7. Green-winged Teal
  8. American Coot
  9. Field Sparrow
  10. Song Sparrow
  11. Common Crow
  12. Ring-necked Duck
  13. American Goldfinch
  14. Blue-winged Teal
  15. Red-winged Black Bird
  16. Wood Duck
  17. Grackle
  18. American Robin
  19. Canada Goose
  20. Wilson’s Snipe
  21. Tree Sparrow
  22. Northern Flicker
  23. Eastern Bluebird
  24. Chipping Sparrow
  25. Greater Yellowleg
  26. Belted Kingfisher
  27. Northern Shoveler
  28. Northern Mockingbird
  29. Turkey Vulture
  30. Mourning Dove
  31. Brown-headed Cowbird
  32. Northern Rough-legged Hawk
  33. Savannah Sparrow
  34. Carolina Chickadee
  35. Lesser Yellowleg
  36. American Kestrel

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