3rd Annual Bird Study Merit Badge Workshop

As dawn broke on this beautiful Saturday, Phil and myself made our way to Fernald Preserve for the 3rd installment of Bird Study Merit Badge Workshop.

We purposely arrived early to see if the Garganey was still in Lodge Pond. This would be a life bird for Phil, ( probably for 99% of everyone else there) so we were anxious to spot it before we went to the Visitors Center to set up. We weren’t dissapointed. We were able to see the Drake feeding on the opposite bank among the tall grass that was growing on the edge of the pond.

With it getting close to the 9:00 am start time for the workshop, we made our way to the Visitors Center. The meeting room was incredible, and they went out of their way to accommodate us. We had full access to all the video and computer equipment they had. They were the perfect host and look forward to going back next year. However the real treat was having a rare bird present while this was going on. If any of the scouts become bird watchers they will remember the Garganey at Fernald Preserve.

John Marvin showed up right as the bulk of the scouts were showing up. He had volunteered to help, and being a great birder it is an asset to have his eyes and knowledge available.  We started the workshop with introductions and showing them where the restrooms were. I asked John to stay out front because a birder I know saw a Sora right in front of the visitor center in this small marshy area. I don’t think we were in the classroom more than 10 minutes when John called and told us a Virginia Rail was just seen. Being a difficult bird to spot, no better time than now to get the scouts outside a see a really good bird.  We had some great views of the rail and had the Sora calling while we were there.

We divided the time into classroom stuff that is required for the Merit Badge, and going into the field and identifying birds. Last year we were a little nervous that we wouldn’t see the required 20 bird species. However today we didn’t have to worry about that little technicality. For the short amount of time we spent outside we had a decent number of birds.

After spotting the Garganey, the group walked the trail from the observation deck at Lodge Pond. The trail runs parallel to the entrance road to the right and Lodge Pond on the left.

We left the trail and walked the road back towards the cars. The row of evergreens that line both sides of the road supplied us with some good looks of several warblers.

 We made our way back to the Visitors Center for lunch and to finish up whatever was necessary for the Merit Badge. Mainly make the bird feeders, and discuss how range maps work in a field guide.  So as the scouts were eating one would go back and work on his feeder while the others ate. And during this time they were identifying bird calls from some of the birds they saw.

After everyone was finished it was out into the field for more birding. This time we went out back from the Visitors Center onto the open grassy section that heads back into the woods. This being the afternoon there wasn’t much going on bird wise. As we got closer to the woods things started to pick up and we were able to add to our day list.

Before we headed back the scouts checked out this large stand of pine trees. Besides birds in the tops of the trees, there were plenty of butterflies.

We slowly made our way back to the Visitors Center where blue cards were filled out and the scouts were allowed to leave if a parent was there.

A nice group photo.

It just so happens that this is the photograph that I e-mailed to my friend Ann Oliver. Ann is a officer for The Ohio Ornithological Society. After telling her why we were here today, she thought that it would make a great story for the society newsletter. She asked me for a picture of the scouts, so this is the one I sent.

I consider this workshop a huge success. And I’d like to thank Phil and John for all the help they gave. So without further further delay, here’s the notable birds for the day:

  1. GARGANEY
  2. Blue-winged Teal
  3. Pied-billed Grebe
  4. Solitary Sandpiper
  5. Tree Swallow
  6. American Coot
  7. White-crowned Sparrow
  8. Song Sparrow
  9. Chimney Swift
  10. Eastern Meadowlark
  11. Killdeer
  12. Northern Mockingbird
  13. Mallard
  14. Great Blue Heron
  15. Mute Swan
  16. Crow
  17. Virginia Rail
  18. Sora
  19. Eastern Kingbird
  20. Mourning Dove
  21. Green Heron
  22. Red-tailed Hawk
  23. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  24. Common Grackle
  25. American Robin
  26. Chipping Sparrow
  27. Palm Warbler
  28. Barn Swallow
  29. Brown-headed Cowbird
  30. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  31. Yellow-throated Warbler
  32. Field Sparrow
  33. Orchard Oriole
  34. Blue Jay
  35. Northern Cardinal
  36. Tufted Titmouse
  37. Carolina chickadee
  38. Gray Catbird
  39. Common Yellowthroat
  40. Downy Woodpecker
  41. Spotted Sandpiper
  42. Savannah Sparrow
  43. Belted Kingfisher
  44. Canada Goose
  45. Turkey Vulture
  46. Starling
  47. Red-winged Blackbird
  48. Eastern Goldfinch
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One response to “3rd Annual Bird Study Merit Badge Workshop

  1. Great time. How can we top this next year?
    Three new birds. Virginia Rail, Garganey, and Savannah Sparrow.

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