Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Birder’s Haiku

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

My thoughts reflect on

Dove of peace and Olive branch

day of remembrance

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Notes From The Field

My intentions last evening as I journeyed to Ellis Lake/ West Chester Wetlands was 2 fold. Then first reason is quite obvious, look for migrating wading birds. The second was to hone my digiscoping skills.

For all practical purposes it started out as an uneventful drive over to West Chester. The sight of $3.65 for gas at several locations along the way resulted in some spontaneous vocalizations in regards to my own neighborhoods $0.10 more per gallon gas price.

Shortly there after is when I realized I left home without something important. No not my optics. My field guide.


I can’t remember the last time I left home without it. However all is not lost, I keep a spare Peterson’s Guide in an old Boy Scout rusk sack in the back of my truck.

Upon arrival at 7:45, and with the sun angling towards the horizon, I thought lighting would be pretty good for whatever species of birds I find. Least Sandpipers were plentiful, and being cooperative in as much as getting close.  Now this is the part of the story where I learned another one of those life lessons. Don’t leave home without FRESH BATTERIES. You see this post would have some kick-ass pictures if it wasn’t for my lack of fresh batteries. Considering the unlimited supply afforded me, why would I forget? Sometimes the answers to these questions are difficult to get a handle on, so in the mean time I owe my readers some pictures of a Least Sandpiper. Stay tuned.

Notable birds for the evening include:

  1. Spotted sandpiper
  2. Killdeer
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Mallard
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Least Flycatcher
  7. Least Sandpiper
  8. Semipalmated Plover
  9. American Robin
  10. Northern Cardinal
  11. Great Egret
  12. Common Grackle
  13. Barn Swallow
  14. Indigo Bunting
  15. Red-winged Blackbirds
  16. Song Sparrow

A Birder’s Haiku

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

Coffee aroma

morning birds drift

in spring breeze

Notes From The Field/ Ellis Lake-West Chester Wetlands

With the weather being a real downer lately, the sight of the Sun and warmer temperatures made for an ideal evening to do some birding. So after I got off work went home and  took take a nap till 5:30, gathered my gear and headed out to Ellis Lake. I decided to come into the area from the Seward Road entrance, since it seems the wading birds were feeding there the last time I visited. This is the parking lot for the bike & hike trail that skirts the area.

I knew that the Miami-Erie Canal ran through this area, and this map at the trail head shows how the canal ran. If you look close you can see a red dot at the bottom. That’s the location in reference to where Ellis Lake is situated.

Water level covering the field was down from the previous time I was there. This proved helpful, since to get close to the birds I had to walk out into the field. As usual they were congregating in a small sky pond on the North West side of the field.

If you look real close the birds with the black patches on their bellies are called Dunlin. There were several of this species there. It was proving difficult to get good focus on these distant birds.

Great Egret

Semipalmated Plover

2 Semipalmated Plovers

Besides being a smaller plover than the Killdeer, the Semipalmated Plover has only 1 black band around it’s neck, as the Killdeer will have 2.

It was a very fine evening and what surprised me was that no one was there birding. On such a beautiful evening one would think that I’d at least see one other person birding. Oh well, I spent about 90 minutes there and had a great time.

Notable birds for the evening include:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Great Egret
  4. Turkey Vulture
  5. Common Moorhen
  6. Semipalmated Plover
  7. Killdeer
  8. Spotted Sandpiper
  9. Solitary Sandpiper
  10. Greater Yellowlegs
  11. Lesser Yellowlegs
  12. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  13. Least Sandpiper
  14. White-rumped Sandpiper
  15. Dunlin
  16. Short-billed Dowitcher
  17. Eastern Kingbird
  18. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  19. Tree Swallow
  20. barn Swallow
  21. American Robin
  22. Gray Catbird
  23. Common Yellowthroat
  24. Northern Cardinal
  25. Song Sparrow
  26. Swamp Sparrow
  27. Red-winged Blackbird
  28. Common Grackle

A Birder’s Haiku

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

Evening draws nigh

as the cry of the Flicker

steals away silence

Notes From The Field/ # 279

The morning started out overcast as the window of opportunity was narrowing with the approaching rain, as David and myself headed out to Ellis Lake/ West Chester Wetlands. A few days ago Mike Busam post a Bell’s Vireo along the bike/hike path that runs east and West from the parking lot.

The post Mike wrote indicated that the Vireo was seen between the 6th and 8th utility pole. I had made a recording of it’s song prior to us leaving so we were familiar with it when we got there. As we watched and listened for a while, I noticed another birder approaching. Introducing myself to him, it turns out to be Mike Busam. We talked for a bit, then he moved on down the trail. I had asked him to let me know if he hears the Vireo to give me a wave. He must have been gone just a couple of minutes that he called David and me to him. He only walked no more than 2 utility pole lengths, so when we got closer you could hear the Vireo call back in the Honeysuckle. After scrambling around a bit in the bushes to get a better view, I finally found it in a tangle of vines wrapped through a Locust Tree. But the treat was I think I saw 2 separate birds. So they may be a mating pair, and that would be good.

After we left, Mike joined David and myself as we ventured over to Voice of America Park. Jonathan Frodge was also at Ellis Lake and he told us about some Blue Grosbeaks he saw over there.  We also wanted to locate some Henslow’s Sparrow, which V.O.A. is noted for. We found the Grosbeak easily enough, however the Henslow’s were not calling. I did catch a fleeting glimpse of a small brownish Sparrow which could have been a Henslow’s, but I didn’t count it.

Then the heavens opened up with more rain and soggy ground, so it was time to leave and go home and dry out.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Bell’s Vireo
  2. Blue Grosbeak
  3. Savannah Sparrow
  4. Song Sparrow
  5. Field Sparrow
  6. Mallard
  7. Spotted Sandpiper
  8. Least Sandpiper
  9. Semipalmated Plover
  10. Killdeer
  11. Solitary Sandpiper
  12. Bobolink
  13. Common grackle
  14. Red-winged Black Bird
  15. Great Blue Heron
  16. Turkey Vulture
  17. Eastern Meadowlark
  18. Northern cardinal
  19. Tree Swallow
  20. Barn Swallow
  21. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  22. American Goldfinch
  23. Yellow Warbler
  24. Common Yellowthroat
  25. American Robin
  26. Gray Catbird