Daily Archives: September 25, 2011

Notes From The Field

Shawnee Lookout Park/ Lost Bridge/ Oxbow

As I recall it’s been since Spring. That’s right, it’s been that long since I was birding till sunset, then turned around and went birding before the Sun rose the next day. Back in the Spring I did that for 4 straight days as I traveled between Magee Marsh, Ottawa N.W.R., Metzger Marsh, and various flooded fields. Today however was a field trip that was sponsored by Oxbow Inc.

My plan for the day was to rise early and head over to Lost Bridge before meeting the group at the parking lot at the Oxbow. I was anxious to see if there was any shorebird activity, since this place can be hot at times.

The drive over was overcast with fog and spittin’ rain on and off for most of the morning. With the effort needed to keep my optics dry on my bins, I wasn’t going to hassle with trying to keep my camera dry. My bins are waterproof, my camera isn’t. Which was probably a good idea since most of the day was so gloomy and gray. So this post will be without pictures. Which I think is a first.

Lost Bridge wasn’t an entire flop. Granted the only wading/shore birds I spotted were some GBHE and a lone Spotted Sandpiper, I was treated to a Cooper’s Hawk giving the business to a Red-shouldered Hawk. After spending 30 minutes there it was time to go over to the Oxbow and wait for the others.

The Oxbow parking lot is nestled in a thick of trees and when I arrived at first it was quiet. Being the first one here I had 20 minutes or so before anyone else arrived. The quiet was interrupted by a small flock of warblers feeding within the tree tops and along the tree line that borders the cement factory. It was a fast paced 10 minutes before they were gone. The timing couldn’t have been any worse, because that’s when the rest of the group started to trickle in.

Group leader Ned Keller scouted ahead to see how passable the roads were, and the news wasn’t good upon his return. Too much water was covering the roads, so plan B was to spend the rest of the day at Shawnee Lookout Park. First stop was the boat ramp area then afterwards into the park to walk the road.

The boat ramp area if you’ve never been there is just a large parking lot. And since it’s prone to flooding it’s covered with this thin layer of mud, which gets caked onto your footwear and oozes up the sides. This in turn makes walking a bit of a trick, especially for some of the elderly and middle-aged dudes like myself. We seem to be concentrating downward more than into the trees and brush.

After we scoured the area thoroughly it was into the park where the group parked about a third of the way in, and myself and another person with a van drove to the end to be used later to bring bring everyone back to their cars once we completed our walk.

We walked slowly, stopping every now and then to cover areas that had promise or a lot of activity. As usual with Shawnee Lookout the warbler activity was pretty good. The lack of sun made it difficult to ID certain species. On a day like today everything looks dull and gray, and when your dealing with C.F.W’s. (confusing fall warblers) you need all the help you can get. A little bit of sun would have help immensely.

It took us several hours for the entire trip and I think everyone had a good time. And to make matters worse the sun did come out as we neared the end. It was a welcome break, but a few hours late. As the group departed I made the decision to go back to the boat ramp, put on my Mudders, and go for a walk over to the river along this trail that runs parallel to the channel so boats can access the river. I did have some good birding on the walk over to the river, however once I reached the river things quieted down. That’s birding for you.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Osprey
  2. Red-shouldered Hawk
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Cooper’s Hawk
  5. Spotted Sandpiper
  6. Belted Kingfisher
  7. Banks Swallow
  8. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  9. Great Blue Heron
  10. Great Egret
  11. Double-creasted Cormorant
  12. Canada Goose
  13. Wood Duck
  14. Mallard
  15. Turkey Vulture
  16. Pileated Woodpecker
  17. Downy Woodpecker
  18. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  19. Northern Flicker
  20. Wild Turkey
  21. Mourning Dove
  22. Blue Jay
  23. Carolina Chickadee
  24. Tufted Titmouse
  25. Killdeer
  26. American Crow
  27. American Robin
  28. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  29. Chimney Swift
  30. Nashville Warbler
  31. American Redstart
  32. Magnolia Warbler
  33. Black & White Warbler
  34. Black-throated Green Warbler
  35. Northern Parula
  36. Bay-breasted Warbler
  37. Tennessee Warbler
  38. Common Yellowthroat
  39. Yellow Warbler
  40. Yellow-throated Warbler
  41. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  42. Swainson’s Thrush
  43. White-breasted Nuthatch
  44. Eastern Wood Pewee
  45. Eastern Phoebe
  46. Least Flycatcher
  47. Eastern Towhee
  48. Red-eyed Vireo
  49. White-eyed Vireo
  50. Indigo Bunting
  51. Gray Catbird
  52. Scarlet Tanager
  53. Gold Finch
  54. Song Sparrow
  55. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  56. Red-winged Black Bird

A Birder’s Haiku

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

As blue-gray skies rise

to meet another Fall morn

black silhouettes fly