Notes From The Field/ # 309

Caesar Creek State Park

It was a quiet, pleasant morning when I arrived at the Harveysburg Road overlook at Caesar Creek today. From this vantage point you can see the widest portion of the lake, and some of the best waterfowl birding. As the wind picked up so did the chop in the water. An arm of land juts out into the main body of water creating a cove which is protected somewhat from the wind. This area which locals call Merganser Bay can have some good birds swimming in it. Not so today though. Ducks still haven’t come down in numbers that we all like. There are ducks here, but you have to work hard to find them and that takes a familiarity of the lake and surrounding roads. The Common Loon was the face of the lake today.

Common Loon

My next stop was to be the beach. The beach can be a hit or miss place, considering the popularity and public access to this area. Sometimes the best time to bird this area is when the weather is crappy or cold when most of the people wouldn’t consider coming to a public beach. The birds get comfortable and stick around. They don’t have kids or dogs chasing after them.

A recent sighting of Snow Buntings and a Dunlin got my juices flowing for some digiscoping possibilities. While there the birders started to show up in more numbers as they to wanted to catch something unusual. Even though the Snow Buntings didn’t show up (just my luck) we did have a very cool touch and go by a small group of Horned Larks and American Pipits. However the good bird here was the Dunlin. Last year I had this bird, a lone one like this, during this time of year. And he was very cooperative.

Dunlin

As I was packing it in I heard the familiar call of Eastern Bluebirds behind me. The parking lot at the beach has a scattering of trees that divides the lots, and here was 3 Eastern Bluebirds feeding in the grass then flying up into a tree to eat.

Eastern Bluebird

For the most part the day consisted of driving from place to place trying to see the most of the lake as possible. I even made a small side trip to Spring Valley Wildlife Area while on my way to Mounds Road mud flats at the North end of the lake. No luck.

While I was at the Visitors Center to scope out the lake by the dam I took some pictures of some of our feeder birds as they snatched seed from the feeder they’ve set up around back.

Tufted Titmouse.

If you look close at this Tufted Titmouse you will see a band on it’s left leg.

And this White-breasted Nuthatch has a band on it’s right leg. Now what’s the chances of getting a picture of 2 birds with bands on. Last year I took a picture of a Downy Woodpecker at the same location with a band on it’s leg.

Eastern Goldfinch

White-breasted Nuthatch

My last stop for the day was the boat ramp at the camp ground. This area overlooks another large area of the lake and since no one was camping I had the whole place to myself. Now my luck changed. Rick Asamoto posted on the Ohio Listserv several days ago about a raft of ducks that held a lone Surf Scoter. I never thought I would re-find the bird, but I did. It was a female swimming with a variety of different species of ducks, mostly Redheads and Ring-necks. What a way to end the day, one of my nemesis birds taken off the list. It was a glorious day with some good birding at one of my favorite spots.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Blue Jay
  2. Carolina Chickadee
  3. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  4. Pileated Woodpecker
  5. Downy Woodpecker
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. White-breasted Nuthatch
  8. Bald Eagle
  9. Red-tailed Hawk
  10. Common Loon
  11. Belted Kingfisher
  12. Herring Gull
  13. Ring-billed Gull
  14. American Pipit
  15. Horned Larks
  16. Killdeer
  17. Dunlin
  18. Great Blue Heron
  19. White-throated Sparrow
  20. Song Sparrow
  21. Black Vulture
  22. Turkey Vulture
  23. Eastern Bluebird
  24. American Robin
  25. Tree Swallow
  26. Dark-eyed Junco
  27. Northern Mockingbird
  28. Eastern Goldfinch
  29. Common Crow
  30. Canada Goose
  31. Ruddy Duck
  32. Horned Grebe
  33. American Coot
  34. Lesser Scaup
  35. Northern Pintail
  36. Redhead
  37. Ring-necked Duck
  38. Bufflehead
  39. SURF SCOTER-LIFER
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One response to “Notes From The Field/ # 309

  1. Nice post (as usual). We’ve been keeping an eye on the Loons at Summit Lake State Park (Indiana).

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