Notes From The Field

Caesar Creek State Park

Today was a day of firsts for this birder. Leaving at 7:30 this morning I made my way to my favorite spot on the lake, Harveysburg Road.  As I made the short walk to the end of the road after parking the bird-mobile, I heard a Common Loon call. That is the first time I’ve heard this live, and it sure did bring a smile to my face. I really never expected to hear this, so it came as quite a surprise. I’ve seen scores of Common Loons in my birding experience and never have I heard a Loon call. A real treat on this cold morning.

This was a day of discovery as I made a concentrated effort to find suitable viewing areas of the lake on the northern edge. I think I have a pretty good lay of the land when traveling about the lake, however today was a day that took me places that deserves a return visit. From hiking bridle paths, then bushwacking through some heavy brush to catch a view of the lake…

to following a black-topped, abandoned road that got me a little closer to my objective.

This lake area is laced with lots of roads like this that lead somewhere, and today I was going to find out. Hiking through the woods to get to the lake was pleasant as the wind was blocked by the trees. The morning was cold with a slight breeze till the day wore on, then the temperature rose as did the wind.

One of my discoveries was a Quaker cemetery. It was located at the end of this road and overlooked the lake, which at the time of the more recent burials, was never there. Remember the lake was impounded in 1978. The majority of the markers dated back to the middle 1800’s.

On the opposite side of the stone fence you were treated to a view of the lake through the trees. As I checked my map later I discovered that I was real close to the Mounds road mudflats, another one of my favorite birding spots. Just up the road from here is another boat ramp that I didn’t have time to check out. This is on my agenda next time.

The Army Corp of Engineers constructed what appears to be rock dams that I’ve noticed from afar through my spotting scope. Turning off the road into a pull off, I made my way towards what would be one of these dams. From the map that the Army Corp has on-line there are 2 of them, and rather difficult to find.

Even though you can’t drive on this structure, it said nothing about walking. After checking Bing Maps after getting home, if you follow this rock road for a ways, then make a left into the woods it will take down to the lake to where I’ve been wanting to go. But not today, I still had a few more stops before the day was over. And one was the beach.

The same class clowns of Ring-billed Gulls that normally hang out at the beach were still here today, as were plenty of Killdeer.

After leaving the beach it was one more stop at Harveysburg Road to see what’s happening, and spotted a raft of about 200 American Coots floating of the end.

This lake is a surprise around every corner, and it’s wildlife is ever changing. I could never tire of this place. Stay tuned more more.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Black Vulture
  3. American Crow
  4. American Coot
  5. Killdeer
  6. Blue-winged Teal
  7. Hooded Merganser
  8. Common Loon
  9. Pied-billed Grebe
  10. Ring-billed Gull
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. Northern Flicker
  13. Pileated Woodpecker
  14. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  15. Downy Woodpecker
  16. Eastern Bluebird
  17. Chipping Sparrow
  18. American Tree Sparrow
  19. White-throated Sparrow
  20. Northern Cardinal
  21. Carolina Wren
  22. Carolina Chickadee
  23. Dark-eyed Junco
  24. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  25. American Robin
  26. Yellow-rumped warbler
  27. White-breasted Nuthatch
  28. Blue Jay
  29. Rock Dove

3 responses to “Notes From The Field

  1. Hey, you found my back yard!

  2. I heard my first loon call this morning on a successful waterfowl trip to a nearby suburban lake Morse Lake, NE of Indianapolis) . It was really something. Now I understand the allure.

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