Notes From The Field

Caesar Creek State Park

Compromise is very important in any relationship, particularly when birding is involved. Today was no exception as I made my way to Caesar Creek today for a morning of birding and an afternoon of some holiday honey-do items to pick up and a pot of clam chowder to cook for dinner. But it’s all good when a Red-throated Loon is the chase bird for the day. It was first reported this last Friday and then again yesterday by Rick Asamoto and Allan Claybon respectively.

I arrived at North Pool Boat Ramp at about 9:45 this morning with the start of a sunny day and hardly a breeze to speak of. But no birds unless you count the decoys that lay in front of the  duck blinds that are scattered around the edge of the lake. I worked my way back towards the overflow parking area and a gravel boat launch area used for smaller craft. From this view I’m looking South with the beach towards my right about 1/2 mile away. Now with the sun in  eyes, I strained to look across the water at anything that resembles a bird. I did happen upon 2 Horned Grebes on the far side when I noticed a smaller loon moving in the direction of the grebes. As the loon passed behind the grebes I was able to get a good look even a comparison in size at that distance and felt good it was the RTLO. I lost track of it a couple of times as it dove under, then rose again in another area. Finally I lost it totally and was about to leave for a better position when I noticed Rick Asamoto through my scope over at the beach. So I was off to the beach to hook up with Rick and hopefully to re-locate the loon.

Rick had also seen me and tried to call my cell phone, which I forgot and left at home, which will come back to haunt me later. I had told him I had re-located the loon across the lake in the shadow, so we stayed till we once again re-located it. It was feeding in the same area as this small group of Common Goldeneyes. I knew of a way to get to the lake edge on the other side from where we were, so it was off towards Harveysburg. We turned onto Old State Route 73 which dead ends at the lake. As we walked the last 100 yards down the road to the lake we were treated to the 4 Common Goldeneyes still there.

2 females with a male that has an itch.

Now with the sun to our backs we would be able to really pick out the loon if it shower up. And it did. We watched it for a long time as it dove and then came up again, almost playing a cat and mouse game. They are able to stay under water for up to 90 seconds, and dive to reported depths of 29 ft. They actually caught one in a fishing net that was set at 70ft. So needless to say when they go down you never know where their going to rise again.

Notice the man walking his dog on the far shore.

Just when I was about to leave Rick noticed two people we both knew over at the North Pool Boat Ramp. He said that it looked like Gale and Brian Wulker. They are both very good birders and we knew that they were here for the loon. It would have been easy to just call them since I had their number in my cell phone, but…   So Rick ran back to his car and headed over to them at the beach. While he was gone I made every effort to keep my eyes on the loon, however it turned out to be a difficult task since I just lost a pair of eyes. Fortunately it came back up and I was able to  get my scope on it as Gale and Brain showed up. Perfect timing. We watched it for several minutes before it was time to pack it in. Remember I still have a honey-do list to take care of.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Common Crow
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Carolina Chickadee
  4. Dark-eyed Junco
  5. Belted Kingfisher
  6. White-throated Sparrow
  7. Mourning Dove
  8. White-breasted Nuthatch
  9. Downy Woodpecker
  10. Red-tailed Hawk
  11. Herring Gull
  12. Ring-billed Gull
  13. Canada Goose
  14. Pied-billed Grebe
  15. Horned Grebe
  16. Common Goldeneye
  17. Red-throated Loon

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