Daily Archives: January 3, 2012

Notes From The Field

Fernald Preserve

It was only the other day when I thought to myself that a trip to Fernald was going to be on the agenda for this coming Saturday. Little did I realize that this day was going to come sooner than expected. Checking my E-mail after lunch I was surprised to read from John Marvin (birding companion) that a Eurasian Wigeon (ABA Code 2) was sighted at the pond located close to the “Weapons To Wetlands” trail.

I immediately went to the Cincinnati Bird Club web site to check their sighting log, and there it was. Brain Wulker and Gary Stenger had seen it just a few hours earlier. Thank goodness for slow days because I had originally told John that I was going to head over there after a 2:00 pm conference call, but being over zealous at times I left as soon as I got the word. Driving home and grabbing my gear to chase a bird can take an eternity, and today was no exception. I arrived at Fernald at 1:30 and found the birding crowd already set up with their bins and scopes. But no Eurasian Wigeon. Another bird which is  rather common during this time of year are Northern Harriers. These raptors of the open grassland can scare just about any flock of ducks it wants to, and it did, and sent our Wigeon to an off limits portion of the preserve.

To make a long story short, I meet up with Shane Eggleston who happened to be there for the same bird and had seen it briefly a little earlier. We had planned on sticking around for a little while when I commented that I wished we could walk over there and try spotting the Wigeon. A lady was standing close by and introduced herself as Jane Powell, Fernald Perserve‘s Site Manager, and if I wanted she would open the appropriate gates so we could get over to that area if I would drive. Well Hell Yes, I thought to myself, and off we went. Jane, Shane and myself.

The Eurasian Wigeon is the one on the left, farthest away with it’s wing up as it preens itself. An American Wigeon is to right. I know it’s a terrible shot, but it was pretty far away and difficult to locate in the fading light.

I believe this is the Wigeon in question, but I can’t be certain. By the time you spot the bird, focus in on it, grab your camera and attach it to the scope, then compose the picture and compensate for the lighting, the bird moves, or you lose it altogether.

Being satisfied with my new life bird for 2012 we drove back to the Visitors Center. We all went inside to warm up and for me to pick up Jane’s business card. After that it was back out to the pond where it was originally discovered to get a few shots of a Blue Phase Snow Goose.

And for an added bonus, we had a small flock of Sandhill Cranes fly over while we were leaving the preserve.

A special thank you goes out to Jane Powell for allowing Shane and myself to be able to re-locate the Eurasian Wigeon.

Notable birds for the day include

  1. Eurasian Wigeon-Lifer
  2. American Wigeon
  3. Sandhill Crane
  4. Gadwall
  5. Northern Shoveler
  6. American Coot
  7. Mallard
  8. Ring-necked Duck
  9. Canada Goose
  10. Snow Goose (Blue Phase)
  11. Northern Harrier
  12. Red-tailed Hawk
  13. American Kestrel
  14. Green-winged Teal
  15. Hooded Merganser
  16. Eastern Bluebird