Notes From The Field

Lost Bridge, Smith Tract County Park, Miami Whitewater Forest, & Fernald Preserve

The purpose of yesterdays field trip was to cover as much ground in as little amount of time as possible. My original plan was to go to Fernald Preserve and try to re-locate and get a better photo of the Eurasian Wigeon. However as I was driving I had a thought, (which usually requires more driving) why not go to Lost Bridge first, then work my back towards my final destination, Fernald with stops at Smith Tract and Miami Whitewater.

Turning onto Lawrenceburg Road off of Rt. 50 the Lost Bridge area just opens up before your eyes. With Martin-Marietta Aggregate on the left, and another gravel company on the right, Lawrenceburg Road bisects these 2 bird loving areas as you approach the actual bridge.  As I slowed down to scan the water on both sides I notice a immature Bald Eagle sitting on the thin ice that’s still frozen along the edge. He seems to be eating something and perks up as I drive by to park. With the sun to my back I’m going to try and get a killer picture while it’s feeding. Well it would have been a killer shot if it wasn’t for the fact that it didn’t want it’s picture taken, and flew off. This time of year you would find all sorts of waterfowl here but not today, just a scattering of Canadian Geese, Mallards, and these Snow Geese that were intermingled with the other geese.

In this shot you’re able to see the 2 Blue Phase and the 1 White Snow Goose.

Off to Smith Tract County Park. There are several large lakes on both sides of Kilby Road which can hold some good birds, however today the one I was looking at held nothing, however what caught my attention was a very cooperative Song Sparrow,

and 2 not so cooperative American Kestrels. By the time I re-located the 2, they were quite some distance away perched on a tall pile of gravel next to the lake.

This shot is about 400 yards distance, and heavily cropped.

After Smith Tact it was onto Miami Whitewater Forest and Shaker Trace Wetlands. Driving towards New Haven with the park on my left I noticed a large Buteo with it’s back towards me as it surveyed an open field. Quickly pulling over and grabbing my gear I was able to get a couple of shots off before it flew off.

I parked in my normal spot off of Baughman Road and made my way towards the observation platform that overlooks the wetlands. What a wonderful time to be at the park. Except for a few morning joggers, I had the whole place to myself. From the observation building a large body of water stretched out in front of me, but Mallards were the only waterfowl present. And there were a lot of them.

With the morning waning it was time to make my way to Fernald. I don’t know if the beautiful weather or the Eurasian Wigeon brought the birders out, but there were a lot of them as I made my way back stopping as I went to view the birds.

I’ve come to the conclusion that American Kestrels don’t like me. Even though I got closer than the other 2, this one turned it’s back on me.

I introduced myself to Neil Cade, who is Jason Cade’s father, whom I’ve birded with in the past. We birded together for the next couple of hours as others I knew showed up to see if the Wigeon was there. If you’ve never been to Fernald before the preserve is very flat and covered with small ponds that you’re not able to see because of the vegetation. You know there’s a pond there, and you know there are ducks in it, but it’s impossible to see. No Eurasian Wigeon today, however later that afternoon several birders spotted it again, unfortunately they failed to mention where they saw it. Details people, details!

Not wanting to press my luck I made my way back towards the bird-mobile for the long journey home, however before I left I was able to get a couple of pictures of some of the citizens at Fernald Preserve.

Eastern Bluebird

White-crowned Sparrow

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. American Kestrel
  2. Bald Eagle
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Northern Harrier
  5. Gadwall
  6. Green-winged Teal
  7. Mallard
  8. Killdeer
  9. Canada Goose
  10. Snow Goose
  11. American Crow
  12. American Wigeon
  13. Great Blue Heron
  14. Tufted Titmouse
  15. Carolina chickadee
  16. Field Sparrow
  17. Swamp Sparrow
  18. Song Sparrow
  19. American Tree Sparrow
  20. White-crowned Sparrow
  21. Mute Swan
  22. American Robin
  23. Mourning Dove
  24. Pigeon
  25. Northern Cardinal
  26. Eastern Towhee
  27. Belted Kingfisher
  28. Red Winged Blackbird
  29. Eastern Goldfinch
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