“On The Road” # 320

Edge of Appalachia Preserve and Shawnee State Park

It’s 3:45 in the morning as I head out to meet up with Jon at his house. No one should be up except the local bar flies at the 24 hour mini-mart/ gas station. They congregate outside feeding on day old hotdogs and Hostess Snowballs as they sober up from a long night of binge drinking. They all stare at you as you drive by since you’re the only one on the road at this ungodly hour.

The reason for the early start. Chuck-will’s widow, our target bird for the day. And the only reliable place to find them is the Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adam’s County, about 1 hour and 30 minutes away. And since they like to call during the night time hours we have to get there early to have a chance of hearing them, because actually seeing them is very, very difficult.

The drive was uneventful and with the rising of the Sun we felt we might have left home a little late. Reports have been confirmed of them early in the morning or late evening as it gets dark, so with the Sun rising above the horizon we hoped that we made the right decision. As we drive through the little town of West Union we are encouraged by the overcast sky which will keep everything in shadows for a little while longer as we turn onto Waggoner-Riffle Road and make our way to Eulett Center

At 6:15 we’re greeted with a valley which is the location of our target bird. The area was alive with birds of all sorts. Flycatchers, Woodpeckers, Wrens, and Wood Warblers and the faint call note of at least 2 Chuck-will’s-widow. Granted we would have loved to have heard the birds song, but we’ll take what we can and be happy with it.

We birded the Waggoner-Riffle road and surrounding fields for the next couple of hours and came away with some very nice birds. The second part of the journey for today was to head over to Shawnee State Park and try to find what Jon wanted, Ruffed Grouse. A local Cincinnati birder sighted one a week or so ago, so since we’re in the general vicinity we might as well check it out.

State Forest Service Road #1 is one beautiful and scenic road. Diving into the heart of Shawnee State Park the gravel road twists and turns as you meander along. We’d stopped on several occasions to bird certain areas along the road  that held promise.

Wood Warblers, Flycatchers, and Vireos were the dominate species as we drove deeper into the forest. There was one area we wanted to get to since it was in this area that the Ruffed Grouse was seen. This area of the road ran along the top of a ridge for a short while till it descended, and this is where we pulled over. Hooded Warblers were everywhere along this stretch of road as we worked back up the road from where we came. We did hear once a soft, short drumming from deep into the woods. Ruffed Grouse will drum, and this was a good sign if it only would do it again. It didn’t, and what we heard wasn’t enough to confirm a Ruffed Grouse. So I suggested we hike this bridal trail that would take us into the same area we had heard the drumming.

No more signs of the Ruffed Grouse, however we did have good fortune with Hooded Warblers and…

Berries! All along both sides of the trail we ate as many as we wanted.

A pretty cool tree fungus. Since getting pictures of birds proved to be difficult, I had to capture an image of something, so this fungus sat still long enough for me to get it’s picture.

So with a few short hours of sleep the night before, we started to feel the fatigue that was over taking us. It was time to leave and head for home and a nap. Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Ovenbird
  2. Hooded Warbler
  3. Kentucky Warbler
  4. Common Yellowthroat
  5. Yellow-throated Warbler
  6. Yellow Warbler
  7. Black-throated Green Warbler
  8. Cerulean Warbler
  9. American Redstart
  10. Prairie Warbler
  11. Yellow-breasted Chat
  12. Black and White Warbler
  13. White-eyed Vireo
  14. Red-eyed Vireo
  15. Chuck-will’s-widow
  16. Willow Flycatcher
  17. Acadian Flycatcher
  18. Eastern Wood Pewee
  19. Eastern Phoebe
  20. Eastern Kingbird
  21. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  22. Eastern Bluebird
  23. Eastern Towhee
  24. American Goldfinch
  25. Blue Grosbeak
  26. Indigo Bunting
  27. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  28. Downy Woodpecker
  29. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  30. Northern Cardinal
  31. American Robin
  32. Scarlet Tanager
  33. Wood Thrush
  34. Mourning Dove
  35. Red-winged Blackbird
  36. Brown-headed Cowbird
  37. American Crow
  38. Killdeer
  39. Northern Mockingbird
  40. Common Grackle
  41. Purple Martin
  42. Tree Swallow
  43. Barn Swallow
  44. Chimney Swift
  45. White-breasted Nuthatch
  46. Belted Kingfisher
  47. Eastern Meadowlark
  48. Brown Thrasher
  49. Orchard Oriole
  50. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  51. Song Sparrow
  52. Field Sparrow
  53. Chipping Sparrow
  54. Bluejay
  55. Ring-necked Pheasant
  56. Gray Catbird
  57. Cedar Waxwing
  58. American Kestrel
  59. Turkey Vulture
  60. Black Vulture
  61. Green Heron
  62. Carolina Wren
  63. Carolina Chickadee

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2 responses to ““On The Road” # 320

  1. Looks like a fine list for a morning jaunt! Glad you heard a bit of the Willows, but sorry it wasn’t more. I need to do a morning hike here soon. It seems ruffed grouse are always drumming in the spring in Penn’s Woods. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. You know you’re a dedicated birder when you’re up at 3:45 AM!

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