Monthly Archives: July 2012

Notes From The Field/ # 321

The Oxbow (Jackpot Pond)

I took a chance today and headed over to the Oxbow after work today and see if I could spot the Neotropic Cormorant that has been seen there for the last 24 hours. And with a recent sighting of noon today I thought my chances were just about as good as the next persons.

I arrived at about 5:30 despite rush hour traffic and made my way back towards the last spot it was sighted. I came upon Allan Claybon who was looking for the bird as well. We talked for a few minutes before I drove on towards the lake overlook. Nothing but 2 DC Cormorants. Before I left Allan he did tell me that he saw some more DC Cormorants from the top of the flood wall just outside of the casino. So I made my way over and set up my scope.

The only Cormorants I saw were these 3 that were perched on this log. However just behind these birds were a line of dead trees and 2 more cormorants, and one of them really looks like my target bird.

However from this angle i wasn’t getting the clear view I wanted to make a positive ID. So I jumped back into the bird-mobile and returned to the Oxbow. Pulling off to the side of the road I hiked along a soy bean field and a line of trees that separated me from the lake. I was able to get a picture of what i thought was the bird, however when I looked closely at it, I decided it wasn’t the target bird.

About ready to give up I started to drive home when I noticed a group of Cormorants roosting in some trees along the back of Jackpot Pond. And that’s where I saw the bird and took the first picture. Have the Neotropic Cormorant next to a DC Cormorant was ideal when you can have side by side comparison. The picture doesn’t do the bird justice when field marks are the key in differentiating between the 2 bird species. I needed a new bird for the year and now I do.

Rare Bird Alert

A report of a Neotropical Cormorant being sighted at the main Oxbow lake late this afternoon. The bird in question was with Double-crested Cormorants so a comparative size difference was noticed. Hope it sticks around, I need this one.

“Unmasking” the beauty.

I went outside tonight to try and get some Ruby-throated Hummingbird pictures. As in years past we’ve had a male and female buzzing around sampling some of the finest hummingbird food Maineville has to offer. And I’ve not been too happy with some of my recent results, so I’ve done a little home work and screwed around with my Canon software that came with my camera, and discovered something. “Unsharp Mask” I’m not sure how it works really, however the results from tonight are better than I expected.

As you can see I have a pretty sharp image with some good detail.

Spotlight On Ohio Birds

Least Sandpiper ( Calidris minutilla )

Family: Scolopacidae

Order: Charadriiformes

Description: ADULT SUMMER Has streaked brown head and neck, with reasonably clear demarcation from mostly white underparts; note the pale, but not very prominent supercilium. Upperparts are brownish overall, with many feathers dark at center and with buff or white margins. ADULT WINTER Has gray-brown head and upperparts and streaked gray-brown chest and breast showing clear demarcation from white throat and underparts; note the pale supercilium. JUVENILE Recalls summer adult, but upperparts are warmer brown, feather margins are cleanly defined, and pale margins to mantle feathers align to create a striking “V.”

Voice: Utters a thin kreet call.

Habitat: Breeds in mossy or wet grassy tundra, occasionally in drier areas with scattered scrubby bushes. Migrates and winters in wet meadows, mudflats, flooded fields, shores of pools and lakes, and, less frequently, sandy beaches.



  • The Least Sandpiper is the smallest shorebird in the world.
  • Although it is a relatively numerous shorebird, the Least Sandpiper tends to occur in flocks of dozens or hundreds, rather than thousands like some other sandpipers. It also tends to forage at the upper edge of mudflats or along drier margins of inland ponds than other related small sandpipers.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/


“I Stand Corrected”

One of my faithful readers, Wyatt, commented on the blog today about one of the pictures where I stated it was a Great Egret in the picture. In Wyatt’s comment he thought that the bird in question was a Little Blue Heron. What the…

When I start playing the afternoon back in my head I start to get mad at myself for not paying closer attention to the finer details of field markings. As I played the scene through my head I remember the smaller size, the greenish-yellow legs, and the darker tip on the bill. So when I read the comment that Wyatt wrote I immediately grabbed my Peterson and Stokes field guides.

I’ve seen adult Little Blue Herons before, when their that deep blue color, not white. So scratch this up as a lesson learned the hard way.

Even though we’ve never meet in person, I want to thank Wyatt for keeping me honest. I’ve been wrong in the past, and I’m sure I’ll be wrong in the future when it comes to identifying birds. It’s the learning from our mistakes that will make us better birders in the future.

Notes From The Field

Caesar Creek State Park

The back of my right knee has been giving me fits for the past few days. I’m not sure what the problem is actually,  but if it doesn’t improve I may have to make a visit to the doctors. So it was difficult to concentrate on birding today as Phil and I made our way to Caesar Creek this morning. Phil had asked me help him adjust in large binoculars and we needed a large open space to make it happen, and a big lake is the ideal place to do something like this.

As we pulled into the beach parking lot, I could barely walk to the back of the truck and get my gear out. Putting weight on it was really painful so Phil helped me as I hobbled over to the picnic shelter. We were there for about 30 minutes as we fine tuned his bins and did a little stationary birding. Nothing to exciting bird wise on the beach considering how early it was.

With Fall migration just starting O really wanted to make it over to the mud flats off of Mounds Road. My knee was feeling a little better so the walk back there wasn’t too bad. I was hoping for some birds so I could test my new tripod for when I digiscope.

The lake was higher than I expected especially with the drought, but it was shallow as I noticed several Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers wading in the water.

Solitary Sandpiper

There wasn’t too much activity as we scanned around the area. The 2 Osprey that are nesting there had flown away and never returned which was disappointing.

This was the only Great Egret  sighted.

Great Blue Heron

The one thing that was numerous were the turtles, which could be seen sunning themselves on most exposed logs.

Belted Kingfisher

Spotted Sandpiper and Killdeer

This is probably the beat picture for the day of this Solitary Sandpiper that got pretty close to Phil and myself.

This being the first time I took my new tripod out into the field I was very happy with how it performed. It tracked smoothly and stayed in place when you took your hands off. There wasn’t much of a wind to see how steady it would be, so I’ll have to wait on that test. I keep asking myself why I waited so long to buy this tripod. Now the only thing I’m cursing is my out of focus pictures.

It was a nice morning and always fun to go birding with a good friend. Notable birds for the day (which weren’t many) include:

  1. Willow Flycatcher
  2. Canada Goose
  3. Killdeer
  4. Ring-billed Gull
  5. Turkey Vulture
  6. Black Vulture
  7. Osprey
  8. Green heron
  9. Great Blue Heron
  10. Little Blue Heron
  11. Belted Kingfisher
  12. Mourning Dove
  13. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  14. Barn Swallow
  15. Spotted Sandpiper
  16. Solitary Sandpiper
  17. Mallard
  18. Blue Jay
  19. American Goldfinch
  20. House Wren