Notes From The Field

Lost Bridge and Smith Tract County Park

I had the morning to myself, which hung to you like a damp shirt just out of the washing machine. Gray overcast skies with a threat of rain wasn’t going to deter me from getting in some birding this Sunday.

Yesterday a report came in that some pretty good early Fall migration shorebirds were foraging under Lost Bridge on the Great Miami River. This spot can be particularly hot, especially during migration. Migration you say! Yes, Fall migration. It seems we’re starting to see a trickle of what will become a great Autumn. I was reading Jen Brumfield’s blog, NorthNW, and it’s looks like shorebirds are start to stack up in numbers along the Lake Erie coast, and sooner or later they’ll come our way.

I arrived at 8:30 as another couple were already scoping out the action. After everyone introduced themselves it was time to get down to business. Using binoculars was futile as I tried to pick up all the small Sandpipers feeding amongst the rocky edges. As I settled behind my spotting scope then the birds finally came into focus. Trying to pick out a 6″ bird from any distance can be a challenge, however today was a little difficult since it was overcast and the birds blended in so well into the surroundings. Solitary, Least, Semipalmated, Spotted, and one lone Western Sandpiper were some of the highlights as I scanned the area over and over again in hopes that I didn’t miss anything.

Belted Kingfisher

After 90 minutes I decided to pack it in and head for home. However when I started to drive away I thought why not stop off at Smith tract for a quick look. It’s been a few months since I was last there, and I also wanted to see if the resident Common Loons were still there.

This place has some wonderful habitat and it started out pretty quick as soon as I got there. A Bell’s Vireo was singing and I actually got a brief view of this reclusive bird. I also got to get a few pictures of a very cooperative Blue Grosbeak. It’s too bad that it was behind a branch and hiding it’s beautiful coloration.

Blue Grosbeak

And yes the Loons were there. We normally don’t see Common Loons around these parts till the Autumn and Winter, not July. But there they were, a lovely couple.

Common Loons

Disappointing was the lack of any Dickcissels. Normally quite plentiful in this area, I never heard a one. However one bird that were in good numbers were Grasshopper Sparrows. I was only able to get one good picture as it perched on top of a branch and sing.

Grasshopper Sparrow

It was a much needed break from the stresses of work and other issues that seem to fill our lives. Even though I was only out for a few hours I came home with a nice list for the day.

As for my trip this weekend to Mississippi. I’m going to slip my bins into my carry-on in hopes that I might catch a few hours of birding early Saturday morning, but I’m not counting on it.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Killdeer
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Green Heron
  4. Common Crow
  5. Canada Goose
  6. Osprey
  7. Cooper’s Hawk
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Northern Cardinal
  10. Prairie Warbler
  11. Yellow Warbler
  12. Barn Swallow
  13. Bank Swallow
  14. Gray Catbird
  15. Mallard
  16. Least Sandpiper
  17. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  18. Western Sandpiper
  19. Solitary Sandpiper
  20. Spotted Sandpiper
  21. Short-billed Dowitcher
  22. Lesser Yellowleg
  23. Belted Kingfisher
  24. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  25. Common Loon
  26. Bell’s Vireo
  27. Field Sparrow
  28. Song Sparrow
  29. Grasshopper Sparrow
  30. Blue Grosbeak
  31. Eastern Meadowlark
  32. Indigo Bunting
  33. Northern Mockingbird
  34. Orchard Oriole
  35. Willow Flycatcher
  36. American Goldfinch

One response to “Notes From The Field

  1. What a treasure chest for Whitewater Valley folk and beyond. I looked for info on Smith Tract County Park and found a deep trove of Birders goods. Please let me link this site to mine

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