Daily Archives: August 27, 2012

“On The Road” # 323

Hoover Reservoir Boardwalk

Located at the confluence of the Big and Little Walnut Creeks, within both Franklin and Delaware Counties is Hoover Reservoir. Completed in 1955 as a source of water for the city of Columbus this 2,818 acre reservoir is 8 miles long and 1 mile at it’s widest. At the far Northern end of the lake sits the small hamlet of Galena. It’s at this location is where the Hoover Reservoir Boardwalk begins.

Looking back towards the boardwalk entrance.

This area of the lake is the shallowest and with the recent drought conditions the water level is very low. So normally the boardwalk extends out into the lake, however now the boardwalk stretches out over some beautiful mudflats, and some outstanding shorebird habitat.

Jon and I took the afternoon off and made the 2+ hour drive to try and locate a life bird that both of us needed, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper (Tryngites subruficollis). For the past several days there have been pretty reliable sightings at this location and being relatively close to home (driving to Lake Erie is not an option) a road trip was in order.

Completed in 2005, the 1,500′ long boardwalk is quite a sight as it juts out into the shallows of the lake. As we pass birders returning to their car we’re encouraged by the news that the “Buffies’ were still there. Not wanting to look too eager to get to the end of the boardwalk and set up our scopes.

In this picture you can see the short grass all around the boardwalk, where normally water sits. This is ideal Buff-breasted Sandpiper habitat.

Another couple were at the end, so when I asked them where the birds were, they weren’t to sure. They were looking at something else and took their eyes off of them for a moment. So we all started to look for them. Being a small sandpiper at 8.3″, and foraging for food in grass that’s not too tall, we finally spotted one, then another, then another. All told we identified 6 individuals. This was a slam dunk.

A absolutely beautiful bird. Soft buffy coloration on the head and breast, with a bold patterned back.

With a small head and a beady eye, they remind me of a Upland Sandpiper.

Another successful afternoon, and a new “Lifer” for both of us.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  2. Stilt Sandpiper
  3. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  4. Least Sandpiper
  5. Short-billed Dowitcher
  6. Canada Goose
  7. Mallard
  8. Pectoral Sandpiper
  9. Killdeer
  10. Double-creasted Cormorant
  11. Great Egrets
  12. Great Blue Heron
  13. Spotted Sandpiper
  14. Turkey Vulture
  15. Osprey
  16. Cedar waxwing
  17. American Goldfinch
  18. Ring-billed Gull
  19. Caspian Tern
  20. Indigo bunting
  21. Downy Woodpecker