Notes From The Field

Fly Ash Pond/ Magrish Riverlands Preserve/ Armleder Park

I needed to go birding and with the beautiful weather we’ve had these past few days I was still undecided where to go. A text from Jon saying that he was going to bird locally made up my mind. We were going to meet at Fly Ash Pond to check on any wading shorebirds.

I’m not sure what the purpose of Fly Ash Pond is, or why it has a chain link fence surrounding it, however it does have a reputation of attracting some good shorebirds. Located next to Luken Airport, and easily accessed via a gravel path leading from a parking  near the bike path, I arrived first despite the best efforts of rush hour to slow me up. There wasn’t too much action until I laid eyes on  a smallest sandpiper with a longish bill that gave the appearance of a slight droop at the end. As I was trying to rule out all the possibilities Jon walks up, he sights in the bird, and says that looks like a Western Sandpiper. Which was what I thought in the first place but didn’t want to commit until Jon showed up. As with all good things it flew over to another part of the pond where we lost it.

I was there for over an hour when we decided it was time to change locations. Magrish was next. 5 minutes later were in the parking lot scanning the trees that border the lot. Magrish Riverlands Preserve can be a hit or miss place. The majority of the time it’s a miss, and the feeling that we were going to have a repeat was quickly dispelled as I noticed a large bird, brown over a white un-streaked belly high up in the trees feeding. Cuckoo! But which one. I had to get Jon on it in case he had a better angle. Black-billed Cuckoo. We get them in our area, but they’re not as common as their Yellow-billed cousins. Things were looking up as we came upon a small group of Tennessee Warblers. We watched closely in case there were other species of warblers with them. It was about this time that Jon received a phone call from his friend he works with. Jon had told me about his friend previously who is new to the area and that he’s sort of a beginner to birding. Well he’s going to join us. As we continue to bird waiting for Jason (that’s the guys name) we come across another small pocket of Tennessee Warblers, however this time there is a Canada Warbler with them. Very cool, one of my favorites.

Jason finally joins up with us and we continue to cover Magrish. That’s when Magrish let’s a person down. It got pretty quiet. The group consensus was move on to Armleder before it gets too dark.

Here’s another place where I’ve not been since the Spring. We drove over and parked in the Southern part where Duck Creek flows into the Little Miami River. My knee was starting to ache a little and walking on level, paved ground was what I needed. Chimney Swifts were everywhere. Hundreds of them covering the sky feeding on insects as they dart6ed back and forth across the sky. Then occasionally we’d spot a Common Nighthawk as more and more of them are showing up in good numbers as they migrate through.

It was a great night birding with Jon and Jason. Good company. Good conversation. Good Birds. All we needed was some beer.

Notable birds for the evening include:

  1. Western Sandpiper
  2. Spotted Sandpiper
  3. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  4. Black-crowned Night Heron
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Green Heron
  7. Killdeer
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Cedar Waxwing
  10. Blue-gray gnatcatcher
  11. Downy Woodpecker
  12. Carolina Chickadee
  13. Tufted Titmouse
  14. Tennessee Warbler
  15. Canada warbler
  16. Black-billed Cuckoo
  17. Northern cardinal
  18. Brown Thrasher
  19. Carolina Wren
  20. Indigo Bunting
  21. Chimney Swift Barn Swallow
  22. Common Nighthawk
  23. Wood Duck
  24. Gray Catbird
  25. Eastern Kingbird
  26. B-17 Flying Fortress (on display at Lunken Airport)

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