Notes From The Field

Caesar Creek State Park

A fine mist fell from the sky as gray clouds were in sharp contract to the beautiful Autumn colors around Caesar Creek today. The original plan for the day was for Jon and myself to travel in Findlay Reservoir in hopes that the Prairie Falcon was still there. However as the week wore on the sightings dried up and we opted not to make the trip and conserve some gas. So a day spent traveling from one spot to another sounds like a great idea.

The Visitor’s Center was to be the place where we meet and venture out from. Pulling into the parking lot you couldn’t help but notice the small tents springing up.

It turns out that Caesar Creek was hosting some exhibits open to the public that dealt with water and boat safety, fishing, hunting, and water and soil conservation, as well as others. After Jon showed up we birded this location for a while since they normally stock their feeders around the back of the Visitor’s Center. We noticed a small flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding on all these clusters of black berries, so I attempted to get a few pictures.

As we made our way to the beach area and started to scan over the lake we couldn’t help but notice the lack of any water fowl. Not one duck or goose was seen, which I find very unusual. Except for a few Double-crested Cormorants and Ring-billed Gulls there was nothing on the lake except for the omnipresent fishermen. Granted it might be a bit early for the big influx of ducks, however jon did say the he had seen some Gadwall and American Wigeon over at Grand Valley.

The rain finally quit and peeks of Sun started to shine through the fast moving clouds as the wind picked up and the ever familiar chop on the lake increased. With the lack of water fowl we changed tactics and worked on Sparrows and other Passerines. Both Turkey and Black Vultures were seen in large quantities while they soared on the strong winds. A mature Bald Eagle was picked out from a large kettle of Vultures, and one time Jon noticed a medium size Falcon. We both our bins on it as it started to dive and went out of sight after several seconds. Too small for a Peregrine, and too big for a Kestrel. Logical choice, Merlin. A very nice bird by anyone’s standards.

One of our target birds for the day were Red-breasted Nuthatches. Numbers are supposed to be up this year for this colder weather visitor from the north, and one of the best spots (in my opinion) to spot these smaller cousins of White-breasted Nuthatches was over at the Nature Center. As you enter the drive back to this rustic building you pass under tall conifers on both sides laden with loads of cones. This high concentration of trees that “Red Nuts” love payed off with at least 3 seen. I will be re-visiting this same area throughout the winter in hopes of finding Crossbills, along with other Winter Finches which are to be in great quantities this year.

The state has set aside an area close to the Visitor’s Center as a nature preserve. A very large area of tall grass and a few ponds. Perfect place for Sparrows. Mowed paths lead us into the heart of this grass meadow and several species of Sparrows. Field, Swamp, Song, and White-crowned Sparrows flitting through the tall grass can infuriate even the best birder as we tried to spot these grass loving birds. This was the first time Jon had been to this part of the park and was impressed, so we spent a good amount of time here.

As the morning turned into afternoon, before we knew it, it was time to pack it in and head for home. We drove back to the Visitor’s center where Jon had parked his car as we parted ways. It was probably a good time to end the day since my knee was starting to hurt as my morning dose of Advil wore off. However not satisfied with the lake being totally devoid of ducks and geese I made a quick stop at my favorite Caesar Creek hotspot, Harveysburg Road. Despite the lovely drive to this spot, once again I came up empty on any waterfowl.

Autumn colors along Harveysburg Road

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Red-winged Blackbird
  2. Common Crow
  3. White-breasted Nuthatch
  4. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  5. Carolina Chickadee
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. American Goldfinch
  8. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  9. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Northern Flicker
  12. Double-crested Cormorant
  13. Ring-billed Gull
  14. Herring Gull
  15. Turkey Vulture
  16. Black Vulture
  17. Red-shouldered Hawk
  18. Red-tailed Hawk
  19. Merlin
  20. Bald Eagle
  21. Blue Jay
  22. Swamp Sparrow
  23. Field Sparrow
  24. White-throated Sparrow
  25. White-crowned Sparrow
  26. Song Sparrow
  27. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  28. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  29. Northern Cardinal
  30. Cedar Waxwing
  31. EasternTowhee
  32. Carolina Wren
  33. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  34. Palm warbler
  35. Eastern Bluebird
  36. Belted Kingfisher
  37. American Robin
  38. Dark-eyed Junco
  39. eastern Phoebe
  40. European Starling
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One response to “Notes From The Field

  1. Duck season opened on the 20th.

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