Deer Creek Wildlife Area
When an opportunity to have a day off during the week comes around I normally jump all over it. Besides breaking up the week, this gives me the chance to go birding where I’ve never been before.
Deer Creek Wildlife Area is about 90 minutes from my house traveling along Rt 22/3 through Morrow, Wilmington, Sabina, Washington Court House and ending in New Holland. All told it was 56 miles from where I live. I’m kind of ashamed to live so close but never having visited before.
The wildlife area totals 4,220 acres and lies just 4 miles south of Mt. Sterling. It was a beautiful, cloudy morning as I set out around 7:00 am in hopes of getting there by 8:30 as the Sun started to brighten up the area. My target birds for the day were LeConte’s and Nelson’s Sparrows. A frequent visitor to this area reported no fewer than 3 LeConte’s in the area of where these cattails grew along side of a dried up pond.
This area is vast with grasslands and small ponds covering this southern most portion of the wildlife area. Walking to where I needed to be took some effort as the ground was very uneven and the thought of causing more injury to my knee kept me looking down all the time.
Where I needed to be to find the LeConte’s took several minutes to walk. This was the area where it was recommended by Robert Royce to look.
Luck was with me early as I re-located a lone LeConte’s. Making sure I was looking at the correct bird I fired off a few pictures. Thinking that I have documented proof when I reviewed them at home they were all awful. You couldn’t even tell it was a bird. I’m really beginning to hate my camera and I didn’t bring my spotting scope so digiscoping wasn’t even an option.
Anyway for the next several hours I sneaked around looking into all the cattail stands “pishing” to see if I could coax anything out. Mostly everything that reacted to this were either Swamp of Song Sparrows. However I did get a brief look at a Nelson’s Sparrow while it skulked around in some of the thicker parts of the cattails.
As I was beginning my walk back to my truck I noticed another birder approaching. As he came up to me we introduced himself and Adrian and when I told him my name he knew me through my blog. We talked for several minutes as I pointed to out him the area where I had seen the birds as we went our separate ways. My next plan was to go to Caesar Creek to check out the Nature Center for more Red-breasted Nuthatches, but by the time I reached the truck my knee told me it was time to go home.
Notable birds for the day include:
- LeConte’s Sparrow-Lifer
- Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow
- Swamp Sparrow
- Field Sparrow
- Song Sparrow
- Northern Harrier
- Turkey Vulture
- American Robin
- Northern Flicker
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Eastern Meadowlark
- American Goldfinch
- Canada Goose
- Palm Warbler
- Yellow-rumped warbler
- American Crow