Caesar Creek State Park/ Nature Center
We all have our favorite birds we enjoy spotting time after time, and I’m no exception. Mine include Cape May Warbler, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and Swallow-tailed Kite. Well I’ve added a new one to this select group, the Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis).
This intense bundle of energy was one of my nemesis birds for the longest time, and since then I’ve not gotten over what a great bird this is. In South-western Ohio the White-breasted Nuthatch is our year round resident, however when Autumn returns to the Ohio Valley that’s when our buddies from the great white north come south for the Winter.
The physical differences between a “Red-Nut” and a “White-Nut” are size (4.3″ RBNU/ 5.1-5.5″ WBNU), and coloration is self explanatory. But the one thing I love about them is the “toy-horn” quality of it’s call. It reminds me of the little horn you’d attach to the handlebars of a child’s tricycle. So very distinct for it’s white-breasted cousin.
With 2 days in a row free to go birding I wanted to return to the Nature Center at Caesar Creek where Jon and I located all of the RBNU on our last visit. This time my objective was to attempt to get some photographs of these birds.
The entrance road to the nature Center and the surrounding land encompasses several acres, and the highlight are all the tall conifers that produce a great canopy for birds like Kinglets, Pine Siskins, and Nuthatches.
I arrived about 9:30 in the morning and started to scan the tree tops which are loaded with cones, which attracts all sorts of birds, especially RBNU’s. What I was really trying to do was get a digiscoped picture of the “Red-Nuts” knowing that they don’t hold still long enough, so I brought my other camera hoping that it didn’t fail like the previous day when I was trying to get a picture of the LeConte’s Sparrow.
It was about 30 minutes after arrived that I started to here them call. That faint, toy like, call high up in some of the taller trees half way down the drive. I scanned with my spotting scope and there they were, about 6 of them actively feeding from the pine cones. Trying to get a digiscoped picture was next to impossible as they moved from tree to tree, or completely out of sight as they moved around to the far side of the tree away from me.
For the next 2 hours I would move from one location to another in a attempt to get any kind of picture. All the while I would continue to bird this area as some very cool birds showed. Spotted a Brown Creeper as it whirled around the trunk of a Evergreen. A distress call from a bird flying overhead showed a Jay sized bird being chased by a Merlin. I was so focused on the Merlin I didn’t even bother to ID the one being chased. Dinner Time.
The gravel drive forms a circle as you near the Nature Center, and in the middle of this circle are picnic tables. RBNU were busy feeding close to the ground in this area and not wanting to pass up this photographic opportunity I was able to finally get a decent picture.
Notable birds for the day include:
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Red-breasted Nuthatch
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Blue Jay
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Eastern Towhee
- Northern Cardinal
- Carolina Chickadee
- Tufted Titmouse
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- Common Crow
- Turkey Vulture
- White-throated Sparrow
- American Robin
- Golden-crowned Kinglet
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Brown Creeper
- Pine Siskin
- House Finch