Monthly Archives: November 2012

Notes From The Field

Miami Cemetery & Caesar Creek S.P.

As the Thanksgiving Holiday comes to a close I hope that all my readers had a special day with their friends and family. The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be stressful for everyone, and as we all know one of my favorite de-stresser pastimes is do a little birding. But first we have to get through the holiday with the out of town visitors, hosting the feast, venturing out on Black Friday not once, but twice. Finally purchasing a new bird mobile, which can be as stressful as hosting the feast. So my 4 day weekend was a blur of activity geared towards the hyperactive individual, not one in his late 50’s.

In need of a birding distraction my plans were to keep it kind of short and local, because there was a nap coming on. Some local buzz lately was that there has been some recent sightings of White-winged Crossbills at Miami Cemetery just outside of Waynesville Ohio.

Just across the Little Miami River from Waynesville sits the sleepy little hamlet of Corwin. In the heart of the town, atop a hill that overlooks the Little Miami valley is Miami Cemetery. A nice size cemetery with a good selection of Evergreens and Hemlocks. As a matter of fact I was surprised at how many and the large size of the Hemlocks. And boy were they loaded with cones. And being such, one would think that finding some Crossbills would be easy. No not today, however the potential is definitely there.

The wind was picking up and it seemed that the birds were hunkered down as I drove from one spot to another, get out of the new bird mobile, wander around and cover all the Hemlocks and Evergreens for as long as I could stand it. Timing is everything when it comes to birding I feel, and the time of day I was here just wasn’t right for birding. But there’s always next time.

Leaving the cemetery I followed the road I came in on which dead ends into Rt. 73. My plan was to stop at Harveysburg Road and check the lake for some duck activity. However at the intersection of Corwin and Rt. 73, perched on a electrical wire trying to balance in the gusty wind was an American Kestrel. With the population in rapid decline I always take notice of Kestrels as I drive country roads while I’m out. And this particular one was sitting pretty good, and with the sun towards my back I thought why not pull over an try to digiscope the bird.

One thing I’ve noticed when trying to take a picture of any kind of Hawk or Falcon is that they know what your doing at all times, and they’ll only sit still just long enough for you to get your gear set up, then they’ll fly to another perch. Laughing at you. Being at the top of the food chain in the avian world has it’s perks, and annoying photographers like myself brings pleasure to them in a sadistic kind of way, even though they don’t show it.

Leaving my Kestrel friend I made my way to Harveysburg Road and checked out the lake. And without fail it seems the last few times I’ve been here it’s been winding and the lake is real choppy. Common Loons have increased in numbers and they were scattered all over the lake. A few small rafts of Redheads, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks and a few Buffleheads were all that could be seen from my vantage point.

So now with one holiday over and another looming on the horizon, attempts to get out more, especially during the week will become a priority. My knee hasn’t improved enough to please my doctor, so the time has come to have my knee scoped to see what’s going on. This little procedure will undoubtedly have me laid  up for a few weeks, which will cut into my birding. But I’m tired of the pain so lets get it done.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Red-tailed Hawk
  2. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  3. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
  4. Carolina Chickadee
  5. Blue jay
  6. White-breasted Nuthatch
  7. American Robin
  8. American Goldfinch
  9. Yellow-rumped warbler
  10. House Finch
  11. Eastern Blue Bird
  12. Dark-eyed Junco
  13. Northern Mockingbird
  14. Chipping Sparrow
  15. Common Loon
  16. Mallard
  17. Redhead
  18. Buflehead
  19. Ruddy Duck
  20. Black Duck
  21. Black Vulture
  22. American Kestrel
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A Birder’s Haiku

 

Dedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

Weathered fence wire rusts

as Phoebe dances from post

of Morning Glories

Upcoming Events

 

It’s getting to be that time of year when we all start to think about the various Christmas Bird Counts in and around the tri-state. Well there’s are plenty to choose from, and from the looks of it there might be a Christmas Bird Count just right for you.

For more information on any of these bird counts don’t hesitate to go to the calendar section of Cincinnatibirds.com for more details.

Friday, December 14, 2012 – dawn – Caeser Creek/Spring Valley Christmas Count
Field Trip: Count birds in a 15-mile diameter circle in Warren County (More Details)
Sponsored by: National Audubon Society

Saturday, December 15, 2012 – dawn – Hamilton-Fairfield Christmas Count
Field Trip: Count birds in a 15-mile diameter circle in Butler County. (More Details)
Sponsored by: National Audubon Society

Sunday, December 16, 2012 – dawn – Ohio River Christmas Count
Field Trip: Count birds in a 15-mile diameter circle in Dearborn, Boone and Hamilton Counties. (More Details)
Sponsored by: National Audubon Society

Sunday, December 23, 2012 – dawn – Western Hamilton County Christmas Count
Field Trip: Count birds in a 15-mile diameter circle in western Hamilton County. (More Details)
Sponsored by: National Audubon Society

Sunday, December 30, 2012 – dawn – Cincinnati Christmas Count
Field Trip: Count birds in a 15-mile diameter circle in eastern Hamilton and western Clermont Counties. (More Details)
Sponsored by: National Audubon Society

Saturday, January 5, 2013 – dawn – East Fork Lake Christmas Count
Field Trip: Count birds in a 15-mile diameter circle in Clermont County. (More Details)
Sponsored by: National Audubon Society

Rare Bird Alert

 

As you’ve  probably heard by now both Red and White-winged Crossbills have made an appearance at Spring Grove Cemetery. To be more precise sections 52 & 53. As of yesterday that was where they were seen, and with the abundance of various evergreen trees, and coupled with a bumper crop of cones, these birds will have more than enough to eat. So hopefully they’ll stick around for more birders to see.

Spotlight On Ohio Birds

Rough-legged Hawk- Buteo lagopus

Family: Accipitridae

Order: Accipitriformes

Description:  19 24″ (48-61 cm) Wingspan 4′ 4″ (1.3 m) ADULT MALE Light morph has gray-brown upperparts and pale head. Underparts are pale but streaked heavily dark brown on breast, with dark feathers on flanks. In flight, from below, wings look pale except for dark carpal patch, tips, and trailing edge, while tail is white with broad, dark subterminal band; from above, tail is white with dark barring toward tip. Dark morph looks uniformly dark when perched; in flight, looks all dark from above, but from below, note whitish flight feathers (except for wingtips and trailing edge) and whitish tail with dark subterminal band. ADULT FEMALE Light morph is similar to male, but note dark belly patch and (in flight) more contrasting black and white pattern on tail and on underwings (except for streaked brown underwing coverts); from above, tail is white with broad black terminal band. Dark morph is similar to dark morph male, but plumage is browner; underwing coverts are noticeably paler than dark carpal patches. JUVENILE Light morph is similar to adult female, but in flight note cleaner, paler underwing coverts and gray (not black) subterminal band on tail seen from below; from above, wing coverts and inner primaries are paler than rest of upper wing. Dark morph is similar to dark morph female, but with paler subterminal band on tail underside.

Voice:  Call a drawn-out, downward “kaaaar.”

Habitat: Breeds across Arctic North America; winters from southern Canada southward when widespread, but seldom numerous in open country including farmland; prefers marshes and open tundra.

Nesting: Large bowl of sticks on cliff ledge. Lined with grasses, sedges, small twigs, and greenery. 1-7 eggs that are dingy white with brown blotches.

Range:

FYI’S:

  • The nest of the Rough-legged Hawk sometimes contains the bones of caribou along with sticks.
  • The name “Rough-legged” Hawk refers to the feathered legs. The Rough-legged Hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle are the only American hawks to have legs feathered all the way to the toes.

Resource material provided by:

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology/ http://www.allaboutbirds.com

http://www.audubon.org

Notes From The Field/ # 326

Spring Grove Cemetery

The dictionary describes “Twitching” as to move jerkily or spasmodically. Twitching as a bird watcher means to go into pursuit of a previously located rare bird. And this can best describe what happened today.

The plans for the day was for Kathy and myself to go look at new cars, which as anyone can attest can be a pretty stressful task. Then at 11:01 am, I received a text from birding buddy John Marvin. “Spring Grove? Red Crossbills….” WHAT THE….! Life birds are becoming harder to find in this part of Southwestern Ohio. an to have a new lifer drop right into my lap, kinda, needless to say caused quite a distraction. Trying to focus on new cars was difficult, however the plan was to meet John at the cemetery as close to 4:00 pm as possible.

I pulled into the cemetery at 4:10 pm, which I thought was pretty good time. I gave John a call to ask where he was. A few moments later I was able to locate him. The birds where originally located in section 52, and that was where we ended up standing, looking into the Hemlocks and other Evergreens in section 53.

We were there no more than 5 minutes when John said that something just flew into the taller tree up at the top. and it looks kind of pink. (The taller tree in the above picture was the tree in question) The Sun was in our favor as it lite up the tree top. 2 birds, one disappeared behind, and the other stayed perched on top. The Sun really showing off the red color of the bird. We moved to the side because we had to get a better view to see if it had black wings or wings with a white stripe. Black wing. Red Crossbill. And it stayed there for several minutes as we got great looks to make sure we saw what we saw. Unfortunately in my hurry to get home and grab my gear for the long drive, I left all my digiscoping gear at home, so no picture. And it would have been a great shot to.

The remained of the time we wandered around section 52 and 53 in search of some White-winged Crossbills which were reported here as well. As the Sun get lower and lower we decided to call it quits and head home. SUCCESS!