Notes From The Field

Caesar Creek S.P., Miami Cemetery, Spring Valley Wildlife Area

With Kathy at work and my oldest son getting ready to go to work as well, and with less than 1 week till my knee surgery I wanted to get in a full morning of birding. The rain that has persisted for the past few days was starting to let up as I approached the beach at Caesar Creek. It was going to be a good day because not only was Jonathan meeting me but so was his wife Samantha. I get along so well with them even if the birding was bad the company would be enjoyable.

Duck hunting season opened this Saturday in the southern part of the state and I was hoping that the Ross’s Geese that have been on the beach for several days were still there. I wanted to try and improve on the quality of photographs from the other day, however with the overcast skies and drizzle my efforts were about the same.

IMG_2049The Ross’s Geese were feeding on the beach and moving away from us. Instead of circling around them to get a front view of the birds, I opted to stay put and try for a shot so I wouldn’t scare them off. I saw a couple of duck hunters leave their blind and look our way as we watched the geese. I’m sure they were licking their lips in anticipation of us spooking them into the air.

IMG_2047They’re such a wonderful rarity in this part of the state I can’t imagine anyone wanting to shoot them. However hunters have every right to hunt them as I have the right to  view them from afar. I just don’t want to be around if they get blown into smitherines.

IMG_2055

We left the beach a made a quick move over to the North Pool boat ramp area to see if anything was on the lake other than decoys, which outnumbered real ducks by overwhelming figures. So we spent our time there watching  a large group of Passerines feeding along the edge of the lake. Afterwards we changes locations again, and this time we visited the feeders set up at the Visitors Center. From the inside of the Visitors Center we watched in awe as a Gary Squirrel figured out how to eat from a squirrel-proof bird feeder.

As the morning was waning we amde our way now to Miami Cemetery in Corwin to see if any of the White-winged Crossbills that were reported several weeks ago made a return visit. Normally you can have some pretty good luck at cemeteries, however this has been my second time at this particular cemetery and it’s been kind of disappointing.                  Time to re-locate!

News that the feeders at Spring Valley had been stocked is good news. The feeders that are installed at Spring Valley are an array of store bought tube feeders with platform perches on the bottom, to massive homemade jobs that use discarded oxygen cylinders and PVC pipes. Their suet feeder is a large branch with cages attached to the sides that are then stuffed with suet.

IMG_3672Despite seeing several Hairy Woodpeckers, the most I’ve seen at one time, they never came to the suet feeder. However the Downies thoroughly enjoyed what was being served.

We made our way down the trail to the boardwalk where a couple of Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Brown Creeper added to our day list. As we approached the boardwalk the discussion turned to Marsh Wrens and the reliability of Spring Valley to view this reclusive species. Being the first week in December one wouldn’t think that Marsh Wrens would be around, but we were mistaken when we caught some pretty good views of not 1 but 2 Marsh Wrens as they moved through the dense grass no more than 10 feet off the boardwalk. But I think the best was when we were leaving. If your walking onto the boardwalk, going towards the observation tower, the 1st open water slough on the right, in the thick grasses and cattails we had some very interesting calls  and movements. The bird never showed itself, but after Samantha played both recordings of a Sora and a Virginia Rail it was determined it was a Virginia Rail. Both birds pretty rare for December.

As the morning turned into the afternoon hunger was beginning to gnaw at all of us, so we departed towards home after a pretty good day of birding. Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Ross’s Goose
  2. Ring-billed Gull
  3. Northern Mockingbird
  4. Tree Sparrow
  5. Song Sparrow
  6. White-throated Sparrow
  7. White-crowned Sparrow
  8. Fox Sparrow
  9. Swamp Sparrow
  10. Eastern Bluebird
  11. Dark-eyed Junco
  12. American Robin
  13. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  14. Brown Creeper
  15. Pigeon
  16. Mourning Dove
  17. Northern Cardinal
  18. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  19. American Goldfinch
  20. Virginia Rail
  21. Marsh Wren
  22. Carolina Wren
  23. Carolina Chickadee
  24. Common Crow
  25. Red-shouldered Hawk
  26. Blue Jay
  27. House Finch
  28. Northern Flicker
  29. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  30. Hairy Woodpecker
  31. Downy Woodpecker
  32. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  33. White-breasted Nuthatch
  34. Tufted Titmouse
  35. Ruddy Duck
  36. Grackle
  37. Red-winged Blackbird
  38. Belted Kingfisher
Advertisements

One response to “Notes From The Field

  1. Hi Les! Your Ross’s Goose photos are much better than any I have taken, as I have only ever seen this species from afar. They are now annual in Ottawa, though I’ve only ever seen one or two at time. I hope those geese stay safe from the hunters!

    That’s a pretty good list of birds for the day – much more than what I’ve seen this month, as many of those birds (grackle, kingfisher, Red-winged Blackbird, Virginia Rail, Northern Flicker) have migrated south long ago. I did see a Harlequin Duck and a Black-backed Woodpecker, though (blog post forthcoming), so there is a trade-off!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s