Notes From The Field

Newtown, Grand Valley, Valley View Nature Preserve  & Points Beyond

I wanted to cover as much ground, and hit as many hotspots today before the weekend is over. Next weekend I’m off to Michigan for a visit with my daughter and son-in-law, so I wanted to make the most of today. With the reports of a Greater White-fronted Goose still being seen near the farmers market in Newtown I thought that would be a perfect place to start.

It’s about a 30 minute drive over to Newtown and with traffic being light I was anticipating a good morning of birding. As I approached the market I could make out a small flock of Canadian Geese feeding in the open fields that border the market. The flat, bottom land which borders the Little Miami River is such prime birding habitat you forget sometimes that it’s such an industrial area, full of business and gravel quarries. And it’s these quarries that attracts these wonderful birds.

I parked onto a gravel pull off, lowered my side window and scanned the tiny flock. I really need a GWFG to help bolster my year list. And there he was.

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When you see nothing but Canadian Geese year round, it’s nice to see something different. Not wanting to disturb the flock I drove around so the drivers door face away from them, so when I got out of the car I wouldn’t spook them. I crept to the back and opened up the hatch back and got out my scope and set about getting my camera hooked up for a few pictures.

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I know I’ve said it a thousand times, but boy that’s a beautiful bird! After i left a made a few stops along the way to check out some of the other quarries for waterfowl with not too much luck. This cold snap froze over more of the water than I expected, so I made my way to Valley View Nature Preserve upon the recommendation of Jon.

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Valley View is a 130 acre nature preserve and educational center. The above photo shows just a portion of the open grasslands set aside and with the riparian forest to my right this might be one of my new must go to place to bird.

Well as you can see the sun came out and the bird activity picked up. A very kettle of both Turkey and Black Vultures dot the sky. It was while I was looking up that I caught sight of a Peregrine Falcon and a Northern Harrier. I wasn’t surprised with the Harrier, however the Falcon was indeed a nice surprise. I hiked around Valley View for about and hour picking up a few species here and there, so when I was about to leave  I noticed a Northern Flicker feeding on the ground.

IMG_2337A rather difficult bird to photograph when it has it’s head buried in the ground looking for something to eat.

After leaving Valley View I made my way to Grand Valley to pick up any waterfowl left from their normal late morning exodus. There was more ice of the lake than birds so after gathering my gear I made my way for a long drive up the highway north of Wilmington to check out some of the quarries up there.

My first stop was Melvin Quarries north of Wilmington on Route 22. And just like the other quarries it was mostly frozen over with only a small patch where everyone huddles together.

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And as you can see by the picture it started to cloud over and the wind picked up. And as I drove towards Wilmington the snow started to fall and visibility fell along with it. Now this is unfortunate since my next stop was going to be Caesar Creek. But with visibility down from the snow, and the wind picking up, you know the lake was going to be real choppy, nor would I see anything on the water.

Not wanting to end the day, but feeling my luck change as quick as the weather I headed home. Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Black Vulture
  2. Turkey Vulture
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  5. Northern Harrier
  6. Peregrine Falcon
  7. American Kestrel
  8. American Black Duck
  9. Mallard
  10. Ring-necked Duck
  11. American Coot
  12. Greater Scaup
  13. Ruddy Duck
  14. Gadwall
  15. Ring-billed Gull
  16. Canada Goose
  17. Greater White-fronted Goose
  18. American Crow
  19. Mourning Dove
  20. Pigeon
  21. Horned Grebe
  22. Pied-billed Grebe
  23. Pileated Woodpecker
  24. Northern Flicker
  25. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  26. White-breasted Nuthatch
  27. Common Grackle
  28. Tufted Titmouse
  29. Northern Cardinal
  30. Song Sparrow
  31. Savannah Sparrow
  32. American Robin
  33. Blue Jay
  34. Northern Mockingbird
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