Notes From The Field

Brookville Lake Reservoir

As we all know Spring can be quite an unusual month in terms of bizarre weather. It was just a few days ago the we had a nice dusting of 6 inches of snow, and yesterday my car thermometer was displaying a 70 degree reading. And it was during this 70 degree Sunday that myself and Jonathan joined up with a rather large group from the Cincinnati Bird Club to circumnavigate Brookville Lake and surrounding countryside.

The group was meeting up at a park-n-ride lot on the western part of the city, when caravan together to the lake which was about a 30 minute drive if we headed directly there, however the group leader across hill and dale in search of anything that flies. We started at the southern end of the lake and made our way along the western side stopping here and there, and then cutting across back roads through farm country which is as flat as Kansas, but with more trees.

IMG_3726We were searching for Horned Larks and Lapland Longspurs along these roads with wide open fields on either side. Horned Larks were all that we spotted.

Being the winter time they lower the water level which in turn concentrates the ducks into smaller areas. The one nice thing about Brookville lake is that it’s a narrow lake which makes for good viewing if the birds are on the other side of the lake. Also their are access roads all over the place, so getting to the birds can be a little easier than some of the large lakes around where I live.

IMG_3725A view from the parking lot towards the public beach.

As the morning wore on and the sun warmed up the atmosphere, the Vultures came out in force. Both Black and Turkey Vultures were everywhere. And Bald Eagles, which we counted 7 individuals mostly immature.

One of the hotspots on the lake is the famous mudflats on County Line Road at the far northern end of the lake. And it was here that we started to see Sandhill Cranes in the area of the mudflats where they meet the lake.

IMG_2384These Sandhill Cranes have been here all winter and still continue flying back and forth between the surrounding fields and the lake.

IMG_3727This is the view of the far northern end of the lake. It’s here that we can find some of the best wading birds during Spring migration, just not today.

The rest of the morning and a good portion of the afternoon was spent driving to more and more places checking out the lake. Which isn’t a bad thing but when you have a large group, however it does becomes rather tiresome to unload a load back up again time after time after time.

One of our stops on this birding adventure was the small town of Liberty Indiana where we were planning on a pit-stop for food and bladder relief. And it just so happens that in every small town in both Ohio and Indiana there will be some grain silos where area farmers bring in the bounty of their fields. It just so happens that according to Jon that a Eurasian-collared Dove has been seen near and around these particular silos. It took just a couple of minutes till we found a pair.

IMG_2407This is one of my better efforts as you can see where the bird gets it’s name. You can see the tell tale black band that runs along the back of the birds neck.

After a few more stops around the lake Jon and I decided it was time to pack it in. That 1 less hour of sleep was taking it’s toll and we needed a nap. It was a very good day with some good number of birds.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  2. Brown-headed Cowbird
  3. Red-winged Blackbird
  4. Common Grackle
  5. American Robin
  6. Tufted Titmouse
  7. Eastern Bluebird
  8. Northern Cardinal
  9. Dark-eyed Junco
  10. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  11. Tree Swallow-FOS
  12. Starling
  13. Mourning Dove
  14. Eurasian-collared Dove-FOS
  15. Sandhill Crane
  16. Black Vulture
  17. Turkey Vulture
  18. Bald Eagle
  19. American Crow
  20. Red-tailed Hawk
  21. Coopers Hawk
  22. White-breasted Nuthatch
  23. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  24. Great Blue Heron
  25. Northern Mockingbird
  26. Belted Kingfisher
  27. Rock Dove
  28. Lesser Scaup
  29. Greater Scaup
  30. American Wigeon
  31. Bufflehead
  32. Ring-necked Duck
  33. Redhead
  34. Ruddy Duck
  35. Horned grebe
  36. Pied-billed grebe
  37. Green-winged teal
  38. Gadwall
  39. Bufflehead
  40. Mute Swan
  41. Osprey-FOS
  42. Eastern Phoebe-FOS
  43. Common Goldeneye
  44. Eastern Meadowlark
  45. Horned lark
  46. American Coot
  47. Canada Geese
  48. American Kestrel
  49. Herring Gull
  50. Ring-billed Gull
  51. Northern Flicker
  52. Eastern towhee
  53. Wood Duck-FOS
  54. Carolina Wren
  55. Song Sparrow
  56. House Sparrow
  57. Carolina Chickadee

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