Notes From The Field

Spring Valley Wildlife Area & Caesar Creek S.P.

Do you realize how difficult it was this weekend not to go chasing rarities? First we have a Western Grebe across the Ohio River from Louisville. Then we have a Spotted Redshank, code 4 mind you, at Goose Pond, also in Indiana. Then to top it off a Cinnamon Teal in Lexington. As much fun it is to chase rare and unusual birds, especially if they’re close to home, I’m not particularly upset. Sure it would have been nice to tick off another life bird, but it is Easter weekend and my daughter and husband came home and any time spent with them trumps any bird. This doesn’t mean I didn’t go birding.

Saturday bright and early I meet up with Jon at the McDonalds in Waynesville for a little trip to Spring Valley and Caesar Creek. This is one of the nice things about living where I do. These two places are within an easy drive and I can get home in time to visit more with my daughter.

The sun was just rising and shedding a little light on what would be a beautiful day, as we made our way down from the parking lot to Spring Valley’s boardwalk. I was hoping for some early Sora activity and I brought my Ipod to entice them into calling. No luck.


IMG_2432Spring Valley has so much to offer the birder. Trails that wind around through the woods, open farmland all around the wildlife area, a nice lake with a marsh that has a trail that circumvents the lake. Now wonder that the Ohio Ornithological Society is hosting a field trip here on the 14th of April.

Back in December Jon and myself were here we were able to hear and get good views of Marsh Wrens. During the Winter these are kind of rare. And yesterday we heard and saw them again, this time we feel there were more than just a couple. So when I submitted the day list to eBird I had to justify my sighting, but they were there and still a nice bird.

We spent a couple of hours here and afterward we headed over to Mounds Road which dead ends at the mudflats at Caesar Creek. Even though it’s early Spring we were hoping that some wading birds might start to show up like Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs.

IMG_2434But as luck would have it, especially this year, it was a bust. Not even a Killdeer I’m not sure what it is about Caesar Creek this year, but I usually have some decent birding here during the colder months and early Spring. Just not this year so far.

It wouldn’t be a trip here without a visit to Harverysburg Road and see if anything was on the water. The lake was as quiet as I’ve sen in months, which can account for the quietness of the birds on the water.

IMG_2435However there was this Common Loon and as you can see it’s in breeding plumage. He was feeding off the end of Harveysburg Road and if you’ve ever tried to get a picture of a Loon while it’s feeding, it can prove to be a difficult task. It seems that they’re on the surface of the water for no more than 10 seconds till they dive again. And when they do come up they could be anywhere. So as a digiscoper I have to get my scope back on the bird, attach the camera and try to focus and get the picture off before it dives again. I have a great picture just as it submerges but I thought you’d rather not see that one.

Our last stop was the nature center. They have a mature section of evergreen trees and the hopes were some Pine Warblers. We were able to pick up a couple through their call, but no visual on them. This is one of my favorite spots at the park and as we walked on the trail some of the early Spring Flowers were in bloom. I left my camera in the car so nor pictures. They were small and blue and star shaped. Other than that I’ll let my fellow blogger at “Seasons Flow”   tell me what it might be.

I could have stayed out all day, it was so nice. Missing out on some rarities just goes with being a bird watcher. There’s always another bird to see.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Hooded Merganser
  2. Red-breasted Merganser
  3. Horned Grebe
  4. Pied-billed Grebe
  5. Canada Geese
  6. Bufflehead
  7. Red Head
  8. Gadwall
  9. Mallard
  10. Lesser Scaup
  11. Blue-winged Teal
  12. Wood Duck
  13. Northern Shoveler
  14. Ring-necked Duck
  15. American Coot
  16. Common Loon
  17. Black Vulture
  18. Turkey Vulture
  19. Red-tailed hawk
  20. Red-shouldered Hawk
  21. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  22. Downy Woodpecker
  23. Hairy Woodpecker
  24. Northern Flicker
  25. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  26. Tree Swallow
  27. Pine Warbler
  28. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  29. Song Sparrow
  30. American Tree Sparrow
  31. Swamp Sparrow
  32. White-throated Sparrow
  33. Carolina Wren
  34. Marsh Wren
  35. Mourning Dove
  36. Red-winged Black Bird
  37. Brown-headed Cowbird
  38. Common Grackle
  39. American Goldfinch
  40. Eastern Bluebird
  41. Eastern Meadowlark
  42. Eastern Towhee
  43. Common Crow
  44. Dark-eyed Junco
  45. Northern Cardinal
  46. Tufted Titmouse
  47. Carolina Chickadee
  48. Blue Jay
  49. White-breasted Nuthatch
  50. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  51. Belted Kingfisher
  52. Northern Mockingbird


One response to “Notes From The Field

  1. That’s a great digiscope shot of the Loon!

    Hmmm, the flower…Speedwell, perhaps? If they were really small, that’s my guess. Particularly if they had a bit of color in the middle, maybe a touch of yellow. If they were larger flowers, perhaps Scilla? I’ve seen Speedwell and Bittercress on grassy areas this past week. Seems that the spring wildflowers are a bit behind due to the cold weather lately.

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