Monthly Archives: April 2013

Notes From The Field/ #330

White-faced Ibis! The same bird I missed last year by hours. Arriving home from my yearly Lake Erie Warbler Madness Adventure, I receive a call from birding buddy Allan who asked if I happened to see the White-faced Ibis at Metzger Marsh? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

So when rumors of dark Ibis’s at Fernald Preserve a few days ago, I waited till something concrete came about. And it did yesterday. 2 White-faced Ibis’s were spotted and then I got that same old feeling. “The Twitch” I made a hasty phone call to Allan (who’s retired)  and ask if he was heading over in the morning. And if he was would he let me know if the birds were still there.

So at 9:30 this morning a post came across the internet of our White-faced Ibis being seen. Now the waiting game starts. So I waited, and waited, and waited till they sprang me from work.

With just having received a speeding ticket last week I showed great restraint as I drove over to Fernald this afternoon. Following the speed limit ever so closely I made quite good time, and arrived as a few fellow birders were focusing in on the birds.

Did I say I love getting a new life bird.

IMG_2528Lighting was horrendous. It was really overcast and the shadows made getting the true color of the birds difficult. I shot over 60 pictures.

IMG_2546The Glossy Ibis has a brownish bill, this White-faced Ibis has a gray one.

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The Passenger Pigeon

As most everyone knows the last Passenger Pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1st, 1914. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of this extinct species local wildlife artist John Ruthven has painted a beautiful portrait of “Martha”, the last Passenger Pigeon.

However there is more to this picture than just “Martha”. As you will see in the next piture, “Martha” is leading a massive flock of Passenger Pigeons as they fly over the avian houses that once stood at the Cincinnati Zoo. The only one left is the one where “Martha” was housed.

That’s the artist himself, 88 year old John Ruthven, whom many consider the modern day Audubon.

And when the mural is completed it will look like this. The building, which is lucky enough to have it painted on it’s side, is located at 8th and Vine St. in downtown Cincinnati. The date of the mural’s dedication is yet to be announced, but it will be in the month of September.

I may not be there for the official, but I will visit this site to check out this beautiful mural.

Rare Bird Alert

A White-faced Ibis was sighted at Lodge Pond across from the observation at Fernald Preserve today. An extremely rare bird for any part of Ohio, let alone the southwest portion of the state. I’m sure 4hat word spreads there will be plenty of birders out in force tomorrow looking for this bird, including myself if I can get off work early.

A Birder’s Haiku

rock gardenDedicated to the birder, as we start our week.

Fog shrouded figure

drifts through Autumns morning chill

Drake leaps for the sky

Notes From The Field

Magrish Riverland Preserve, California Woods, Fly Ash Pong, Ellis Lake, Zoo Farm

The forecast called for rain later on today around dinner time, so with Kathy and David at work, and Ethan spending some time with a friend in Springfield Ohio, it was no better time to get some early morning birding done before the rain came.

With the tremendous luck Jon and I had last Saturday at Shawnee Lookout I needed to see if the Warblers were still as plentiful. Traffic was light as I made my way down I-71 towards my first stop for the day, Magrish Riverland Preserve. 

Seasonal flooding can make this park almost impassable along some of the lower trails, however today the trails were open and the song birds were active as I pulled into the parking lot. And it’s from this parking lot that some of the best birding can be found. Prothonotary Warblers breed here and are always a delight as flashes of yellow catch the corner of your eye. 2 early Blackpoll Warblers were singing and giving some decent views from the parking lot as well. I meet a friend of a friend who is also a birder, so we hooked up for about 30 minutes. After which he left to take care of some work and I made my way slowly through the park and back towards my car for the short 3 minute drive to my next stop. California Woods and my hopes of catching a Louisiana Waterthrush.

At 113 acres this little gem within the confines for Cincinnati offers some great birding. It has some very nice hiking trails and a stream which attracts the Waterthrush. I normally just stick close to the road and the stream where the most activity is. However today I decided to take a hike and enjoy the solitude of the woods.

IMG_3757The beginning of Trillium Trail

The wild flowers were in bloom as I made my way up the trail to the top of the ridge, where it winds about and then slowly descends.

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Vireos and Gnatcatchers were keeping me company as fewer and fewer Warblers were seen, let alone heard. The trees were really leafing out making it harder to see anything in the canopy.

After reaching the bottom I started to walk back towards my car. Across from where I parked there is this small open area where birds will sometimes feed making it easier to see them. A bridge spans the stream and terminates at this open area. That’s when I heard the Waterthrush. It was staying one step ahead of me as I chased it down the stream towards the entrance to the park. It finally came to rest long enough for me to snap this poor photo.

IMG_3768He’s right in the center with this leaf blocking it’s head.

Now I’m happy. And with that recent addition to my year list it was time to head off North to my next stop, Ellis Lake. However on the way I made a quick stop at this series of small, fenced in ponds that local birders call “Fly Ash Pond”. They’re not very nice to look at and because it has a fence around might be a good thing. Who knows what could be growing in there. But it can be a hot spot for birds, and today it was for me, because out of the corner of my eye a flash of blue zipped by and perched on the fence. My first thought was Indigo Bunting. But being my lucky day it turns out to be a Blue Grosbeak.

IMG_2514A truly sad picture, but one where you can use it to ID the bird.

Happy once again with yet another new bird for the year I drove up the highway towards Ellis Lake to see if any more shore birds were there. With the afternoon wearing on and chores facing me when I get home this stop and the next were short. A small flock of Least Sandpipers were seen feeding along the edge of one of the larger sky pools that dotted the field at Ellie Lake. More wading birds were there than has been in the past few visits, so maybe things will turn around especially with this coming rain.

My last quick stop was the Cincinnati Zoo Farm near my home. Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpipers were the only wading birds here, so after scanning the ponds for about 30 minutes I made my way home and the impending mowing of the lawn.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Cooper’s Hawk
  4. Northern Parula
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Blackpoll Warbler
  7. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  8. Prothonotary arbler
  9. Common Yellowthroat
  10. Louisiana Waterthrush
  11. Palm Warbler
  12. Pine Warbler
  13. Yellow-throated Vireo
  14. Red-eyed Vireo
  15. Warbling Vireo
  16. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  17. Chipping Sparrow
  18. Field Sparrow
  19. White-throated Sparrow
  20. Swamp Sparrow
  21. Song Sparrow
  22. Gray Catbird
  23. Northern Cardinal
  24. Carolina Chickadee
  25. Tufted Titmouse
  26. American Robin
  27. American Goldfinch
  28. Mourning Dove
  29. Blue Jay
  30. Indigo Bunting
  31. Carolina Wren House Wren
  32. Pileated Woodpecker
  33. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  34. Downy Woodpecker
  35. Northern Flicker
  36. Brown Thrasher
  37. Blue Grosbeak
  38. White-breasted Nuthatch
  39. Eastern Towhee
  40. Canada Goose
  41. Great Blue Heron
  42. Killdeer
  43. Common Grackle
  44. Red-winged Black Bird
  45. Solitary Sandpiper
  46. Pectoral Sandpiper
  47. Spotted sandpiper
  48. Least Sandpiper
  49. Greater Yellowleg
  50. Lesser Yellowleg
  51. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  52. Mallard
  53. Wood Duck
  54. Blue-winged Teal
  55. Eastern Phoebe

Notes From The Field

Armleder Park, Lost Bridge, Shawnee Lookout Park, & The Obow

Where has the last 4 days gone? I had nothing but the best intentions to get a blog post out to all my readers, however during migration and with other responsibilities at home I’ve been rather delinquent with some of my blog posts. So first an apology in hopes that this won’t become habit, but with migration in full bloom this promise might soon be broken as well. So bear with me during this Spring.

So this posting will combine 2 field trips that Jon and myself took these past few days. Our first trip was to Armleder Park this last Thursday. Joining Jon and myself was Jason who works with Jon and is starting to accompany us every now and then. This was to be an evening trip where we just wandered around the park doing some casual birding trying our best trying to pick up any migrant.

It was a beautiful evening with a stiff breeze and plenty of people in the park either watching their kids practicing lacrosse and soccer, or just walking, running, and skating around on the paved paths. The wind seemed to keep the birds a little less active and even with the diminishing light we were able to total 31 birds for the evening. I was able to add a few new ones for the year including Baltimore Oriole, Prothonotory Warbler, House Wren, and Yellow-throated Warbler. And the Vesper Sparrow eluded me again.

So after a field trip I would post this trip on my blog, however Friday was kind of busy after I got home from work. Kathy and myself went out to do a little shopping and for a bite to eat. So after I got home it was getting a little too late to post anything considering I was going out the next morning with Jon to Shawnee Lookout.

Saturday morning shone bright and cold as I made my way towards Shawnee Lookout. Anticipations were high, and with a early jump on the morning I was hoping for some great birding. Jon was going to join me a little later due to a previous appointment, so I arrived at Lost bridge bright and early. With some of the recent rain we’ve had the river was running high so none of the usual mud flats were visible, so my stay was short.

Knowing how high the water level was it came as no surprise to see the parking lot for the boat access at Shawnee Lookout flooded.

IMG_3734Where you see water in this picture, is usually a parking lot.

IMG_2473_1You will always find a Belted Kingfisher near the boat ramp area at Shawnee Lookout Park.

The ramp down to the parking lot was abundant with birds. House Wrens once again made their voices known above all others. A lone Yellow-throated Vireo came through as I searched in vain for this small elusive bird that sang so beautifully. But with every Spring there is one bird I look forward to the most. Standing in the parking lot below the park headquarters a Wood Thrush started to sing. I don’t need to see a Wood Thrush to know what I’m hearing. My all time favorite bird song. I recall a time when I was camping with the Boy Scout troop I was a leader with. As usual I was up very early getting in some birding. The forest was still and quiet except for the call of the Wood Thrush. Above all else it’s voice was heard.

I made my way into the park after buying my yearly pass. Up the hill through the trees to the crest of the hill and the golf course parking lot. I had to stop because a warbler was calling.

IMG_3740First of the season Yellow Warbler

IMG_2478_1Through a tangle comes the song of the Brown Thrasher.

Chipping Sparrows are back in force, and Shawnee Lookout is no exception. Small in size, their voice is anything but. I was following this particular bird as it flew to the top of a branch and started to belt out it’s song.

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Jon finally joined me and brought along his super-cool dog Edgar. Edgar is this enormous Black Lab that has such a great disposition and was so well behaved all during the day. You barely knew he was there as we walked the fields and trails that criss-crossed Shawnee Lookout. We meet up with a good birding friend Gary Stegner who was out birding by himself, so we joined up together to what turned out to be a glorious day of birding and conversation.

Wood Warblers and Vireos were the prime birds for the day as first-of-the-season birds include White-eyed, Yellow-throated, Warbling Viroes. Wood warblers included Prairie, Cerulean, Red Start, Yellow, and Blue-winged.

One of my favorite trails at the part is called the Fort trail due to the fact that early Native Americans had villages at the top. Signs are posted throughout and along the trail telling about early Native American life here. Early blooming flowers were beginning to bloom,

IMG_3751As well a butterflies being seen flying low over the ground, landing and feeding on the clover that was in bloom.

IMG_3749Black Swallowtail

As the morning wore into the afternoon Gary parted ways after almost 3 hours of birding. And for Jon and myself it was time to make our way to the Oxbow to see if it was passable for car traffic. Much to our surprise the water levels were lower than anticipated, so we made our way into the park. We watched as 2 Bald Eagles played and Blue-winged Teal feed along sky pools. A few wading birds were seen but nothing that made our hearts jump. It’s been rather a disappointing year for wading birds.

IMG_3755This Eastern Kingbird was so cooperative as I drove ever so close so as to get parallel to it and get it’s picture.

IMG_3756Blocking my way was this Turkey Vulture that was feasting on this dead fish in the middle of the road. As I crept closer in my car trying to get a better angle to get this picture, it dropped the fish and flew off, only to return later after it circled in the air.

At the overlook for Oxbow Lake we scanned through the trees to try and locate this group of white dots on the other side of the trees in this flooded field. Sitting on the long stretch of grass were these 2 Caspian Terns. First of the year birds.

IMG_2484The ones on the far left and right are the birds in question. I only wish they were a little closer, but they are Caspian Terns.

Both days we had some very good birds, and since I’m including both days into one blog post, it only seems logical that I include both list of birds into one. So without further ado:

Notable birds for both days include:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Pied-billed Grebe
  3. Blue-winged Teal
  4. Green-winged Teal
  5. Mallard
  6. Wood Duck
  7. Double-creasted Cormorant
  8. Great Blue Heron
  9. Turkey Vulture
  10. Black Vulture
  11. Wild Turkey
  12. Bald Eagle
  13. Red-tailed Hawk
  14. Cooper’s Hawk
  15. Broad-winged Hawk
  16. Pigeon
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Killdeer
  19. Spotted Sandpiper
  20. Lesser Yellowleg
  21. Pileated Woodpecker
  22. Downy Woodpecker
  23. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  24. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  25. Northern Flicker
  26. Belted Kingfisher
  27. Tree Swallow
  28. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  29. Cliff Swallow
  30. Bank Swallow
  31. Barn Swallow
  32. Chimney Swift
  33. House Wren
  34. Carolina Wren
  35. Baltimore Oriole
  36. Orchard Oriole
  37. Blue Jay
  38. Carolina Chickadee
  39. Tufted Titmouse
  40. Northern Cardinal
  41. American Robin
  42. Eastern Towhee
  43. American Crow
  44. Common Grackle
  45. Brown-headed Cowbird
  46. Red-winged Black Bird
  47. Brown Thrasher
  48. Wood Thrush
  49. House Sparrow
  50. Swamp Sparrow
  51. Song Sparrow
  52. White-crowned Sparrow
  53. White-throated Sparrow
  54. Field Sparrow
  55. Chipping Sparrow
  56. Indigo Bunting
  57. Eastern Meadowlark
  58. Horned Lark
  59. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  60. Eastern Phoebe
  61. American Goldfinch
  62. Ring-billed Gull
  63. Caspian Tern
  64. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  65. Common Yellowthroat
  66. Yellow-throated Warbler
  67. Blue-winged Warbler
  68. Protonotary Warbler
  69. Prairie Warbler
  70. Pine Warbler
  71. Northern Parula
  72. Palm Warbler
  73. Warbling Vireo
  74. Yellow-throated Vireo
  75. White-eyed Vireo
  76. Cerulean Warbler
  77. American Redstart
  78. Yellow Warbler
  79. Eastern Bluebird
  80. White-breasted Nuthatch
  81. European Starling