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.


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

One response to “Notes From The Field

  1. I’ve yet to see a Kingbird- shouldn’t be long now!

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