Notes From The Field

Lost Bridge, Oxbow, Shaker Trace Wetlands, & Cincinnati Zoo Wetlands

As with all skills you learn the more you use these skills the better you’re going to become. And if you don’t use these skills don’t be surprised that sometimes even the simplest task becomes difficult. The same can be said about birding. With everything going on right now the chance to go birding has been rather elusive.

Spring was rather a bust when it comes to shorebirds in this part of Ohio, so Jon and myself were due for an all day shorebird hunt. And it started this last Wednesday when Jon called and wanted to see if I’d join him at the Cincinnati Zoo Wetlands. Migration is in full swing and with nothing better to do that evening I said yes.

Having been there a number of times I’ve usually birded from the side of the road well off the edge so drivers can see me. However with all the vegetation growth it’s no longer feasible to see the water and the mudflats that border the edge. So we walked to higher ground for a better look.

IMG_2880 IMG_2879As you can see from these 2 pictures that it’s pretty flat and this rise in the ground offers a look down onto the only body of water with sizable mudflats. And the birds were plentiful.

There were plenty of shorebirds as we started to scan from our high ground. Killdeers were by far the most numerous shorebird, followed by Least Sandpipers. Both Semipalmated Plovers and Sandpipers were present along with Solitary and Pectoral Sandpipers. Throw in a few Lesser Yellowlegs and you get the picture of what we were seeing.

Today however we decided to do a Western Hamilton county trip and hit some of the best spots recently for shorebirds. The funny thing was that no one told the shorebirds to be there as well.

Starting at Lost Bridge and areas in the same vicinity we were pretty much skunked. There was a Lesser Yellowleg here. A Least Sandpiper there. But nothing you could sink your teeth into. The same area that was giving us Buff-breasted and Upland Sandpipers was empty. So we moved to another location, which ended with the same result. So we drove from Lost Bridge, to the Oxbow, then to Shaker Trace Wetlands, then to Listermann’s Brewery for a beer and to come up with a better strategy.

After our thirsts were quenched, we decided to head over to Jon’s house where he would drive his truck over to the Zoo Wetlands again, and I would follow. Even though our thirsts were satisfied, our unquenchable desire for some shorebirds was not. And this time we were coming at the pond from a different angle so we could get the best views possible. And we did.

IMG_2890 IMG_2886Some pretty nice close-up looks at a least Sandpiper.

IMG_2899Solitary Sandpiper

IMG_2902Lesser Yellowleg

Even though it wasn’t a very hot day, the humidity was wearing us down as the clock approached 5 o’clock. There still will be plenty of opportunities to get out into the field during fall migration, and hopefully it will be sooner than later.

Notable birds seen include:

  1. Red-headed Woodpecker
  2. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  3. Double-creasted Cormorant
  4. Great Egret
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Pectoral Sandpiper
  7. Least Sandpiper
  8. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  9. Spotted Sandpiper
  10. Killdeer
  11. Semipalmated Plover
  12. Solitary Sandpiper
  13. Green Heron
  14. Turky Vulture
  15. Red-tailed Hawk
  16. Red-shouldered Hawk
  17. American Goldfinch
  18. Song Sparrow
  19. Field Sparrow
  20. Indigo Bunting
  21. Northern Cardinal
  22. American Robin
  23. Brown-headed Cowbird
  24. Common Grackle
  25. Red-winged Blackbird
  26. Northern Mockingbird
  27. Eastern Towhee
  28. Common Yellowthroat
  29. Yellow Warbler
  30. Northern Flicker
  31. Wood Ducks
  32. Mallard
  33. Barn Swallow
  34. Bank Swallow
  35. Cliff Swallow
  36. Purple Martin
  37. Cedar Waxwing
  38. Eastern meadowlark
  39. Dickcissel
  40. Common Crow
  41. Mourning Dove
  42. White-breasted Nuthatch
  43. Carolina Chickadee
  44. Horned Lark
  45. Eastern Kingbird
  46. Belted Kingfisher
  47. Gray Catbird
  48. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  49. House Wren
  50. Carolina Wren
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