Daily Archives: September 4, 2013

Notes From The Field

I need a vacation!

With the continuation of major work projects on my house, i.e. foundation work, window replacement, and wallpaper stripping and re-painting of my bedroom, little or no time is being spent on any leisure activity.

I need a vacation. Now!

However this last Saturday Kathy and myself headed to the little arts community of Yellow Springs Ohio, and specifically to Glen Helen Nature Preserve for a little hiking with a touch of bird watching. As it turns out it was more hiking than bird watching.

Glen Helen Preserve is a 1,000 acre piece of paradise owned and operated by Antioch College. The bulk of the preserve was donated by Hugh Taylor Burch (who was an Alum of Antioch), in memory of his daughter Helen. As the years rolled along more and more acreage was either donated or acquired by the college until it reached the 1,000 acres that it is today. And according to their web site, it has 250 miles of hiking trails through some of the most scenic landscapes in this part of Ohio.


Thick forests cover the majority of Glen Helen, so birding by ear was the best way to go. late summer wanderings under the canopy of a deciduous forest from a birders point of view can be pretty boring when it comes to varieties of species. Granted fall migration for warblers is on right now, but none were heard, or even seen for that matter.

IMG_2969The visitors center looks like it just belongs here, nestled in with these lush settings.

IMG_2971An old, dilapidated dam.

A Pileated Woodpecker calls overhead. Sharp, and unmistakable call. Then it starts to drill a tree, loud and echoing through the gorge.

IMG_2972The Grotto

Carolina Chickadees forage and call from up high. Twittering wildly as they dance from tree to tree. 

IMG_2973The famous “Yellow Spring” where the town derives it’s name from. Legend has it that Tecumseh drank from these very waters. As did I.

A White-breasted Nuthatch “toots” as it navigates the circumference of a nearby tree.

IMG_2980Cascades on Birch Creek

Jays and Crows call from above the forest as their voices reach you far below the cliff edge, as you stand besides a slow moving woodland stream.


An early sign of Autumn as a light breeze loosens early yellowing leaves as they drift to the forest floor.

A quick “peet-sah” from the left side of the trail. Somewhere back in the shadows a Acadian Flycatcher awaits.

Birds can few and far between this time of year, especially in this type of ecosystem. However your senses do come alive as you strain to discern a given bird sound. Even though I took my bins with me on this trip, maybe next time I’ll leave them at home and try this again just using my ears and the naked eyes.

However all is not lost when it comes to birding this Autumn. So after all the work is done o the house, we’re off to the Smokey Mountains for a few days, then a short 7 hour drive to Hilton Head once again. And nothing beats doing some coastal birding to get the juices flowing. And after we get back it’s off to Ottawa N.W.R. for one of the auto tours with Jon and company.

So there’s better birding awaiting me as the Summer of 2013 wanes, and my favorite time of year begins. Autumn!