Notes From The Field

Caesar Creek S.P.

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and this last weekend was one of those glorious Autumn weekends even though it is technically still Summer. While finishing up with dinner Sunday evening I decided I needed to go birding.

Gathering up my spotting scope and bins I turned the bird-mobile North and headed up Ohio Route 22 & 3. After 10 minutes of driving the landscape changes and the sky takes on that early evening Autumnal grayish blue hue. The clouds had such texture and fullness as the setting sun just deepened the colors.

Soybean fields are taking on the golden yellow color, as the fall corn crop browns on the stalks and rattles at a passing breeze. I turn off the radio and open all the windows, including the moon roof to let in as much nature that it could hold. Leaves were just starting to show some color as the road winds and dips between Morrow and Wilmington.

Even though I didn’t have a lot of time to go birding I thought that checking out the mud flats at the far northern point of Caesar Creek Lake would be the best place to go with the limited time I had.

Mound Road is a quiet road with with several dozen homes built around it. It’s the type of neighborhood where you’d like to raise your children in. All the yards back up to one another, and you know the neighbors by their first names. The kind of neighborhood where you can find one or two cars left unlocked all night and not have to worry about someone stealing it.

Mound Road eventually ends. The asphalt becomes one that’s been taken care of, to stuff that needs more than sealer to fix. This part is owned by the state, and traffic is either birdwatchers, park rangers/ park maintenance, or for people looking for a quiet, out of the way place to party.

A worn turn around is where I leave the bird-mobile as I unload my spotting scope and sling on my bins. Clipping my digiscoping camera to my belt I thought was a futile gesture, but I did have my fingers crossed for something good. The walk back is a few hundred yards and being late in the day it was real quiet. Insect from the thick brush were beginning to chirp, as a Northern Cardinal called it’s familiar “chip” note. An Eastern Phoebe perches as it starts to show the yellowish wash on it’s belly as they do in the fall. Even with hardly any rain in some time the ground holds so much moisture as I approach the lake edge. You have to sneak up to the edge of the water. So many times I’ve scared off Bald Eagles, Osprey and other nice birds because the trail takes you to the very edge where they love to hang out over the exposed mud that forms as the lake level recedes.

And I did it again! A Great Blue and Green Heron notice my approach and take to the wing. A few Great Egrets take off leaving about 6 others behind. I set up my scope and start to scan the rather small mud flat for movement. Loads of Killdeer, naturally. Several Spotted and 1 lone Pectoral Sandpiper were the only wading birds. I scan the dead tress left standing in the water and spot a Belted Kingfisher waiting to dive onto some small fish. The Killdeer and Sandpipers scatter as a Coopers Hawk glides over the area heightening the tension in this otherwise quiet location.

Time passes as the darkening skies make for difficult observations. It’s time to move on. Sometimes even if I can only get a few hours of birding a week lately is better than nothing. And with vacation just days away I’m sure I will make up for the lack of birding lately.

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2 responses to “Notes From The Field

  1. Prashant Balwally

    Hello, I was kayaking (am kind of a beginner) at Caesars Creek yesterday (10/11/2013) afternoon and admired a lot of turkey vultures, and of course a lot of blue herons who are especially skittish. Was curious about other birds (am even more of a beginner about birds but have always been interested) and thought I would google birds in Caesars creek and came upon your blog. Thanks for posting re the kinds of birds that can be seen at Caesars Creek .. I will keep looking for them. Am hoping to see hawks and maybe even eagles and ospreys there. If there is a ideal time (season, time-of-day) for seeing these, please let me know.

    • Prashant, thanks for replying to my blog. Right now water levels might start to be lowered and some of the mud flats are going to open up near the Young’s Road boat ramp. So shorebirds and sandpipers could be plentiful. Both species of Yellowlegs, Least and Stilt Sandpipers. Pectoral Sandpipers as well. Always be on the lookout for Bald Eagles and Osprey. Osprey will leave during colder weather and not return till spring. As the weather gets colder prepare for Loons and all the different ducks.
      I hope this helps. Contact me again if you have any more questions.

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