Saturday was so beautiful in the Ohio Valley with bright blue sky and intense sunlight that the glare was almost too much as Jon and myself were trying to make out a lone Greater White-fronted Goose out of the thousands of Canadian Geese at Grand Valley. Unlike today which is so cold I’m debating not chasing the Glaucous Gull sighted near Dayton. But that’s another story.
Jon sent me a message Friday evening asking if I was going out on Saturday. He had said that he was joining up with a group that was doing the East Fork State Park Christmas Count, so this came as a nice surprise. So I meet at his house at 7:30 in the morning and hit the road. Today we were going to cover pretty much the same ground we surveyed during the Christmas count we did just a week earlier. Turnover in the Little Miami River Valley is a constant during the Winter and both a White-winged Scoter and Greater White-fronted Goose were both seen just the day before.
Grand valley was the first place that we went to in hopes of adding the two aforementioned birds and any more that I needed for my January count.
All those little specks are either Canadian Geese of other species of ducks. An amongst all of these is one GWFG.
We set up our scopes and we both started on either end of the flock and started the pain staking task of scanning all the geese (who for the majority were still asleep with their heads tucked) for this one goose. And while doing this trying to pick up a Scoter with all the other diving ducks, which were quite a few as well.
It wasn’t till we meet up with another birder friend who told use that he saw the goose from the top of the hill overlooking the flock. So after exhausting any hope of seeing from lake level, we were off to an area outside the gate that gives a great view of this part of the lake. So we set up again and started to scan. Then the geese got agitated, as small groups started to take off. It was Jon who said the GWFG was up. I tried desperately trying to get my bins on it, until I finally saw it as it flew away. A really good bird for around here.
The rest of the day was spent traveling around hitting all the hot spots. Gravel pits, private lakes, and parks. It was at one such small lake that we got lucky again with both Tundra Swan and Snow Goose.
Even though their numbers are greatly reduced during the Winter, Double-creasted Cormorants can still be found. This one was at a marina down near where the Little Miami and Ohio River meet.
We added significant numbers to our day count as well to my January list. Some very common birds are still needed and with any luck I’ll be able to pick them up without too much effort. Will I make 100 species? I hope so.
New birds for the January list include:
- Greater White-fronted Goose
- Mute Swan ( 3 Swan species so far this year)
- Snow Goose ( my 4th goose species this year)
- Hooded Merganser
- Greater Scaup
- Lesser Scaup
- Hermit Thrush
- Common Grackle
- Ruddy Duck
- American Wigeon
- Common Goldeneye
- Northern Shoveler
- Brown Creeper
- American Tree Sparrow
- Wood Duck
- Northern Harrier
- American kestrel
- White-crowned Sparrow
- Great Blue Heron
- Double-creasted Cormorant
- Northern Flicker
Total so far is 66 species.