Notes From The Field

Cincinnati Nature Center

As a birder watcher I can reel off from memory all the places around the tri-state area where I go birding. And with it being the beginning of Spring I tend to narrow down my choices to a few prime locations where migrants show up. And Rowe Woods at the Cincinnati Nature Center isn’t one of them. Encompassing 1,025 acres, with 65 of them being old growth forest, one would think that it would be a great place to go birding. And with 16 miles of well groomed, award winning trails I’ve seen the bird lists that come out of there when birding groups visit. Very impressive.

And it’s not like I’ve not been there before. On the contrary, my daughter was married there and I can attest that it’s a beautiful place. So what was the reason why I don’t bird there? Well, you have to be a member. And if you’re not a member it’s $9.00 admission. First, I didn’t want to become a member because I didn’t think I would get my moneys worth. When you pay for a yearly membership you feel committed to visit so you can feel like you’ve not wasted your money. And to just go for the day $9.00 seems a bit too much. Call me a tight wad, but that’s how I feel. Why pay to go birding, when I can go for free elsewhere.

That was until my wife , while hiking with her hiking group at Rowe Woods, bought a years membership. So this last Saturday, before the crowds, we drove to the Cincinnati Nature Center so she could go hiking with her group, and I can wander around an do some birding.

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The air was cool as the sun rose and started to warm. Early frost was still clinging to the millions of Daffodils and all the other wild flowers that carpeted the forest floor. The birds were waking up as well as Tufted Titmouse were the dominate birds today.

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This trip also gave me an excuse to try my hand at macro photography. Like today birds were rather sparse, so if I came across a pretty looking flower, I’d get on my belly and see what this camera can do.

Now don’t take me wrong, this blog isn’t going to turning away from the birds, however unlike my wife who’s busy hiking through nature, I’m absorbing it at all levels. From the tree tops to the fungus growing under a log.

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I will admit that this place is beautiful. The trails were well marked and with the free trail map it was impossible to get lost. But the Daffodils! They were everywhere. Hugh clumps grew over the hill sides and along the trails. It was really spectacular. Almost unreal…IMG_4349

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As a wandered along the trails that lead me back to the parking lot I couldn’t get this feeling out of my head. This place is so manicured it feels unreal. It doesn’t feel natural. I’ve birded in loads of places throughout my bird watching career, and I’ve never been to a place like this before. And I completely understand why have more than 150,000 visitors each year. Great educational programs, with a visitors center that is unbelievable, I will return.

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IMG_4372Rowe Woods is dotted with several ponds, and the Red-winged Blackbirds were busy building nests and protecting their territory.

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Birding was so-so. I feel migrants are starting to trickle into the area, but today.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Mourning Dove
  2. Red-shouldered Hawk
  3. Cooper’s hawk
  4. Turkey Vulture
  5. Tufted Titmouse
  6. Eastern Towhee
  7. Song Sparrow
  8. Chipping Sparrow
  9. Field Sparrow
  10. White-throated Sparrow
  11. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  12. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  13. Downy Woodpecker
  14. Hairy Woodpecker
  15. Northern Flicker
  16. Carolina Chickadee
  17. Northern Cardinal
  18. Canada Goose
  19. Blue Jay
  20. Eastern Phoebe
  21. White-breasted Nuthatch
  22. American Robin
  23. Carolina Wren
  24. Dark-eyed Junco
  25. Red-winged Blackbird
  26. Brown-headed Cowbird
  27. American Goldfinch
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