Caesar Creek State Nature Preserve
It’s been hot here in the Ohio Valley. Real Hot! The unrelenting sun and the oppressive humidity can take a pleasant activity like bird watching and turn it into a sweaty struggle. And to make matters worse I forgot and took my bug repellent out of the car. However I was determined today, and despite the countless spider webs I walked through Caesar Creek State Nature Preserve is my go to spot for Louisiana Waterthrush.
Located down stream from Caesar Creek Dam this riparian corridor supports all sorts of wildlife as well as a great selection of wildflowers. A 2.25 mile loop trail is by far the best way to experience the gorge with it’s 180 foot cliffs that were cut by glacial actions. On the portion of the trail I’m using this morning the trail parallels the Little Miami River as Sycamore, Hickory, Oak and Beech Trees tower overhead.
About 1/2 mile into my hike the trail closes in on the river, so there’s only a few feet between the trail and water’s edge. This is where I heard the first Louisiana Waterthrush. It sang for countless minutes never showing itself. The purpose of this trip was try to get a decent photograph of the bird, and it looked like it was going to be a harder than expected.
I moved further down the trail, then off trail to a location that always held multiple birds in the past. It’s at this location the river splits and forms a small island where on the quieter side the Waterthrush tend to hang out.
Louisiana Waterthrush return year after year and breed in this area, however this prime spot came up dry and I climbed back off the river bank and make my way back to the main trail and to where I heard them earlier.
As the morning waned into the afternoon it grew hotter and even more humid. Even though I was out of the sun I was drenched with sweat. But I quickly forgot about my own misery when more than Waterthrush started to sing. This time closer.
He moved which gave me a better view. The one thing I noticed was when they were singing they would hold still. And when they weren’t singing, well… they could be anywhere. They were constantly moving around me and trying to locate them through the trees was really difficult.
One finally lighted across the river from me on a branch down by the water’s edge. Sorry for the poor quality of the photo.
Growing weary of the chase, and irritated of the bugs flying around my face I called it quits for the day around 12:30. As I was walking out a Wood Thrush sang out, which echoed throughout the gorge. I took a deep beath and blew it out. My favorite bird wishing me a good day.