If only I could be awoken by the song of the Wood Thrush, then I think life itself would almost be perfect.
It’s song is soft, melodic, a woodland flute.
The Wood Thrush marks the beginning and the end of each day as it’s song never wavers.
With the return each spring these beautiful birds returns my soul and slows my pace as I wander in the forest.
With some birds, we work to remember their particular song…
but the Wood Thrush is forever in me.
Back in the summer of 1998, the city of Loveland Ohio cut the ribbon on a new 21 acre nature preserve bordering O’Bannon Creek, a tributary for the Little Miami River. And for the last 19 years this little gem right in the heart of Historic Loveland has almost become a forgotten spot for the birding community. I’m one of the guilty considering how I close I do live, with this being just my 3rd, or 4th time I’ve birded this nice patch of woodlands. So with an evening free with some unusally warm weather I ventured forth for a spot of birding.
For being such a small wooded lot, when you’re by yourself it instantly becomes larger than the 21 acres. I really didn’t know what to expect, but neither was I surprised by the birds I discovered. However when you go birding in the evening birds on a whole sytart to quiet down a little. Northern Cardinals, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouses, American Robins were the most vocal. Even when I sit on my own front porch in the evening these birds are the most vocal.
This is a well maintained nature preserve through volunteer efforts by both the Boy Scouts and local groups. the trails are well marked and mulched with signage throughout the preserve telling you where your located. A wooden bird blind with feeders is always nice to checkout even if the feeders were empty tonight.
A Cooper’s Hawk flies just ahead and above me, and lands quietly in a nearby tree. I pause to watch to see if a ambush is coming. The hawk seems content just to wait, but I wasn’t and moved on.
An Eastern Towhee catches my eye in the thick undergrowth. I “pished” a few times to see if it would pop out for a photo. Silly human.
As I walked the trail that parallels O’Bannon Creek I finally hear a Wood Warbler. An ascending trill with a hiccup at the end. Now I don’t know about you but when early spring arrives this is the time to dust off my warbler songs and reacquaint myself with these beautiful birds, especially before I head off for Magee Marsh in May. More and more species are arriving all the time and birding by ear for these warblers is key for proper identification when their foraging out of sight.
I stopped and waited for it to sing again. Northern Parula. I felt so stupid.
If you’ve been around birding or birders for any length of time. you may have noticed this abbreviation, FOS, or First Of the Season. Normally seen during Spring migration as birds either pass through an area or stay to nest, yesterday I had several FOS as Jon and myself set out into the field.
As much as I tried to get any photo of birds yesterday, it turned out to be pretty futile. They were either too far away, unseen, or moving too much to get any picture. So a quick run down of my FOS from areas in and around the Tri-State including Shawnee Lookout Park, Lost Bridge, and Kilby Road Park.
- Warbling Vireo
- Semi-palmated Plover
- Palm Warbler
- Prothonotary Warbler
- Yellow Warbler
- Northern Parula
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
- House Wren
It was a beautiful Sunday. Much like Spring’s in the past it started out on the cool side, and as the sun rose even higher into the sky, so did the temps. The Ohio Valley is really beginning to shed its’ Winter bareness with more flowers blooming every week. My own yard work is starting to ramp up as bushes need to be pruned back and dead branches picked up in the yard before I mow. Plus the vegetable garden needs to be tilled and prepped before any seed hits the soil. As busy as folks get this time of year, there’s always time to get in a little birding before the yard work consumes the rest of the daylight.
One of my favorite parks to go birding is Magrish Preserve. This small preserve borders the Little Miami River just upstream from the confluence with the Ohio River, and can really be a good migrant trap. With all the recent rain we’ve had the Little Miami River has left its banks and a good portion of the park in under water. So I’m on high ground doing some casual birding as I stroll around the area trying to keep my feet dry.
Surprisingly it’s pretty quiet. I approach a group of 3 or 4 Cedar trees and I start to notice a group of 6 Golden-crowned Kinglets feeding on the berries. I become entranced with the Kinglets and spent a good portion of my time just watching these hyperactive little birds.
Now this next picture isn’t of a Golden-crowned Kinglet, however while I was at California Woods after leaving Magrish Preserve, the annual Eastern Pheobe pair were putting on quite a show. This may be be my best photo this year so far.