For a number of years now, at least since I’ve started taking pictures of birds, the American Kestrel has been one of those birds I’ve not had a lot of luck with. The smallest of the North Americas falcon species I see them all the time. Around where I live you’ll see them on electrical lines overlooking farm land. Now it’s one thing to see them from the quiet confines of your car, and it’s another to sneak up on foot to get a picture. They typically fly away if anyone gets close.
Today I was visiting Fernald Preserve to check out the ponds for waterfowl. And while I was driving through the preserve I noticed a American kestrel teed up on a small tree with the sun hitting it almost perfectly. So I pulled my car over and crept closer trying to get a good angle on the Kestrel. Now if I was on foot I never would have been able to get close, but being in a car awarded me with some really good looks.
While at Caesar Creek State Park yesterday I was scanning the lake from various locations to see if any waterfowl was starting to show up. For the most part all the action was centered around all the Bonaparte’s Gulls as they hovered over the lake as Common Loons stirred up all the little bait fish.
My last stop was a boat ramp and what caught my eye were all the American Pipits feeding along the edge. I was able to pull close with my car and snap off a few pretty nice shots.
The First time I visited Highland County to search for the Henslow’s Sparrows a week or so ago I couldn’t have been more pleased with the number and ease which the sparrows could be observed. Walking along this one lane country road with Henslow’s singing from both sides of you was an experience I’ve not felt since they breed at Voice of America Park a long time ago. Once you tune your hearing for their small “hic-cup” song the easier it is to locate them. And wanting to experience that again, this last Wednesday I made my way back to Highland County, and this time i was going later in the day so the sun would be more to my advantage as I intended to shoot more pictures.
If you compare the photos from my last blog entry, and these new photos you’ll notice the difference as the sun was higher in the sky then in my face. Needless to say I had a ball wandering the edge of these fields creeping up on these amazing birds.
One of the most challenging species of birds to identify by both beginner and expert alike are the Sparrows. For so many birders they’re no more than little brown birds that if you can’t identify right off or get a good view of, they just pass it by without making any kind of effort. I myself have been guilty of this in the past, but over the years I’ve grown to love these birds and to put more effort into this class of birds more than others. As a matter of fact one of my favorite field guides concerning Sparrows is “The Sparrows of the United States and Canada”, By James D. Rising and David D. Beadle.
According to the latest version of the Sibley App there are 38 Old and New World Sparrow species in North America. For myself, I have 26 on my current life list. And with the return of summer I always look forward to the return of a few of Sparrows we can find on the rural back country road of Ohio. Namely the Grasshopper and Henslow Sparrows.
Tracking down these birds took my last Friday to rural Highland County just south of Rocky Fork State Park. On a quite 1 lane country road I wandered as Henslow Sparrows sang from both sides of the road.
One of my new pet projects is to collect the Warbler photos I’ve taken over the years, delete the bad ones and store the average to above average ones in a new album on my Flickr page. The recent posting of my Prairie Warbler photos was the first in the hopes of getting decent shots to fill in the many blanks.
If you’re interested in my Warbler Album on Flickr, the link is below.
So yesterday I decided to head off to a local park where Louisiana Waterthrush can be common in the Spring. The park has a trail that cuts through a gorge with a nice flowing stream which is perfect. It was pretty quiet as I approached the area where they’ve been spotted recently. I hear their familiar song first. Now the tough part, locating the bird.
It takes several minutes before I’m able to get on the bird, then move into position to snap off dozens of shots before settling on this one.
As I was about to leave for the day and head home I decided to check my local birding Facebook page to see what’s going on. Well it turns out Ellis Lake has a Wilson’s Phalarope and 2 Cattle Egrets. So off I go.
The birds in question weren’t either in the lake, they were in the agricultural field that was partially flooded from all the rain, and the fact that the area sits in a real low lying area that’s prone to floods. The park sits so low that bordering the park sits the ancient remains of the Miami-Erie Canal.
Well the cattle Egrets were pretty easy to tick off.
Now the Wilson’s Phalarope was another matter all together. From what I gathered from other birders was that an eagle flew overhead and scattered the flock of wading birds and moved them all further away and a little more difficult to observe. So trekking out into the muddy and through standing water i was able to get some terrible photos of a great bird.