Tag Archives: Fly Ash Pond

Notes From The Field

Magrish Riverland Preserve, California Woods, Fly Ash Pong, Ellis Lake, Zoo Farm

The forecast called for rain later on today around dinner time, so with Kathy and David at work, and Ethan spending some time with a friend in Springfield Ohio, it was no better time to get some early morning birding done before the rain came.

With the tremendous luck Jon and I had last Saturday at Shawnee Lookout I needed to see if the Warblers were still as plentiful. Traffic was light as I made my way down I-71 towards my first stop for the day, Magrish Riverland Preserve. 

Seasonal flooding can make this park almost impassable along some of the lower trails, however today the trails were open and the song birds were active as I pulled into the parking lot. And it’s from this parking lot that some of the best birding can be found. Prothonotary Warblers breed here and are always a delight as flashes of yellow catch the corner of your eye. 2 early Blackpoll Warblers were singing and giving some decent views from the parking lot as well. I meet a friend of a friend who is also a birder, so we hooked up for about 30 minutes. After which he left to take care of some work and I made my way slowly through the park and back towards my car for the short 3 minute drive to my next stop. California Woods and my hopes of catching a Louisiana Waterthrush.

At 113 acres this little gem within the confines for Cincinnati offers some great birding. It has some very nice hiking trails and a stream which attracts the Waterthrush. I normally just stick close to the road and the stream where the most activity is. However today I decided to take a hike and enjoy the solitude of the woods.

IMG_3757The beginning of Trillium Trail

The wild flowers were in bloom as I made my way up the trail to the top of the ridge, where it winds about and then slowly descends.



Vireos and Gnatcatchers were keeping me company as fewer and fewer Warblers were seen, let alone heard. The trees were really leafing out making it harder to see anything in the canopy.

After reaching the bottom I started to walk back towards my car. Across from where I parked there is this small open area where birds will sometimes feed making it easier to see them. A bridge spans the stream and terminates at this open area. That’s when I heard the Waterthrush. It was staying one step ahead of me as I chased it down the stream towards the entrance to the park. It finally came to rest long enough for me to snap this poor photo.

IMG_3768He’s right in the center with this leaf blocking it’s head.

Now I’m happy. And with that recent addition to my year list it was time to head off North to my next stop, Ellis Lake. However on the way I made a quick stop at this series of small, fenced in ponds that local birders call “Fly Ash Pond”. They’re not very nice to look at and because it has a fence around might be a good thing. Who knows what could be growing in there. But it can be a hot spot for birds, and today it was for me, because out of the corner of my eye a flash of blue zipped by and perched on the fence. My first thought was Indigo Bunting. But being my lucky day it turns out to be a Blue Grosbeak.

IMG_2514A truly sad picture, but one where you can use it to ID the bird.

Happy once again with yet another new bird for the year I drove up the highway towards Ellis Lake to see if any more shore birds were there. With the afternoon wearing on and chores facing me when I get home this stop and the next were short. A small flock of Least Sandpipers were seen feeding along the edge of one of the larger sky pools that dotted the field at Ellie Lake. More wading birds were there than has been in the past few visits, so maybe things will turn around especially with this coming rain.

My last quick stop was the Cincinnati Zoo Farm near my home. Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpipers were the only wading birds here, so after scanning the ponds for about 30 minutes I made my way home and the impending mowing of the lawn.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Turkey Vulture
  2. Red-tailed Hawk
  3. Cooper’s Hawk
  4. Northern Parula
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Blackpoll Warbler
  7. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  8. Prothonotary arbler
  9. Common Yellowthroat
  10. Louisiana Waterthrush
  11. Palm Warbler
  12. Pine Warbler
  13. Yellow-throated Vireo
  14. Red-eyed Vireo
  15. Warbling Vireo
  16. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  17. Chipping Sparrow
  18. Field Sparrow
  19. White-throated Sparrow
  20. Swamp Sparrow
  21. Song Sparrow
  22. Gray Catbird
  23. Northern Cardinal
  24. Carolina Chickadee
  25. Tufted Titmouse
  26. American Robin
  27. American Goldfinch
  28. Mourning Dove
  29. Blue Jay
  30. Indigo Bunting
  31. Carolina Wren House Wren
  32. Pileated Woodpecker
  33. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  34. Downy Woodpecker
  35. Northern Flicker
  36. Brown Thrasher
  37. Blue Grosbeak
  38. White-breasted Nuthatch
  39. Eastern Towhee
  40. Canada Goose
  41. Great Blue Heron
  42. Killdeer
  43. Common Grackle
  44. Red-winged Black Bird
  45. Solitary Sandpiper
  46. Pectoral Sandpiper
  47. Spotted sandpiper
  48. Least Sandpiper
  49. Greater Yellowleg
  50. Lesser Yellowleg
  51. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  52. Mallard
  53. Wood Duck
  54. Blue-winged Teal
  55. Eastern Phoebe

Notes From The Field

Fly Ash Pond/ Magrish Riverlands Preserve/ Armleder Park

I needed to go birding and with the beautiful weather we’ve had these past few days I was still undecided where to go. A text from Jon saying that he was going to bird locally made up my mind. We were going to meet at Fly Ash Pond to check on any wading shorebirds.

I’m not sure what the purpose of Fly Ash Pond is, or why it has a chain link fence surrounding it, however it does have a reputation of attracting some good shorebirds. Located next to Luken Airport, and easily accessed via a gravel path leading from a parking  near the bike path, I arrived first despite the best efforts of rush hour to slow me up. There wasn’t too much action until I laid eyes on  a smallest sandpiper with a longish bill that gave the appearance of a slight droop at the end. As I was trying to rule out all the possibilities Jon walks up, he sights in the bird, and says that looks like a Western Sandpiper. Which was what I thought in the first place but didn’t want to commit until Jon showed up. As with all good things it flew over to another part of the pond where we lost it.

I was there for over an hour when we decided it was time to change locations. Magrish was next. 5 minutes later were in the parking lot scanning the trees that border the lot. Magrish Riverlands Preserve can be a hit or miss place. The majority of the time it’s a miss, and the feeling that we were going to have a repeat was quickly dispelled as I noticed a large bird, brown over a white un-streaked belly high up in the trees feeding. Cuckoo! But which one. I had to get Jon on it in case he had a better angle. Black-billed Cuckoo. We get them in our area, but they’re not as common as their Yellow-billed cousins. Things were looking up as we came upon a small group of Tennessee Warblers. We watched closely in case there were other species of warblers with them. It was about this time that Jon received a phone call from his friend he works with. Jon had told me about his friend previously who is new to the area and that he’s sort of a beginner to birding. Well he’s going to join us. As we continue to bird waiting for Jason (that’s the guys name) we come across another small pocket of Tennessee Warblers, however this time there is a Canada Warbler with them. Very cool, one of my favorites.

Jason finally joins up with us and we continue to cover Magrish. That’s when Magrish let’s a person down. It got pretty quiet. The group consensus was move on to Armleder before it gets too dark.

Here’s another place where I’ve not been since the Spring. We drove over and parked in the Southern part where Duck Creek flows into the Little Miami River. My knee was starting to ache a little and walking on level, paved ground was what I needed. Chimney Swifts were everywhere. Hundreds of them covering the sky feeding on insects as they dart6ed back and forth across the sky. Then occasionally we’d spot a Common Nighthawk as more and more of them are showing up in good numbers as they migrate through.

It was a great night birding with Jon and Jason. Good company. Good conversation. Good Birds. All we needed was some beer.

Notable birds for the evening include:

  1. Western Sandpiper
  2. Spotted Sandpiper
  3. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  4. Black-crowned Night Heron
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Green Heron
  7. Killdeer
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Cedar Waxwing
  10. Blue-gray gnatcatcher
  11. Downy Woodpecker
  12. Carolina Chickadee
  13. Tufted Titmouse
  14. Tennessee Warbler
  15. Canada warbler
  16. Black-billed Cuckoo
  17. Northern cardinal
  18. Brown Thrasher
  19. Carolina Wren
  20. Indigo Bunting
  21. Chimney Swift Barn Swallow
  22. Common Nighthawk
  23. Wood Duck
  24. Gray Catbird
  25. Eastern Kingbird
  26. B-17 Flying Fortress (on display at Lunken Airport)

Notes From The Field

Armleder Park & Lunken Sewage Treatment Ponds (A.K.A. Fly Ash Pond)

It’s been sometime since I’ve gone out birding during the week. There’s either stuff going on, or I’m too tired from work. So what sparked my interest was all the shore bird action going on over at Armleder Park, and by the sewage treatment ponds near Lunken Airport. And since my friend Jonathan lives minutes away from there, he’s the one doing most of the postings. So I made plans to meet him at 7pm last night.

The parking lot where I was meeting him at, also is used for the bike/hike trail that circles the airport. A gravel path leads back towards a chain link enclosure with a locked gate. On the other side were 2 sizable ponds with the one closest to us being the most active with birds. It wasn’t much to look at, so I decided not to take a picture of the pond. And anyway I would have to shoot through the fence, so it wouldn’t have turned out decent anyway.

It seemed that most of the action was on the farthest side so spotting scopes were a must. Wood Ducks were plentiful and we were able to spot a rather small Green Heron rookery with several juveniles still around with some adults. The sun was so low, which made the lighting for pictures of the Green Heron nest almost impossible to shoot. However we moved to a different location so we could get a closer look at some small peeps when I was finally able to get a few shots off. So with uneven ground, through a chain link fence, with the sun glaring off the water, here is my C.R.A.P. (Completely Ridiculous Awful Photography). C.R.A.P. was borrowed from Greg Miller @ www.gregmillerbirding.com

Lesser Yellowleg and Killdeer

Lesser Yellowleg

This picture shows 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers, 1 Least Sandpiper (behind the Killdeer) and a Lesser Yellowleg

Semipalmated Sandpiper

After we left this place, we drove a mile down the road to Armleder Park. The bean field (it’s really not a bean field, this is a code name for a private piece of property that has a tendency to flood, and has on occasion had very good shore birds) has had some activity lately, so off we went through the field of giant ragweed. I’m not kidding. The paved trail that leads away from the pavillion towards the Little Miami River, has giant ,10 feet tall ragweed plants.

After hiking through the brush to reach our destination, I was a little disappointed, as there  were hardly any birds there. We only saw 1 each of a Semipalmated Plover, Least Sandpiper, and 1 Killdeer.

Anyway, I had a real good time and made it home just as it was getting dark. As Autumn approaches with shorter daylight hours, I need to make a better attempt at trying to get out at least once during the week. Migration is going to start to pick up and I’m not going to miss out on any of the fun if I can help it.

Notable birds for the evening include:

  1. Greater Yellowleg
  2. Lesser Yellowleg
  3. Killdeer
  4. Solitary Sandpiper
  5. Pectoral Sandpipper
  6. Least Sandpiper
  7. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  8. Semipalmated Plover
  9. Spotted Sandpiper
  10. Green Heron
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. Wood Duck
  13. Mallard
  14. Indigo Bunting
  15. Mouorning American robin
  16. Northern cardinal
  17. Northern Mockingbird
  18. Barn Swallow
  19. Common Yellowthroat
  20. Orchard Oriole
  21. Eastern Kingbird
  22. Song Sparrow
  23. Red-winged Black Bird
  24. Dickcissel