Tag Archives: Oxbow

Notes From The Field

Shawnee Lookout Forest and the Oxbow

There were frost warnings out for the Tri-state area as I made my way over to pick up Jon for some very early migrant birding. Both Shawnee Lookout and the Oxbow can be particularly good, so with the rising sun low on the horizon we set off in a westerly direction.

Shawnee Lookout was practically empty as we set off on a couple of trails, always listening and watching. As we walked we chatted about which early migrant might make an appearance today. One at the top of the list was the Hermit Thrush. The reclusive skulker of the undergrowth is usually heard before it’s seen.

So it came as no surprise that one of the birds we stumbled across, right next to the trail was a Hermit Thrush eating a worm.

IMG_4388If you look real close you can see the worm on the ground.

Yellow-rumped warblers were the dominate, and only warbler species seen at Shawnee Lookout. In a couple of weeks this place will be crawling with migrating warblers, but this day wasn’t meant to be. However the male Butter-butts were all dressed in their best breeding plumage, and really it’s only a matter of time before more show up.

So as we were leaving Shawnee Lookout a question arises. We all know what happens when the chicken crosses the road, but what about the Wild Turkey?

IMG_4402

After a short stop at Lost Bridge to count the Pectoral Sandpipers and a couple American Pipits, we arrived at the Oxbow. And quite honestly I don’t know what impressed us the most, the sheer number of Double-creasted Cormorants (we estimated about 250) or the Bald Eagles, ( which we counted 18 of them).

IMG_4415This immature Bald Eagle landed real close to Jon and me with a fish, and proceeded to eat it. I tried to sneak up it and get a better photo, but he didn’t that too much and promptly left.

IMG_4435Nothing quite as pretty as a Bald Eagle against a blue sky.

At one time as we approached a line of trees that separates two fields we counted 12 individual Bald Eagles. It was quite a sight, but considering the distance a photo wouldn’t have done justice. However the bird of the day was yet to come.

As we continued driving along the dirt road that cuts through the Oxbow we notice small brown birds foraging along the edge. And one had white edges on the tail. I quickly pull over as we get our bins on the bird. Vesper Sparrow. Very good bird, especially for this part of Ohio.

Now you might be saying to yourself that this is a pretty common bird where I live, but in southern Ohio we have maybe a 2 week window where Vesper Sparrows can be seen before they move North. And this one cooperated.

IMG_4432That’s the thing with Jon and me, we love Sparrows, and for us this was a great bird.

We made one more stop in Lawrenceburg Indiana where we walked a bike trail hoping to pick up the same birds we saw there during the Christmas Bird Count.

It was a good day. Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Black Vulture
  2. Turkey Vulture
  3. Bald Eagle
  4. Red-tailed Hawk
  5. American Kestrel
  6. Wood Duck
  7. Mallard
  8. Northern Shoveler
  9. Blue-winged Teal
  10. American Coot
  11. Pied-billed Grebe
  12. Hooded Merganser
  13. Great Blue Heron
  14. Great Egret
  15. Double-creasted Cormorant
  16. Wild Turkey
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Pileated Woodpecker
  19. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  20. Hairy Woodpecker
  21. Downy Woodpecker
  22. Northern Flicker
  23. Blue Jay
  24. Eastern Phoebe
  25. American Crow
  26. Tufted Titmouse
  27. Northern Cardinal
  28. Carolina Chickadee
  29. Carolina Wren
  30. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  31. Yellow-throated Warbler
  32. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  33. Golden-crowned Kinglet
  34. White-breasted Nuthatch
  35. Hermit Thrush
  36. American Robin
  37. Brown-headed Cowbird
  38. European Starling
  39. Common Grackle
  40. Red-winged Blackbird
  41. Eastern Towhee
  42. White-crowned Sparrow
  43. White-throated Sparrow
  44. Song Sparrow
  45. Vesper Sparow
  46. Field Sparrow
  47. Chipping Sparrow
  48. House Finch
  49. American Goldfinch
  50. Canada Goose
  51. American Pipit
  52. Pectoral Sandpiper
  53. Killdeer
  54. Ring-billed Gull
  55. Bonaparte’s Gull
  56. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  57. Tree Swallow
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Notes From The Field

I’ve neglected my blog lately…and I’m blaming work. Have you ever had one of those weeks where you come home after a super busy day at work and feel like just vegging out for the evening and go to bed early. That was me this week. And despite having a wonderful day birding with Jon last Saturday, I just couldn’t find the energy to sit down and write a blog post. Sorry everyone.

Like I said last Saturday Jon and myself hit the woods hard looking for migrants at some of our local hot spots. Shawnee Lookout Park, Lost Bridge, The Oxbow, Smith Tract, and Armleder Park.  It was a beautiful day and the birds on a whole were plentiful in some areas, however in others it wasn’t. Trying to find where the wading birds are can be a challenge, and last Saturday was no different as we tried several spots where we’ve seen them before, only to strike out every time.

Warblers were plentiful and as always another challenge for myself trying to get any kind of serviceable photograph. Our day list was pretty good, so instead of boring you with week old birding news I’ll just skip to the list of birds intermixed with some photos. You see I need to keep this blog post short because I still have to get ready for when I go to my favorite birding hotspot tomorrow, Boone County Cliffs.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Bald Eagle
  2. Ring-billed Gull
  3. Double-creasted Cormorant
  4. Bonaparte’s Gull
  5. Cooper’s Hawk
  6. Red-shouldered Hawk
  7. Red-tailed Hawk
  8. American Kestrel
  9. Killdeer
  10. Blue-winged Teal
  11. Mallard
  12. Northern Mockingbird
  13. American Robin
  14. Gray Catbird
  15. Mourning Dove
  16. Canada Geese
  17. Tree Swallow
  18. Chimney Swift
  19. Barn Swallow
  20. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  21. Northern Cardinal
  22. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  23. Tufted Titmouose
  24. Carolina Chickadee
  25. Carolina Wren
  26. House Wren
  27. IMG_2402Wild Turkey
  28. Wood Thrush
  29. Northern Parula
  30. Eastern Towhee
  31. Eastern Goldfinch
  32. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  33. Pileated Woodpecker
  34. Hairy Woodpecker
  35. Northern Flicker
  36. Prothonotary Warbler
  37. Green Heron
  38. Great Blue Heron
  39. Song Sparrow
  40. White-throated Sparrow
  41. Wood Duck
  42. Yellow-throated Warbler
  43. Chipping Sparrow
  44. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  45. Eastern Phoebe
  46. IMG_2405Blue-winged Warbler
  47. White-eyed Vireo
  48. Warbling Vireo
  49. Red-eyed Vireo
  50. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  51. Brown-headed Cowbird
  52. European Starling
  53. Red-winged Blackbird
  54. American Crow
  55. Yellow-throated Vireo
  56. IMG_2422Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  57. White-breasted Nuthatch
  58. Black-throated Green Warbler
  59. Field Sparrow
  60. Orchard Oriole
  61. Baltimore Oriole
  62. Common Yellowthroat
  63. Indigo Bunting
  64. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  65. Turkey Vulture
  66. Black Vulture
  67. Common Grackle
  68. IMG_2433Cerulean Warbler
  69. Blue Jay
  70. Louisiana Waterthrush
  71. Prairie Warbler
  72. American Redstart
  73. Osprey
  74. Hermit Thrush
  75. Northern Shoveler
  76. American Coot
  77. Eastern Meadowlark
  78. Wilson’s Snipe
  79. Yellow Warbler
  80. IMG_2442Eastern Kingbird

Notes From The Field

Aurora Indiana, Oxbow, Lost Bridge

Following up on my own “Rare Bird Alert” concerning the Swallow-tailed Kite that has been seen almost every day since it was first reported was my objective today. From all reports the bird will perch and preen in the morning, and then take to the wing and go about  hunting for food. However time was of the essence as my youngest son turns 21 today and my daughter is in town for the weekend. So I picked up Jon at 6:30 am for the long drive. Which didn’t turn out a bad as I had originally thought. After you get to Lawrenceburg Indiana it’s just a few more miles on the other side. And since it seems like I live in this part of Ohio/Indiana for most of my birding days it was actually a nice drive.

From all the reports we’ve heard about the bird is that the morning is best to catch it while it perches in this dead tree, or catch it as it flies around this quiet, hilltop neighborhood. Some of the views of the surrounding countryside with it’s close proximity to the river and the valley below explains why the kite would love it here. Plenty of food and thermals to ride as they flowed up the sides of the surrounding hills that border the river.

Being a residential neighborhood we had to drive real slow along all the various roads that crisscrossed the area of a few hundred homes. We were both scanning the sky, but paying more attention to the trees for the sign of a semi-large bird. We passed the large dead tree that I thought was the one it’s been seen before perched, but no bird. We soldered on. The road forked and dead ended. Another road came in from a different direction that we took, that eventually brought us back to our original location. As we passed the dead tree again, but now from the opposite direction, I saw it.

Slowing the car down to a dead stop, Jon and myself craned our necks with our bins to our eyes to confirm the bird. We were real close to the bird. The tree was no more than 20 feet for the side of the road and we didn’t want to spook the bird as we got out of the car. So I inched forward so Jon could get out slowly, and I turned the car around and drove it down the road to pull off the side, so not spook the bird as I opened the hatch to retrieve my scope and camera.

The other 2 occasi0ons I’ve seen these birds they were in flight and it can be rather difficult to digiscope a bird in flight. So to catch one perched is a real treat. Enjoy!

IMG_2927 IMG_2919 As the sun was rising this was the best side to capture the bird with the sun in the best position. However as you can see this branch was covering part of it’s head. I couldn’t move to another location since it was on someones property and also we would have to get closer, which would have made the bird spook. So I stayed put and tried for some better shots as the Kite moved.

IMG_2933

IMG_2945In this picture you can see how it’s been preening it’s breast feathers. He’s all fluffed up like a down pillow.

IMG_2951You have to admit that it is one beautiful bird. The kind of bird you’d want to come back reincarnated as.

IMG_2966As you can imagine I took quite a few pictures. And as much as I would like to bring them to you I feel these are the best. As the time wore on Jon and myself decided to leave. And since we were going to drive past the Oxbow, why not drive through for a quick look.

The Oxbow was full of the regular birds, and Oxbow Lake’s mudflat at the far end proved rather difficult to bush whack through the weeds and poison ivy to get to.

We faired better at Lost Bridge as small flocks of “Peeps” kept us busy for an hour or so. If I didn’t have other things to do today we would have stayed longer as hopes of more shorebirds coming in to feed was a good possibility. We left around lunch time.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Orchard Oriole
  2. Indigo Bunting
  3. Song Sparrow
  4. Turkey Vulture
  5. Double-creasted Cormorant
  6. Great Egret
  7. Great Blue Heron
  8. Wood Duck
  9. Green Heron
  10. Semipalmated sandpiper
  11. Least Sandpiper
  12. Spotted Sandpipper
  13. Lesser Yellowleg
  14. Pectoral Sandpiper
  15. Osprey
  16. Red-tailed hawk
  17. Belted Kingfisher
  18. Northern Flicker
  19. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  20. Northern Cardinal
  21. SWALLOW-TAILED KITE
  22. Horned Larks
  23. Cliff Swallow
  24. American Crow

 

Notes From The Field

Lost Bridge, Oxbow, Shaker Trace Wetlands, & Cincinnati Zoo Wetlands

As with all skills you learn the more you use these skills the better you’re going to become. And if you don’t use these skills don’t be surprised that sometimes even the simplest task becomes difficult. The same can be said about birding. With everything going on right now the chance to go birding has been rather elusive.

Spring was rather a bust when it comes to shorebirds in this part of Ohio, so Jon and myself were due for an all day shorebird hunt. And it started this last Wednesday when Jon called and wanted to see if I’d join him at the Cincinnati Zoo Wetlands. Migration is in full swing and with nothing better to do that evening I said yes.

Having been there a number of times I’ve usually birded from the side of the road well off the edge so drivers can see me. However with all the vegetation growth it’s no longer feasible to see the water and the mudflats that border the edge. So we walked to higher ground for a better look.

IMG_2880 IMG_2879As you can see from these 2 pictures that it’s pretty flat and this rise in the ground offers a look down onto the only body of water with sizable mudflats. And the birds were plentiful.

There were plenty of shorebirds as we started to scan from our high ground. Killdeers were by far the most numerous shorebird, followed by Least Sandpipers. Both Semipalmated Plovers and Sandpipers were present along with Solitary and Pectoral Sandpipers. Throw in a few Lesser Yellowlegs and you get the picture of what we were seeing.

Today however we decided to do a Western Hamilton county trip and hit some of the best spots recently for shorebirds. The funny thing was that no one told the shorebirds to be there as well.

Starting at Lost Bridge and areas in the same vicinity we were pretty much skunked. There was a Lesser Yellowleg here. A Least Sandpiper there. But nothing you could sink your teeth into. The same area that was giving us Buff-breasted and Upland Sandpipers was empty. So we moved to another location, which ended with the same result. So we drove from Lost Bridge, to the Oxbow, then to Shaker Trace Wetlands, then to Listermann’s Brewery for a beer and to come up with a better strategy.

After our thirsts were quenched, we decided to head over to Jon’s house where he would drive his truck over to the Zoo Wetlands again, and I would follow. Even though our thirsts were satisfied, our unquenchable desire for some shorebirds was not. And this time we were coming at the pond from a different angle so we could get the best views possible. And we did.

IMG_2890 IMG_2886Some pretty nice close-up looks at a least Sandpiper.

IMG_2899Solitary Sandpiper

IMG_2902Lesser Yellowleg

Even though it wasn’t a very hot day, the humidity was wearing us down as the clock approached 5 o’clock. There still will be plenty of opportunities to get out into the field during fall migration, and hopefully it will be sooner than later.

Notable birds seen include:

  1. Red-headed Woodpecker
  2. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  3. Double-creasted Cormorant
  4. Great Egret
  5. Great Blue Heron
  6. Pectoral Sandpiper
  7. Least Sandpiper
  8. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  9. Spotted Sandpiper
  10. Killdeer
  11. Semipalmated Plover
  12. Solitary Sandpiper
  13. Green Heron
  14. Turky Vulture
  15. Red-tailed Hawk
  16. Red-shouldered Hawk
  17. American Goldfinch
  18. Song Sparrow
  19. Field Sparrow
  20. Indigo Bunting
  21. Northern Cardinal
  22. American Robin
  23. Brown-headed Cowbird
  24. Common Grackle
  25. Red-winged Blackbird
  26. Northern Mockingbird
  27. Eastern Towhee
  28. Common Yellowthroat
  29. Yellow Warbler
  30. Northern Flicker
  31. Wood Ducks
  32. Mallard
  33. Barn Swallow
  34. Bank Swallow
  35. Cliff Swallow
  36. Purple Martin
  37. Cedar Waxwing
  38. Eastern meadowlark
  39. Dickcissel
  40. Common Crow
  41. Mourning Dove
  42. White-breasted Nuthatch
  43. Carolina Chickadee
  44. Horned Lark
  45. Eastern Kingbird
  46. Belted Kingfisher
  47. Gray Catbird
  48. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  49. House Wren
  50. Carolina Wren

Notes From The Field

Bellevue Bottoms, Boone County Cliffs, The Oxbow, Lost Bridge, Smith Tract County Park

It was an early morning risin’ as I set off from my local UDF with coffee in hand towards Jon’s house. Today’s destination is our yearly trip to Boone County Cliffs, which is the biggest 78 acre park I’ve ever visited. But first we’re passing the turn off to the “cliffs” and heading towards a couple of dead end roads which recently has had some good bird reports. Especially Henslow Sparrows and Northern Bobwhites. We’re traveling to an area of Boone County Kentucky that is called Bellevue Bottoms. With it’s close proximity to the Ohio River and Aurora Indiana this part of the tri-state is new to me and has so much potential for some good birding in the future.

I’m assuming at one time these 2 roads (Horsley Ferry and Aurora Ferry Roads) had serviceable ferries that crossed the river, and being dead end there wasn’t too much traffic and walking on the road wasn’t an issue. Northern Bobwhite, Bank Swallow, Yellow-breasted Chat, Orioles, Eastern Kingbird, and Vireos were some of the more numerous species seen. After leaving this beautiful rural setting it was off to Boone County Cliffs.

As we turned onto Middleboro Road we are greeted with a singing Eastern Phoebe perched on a bridge post. And as was the case for the day no camera within reach. So I opted to leave it behind today and just focus on the birds. Sometimes when I go birding I focus too much on getting a decent picture of the bird than concentrating on what’s important, the actual bird. Then when I’m scrambling to retrieve my camera from it’s case, the bird is gone.

Boone County Cliffs is without a doubt in my top 5 places to visit within my 50 mile radius of home. Great hiking trail that winds on for 2 miles deep in some beautiful deciduous woods. A great variety of birds await anyone who visits this gem. However today the target birds are Kentucky and Worm-eating Warblers. Worm-eating warblers especially habitat specific and Boone County Cliffs are noted for multiple nesting “Wormies”. Since I starting visiting here I’ve not missed on this bird, it’s that reliable. With just a good set of ears and some patience anyone can either see of hear them. There call is a high pitched thrill that’s difficult to pick up at first if you’re not used to hearing it. Which was the case this morning. Jon was hearing one in the distance, but I couldn’t pick it up till I heard one close and got “tuned in”.

We were greeted with over active Louisiana Waterthrush’s as multiple birds chased each other around in the area of a small stream that cascades down towards the road we came in on. A thick canopy and under growth close in on both sides of the trail as we started to climb towards the area of the cliffs. Vireos, Flycatchers, Orioles, Tanagers, and my most favorite bird song, the Wood Thrush were everywhere.

This 2 mile trail finally reached it’s highest point, then started to level out with a gently rolling path that followed the contour of the ridge top. We’d pause and listen if a bird peaked our interest, or if a sudden movement caught our eye. As we made our way deeper into the woods we started to hear Wormies a little closer and had a great look of an Ovenbird. The one thing about Ovenbirds and Kentucky warblers is that their calls are very similar. And after we really listened, at both a Kentucky Warbler and an Ovenbird we finally were able to tell the difference when we heard more sing later on.

THEN OUR SOLITUDE WAS BROKEN BY GUN FIRE!

We had heard voices behind us for some time, but being a pretty popular place to go birding we never gave it much thought as this group of people were several hundred yards behind us the whole time. We didn’t know if they were birders or not, but there loud talking made us think they were just hiking. That was until one of the idiots discharged their gun, which in turned scared the shit out of the both of us. Jon then yells back at them that we’re up here and not to shoot their gun again. We reported the incident to the police and made a hasty retreat to our car, not wanting to run into some pissed off locals with a loaded gun. A very disturbing end to a great birding outing.

We took the long way home with stops at the Oxbow were a group of Great Egrets yielded one Snowy Egret, and a couple Prothonotary Warblers. After leaving the Oxbow we made our way to Smith tract County Park. In the past a good spot for Bell’s Vireo and Lark Sparrows. However the area where they’re usually sen has been taken over by a company that is using the area for a huge pipe line project. I real bummer. But on a bright note we did get some good looks as a Grasshopper Sparrow as it sang from the top of some weed.

And since it was an early day we called it over after leaving Smith Tract. Despite the disturbing end to our visit at “The Cliffs”, it was a great day of birding.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. American Kestrel
  2. Black Vulture
  3. Turkey Vulture
  4. Dickcissel
  5. Yellow Warbler
  6. Common Yellowthroat
  7. Yellow-throated Warbler
  8. Cerulean Warbler
  9. Hooded warbler
  10. Worm-eating Warbler
  11. Kentucky Warbler
  12. Louisiana Waterthrush
  13. Northern Parula
  14. Yellow-breasted Chat
  15. Field Sparrow
  16. Chipping Sparrow
  17. House Sparrow
  18. Grasshopper Sparrow
  19. Song Sparrow
  20. Cedar Waxwing
  21. Gray Catbird
  22. Red-winged Blackbird
  23. Common grackle
  24. Common Crow
  25. Northern Cardinal
  26. Tufted Titmouse
  27. Carolina Chickadee
  28. Carolina Wren
  29. House Wren
  30. Indigo Bunting
  31. Baltimore Oriole
  32. Orchard Oriole
  33. Brown Thrasher
  34. Northern Mockingbird
  35. Mourning Dove
  36. Northern Bobwhite
  37. American goldfinch
  38. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  39. Great-creasted Flycatcher
  40. Willow flycatcher
  41. Acadian Flycatcher
  42. Eastern Kingbird
  43. Downy Woodpecker
  44. Hairy Woodpecker
  45. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  46. Pileated Woodpecker
  47. Great Blue Heron
  48. Green Heron
  49. Great Egret
  50. Snowy Egret
  51. Canada Goose
  52. Mallard
  53. Purple Martin
  54. Tree Swallow
  55. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  56. Bank Swallow
  57. Cliff Swallow
  58. Barn Swallow
  59. Red-eyed Vireo
  60. White-eyed Vireo
  61. Warbling Vireo
  62. Chimney Swift
  63. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  64. Double-creasted Cormorant
  65. Blue jay
  66. Wood Thrush
  67. American Robin
  68. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  69. Scarlet Tanager
  70. Belted Kingfisher
  71. Spotted Sandpiper
  72. Common Loon
  73. White-breasted Nuthatch

Notes From The Field

Armleder Park, Lost Bridge, Shawnee Lookout Park, & The Obow

Where has the last 4 days gone? I had nothing but the best intentions to get a blog post out to all my readers, however during migration and with other responsibilities at home I’ve been rather delinquent with some of my blog posts. So first an apology in hopes that this won’t become habit, but with migration in full bloom this promise might soon be broken as well. So bear with me during this Spring.

So this posting will combine 2 field trips that Jon and myself took these past few days. Our first trip was to Armleder Park this last Thursday. Joining Jon and myself was Jason who works with Jon and is starting to accompany us every now and then. This was to be an evening trip where we just wandered around the park doing some casual birding trying our best trying to pick up any migrant.

It was a beautiful evening with a stiff breeze and plenty of people in the park either watching their kids practicing lacrosse and soccer, or just walking, running, and skating around on the paved paths. The wind seemed to keep the birds a little less active and even with the diminishing light we were able to total 31 birds for the evening. I was able to add a few new ones for the year including Baltimore Oriole, Prothonotory Warbler, House Wren, and Yellow-throated Warbler. And the Vesper Sparrow eluded me again.

So after a field trip I would post this trip on my blog, however Friday was kind of busy after I got home from work. Kathy and myself went out to do a little shopping and for a bite to eat. So after I got home it was getting a little too late to post anything considering I was going out the next morning with Jon to Shawnee Lookout.

Saturday morning shone bright and cold as I made my way towards Shawnee Lookout. Anticipations were high, and with a early jump on the morning I was hoping for some great birding. Jon was going to join me a little later due to a previous appointment, so I arrived at Lost bridge bright and early. With some of the recent rain we’ve had the river was running high so none of the usual mud flats were visible, so my stay was short.

Knowing how high the water level was it came as no surprise to see the parking lot for the boat access at Shawnee Lookout flooded.

IMG_3734Where you see water in this picture, is usually a parking lot.

IMG_2473_1You will always find a Belted Kingfisher near the boat ramp area at Shawnee Lookout Park.

The ramp down to the parking lot was abundant with birds. House Wrens once again made their voices known above all others. A lone Yellow-throated Vireo came through as I searched in vain for this small elusive bird that sang so beautifully. But with every Spring there is one bird I look forward to the most. Standing in the parking lot below the park headquarters a Wood Thrush started to sing. I don’t need to see a Wood Thrush to know what I’m hearing. My all time favorite bird song. I recall a time when I was camping with the Boy Scout troop I was a leader with. As usual I was up very early getting in some birding. The forest was still and quiet except for the call of the Wood Thrush. Above all else it’s voice was heard.

I made my way into the park after buying my yearly pass. Up the hill through the trees to the crest of the hill and the golf course parking lot. I had to stop because a warbler was calling.

IMG_3740First of the season Yellow Warbler

IMG_2478_1Through a tangle comes the song of the Brown Thrasher.

Chipping Sparrows are back in force, and Shawnee Lookout is no exception. Small in size, their voice is anything but. I was following this particular bird as it flew to the top of a branch and started to belt out it’s song.

IMG_3745

Jon finally joined me and brought along his super-cool dog Edgar. Edgar is this enormous Black Lab that has such a great disposition and was so well behaved all during the day. You barely knew he was there as we walked the fields and trails that criss-crossed Shawnee Lookout. We meet up with a good birding friend Gary Stegner who was out birding by himself, so we joined up together to what turned out to be a glorious day of birding and conversation.

Wood Warblers and Vireos were the prime birds for the day as first-of-the-season birds include White-eyed, Yellow-throated, Warbling Viroes. Wood warblers included Prairie, Cerulean, Red Start, Yellow, and Blue-winged.

One of my favorite trails at the part is called the Fort trail due to the fact that early Native Americans had villages at the top. Signs are posted throughout and along the trail telling about early Native American life here. Early blooming flowers were beginning to bloom,

IMG_3751As well a butterflies being seen flying low over the ground, landing and feeding on the clover that was in bloom.

IMG_3749Black Swallowtail

As the morning wore into the afternoon Gary parted ways after almost 3 hours of birding. And for Jon and myself it was time to make our way to the Oxbow to see if it was passable for car traffic. Much to our surprise the water levels were lower than anticipated, so we made our way into the park. We watched as 2 Bald Eagles played and Blue-winged Teal feed along sky pools. A few wading birds were seen but nothing that made our hearts jump. It’s been rather a disappointing year for wading birds.

IMG_3755This Eastern Kingbird was so cooperative as I drove ever so close so as to get parallel to it and get it’s picture.

IMG_3756Blocking my way was this Turkey Vulture that was feasting on this dead fish in the middle of the road. As I crept closer in my car trying to get a better angle to get this picture, it dropped the fish and flew off, only to return later after it circled in the air.

At the overlook for Oxbow Lake we scanned through the trees to try and locate this group of white dots on the other side of the trees in this flooded field. Sitting on the long stretch of grass were these 2 Caspian Terns. First of the year birds.

IMG_2484The ones on the far left and right are the birds in question. I only wish they were a little closer, but they are Caspian Terns.

Both days we had some very good birds, and since I’m including both days into one blog post, it only seems logical that I include both list of birds into one. So without further ado:

Notable birds for both days include:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Pied-billed Grebe
  3. Blue-winged Teal
  4. Green-winged Teal
  5. Mallard
  6. Wood Duck
  7. Double-creasted Cormorant
  8. Great Blue Heron
  9. Turkey Vulture
  10. Black Vulture
  11. Wild Turkey
  12. Bald Eagle
  13. Red-tailed Hawk
  14. Cooper’s Hawk
  15. Broad-winged Hawk
  16. Pigeon
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Killdeer
  19. Spotted Sandpiper
  20. Lesser Yellowleg
  21. Pileated Woodpecker
  22. Downy Woodpecker
  23. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  24. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  25. Northern Flicker
  26. Belted Kingfisher
  27. Tree Swallow
  28. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  29. Cliff Swallow
  30. Bank Swallow
  31. Barn Swallow
  32. Chimney Swift
  33. House Wren
  34. Carolina Wren
  35. Baltimore Oriole
  36. Orchard Oriole
  37. Blue Jay
  38. Carolina Chickadee
  39. Tufted Titmouse
  40. Northern Cardinal
  41. American Robin
  42. Eastern Towhee
  43. American Crow
  44. Common Grackle
  45. Brown-headed Cowbird
  46. Red-winged Black Bird
  47. Brown Thrasher
  48. Wood Thrush
  49. House Sparrow
  50. Swamp Sparrow
  51. Song Sparrow
  52. White-crowned Sparrow
  53. White-throated Sparrow
  54. Field Sparrow
  55. Chipping Sparrow
  56. Indigo Bunting
  57. Eastern Meadowlark
  58. Horned Lark
  59. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  60. Eastern Phoebe
  61. American Goldfinch
  62. Ring-billed Gull
  63. Caspian Tern
  64. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  65. Common Yellowthroat
  66. Yellow-throated Warbler
  67. Blue-winged Warbler
  68. Protonotary Warbler
  69. Prairie Warbler
  70. Pine Warbler
  71. Northern Parula
  72. Palm Warbler
  73. Warbling Vireo
  74. Yellow-throated Vireo
  75. White-eyed Vireo
  76. Cerulean Warbler
  77. American Redstart
  78. Yellow Warbler
  79. Eastern Bluebird
  80. White-breasted Nuthatch
  81. European Starling