Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tools of the Chase #187

By Patti McNeal from Katy, TX, USA
I love the fact that our Ohio region (called the Bobolink region) has a rare bird alert system. Robert Hershberger, owner of Time and Optics on CR 77, manages the message system and leaves regular updates accessible by phone. I had the chasing itch, so I called over my lunch break. Low and behold a lifer was nearby! I printed out a weekly checklist from the Ohio Ornithological website and off I went, birding down the road while eating a burger. It wasn't long before I arrived at Dan Hershberger's Farm. Birding in the Amish area is also something special worth noting. I've stopped by farms on numerous occasions chasing birds now, and I've always found the family to be hospitable and excited to help you find the bird. A little respect and personal contact, and you get to meet a great family while looking for birds. Today was the same story. Dan pointed me in the direction of the bird and his boy John became my guide. Johnny readily picked out the bird singing and led me across a newly planted corn field to right within binoc range of a new lifer: the Dickcissel.

If you are in the Holmes - Wayne County area and want to know where the birding action is check out:

Time & Optics:
Greg Miller wrote a whole page on this great store here:

The Boblink Rare Bird Alert:

The Ohio Ornithological website (checklists available):

Have a great Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Been A Long Time Since I Rock and Rolled... #186

Well, it's obvious from the last post date that I have done about El Zilcho birding over the past year. Well that all changed tonight! I shall dub this latest foray as: The-2-year-old-in-tow-car-ride-only-BIG-evening!

Ok...ok. It might not sound like much, but it was really great. My two year old Jane is a great travel buddy. She held her little binoculars the whole time and even tried to look through them like her daddy. Occasionally I'd look back to see how she was doing and the camper just smiled at me with a big happy-to-be-with you smile. Toward sundown she just went ahead and fell asleep, content to let dad bird on.

And the birds WHERE great too. Last year the Eastern Meadow Lark was something of a nemesis bird for me. Tonight I saw at least 20. They were everywhere, singing in full voice and sporting the yellow plume. All in all I saw 28 separate species tonight, the highlight being (can you believe it..) a NEW LIFER! I saw my first BOBOLINK tonight and saw several more afterwards just a-singing. A great bird and a great evening.

It just goes to show you that a simple night of birding can give you more than you'd expect and become a beautiful memory.

Bird on :)


 For those that may be interested, tonight's list in full:
Eastern Meadowlark
Barn Swallow
Indigo Bunting
Tree Swallow
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Eastern Bluebird
Red-winged Blackbird
Song Sparrow
European Starling
American Robin
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Mourning Dove
House Sparrow
Gray Catbird
Rock Dove
Savannah Sparrow
American Crow
Common Grackle
Chimney Swift
Northern Cardinal
Carolina Chickadee
Chipping Sparrow
Red-tailed Hawk
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Roundup - THE SEQUEL #158 - #185

MY OH MY! What an amazing thing is Spring migration. I've just had the privilege of birding my first Spring, and in the Lake Erie migrant traps no less! Last weekend was my first time at Magee Marsh and it truly is a fantastic place. Birds that you'd normally spend hours tracking in the woods or marsh are just feet from you and in full view.

No time for lots of detail but below are my latest sightings. Oh yeah and notice the hat?? That's right ladies and gents... Greg Miller Birding now has merch (yours truly designed the logo). Check out his link in my blog roll. Bird on!

Berlin, Ohio 5/3/11

* Northern Parula [158]

Mohican Wilderness Area 5/7/11

* Worm-eating Warbler [159]

Berlin, Ohio 5/10/11

* Great-crested Flycatcher [160]
* Swainson's Thrush [161

Coburn, PA 5/15/11

* Black-throated Green Warbler [162]

Kelly's Island 5/20/11

* Blackburnian Warbler [163]
* American Redstart [164]
* Lincoln Sparrow [165]
* Magnolia Warbler [166]
* Least Flycatcher [167]
* Herring Gull [168]

Magee Marsh

* Ruddy Turnstone [169]
* Nashville Warbler [170]
* Mourning Warbler [171]
* Canada Warbler [172]
* Black-throated Blue Warbler [173]
* Wilson's Warbler [174]
* Bay-breasted Warbler [175]
* Screech Owl [176]
* Warbling Vireo [177]
* Gray-cheeked Thrush [178]
* Blackpoll Warbler [179]
* Cape May Warbler [180]

Ottawa-Lucas Rd.

* Dunlin [181]

Metzger Marsh

* Mute Swan [182]
* Black-crowned Night Heron [183]

Magee Marsh 5/21/11

* Northern Waterthrush [184]
* Yellow-bellied Flycatcher [185]

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Roundup Extravaganza! #142 - #157

Well, it's been a busy spring. The migration is well underway at this point with the waterfowl having already moved through and the first Warblers hitting the scene. About a week ago the trees in my area came alive with new voices. Where once was only Blackbirds, Robins and Cardinals now were Eastern Towhee, American Goldfinch, Field Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow. May is known as the greatest month in American birding. Just 2 days into it and I know why... new birds almost daily! So here's the data on the last two months (including year birds - lifers in bold):

March 16th - Township Rd. 363
* Hooded Merganser

March 9th - Beach City Dam
* Bufflehead
* Pied-billed Grebe
* Eastern Phoebe
- Rt. 93
* Northern Shoveler

March 20th - Wright Marsh
* Great Blue Heron
* Blue-winged Teal [#142]
* American Coot
* American Wigeon [#143]

March 26th - McQuaid Rd.
* Eurasian Wigeon [#144]
* Northern Pintail [#145]
* Redhead Duck [#146]

April 3rd - Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area
* Wild Trukey
* Tree Swallow
* Lesser Sandhill Crane

April 4th - Shreve Lake
* Double-crested Cormorant
* Red-breasted Merganser [#147]
* Barn Swallow

April 11th - I took a trip home to New York. My backyard runs right up against the Binghamton University nature preserve. Saw thirty species on one hike. Highlights...
* Black-capped Chickadee (saw it sing so I know for sure!)
* Brown Creeper [#148]
* Golden-crowned Kinglet
* Swamp Sparrow
* Ruby-crowned Kinglet [#149]

This was an amazing, rewarding hike. It was my first time back home in the woods I grew up in... but this time as a birder! Brown Creeper was a target bird for the hike and I had one of those wonderful moments of rewarding discovery, following it's song through the woods for ten minutes before finding it in the treetops. This was also the best view I've ever had of a Golden-crowned Kinglet. Their acrobatic tumbling flight while hunting insects is truly amazing!

A drive downtown also gave us views of a local favorite:
* Peregrine Falcon [#150!!!!!!!]

My hundred and fiftieth bird with my bird watching mom. Really fun!

April 16th - Willow Rd.
* Yellow Warbler

April 18th - Funk Bottoms
* Greater Yellowlegs
* Lesser Yellowlegs
- Willow Rd.
* Yellow-rumped Warbler
* Great Egret

April 23rd - Stingy Lane Rd.
* Field Sparrow
* Broad-winged Hawk
- Beach City Wilderness Area
* Osprey

April 24th - Beach City Wilderness Area
* Gray Catbird
* Common Yellowthroat
* House Wren
* Purple Martin

April 25th - The Wilderness Center
* White-eyed Vireo
* Yellow-throated Vireo [#151]
* Spotted Sandpiper
* Forster's Tern
* Blue-gray Gnatcatcher [#152]
- Bear Hollow Rd.
* Pine Siskin [#152]
- County Highway 1
* Western Meadowlark [#153] (Thanks to Greg Miller for the guide!)
* Palm Warbler [#154]
- Norma Johnson Center
* Green Heron

April 26th - Mohican State Park
* Yellow-throated Warbler [#155]

April 28th - Beach City Wilderness Area
* Scarlet Tanager

April 30th - MY OWN BACKYARD!!!
* Orchard Oriole

May 2nd - Beach City Wilderness Area
* Wood Thrush (Best views I ever had. Fully visible and singing!)
* Carolina Chickadee (First time observed singing it's four note song)
* Hooded Warbler
* Kentucky Warbler [#156]
* Red-eyed Vireo
* Baltimore Oriole [#157]

Well there ya have it! Up-to-date and in the groove. Time to kick this Migration into full speed... I'll be in the lake Erie migrant traps in 3 weeks. Where will you be??

Photo Credit:
Baltimore Oriole - Joby Joseph