Monday, November 15, 2010

The Wilds - 11/13/10

The final field trip involved going to The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio in Muskingum county. We arrived that Saturday morning around 0900 to clear blue skies and chilled air. The area has plenty of open fields and grasslands with surrounding woods. Prior to being a conservation area, the lands used to be part of a strip mining project. Since then it has been reclaimed.
Driving to The Wilds we spotted numerous American Crows as well as an European Starling. We pulled over after we spotted a Horned Lark flying around some shrubs and rocks. A second Horned Lark was in the field and both darted with each other around the field. Two Eastern Bluebirds were spotted as well in the field.
0915 We got back into the vans and drove down the road a little further to a pond. Immediately we viewed a Northern Harrier (male) fly over the pond and over the horizon of the closest hill. Another Northern Harrier flew over the far side of the pond. Scanning the pond, we heard Killdeer and American Goldfinches.
0926 Northern Shrike spotted flying and perching between shrubs.
0934 indet. Scaup, male and female mallards, and possibly a Black Duck viewed in the pond.
1000 We reached Jeffrey's Point Bird Observatory overlooking another pond and stretches of open fields. Viewed around 80 Canada Geese and an American Crow.
1017 A Savannah Sparrow in the tall grasses
1030 On drive to visitor center, spotted a Northern Mockingbird
1036 Spotted an indet. Raptor
1040 Turkey Vulture soaring in the distance
1046 Spotted a Red-Tailed Hawk and possibly its nest
1048 Spotted an American Kestrel on the overhead power lines
1102 Stop at the same pond but orthogonal to previous vantage point. Red-Tailed Hawk perched on fence next to and eyeing a Northern Mockingbird. The Raptor flew off and back to the previous nest, suggest that it was in fact the Red-Shoulder Hawk's nest. Same Canada Geese in the pond, as well as a Gadwall and Bufflehead
1110 Further up the road to a marshy area, we spotted another American Kestrel and an indet. Raptor. American Robin as well.
1132 Near the houses by the marsh, we spotted a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker and heard Blue Jay and American Goldfinch calls
1148 Continued up the road to another pond and spotted many Canada Geese, a Northern Shoveler, a Killdeer, and 5 Dunlins

European Starling
American Crow (5)
Horned Lark (2)
Eastern Bluebird (2)
Northern Harrier (2)
Killdeer (5)
American Goldfinch (2)
Northern Shrike (2)
Mallard (2)
indet Scaup (12)
Black Duck (?)
Canada Goose (120)
Savannah Sparrow
Northern Mockingbird (2)
Turkey Vulture
Red-Tailed Hawk (2)
American Kestrel (3)
American Robin
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Blue Jay
Northern Shoveler
Dunlin (5)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

10/30/10 Buzzards Roast

10/30/10 Buzzard's Roost, Chillicothe, Ohio, off of Red Bird Lane
We set up various mist nets in the area. The place was highly wooded with some bushes and shrubs. Plenty of fallen leaves as fall is in effect. Between 1530-1830 the mist netting set up and capture lasted. It was chilly as temperatures decreased during the activity. Birds captured in the mists nests were Tufted Titmouse (4), Northern Cardinals (2,male,female), Hermit Thrush, Sharp Shinned Hawk, and an American Goldfinch.

Later that night we attempted to capture Saw Whet Owls but they did not appear. It may have been too warm, too windy, not migrated to the area yet, or simply evaded capture. THough the early van reported seeing a Barred Owl, which may prey upon the Saw Whet Owl.

Tufted Titmouse (4)
Northern Cardinal (2)
Hermit Thrush
Sharp Shinned Hawk
American Goldfinch

Saturday, October 23, 2010

South Carolina 10/15-16/10

10/15/10 Honey Hills Campground, Francis Marion National Forest, near McClellanville, South Carolina
The field trip with the Ohio University Ornithology class had begun bright and early Friday morning. The time was around 0730 and the sky was nice and clear. The temperature was chilly as the sun started to rise. During the morning the unique hooting of a Barred Owl accompanied the group around breakfast time. "Who cooks for you?" to put it anthropomorphically. Audible bird chirps made their presence as Miles suggested a Downey Woodpecker from the southern portion of the campgrounds. The area was populated by various scrubs, oaks, and pines. The ground was covered in fallen leaves, a warning of winter on its way. Calls from a Eastern Screech Owl and a White breasted nuthatch were heard.

0745 Downey Woodpecker flying and perching about the tree tops as the morning sun warmed the trees.
0759 Various warblers, peckers, and grackles flying among the oaks
0800 Gray Catbird makes its "meow" like call
0810 Northern Mockingbird appears with is dark stripe through its eye and generally gray body with some spotting, and a white belly
Conclusion of the campgrounds as we gathered and left for our next site

10/15/10 0837 Forest Road 211, Francis Marion National Fores, near McClellanville, South Carolina. Sparse trees with high grasses, dense tree tops, someone suggested it looked "Jurassic" with some ferns. 50 degrees F as the sun glared through the treetops.
0855 Red Cockaded Woodpecker (4) darting between the trees. Nests and holes on the specific trees they nest in.
0909 Blue Jay making calls
0911 Golden Crown Kinglets
0915 Pine Warbler

10/15/10 Highway 17, Shell Gas Station near Mcclellanville, South Carolina, roughly 0930. Turkey Vultures (3) perched and flying. Various Northern Mocking Bird calls.

10/15/10 South Tibwin, Francis Marion National Forest, McClellanville, South Carolina, 1010, warming up to 58 degrees F. The skies are still clear and beautiful. Highly forested area, tons of mosquitos pestering us. Occasional small bodies of water.
1007 Turkey Vulture accompanied by kinglet calls
1011 Two Blue Jays
1012 Grey Catbird Calls
1030 Northern Cardinals (2)
1048 Immature Bald Eagle flew above and Common Yellow Throat Warbler
1055 Reached a large pond flooded with bird activity! Bald Eagle, Anhinga, Great Egret (2) Great Blue Heron, Wood Storks (4), Brown Pelican, Pied Bill Grebes (2), Chimney Swifts (5), Belted Kingfishers (2), Fish Crow
Many birds swimming about and just hanging out. King Fishers chased each other. Some of the shore birds poked head into water to feed.
1115 Giant kettle of raptors overhead taking advantage of a thermal. Turkey Vultures, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawks (30)
Also Yellow Shafted Flicker spotted
1133 Headed towards the opposite of the pond where an alligator was spotted earlier, near a wooden structure. Observing a Red-Necked Grebe
1140 Chased after a Reddish Egret into a marsh

1500 Seewee Nature Visitor Center, McClellanville, South Carolina. Much warmer, about 70 degrees F with absolutely beautiful clear sky. The Nature Center is surrounded by wooded area and a pond. Slight wind.
1505 Yellow rumped warbler, Turkey Vulture, Northern Cardinal
1550 Start of point count exercise into the wooded area behind the visitor center. Low activity.
1620 Northern Mockingbird, Cliff Swallow (3) spotted. Turns out we may have also seen a Peregrine Falcon? Grey Catbird
1630 Eastern Phoebe
1635 Bald Eagle flew over the Nature Center. USA! USA! USA!

Gerris Landing near McClellanville, South Carolina. 1700, Still nice clear skies, sunny and 75 degrees F. Approaching a tidal area and marshy environment. Piers and boats around the area. Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Merlin spotted! Snow Egret, Belted Kingfisher, Great Egret, lots of Sandpipers (20), Barn Swallows (20), Double Crested Cormorants, Osprey, Tree Swallows (20), White Ibis, Clapper Rail! Many gulls (20)
1726 Royal Tern, Boat-tailed Grackle
1740 American Oystercatchers (20)
1742 Willets (10)
1747 Wood Storks (8)

10/16/10 Huntington Beach State PArk, South Carolina, 0900, clear skies, bit chilly at 58 degrees F, Georgetown county.
Mudflats juxtaposed with freshwater as road divid the two areas. Tall grasses and reeds with various barnacle clusters on the mud flat side. So many Tree Swallows flying around (30) the parking lot and the water areas. Great Egret (5) hanging out with neck tucked in.
0919 Semipalmated Sandpipers (10)
0920 Boat-tailed Grackle perched atop wood dike
0921 Great Blue Heron (2)
0922 Harrier?
0923 Double Crested Cormorant (2), preening juvenile Great Blue Heron, gull overhead
0936 A whoel bunch of Wood Storks (30) flew near the gazebo and started feeding with some White Ibises (5)
0937 Pied Billed Grebe (5) swimming and ducking into the water
0938 Turkey Vulture and several Hawks overhead
0944 Northern Harrier!
0945 Fish Crow (2) Boat Tailed Grackle male and female morphs!
0946 Tricolored heron, juvenile (3)
0947 White Ibis (10) poking head into water/mud for food
0950 more Wood Storks (20) fly over and feed by skimming bills in water and clamping shut when encountering a fish, also snapping at competitors
1000 Sandpipers (10) flew onto mud in the distance, feeding
1005 Northern Harrier rears its head again overt the freshwater side
1013 Two Belted Kingfishers darting overhead
1030 American Coot!
1036 Boat-Tailed Grackle (2) landed across the road
1050 Osprey and Bald Eagle
1055 Savannah Sparrow among the bush by the freshwater side
1100 Semipalmated plover
1113 Bald Eagle flew over in the parking lot during the snack break
1117 Blue Jay
1125 King Rail darted out of a sewage drain en route to visitor center

1136 Education Center, Huntington Beach State Park, adjacent enclosure with feeders. Windy, warm, sunny and clear skies. Male and female Northern Mockingbirds, Song Sparrow, Mourning Dove,female Painted Bunting, Carolina Chickadee, House Finch, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay
1155 Boardwalk near Education Center, into the mudflats. 67 degrees F, perfect day.Black Billed Plovers (5), Semipalmated Plovers (5), Wilson's Plovers, Snowy Egret, Black Vulture
1204 Calls of Clapper Rails, Great Blue Heron
1214 Red Tailed Hawks (2)
1221 Boat Tailed Grackle

1412 Beach Entrance close to jetty, Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina, sunny, windy, warm 70 degrees F. So many Tree Swallows flying all around. Sanderling poking head in sand and running away/to the waves. Eating presumably, invertebrates. Many Osprey (10) flying over the ocean circling and some diving and attempting to capture fish. One Osprey had an epic fail. Caspian Terns, Double Crested Cormorants, many indet. Swallows, Brown Pelicans (8), indet. Gulls.
1457 30 Double Crested Cormorants flying in V formation, Osprey diving for the kill. 3 more Sanderlings
1530 Arriving on the Jetty. Royal Terns (3), Caspian Tern, Another V formation of Double Crested Cormorants (15), juvenile Herring Gull. Huge flock of Black Skimmers (30) skimming the water towards distant sandbar. Possible Nelson Sharp tailed Sparrows (2) or possibly Seaside Sparrows (5), More Black Skimmers (10) flying and skimming the water, Marsh Wren (2), Great Blue Heron, Great Egret.
Upon the proximal portion of the jetty, many different birds congregated on the sandbar. American Oystercatchers, Willets, Sanderlings, Royal Terns, Herring Gulls, Black-bellied Plover, approx.. 100 total.

~Bird Counts~
Barred Owl (Heard)
Downey Woodpecker
Eastern Screech Owl (Heard)
White Breasted Nuthatch
Grey Catbird (2)
Northern Mockingbird (8)
Red Cockaded Woodpecker (4)
Blue Jay (5)
Golden Crown Kinglet
Pine Warbler
Turkey Vulture (27)
Bald Eagle (5)
Common Yellow Throat Warbler
Great Egret (9)
Great Blue Heron (6)
Wood Storks (62)
Brown Pelican (9)
Pied Billed Grebe (7)
Chimney Swifts (5)
Belted Kingfishers (5)
Fish Crow (3)
Osprey (13)
Red-Tailed Hawk (7)
Yellow Shafted Flicker
Red-Necked Grebe
Reddish Egret
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal (2)
Cliff Swallows
Peregrine Falcon
Eastern Phoebe
Snow Egret (2)
Sandpipers (35)
Barn Swallows (20)
Tree Swallows (45)
Double Crested Cormorant (49)
White Ibis (11)
Clapper Rail
Royal Tern (14)
Boat-Tailed Grackle (7)
American Osytercatchers (30)
Willets (20)
Tricolored Heron (4)
Semipalmated Sandpipers (10)
Northern Harrier
American Coot
Savannah Sparrow
Semipalmated Plover (5)
King Rail
Song Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Painted Bunting
Carolina Chickadee
House Finch
Tufted Titmouse
Black Billed Plovers (11)
Wilson's Plover
Black Vulture
Sanderling (14)
Caspian Tern (2)
Herring Gull (11)
Black Skimmers (40)
Nelson Sharp Tailed Sparrow (2)
Seaside Sparrow (5)
Marsh Wren

Monday, September 27, 2010

9/25/10 Lake Hope

The moon still hungover overhead as we met at the docks saturday morning. The skies were clear and the air was crisp. After a few stragglers coming in a little over 7am we loaded into the vans to head to Lake Hope at Zaleski, Ohio. After a 20-30 minute drive down 56 west we arrived at our first destination: Lake Furnace. To no surprise a giant furnace overlooked an open field surrounded by tall trees such as oaks and sycamores. Just beyond some smaller tees and bushes a little stream ran. Upon our arrival at the time of 0740 there was not much visual activity but audible calls filled our ears. The 'caws' belong to American Crow while off in the distance a Red-Shouldered Hawk could be heard making its screeches. Another call could be heard; possibly a nuthatch of sorts with a call sounding like a 'hahaha' but through a kazoo.

0750 Stream by Lake Furnace
We headed towards the stream through a rough path amid tall grasses and shrubs. Among the trees jumping about was an American Goldfinch with its yellow body and black distal portions of its wing.

0755 Stream by Lake Furnace
Continued to hear the Red-Shouldered Hawk call as Blue Jays darted about in the trees. The hideous calls of the Gray Catbird were heard.

0800 Stream by Lake Furnace
Just minutes after hearing its call, a Gray Catbird was identified perching in the tree nearby. Mostly gray and a bit of black atop its head distinguished this rather drab bird.

0803 Lake Furnace field
We headed back to the field from the stream as activity in the trees picked up. A brownish Carolina Wren accompanied by a Downy Woodpecker call started off the bird watch-fest.

0805 Lake Furnace field
An orange-crowned warbler with apparent yellow rump and overall grey coloring was the first of many warblers to be spotted among the activity.

0810 Lake Furnace field
A familiar Yellow Throated Vireo call recognized from the last field trip fileld the air with the Downy Woodpecker call again.

0815 Lake Furnace Field
Warblers a plenty! Magnolia Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Black Throated Green Warbler spotted with the various combinations of yellow, blacks, and patterns making it a challenge to figure which is which. The White Eyed Vireo was in the middle of all the Warblers.

0830 Lake Furnace field
Magnolia Warbler showed us its white rump and chiefly yellow underbelly and chest.

0840 Lake Furnace field
Yellow throated Vireo!

0850 Lake Furnace field
Song Sparrow

0900 Lake Furnace field -> Lake
American Crows... in all black and relatively large.

0905 Close to main Lake
While walking through the trail to the Lake, a giant bird flew over the stream running from the Lake. This magnificent bird was blue with a long slender bill and head and neck. The Great Blue Heron!

0915 Lake
Even though overgrown with plants the lake seemed deserted at first. Suddenly groups of Wood Ducks began to fly around the lake. Groups of 5 or 6 and estimated to have been 20-30 Wood Ducks. Stayed at the Lake for awhile to check out the wood ducks and to see if there was any other activity around the pond.

0945 Heading back to field, trail
Stopped to look at a snag across the stream. Spotted a Cedar Waxwing!

1005 Lake Furnace field
Upon arriving back to the field we were greeted by a park ranger along with a couple from Columbus also there to birdwatch. After a quick chat the ranger pointed to the Red-Shouldered Hawks flying overhead! Also a possible Red-Tailed Hawk may have been flying overhead. The Ranger told us about the Red-Headed Woodpeckers at the nature center and campground area and so we planned for our next stop.

1020 Nature Center
By this time in the morning it has gotten noticeably warmer and still clear and beautiful in the sky. A few Morning Doves patrolled the area. Soon after a quick walk we saw the woodpeckers darting about. After fixating my binoculars on a Red-Headed Woodpecker on a branch in the tree above, the little guy started hammering away with his head. Though the speed was surprisingly slow; I expected a much faster rhythm in its pecking. The little guy had an overall red head, black back and white underbelly. Many more Red-Headed Woodpeckers flew around the area.

1045 Beaver Impoundment
Our next stop as Miles put it, the "Beaver Impoundment", yielded another Great Blue Heron in the waters. Following an old railroad we set out to find the Prothonotary Warbler, but alas nothing as our second field trip came to a close.

American Crows - 10
?Nuthatch? - 1
American Goldfinch - 5
Blue Jays - 1
Grey Catbird - 5
Red Shouldered Hawk - 2
Carolina Wren - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Orange-Crowned Green Warbler - 1
Yellow-Throated Vireo - 2
Magnolia Warbler - 2
Townsend's Warbler - 2
Black-Throated Warbler - 1
White-Eyed Vireo - 1
Song Sparrow -1
Great Blue Heron - 2
Wood Ducks - 20
Cedar Waxwing - 1
?Red-Tailed Hawk? - 1
Red-Headed Woodpecker - 10
Morning Dove - 2

Monday, September 20, 2010

9/11 Field Trip

The morning began at the loading docks of Irvine. The sun was on its way up as the chilled air was enjoying its last hours. The sky was clear. After the final stragglers came and an introduction by Miles we loaded up into the vans to start our first bird watching field trip. Three locations were on our itinerary: Grosvenor St., the Hocking River, and The Ridges. We drove down Grosvenor to witness the various vultures perching atop the houses.

9/11/10 0725 Grosvenor St.
Approximately 20 vultures (Mix of Black and Turkey vultures) spanned the house rooftops. Adorned in black feathers as they perched they scanned the area with their heads atop 'crooked' necks. The massive wings were tucked against the bodies. Movement among the vultures consisted of hopping from perch to perch while some glided short distances with their wings partially extended out. The wings beat up and down as they glided.

Shortly after Miles gave a quick lecture on the Black and Turkey Vultures, we got in the vans to drive down to the hocking.

9/11/10 0730 The Hocking River West of the 682/Richland Roundabout
Floating down the hocking was a Canadian Goose. The body was covered in dark brown feathers with a black neck. The dark head had a white patch around the eyes. The neck was held in an upright position. Occasional honking made by the Canadian Goose.

9/11/10 0735 Further down The Hocking River
To much surprise an Osprey was perched on top of a tree on our side of the river with another Osprey in the vicinity. It flew overhead for a brief amount of time prior to perching. Individual feathers on the tips of the wings was noted. The osprey had a white belly with black wings. The eyes were intercepted by a black stripe. The beak had a downward curvature. The tail was banded. The Osprey had a nice erect perching stance with quick jerking of the head as it scanned the area. By this time the morning had gotten warmer as the sun was rising into the clear blue sky.

9/11/10 0745 Further down The Hocking River
Transversing the river overhead were some wires. Perched atop those wires was a Belted Kingfisher. The bird has a white belly and dark wings. The critter was adorned with a feather 'mohawk'. On the proximal wing laid a short black stripe. The tail feathers had a slight bow to them.

9/11/10 0755 The Hocking River
A flock of about 10 Canadian Geese flew towards the south in the distance above the roundabout. I

9/11/10 0800 The Hocking River mudflats
Approximately 5 Killdeer were scurrying about the mudflats. These shorebirds had white bellies, brown backs and a black band near the breasts.There laid a brown/gray band on the head. Short and 'pokey' beaks contrasted the relatively long legs they had.

9/11/10 0805 Heading back towards the vans along the Hocking River
Noticed a dark silhouettes flying above. The wingspan had a nice curve to it as it quickly flapped. The short bodies was much shorter when compared to the wingspan. The light underbellies helped distinguish this bird as a Chimney Swift. Approximately 5 were observed.

9/11/10 0805 The Hocking River
The earlier observed Osprey circled around the river in hopes for some prey. Alas, it did not go for a kill.

9/11/10 0825 The Ridges cemetery
After departing from the vans that parked by the old TB ward, the group walked down to the trail next to the cemetery. In an odd juxtaposition to the graves a handful brown birds were lively flying about and chasing each other. Without much identification due to their activity, a proper identification was forfeited as we continued to trek into the woods.

9/11/10 0822 Into the woods by the cemetery
Audible bird calls aplenty. Many tweets, calls, and caws pierced the ears.

9/11/10 0830 The pond
In the field across the pond various American Robins were hopping about. The cattails interfered somewhat as I could make out their brown bellies and dark feathers covering their backs.

9/11/10 0835 The pond
More American Robins were seen in the trees above. Orange breasts and bellies with the gray/brown feathers coating the back make this bird a classic.

9/11/10 0840 Across the pond
In one of the tree branches a tiny bird was observed. The little guy had a yellow head and white belly. A black line ran along the tail. The beak was gray. Yellow Throated Vireo!

9/11/10 0845 The Ridges Woods
A bird in the tree tops was predominantly blue over the back and the tail. White feathers demarcated the two regions. A black head and white belly helped to identify this bird as the Blue Jay

9/11/10 0855 The Ridges Wood
Another Yellow Throated Vireo in the tree branches was seen consuming a piece of grub.

9/11/10 0900 Nature Trail
While walking down the trail, in the distance on the trail itself a small bird was moving about. It was mostly dark red along the neck and back wit ha black head. Northern Cardinal!

9//11/10 0910 Nature Trail continue
Miles pointed out the Carolina Chickadee overhead in the trees and a Downey Woodpecker just prior.

9/11/10 0915 Nature Trail continue
Noticed a type of woodpecker in a tree. It had a checkered back, a red head, and white belly. Red-bellied Woodpecker.

9/11/10 0949 Nature Trail towards the vans
Much time walking along the trails back to the vans, we all noted a noticeable drop in bird activity. In one tree brown back and white bird was perched. Identified as a Cedar Waxwing.

Species Checklist

Turkey Vultures: 10
Black Vultures: 10
Osprey: 2
Canadian Goose: 10
Belted Kingfisher: 1
Killdeer: 5
Chimney Swift: 5
American Robin: 10
Yellow Throated Vireo: 2
Blue Jay: 1
Northern Cardinal: 1
Carolina Chickadee: 1
Downey Woodpecker: 1
Red-Bellied Woodpecker: 1
Cedar Waxwing: 1