Friday, December 24, 2010

Lots-o- Christmas siskins

Merry Christmas to all,
Jeff Loughman, my mother and myself were able to get permission to go out to Camp Berry on Christmas eve morning.  Overcast; the sun never showed itself.  Consequently all activity seemed located to just a couple areas.  Still, worth going out.  Some highlights

Wild Turkey 3- Plus many, many tracks.
Tufted Titmouse 15- Not rare, but they seemed to be everywhere.  Often they were the ONLY bird calling.
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1
Carolina Wren 2
Hermit Thrush 3-  Feeding on poison ivy berries
Yellow-rumped Warbler 4- Ditto
Lapland Longspur 1- Actually in fields NNW of Camp Berry
White-winged Crosbill 1-  Heard him calling.  Threw us for a while.
Pine Siskin 44-  Probably a low number.  We were watching some white-throats and white-crowneds near a little open water when a mass of siskins dropped from the sky.  Fun to watch; they always seem to be quarreling with each other.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Common Redpolls in Van Buren SP

I did some early morning hiking at Van Buren State Park in Van Buren, Ohio, and was rewarded by a flyby of about 3 Common Redpolls.  They were with about 6 or 8 Goldfinches.  It's amazing how similar some of their calls are to each other.  Luckily, I was able to get a good look at one CORE and brief glimpses of two others.
For those of you familiar with VBSP, I heard an saw them as I just got on the access road that leads to the old campgrounds.  For those unfamiliar, the access road is located off of TR229 on the NE corner of Van Buren Lake.  There is a sign marked Group Camping Area that marks the road.
Not much else exciting was out bird-wise, though I did hear three different Carolina Wrens.  After the past few years where these birds have been difficult to spot in Hancock, it's good to see that they are slowly making a comeback.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Early October Birding in Bluffton Ohio

A group of 7 members of the Hancock County Naturalist traveled to NW Allen County and Bluffton Ohio to visit Bluffton Univeristy Nature Preserve.  Beautiful day to be out, warmed up in a hurry.  Very few insects.
Observation date: 10/9/10
Some highlights:

Wood Duck 13
Peregrine Falcon 1- adult bird, cruising south
Belted Kingfisher 2- very cooperative pair, posing nicely for us
Carolina Wren 1
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 9- low count, probably many more
Eastern Bluebird 2
Hermit Thrush 1
American Robin 47+
Cedar Waxwing 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler 22- low
White-throated Sparrow 13
Dark-eyed Junco 7
Purple Finch 1- proably an immature male, only showed partial coloration
(Crossing Riley Creek)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Avocets at Findlay Reservoir

Jeff Loughman spotted an American Avocet at the Findlay Reservoirs on the dike between the two reseroirs, around 4PM Thursday.
I spotted this bird and possibly a second early on the foggy Friday morning.
On Sunday morning at dawn, Jeff and I spotted two Avocets flying east along the south dike of #1.  Few other shorebirds were present.

Some Friday morning fog.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Late breeding season suprises (YTWA, NOPA)

   After not getting nearly enough sleep Saturday morning from working until 4am and then out again at dawn for OBBA field work, I decided to unwind by going to Camp Berry south of Findlay and.... bird, of course.
   I was not dissapointed.  In addition to arriving late enough (11:30am) to where the mosquitos weren't bad, I was suprised to hear two territorial singing Yellow-throated Warblers and tow singing Northern parulas, all within 200 yards of the pool at the scout camp.
  Catching sight of one of the Yellow-throated Warblers, I was pumped to see it feeding a rather well developed young bird.  Also the two singing YTWA's were at opposite ends of a rather large open field, so I wonder if that represents two separate pairs.  YTWA's are rather rare breeders for Hancock County; I've only observed probable breeding evidence for this species from a small section of the Blanchard River just north of Mount Blanchard.  It's possible they could also breed around the Clay Pits and maybe Van Buren State Park.  Parula's are a bit more common, but still localized to our larger woodlots.

Monday, June 7, 2010

OBBA work; Least Flycatcher, Prothonotary, Am. Bittern

Hello, all. I took this week off from my one job to focus on doing Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas sureying for Region 37.  Today I spent the morning in Sandusky County, mostly around Gibsonburg.  For those who have never been there, I recommend paying a visit to White Star Park just south of G-burg.  Away from the quarry, it has a very nice variety of habitat.  In particular, there are some great wetlands to be found off of CR 66, 1/2 mile northe of CR 65.
For a few highlights, the parking lot had a persistenly singing Least Flycatcher who went absolutely crazy when a Grackle got too close.  Wierd seeing a Grackle getting chased by something a third its size.  For OBBA volunteers, I went safe and called this "AB" (agitated behavior), rather than "DD" (distraction display/ dive bombing).
In the wetland, I hear at least two scounter-singing Prothonotary Warblers, and was very suprised to flush an American Bittern.  Rather, it wasn't I that flushed the Bittern, but a Great Blue Heron seemed to, after I scared the heron.  Both of these species were roughly 150 yards straight back on the trail from the parking lot.
Bobolinks and Eastern Bluebirds were plentiful in the grasslands in the park.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Big movement Saturday

This'll be a quick post; it's much too late.
Saturday brought the biggest wave of migrants this spring to our area.  Saturday morning found several memeber of the Hancock County Naturalists and myself at Springville Marsh in Seneca County.    Warblers present included:
N. Parula
Black-throated Blue
Black-throated Green
N. Waterthrush
C. Yerllowthrat

At the same time we were at Springville, Jeff Loughman observed many warblers at Camp Berry, south of FIndlay, including an Orange-crowned Warbler
And at Riverbend Recreation Area, right by the Findlay Reservoirs, Nick Fensler report strong warbler numbers, including multiple Canada and Mourning Warblers, plus a Connecticut Warbler not far from te campgrounds.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Findlay Reservoirs, White-rumped Sandpiper, BB Plover

The gale force winds from Saturday died down enough for Sunday to enjoy a walk out at the Findlay Reservoirs.  It was pretty quiet around 11:30am, but what few things out there made it all worthwhile.

Firstly, there was one, possibly two, White-rumped Sandpipers on the dike between both reservoirs.  I could kick myself; the one allowed me to get within 8 feet at one point.

There was also a Black-bellied Plover on the south dike in the extreme SE corner of #2 (the big one).  Oddly, the bird seemed to be hanging out with a pair of Ring-billed Gulls.

The immature Common Loon that has stayed out there all spring was still present.  Today he was tring out his song.  Very odd to here a loon cry in the middle of a bright, sunny day.  Still nice, though.

In the woods along the Blanchard River on the east side of the reservors, both species of Orioles were present, as well as a very persistently singing Northern Waterthrush.  In both areas, Chimeny Swifts and Barn Swallows were present by the dozens.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Golden-winged Warbler, Litzenberg

Early Sunday Morning Sue Baxter and I decided to dodge some rain and check out Litzenberg.
While the sheer numbers of species seems a down for early May (52), we did get a few good birds.
Easily the best was a singing male Golden-winged Warbler.  Sue an I both got several decent to good views, plus the bird called about a half-dozen times in ten minutes.
This warbler was located in the far NW corner of the north side of Litzenberg Memorial Woods.  Follow the main trails directly back all the way to the wooden service-access gate just off the back county road.  The warbler was about 25 feet off the trail to the left, and about 15 feet up in an oak.

Red-headed Woodpecker 1
Eastern Phoebe 2
Yellow-throated Vireo 2
Red-eyed Vireo 2
Eastern Bluebird 1
Hermit Thrush 1
Wood Thrush 5
Cedar Waxwing 43 big flock over the parking lot
Golden-winged Warbler 1  male singing and observed
Yellow Warbler 6
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Palm Warbler 4
Common Yellowthroat 3

Scarlet Tanager 1 male
Vesper Sparrow 1
Grasshopper Sparrow 1
White-throated Sparrow 10
White-crowned Sparrow 4
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 2

Friday, April 2, 2010

Scoter, L. Waterthrush

Hello, sorry for the delay on this end.
FIrstly, this week has seen a steady stream of ducks at the Findlay Reservoirs.  Scaup are easily the most common.  Few great rarities, but there was a male Surf Scoter near the point on Wednesday morning.
Since the Findlay Reservoirs are the best known birding spot in Hancock County, I offer these two tips:
1) It's best to start at the small reservoirs parking lot on the south end and walk to the point farthest out separating the two reservoirs.  Its about a mile walk but almost always your best bet for birds.
2) You can't get there early enough in the day.  On clear mornings, the first ducks and gulls start to leave about an hour BEFORE sunrise.  I'm not saying good birds wont be out there later, just that the earlier in the day, the wider the selection and the greater the numbers.
Today (Friday) I got off work ealry this afternoon and went to Van Buren State Park and more specifically the east side.  Pretty quiet overall, though I did hear a Sapsucker calling, and had a Louisianna Waterthrush in the wet bottomlands along the creek.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's Spring! (sort of)

It is definately starting to feel like spring outside.  I had my first grackle for Hancock County of the year leaving a "calling card" on my car this morning.  Over at Camp Berry, where I stopped by to talk to the camp manager, I heard several Red-winged Blackbirds fly overhead.
At the Wastewater Treament plant just beside I-75 in Findlay sported Several Redheads and a Lesser Scaup.
The Findlay Reservoirs are still iced-over, but will be opening soon.  The shoreline is starting to show water.  Of course this didn't stop the ice fishermen from being out there.  At least three were on #2 at noon on Saturday.  I rather enjoy fishing but I'm sorry, I don't get it.  You couldn't pay me enough to walk out on solidified water, especially when it's melting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Long-eared Owl

On Monday evening around 7:30 (Feb 08) I was called out to the Brugeman Lodge at Riverbend because of non-functioning outdoor lights.  As I typically do when I am called out on park duty after dark, I decided to try to call a few owls in.  I gave what arguably could have been the worst Screech-Owl call in human history, and suprisingly, a Long-eared Owl responded.  I traded a couple calls with the bird (I'm guessing male), before some fairly loud people heading to their cars interrupted us.
I have no idea why the owl reponded; I can't stress how bad my first call was.  Perhaps the bird wanted to show the interloper how a real owl calls.  I'm not complaining.
Weather has interrupted any chance at checking on this bird Tuesday evening.  If you'd like to try to find it, Riverbend Recreation Area is located immediately NNE of the Findlay Reservoirs, perhaps 2 miles east of Findlay.  This owl was calling from a pine grove located along side the county road, in between the Lodge and the reservoirs.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Springville Marsh Spring 2010 schedule

As per several requests, here is Tom Bartlett's schedule for banding birds at Springville Marsh in Seneca County this spring:
March 13 Sat
March 20 Sat
March 27 Sat
April 3  Sat
April 11  Sun
April 17  Sat
April 24  Sat
May 1  Sat
May 9  Sun
May 16 Sun
May 22 Sat
May 23 Sun
May 29 Sat
All time are subject to rain-out.  Call Tom Bartlett (419) 447-0005 if in doubt.
Nets are normally up well before sunrise and the first round to extract birds is usually at sunrise.  The best rounds are normally the first two or three.  Banding is almost always done by noon.
He sent me a .doc file containing this info, lus a few other dates/locations.  If you'd like to have the file, feel free to email me ( and I'll send it off as soon as possible.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lawrence Woods, Hardin County

    Friday (Jan 29) found me with a very rare day off, so I went down to Lawrence Woods Nature Preserve in southern Hardin County.
    While it was slightly chilly, the themometer I brought along read -2F at 9 AM, it was still a worthwhile day.
    Woodpeckers were out in force; I saw 5 of our 6 woodpecker species.  Downies, Hairy, sever Flickers, many Red-bellieds, two Pileateds, and one Sapsucker near the bird blind.
    A Barred Owl was also flushed out by several aggitated Blue Jays.
    The highlight was easily a Northern Shrike, that I saw in a tree line on the south border of the preserve (CH200).  The tree line was perhaps 1/4m east of an old barn found on the preserve property.
    If you have never been, I'd recommend paying a visit to Lawrence Woods.  It's roughly 4 miles south of Kenton.  Take 292 south for Kenton and then take a right on CH190 (there's a sign), the entrance is a little over a mile down the road on the left.  Watch out for horse-and-buggie teams.
    On the way back to Findlay, I took a detour to see what was flying around the Wetlands south of Forest, Ohio.  4 Harriers were seen (1adult male, 2 immatures, and 1 I didn't get a great look at).  Also present were a Kestrel and a Red-tail that was being harrased by the adult male Harrier.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I spotted a pair of Chukars today (Jan 16) in northern Cass Township, in extreme north-central Hancock County, barely a mile south of Belleville.
Obviously birds released for hunting purposes, apparently at least two survived the hunt.
They were on TR 114, 1/4 mile west of TR 232.
TR114 is a pretty isolated county road with a nice-looking Wildlife Production Area found at the corner of 114 and 232. This location could be good for ticks, chats in summer, ticks, and perhaps a few migrants in spring, as well as ticks.

Note: The picture is a bit blurry because I had it set to manual focus and completely forgot to focus the thing. Ah well, live and learn.
Directions (from Van Buren OH):
Head east on US 613.
About 1 to 1.5 miles past the Allen Twp Sports Complex, there'll be a sea-green house on the left.
Take a left on the county road immediately past this house (this is TR232).
Take the next left (> 0.5miles down) (TR114)
The birds were 0.25 miles down the road on the left side, just past the first woodlot.