Friday, September 28, 2007

Sabine's Gull stopover

Recently, A Sabine's Gull spent about 3 days at Grand Lake St. Mary's, about 2 hours northwest of Columbus. I did not get to see this bird, as it showed up during the middle of a work week, and I had already missed a day for illness. This would have been a life bird for me. So it goes.

I am going to make my first trip to Conneaut next week, though. I have to be in Ashtabula on business, and it makes no sense to at least stop and check it out! Conneaut is practically in Pennsylvania and is about 3 or 4 hours from Columbus, so I've never gone up. Don't know what I will see, but it's a good spot for migrating shorebirds and a likely spot for odd gulls to show up.

Our next Avids trip is next weekend, but the forecast is for rain. I really hope it changes, as I haven't been out birding in a while. I didn't get the chance at all in Massachusetts (I'll be back out for Thanksgiving and I really want to make the effort to get out and do some birding one morning, though).

I also started to get some participants together for the birding trip I am leading to Sault Ste. Marie in January. So far, I have almost 8 people, which will fill up the trip. Should be a good time!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Out in Massachusetts this weekend

Let's see what I can find. Don't think I've been in MA during late September before. As I mentioned in a previous post, I won't have much time for anything but incidental birding, but who knows what might happen?

There's a Green-breasted Mango in Beloit, Wisconsin right now, after all:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blah day for birding

I went out yesterday morning to Hoover and Blendon Woods. I seem to have bad luck just going out by myself. Whereas other people go to the same places and get numerous shorebirds, peregrine falcons, merlins, and loads of warblers, I go and get almost zilch.

I went to Hoover first to try and get a couple more shorebird species on my year list, specifically Sanderling and White-rumped Sandpiper. No such luck. Hoover was practically devoid of shorebirds, and not counting Killdeer, I maybe saw 15 individual shorebirds, the best species being Semipalmated Plover. I did have a nice look at a soaring Bald Eagle, and there were hundreds of swallows flying all over. But still, the lack of shorebirds was disappointing. One spot that had Sanderling and WRSA a couple days ago did not have a single bird.

I then went to Blendon Woods, hoping to pick up some warblers near the Nature Center (the common warbler I am missing from the year list is Tennessee, so that was my goal) but didn't have a single warbler. The screaming children on the nature trail probably had something to do with that.

Days like that can be really discouraging. Perhaps I'll see something cool when I am in Massachusetts this weekend, but that would have to be something practically falling in my lap, as there will be no time for birding.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Avids trip, Sept 8 2007 - Godwits and more

I spent all day Saturday with the folks in my birding group, the Columbus Audubon Avid Birders. We birded most of the day up in the Sandusky region, concentrating on Sheldon Marsh for the confusing fall warblers (which I did find confusing, due mainly to the poor light and/or the inferiority of my binoculars to deal with poor lighting). I did get some good shots of the common Ohio herons there, as you can see below.

Juvenile Great Blue Heron

Green Heron

Great Egret

Next stop was the causeway to Cedar Point, or "Chausee" as it is known among birders (I think that's French for "causeway"). Here we had great luck with shorebirds, finding a group of 8 Hudsonian Godwits, a Red Knot, several Short-billed Dowitchers, Stilt Sandpipers, an amazing 25 Western Sandpipers, a Baird's Sandpiper, both yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, and Pectoral Sandpiper. We also had an Eared Grebe, which was very early, but perhaps part of a grebe movement, as four Eared Grebes were found at Buck Creek State Park near Springfield that day as well. I also finally got Bank Swallow for my year list, which is now at 249 for the year, 239 for Ohio.

Hudsonian Godwits

Short-billed Dowitchers and Stilt Sandpipers

Finally, we ended the day at Hoover Reservoir, where we failed to relocate the Red Phalarope but did see a flock of 9 Buff-Breasted Sandpipers. We ended the day with 97 species.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

#364: Red Phalarope

Yesterday, I bagged another life bird, a molting Red Phalarope at Hoover Reservoir. It was feeding near some Short-billed Dowitchers and a Stilt Sandpiper. At first I thought it was a Red-necked Phalarope, but after getting home and scrutinizing some pictures of juvenile phalaropes, I decided that the bird I saw had different plumage patterns than Red-necked Phalarope, such as the white stripe in the grayish head cap more typical of Red Phalarope. Of course, it also helps that other, more experienced birders also saw the same bird later in the same location and ID'd it as a Red Phalarope!

I have an Avids bird trip this weekend I am really looking forward to. It's been pretty exciting the last week or so in Ohio birding, with the confirmation of breeding Mississippi Kites and interesting shorebirds and waders showing up, including a juvenile White Ibis and Reeve at locations in the state.