Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shawnee State Forest in the spring

Last Saturday's Avid Birders trip was to Shawnee State Forest in Scioto County, with a few visits to places in Adams county afterwards.

Overlooking the Ohio River from Shawnee State Forest.

Shawnee State Forest, or just "Shawnee" for short, is a favorite place for many Ohio birders for early spring migrants. This is a great place to tick off the arriving warbler wave, and Saturday was no exception, with 20 species of warblers sighted or heard by the group (I myself only had 17 species in Shawnee, with an additional species sighted in Adams County). Highlights included great views of Broad-winged Hawks, Orchard Oriole, Scarlet Tanagers, White-eyed Vieroand of course, the warblers. The best warbler of the day was an obliging Cerulean Warbler, who came down and foraged just above eye level for us (on a side note, after getting back and taking Henry the Pug for his walk, I had even better looks at a Cerulean Warbler in Walhalla Ravine!). Shawnee is gorgeous in the spring, with all the dogwoods and redbuds blooming, imparting a palette of pastel whites, pinks and greens to the landscape - a perfect background to the boldly colored birds! I took a lot of photos, but only a few really came out. The best ones are below.

Cerulean Warbler

Worm-eating Warbler, living up to its name

Prairie Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

In all, I saw 81 species on Saturday, a pretty awesome day of birding! I added 30 new birds for the year, so I'm now at 191 species for the year and 168 for Ohio. My first of year birds from Saturday include (species followed by location of first sighting):

Green Heron (Shawnee Marina [SM])
Broad-Winged Hawk (Shawnee State Forest [SSF])
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (SSF)
Great Crested Flycatcher (Edge of Appalachia Preserve, Adams County [EA])
White-eyed Vireo (SSF)
Warbling Vireo (Pike County)
Red-eyed Vireo (SSF)
Bank Swallow (SM)
Cliff Swallow (Pike County)
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (SSF)
Gray-cheeked Thrush (Walhalla)
Wood Thrush (SSF)
Gray Catbird (EA)
Blue-winged Warbler (SSF)
Northern Parula (SSF)
Blackburnian Warbler (SSF)
Prairie Warbler (SSF)
Cerulean Warbler (SSF)
Black-and-white Warbler (SSF)
American Redstart (SSF)
Worm-eating Warbler (SSF)
Ovenbird (SSF)
Kentucky Warbler (SSF)
Common Yellowthroat (EA)
Hooded Warbler (SSF)
Yellow-breasted Chat (SSF)
Scarlet Tanager (SSF)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (SSF)
Indigo Bunting (SSF)
Orchard Oriole (SM)

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