Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shaping up to be a poor shorebird season

Solitary Sandpiper, Bellevue area

I went out last Sunday with some friends to check out shorebird habitat in the NW corner of the state. While we found some pretty good birds, the amount of habitat was pretty sparse. Everything has either too much water or not enough, it seems. A lot of traditional great areas look like total busts, such as Medusa Marsh (too much water), Pipe Creek (not enough water) and Pickerel Creek (ditto). One exception is the Bellevue area south of Sandusky, which had suffered some severe flooding earlier in the summer.

Black-necked Stilts (background), Killdeer, Tree Swallow,
and Lesser Yellowlegs, Bellevue, Ohio

Due to a quirk of local geology, the flood waters around Bellevue are taking a very long time to recede, so long in fact that the flooded fields served to host dozens of breeding Pied-billed Grebes and ducks. More interestingly, a group of four Black-necked Stilts showed up there in June and attempted to nest, although it seems the attempt failed. We saw the stilts, along with an American Avocet, a raft of Ruddy Ducks, Solitary Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Killdeer, Semipalmated Plover, and Short-billed Dowitcher.

American Avocet (sleeping), Killdeer, Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs

I also found out I'm getting to go to Tucson for a work conference at the end of September. I've already scheduled in two or three days to go birding!

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