Hooded Merganser - Photo Paul Albertella

The Columbus Audubon trip to Hoover Reservoir this morning had cold temperatures and not much to show for it.

We stopped at the Dam, Walnut Street ramp, Maxtown ramp, and Baldridge ramp, before heading over to Hoover Meadows. The cold south wind whipped up the reservoir, but the only big numbers of waterbirds were around the dam, where we had flocks of gulls and Hooded Mergansers. Small clusters of landbirds were in the quiet areas around the boat ramps, but it was slim pickings for most of the morning. Best birds included:

For variety, we came back along Miller-Paul Rd looking for raptors or open country birds – finding none – , and stopped at Rocky Fork Metropark, where we were treated to a big sparrow flock on the prairie north of the parking area that included 30+ Tree Sparrows, 8-10 Song Sparrows, and 4-5 Swamp Sparrows. Also present were 2 Red-tailed Hawks and 2 Northern Harriers.