From Donna Kuhn:
With temperatures predicted to be in the 70s, we set out from Worthington, hoping to bird around the predicted rain. On arrival to Killdeer Plains it was great to see that the tall grass obstructing the view of the Harold Roe Wetlands had been mown. In an effort to be prepared, a footstool was supplied for a vertically challenged participant. Birds were scarce at this location, although we did find a Wilson’s Snipe, Pectoral Sandpiper, both Yellowlegs and a Least Sandpiper. We checked out a few other areas, including Pond #3, which was mostly dry. We watched an immature and an adult Red-headed Woodpecker in a dead tree.
After a compulsory stop at McDonald’s we headed towards Lake Erie. By the time we reached the lake we were experiencing a torrential downpour. Desiring to stay out of the rain, we took the Ottawa Auto Tour.
Since we weren’t seeing many birds (and the few birds that we did see were difficult to identify because they were so wet), the participants in second car resorted to songwriting to fill the time. When the lead car stopped, and they were trying to figure out what was being seen, they were prompted to make up the following ditty (of course, borrowing the tune from a well-known Christmas song):
Said the Driver to the passengers,
“Do you see what they see?
Why’d they stop? Tell me, passengers,
Do you see what they see”
“A bird, a bird, sitting in a tree.”
“Could it be an Eastern Phoebe?”
“It’s a Kingbird, not a Phoebe”
Another passenger commented that boredom had officially set in. We are serious about birding, but we like to have fun too. Fortunately the storm blew through and the skies cleared as we headed over to Howard Marsh. The birding picked up dramatically.
The Black-necked Stilts did not disappoint. Several pairs have been nesting there this summer. We saw nearly a dozen of them foraging in the mudflats. Another group birding the area helped us find a Baird’s Sandpiper. It was relatively close and along the shoreline with some Semipalmated Sandpipers for nice comparisons. The wings extended beyond the tail. The scaly appearance of the back with the buffy, streaked throat and upper chest helped us distinguish the birds.
As we were leaving, a couple people in our group saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird among the hordes of blackbirds. It was a young male on top of a leafless tree.
Since a Red Knot was a life bird for one participant, we scurried over to the inland beach at Maumee Bay State Park, where we quickly relocated the bird. With over 400 terns on the beach, and a child flushing them, we gave up trying to determine exactly how many were Common and how many were Forster’s Terns. Why didn’t the terns poop on the child who flushed them?
We made a quick stop at Metzger where the road remains closed. The wetland is becoming overgrown and drying up, so very few birds were seen here. We headed for home, completing another 12-hour birding field trip.
Our 68 species are list below, 13 shorebirds:
American Black Duck
Great Blue Heron