Despite a bad weather forecast (which never materialized; the weather was almost perfect!), we had a nice turnout of 26 people.
We started at 8:00 am, walking part of the Teal Trail at Battelle Darby Metro Park. A Least Bittern co-operated very well, and we scoped a perched bird before it flew across the open water, giving fantastic flight views. This diminutive, colorful heron is scarce and difficult to see, as it typically skulks deep within reeds. So the experience of getting good visuals of one of these amazing birds should not be underestimated. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is also arguably the best place in central Ohio to see the Least Bittern’s larger relative, American Bittern. Unusually, we only had one view of this bird this morning, as one flew towards the parking lot. (We more often see and hear several on our outings to this park).
A pair of Blue-winged Teals put on a show as they repeatedly flew past, revealing their startling blue wings. Common Gallinule showed well through the scopes. Marsh Wrens were abundant and highly vocal, as usual, but didn’t ever provide decent views. Sora and Virginia Rails also called many times from the cattails but didn’t show. We walked over to our Henslow’s Sparrow and Sedge Wren stakeout on the Harrier Trail and got fantastic views of both species.
We then drove the mile or two to the Kuhlwein Road parking area, still at Battelle Darby Metro Park to look for the pair of Bell’s Vireos that have been singing constantly every hour of every day for the last few weeks, near their nest less than a mile along the trail. They tend to skulk within the willows, but because they’re so vocal, with a bit of patience we eventually got rewarded with good views. Steve Jones captured the photo shown here.
We also heard a Dickcissel from the parking area, but sadly weren’t able to get visuals on it. Another frequent visitor to this site, Blue Grosbeak, eluded us today. We ended the trip with a drive to Glacier Ridge Metro Park where we targeted and found Bobolinks.
While this report is brief, we ended the 6-hour outing with 65 species seen or at least heard. You can see the eBird checklists for the Battelle Darby Wet Teal Trail, the Battelle Darby Kuhlwein Road segment, and Glacier Ridge Metro Park.
Please do watch the Columbus Audubon website for details of the next free outing, or email me if you want to be notified in advance about future outings.