Columbus Audubon outing to Battelle Darby – wetlands and woods – April 2, 2019 free morning outing
Led by Chris Lotz of Birding Ecotours
A group of ten of us met at the parking for the Wet Prairie (Teal and Harrier Trails), at 6.30 am. We walked onto the mound adjacent to the parking so we could enjoy the grand vista over the prairie as the sun rose. We’re so privileged to have such a large metro park right on the doorstep of Columbus, where one can feel one is truly away from the city. We enjoyed large wheeling flocks of Red-winged Blackbirds and other species as they scattered out over the prairies after roosting the night in the wetlands. We also kept hearing the “PEENT” sound of displaying American Woodcocks. There were at least three Northern Harriers around. Northern Harrier is a winter species that does, however, linger a bit into the spring. A Cooper’s Hawk also put on a brief show for us.
Dragging ourselves away from the mound from where one can see for miles, we then walked part of the Teal Trail. We were really pleased to find a large diversity of winter ducks, many of them strikingly beautiful, along with good numbers of a summer species, Blue-winged Teal. We found Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser and a couple of common species, Wood Duck and of course Mallard.
My personal highlight was seeing at least five different American Bittern! A couple of them flew close enough to provide really good views.
We then went to the nearby Cedar Ridge area of this huge Metro Park to look for some woodland birds. Woodpeckers abounded and the highlights were Hairy Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (another winter species). There were a good number of Golden-crowned Kinglets around (they really seem to be migrating through Ohio right now as I’m finding them everywhere!), and we also really enjoyed seeing several Eastern Towhees. A good assortment of other birds was also around, including a beautiful Bald Eagle that flew over.
The e-bird lists from the two parts of this outing are at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54475624 and (33 species recorded) and at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54478275 (29 species recorded) respectively.
This was a fantastic group of like-minded birders. Thanks to the participants on this outing for making it such a pleasure! It was truly great birding with ya’ll.