A Columbus Audubon field trip to Twin Lakes in Powell this morning provided a special opportunity to be out on the water in kayaks. Participants were treated to a different perspective of breeding birds busily caring for families.
An Eastern Kingbird brought dragonflies to a nest hanging low over the water in a sycamore. A large family of fledged Northern Rough-Winged Swallows perched prominently on a dead limb begging for bugs. We were delighted to see the crown jewel…the Prothonotary Warbler…feeding a fledgling in an ash tree as an Indigo Bunting sang in the willow beside them. There was much discussion about the color of the fledgling. We drifted along enjoying flyovers of Green Herons, Great Blue Herons, Tree Swallows, and occasionally the golden blur of the Prothonotary while a new fawn studied us from the water’s edge.
After a lunch break, Darlene Sillick showed the group the Purple Martin nests, giving everyone the opportunity to peek into the gourd nests and then examine eggs and handle nestlings. There was a lot of interest in banding and in the dispatching of the sparrows that invade nests. Darlene speaks of the Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, and Purple Martin nest box monitoring with passion, and there are very likely several new recruits after today.
The day concluded with a tour of the Columbus Zoo mussel research site and a talk about the acquisition of the land, the building that now houses the mussel research, the significance of Ohio’s freshwater mussels, the mussel’s lifecycle, and why they are imperiled. While giving our undivided attention to bivalves and keeping the binoculars lowered, more than one of us noticed that during the entire talk, a willow flycatcher was busily chasing insects around the lawn, launching from the same perch over and over. Blame it on the bird!
Wonderful day, and great to see a young birder and a potential young birder joining in. Thank you Darlene, Columbus Audubon, and the TAASC volunteers.
The following list of species seen on the trip was compiled by Jeff Pontius:
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagle (juvenile)
Cooper’s Hawk (Male and Female together in tree)
Northern Rough-winged Swallow