Kayaking at Twin Lakes

Overlooking the Twin Lakes areaA 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.

A Great Blue Heron from an unusual perspective - straight up!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.

A Blue-grayGnatcatcher feeds her hungry broodAfter 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.

A fawn resting on the bank does not seem to mind the presence of our kayaksThe 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:

Canada Goose
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle (juvenile)
Cooper’s Hawk (Male and Female together in tree)
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Peewee
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Red-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Bank Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Prothonotary Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Field Sparrow
House Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Baltimore Oriole
Ruby-throated Hummingbird