On October 27, our Central Chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club went to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park for a bird watching tour. We met at the nature center in the park and visited its indoor exhibits before heading out on the trails. There was an indoor stream that contained fish of various sizes and a turtle. There was also a display of raptors that are found in Ohio. Once we left the nature center, Paul Hurtado, a local expert birder and an OSU post-doc student, led us to several excellent bird watching spots in the metro park. We were also joined by Celeste Baumgartner of the OSU Ornithology Club.
We started bird watching in the parking lot near the nature center. There was a large number of birds in the surrounding vegetation. In the bushes, there were Song Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. There were Eastern Bluebirds near the grass, a considerable number of Mourning Doves in the trees, and there was a flock of American Crows flying overhead.
Next, our group walked to the Teal Trail Loop in the Wet Prairie Trails area to look for American sparrows. We spotted Song Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, and Swamp Sparrows in the grass surrounding the trail. In addition to sparrows, there were American Coots in a small body of water, two Northern Harriers, a Ring-necked Pheasant, and a Marsh Wren. The Ring-necked Pheasant flew suddenly out of the grass, which startled one person in our group. We headed back to the nature center once we finished walking along the trail. Our group saw many European Starlings, American Goldfinches, and a Red-shouldered Hawk on the way back.
At the nature center, we had lunch and listened to a presentation about eBird, made by Paul Hurtado. He showed the various uses and features of the eBird website, and he showed how bird observations for an area could be submitted to the website by registered users for scientists and bird watchers to view. After his presentation, we left the nature center to look at the nearby Bison, and we also saw one Sharp-shinned Hawk.
We then rode in cars to the Prairie Oaks Metro Park to do more bird watching. Paul Hurtado again showed us spots to see birds. He told us that we would need to create multiple eBird checklists because the park is in two counties. Our group started bird watching in the Darby Bend Lakes area, which was an area near a small lake and a parking lot. We spotted two Canada Geese and a Northern Flicker.
Shortly after, we started walking along a trail in the park, and we got to see a wide range of birds. The most notable birds we saw along the trail were Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a White-throated Sparrow. There were also three Brown-headed Cowbirds that interested me. Our group returned to the parking lot after we were done walking on the trail, and there were many Killdeer in the vicinity. This is where our bird trip concluded.
In conclusion, this bird watching trip was a unique experience. I had the opportunity to see new species of birds, which include the Swamp Sparrow, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and the Marsh Wren. Every OYBC member on this trip added at least one bird to their life list! This trip also improved my identification skills of American sparrows. I want to thank Paul Hurtado for leading this highly informative bird trip and for helping our group identify the birds.
Joey Tomei is a member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club. You can view additional photos from the trip. The following list of birds seen on the trip was compiled by Chloe Degitz, a member of the Central Ohio OYBC Youth Advisory Board.