Blue Jay - Photo Shenandoah NP

Sunday, August 28, was a beautiful morning: our 9:0 0am start featured moderate late summer temperatures and a brilliant blue sky. James Muller, our leader, managed to corral our largish group of about fifteen birders and started us along the multipurpose path that runs behind Ohio Dominican University’s East Campus Building.

Yellow-throated Warbler - Photo Mark Bishop
Yellow-throated Warbler in spring (breeding) plumage. They’re not so brilliant as this in the fall! (Photo Mark Bishop)

Leaving the parking lot and before making it to the main path, we spotted a few fall migrants, such as a Yellow-throated Warbler working high up in a tree. Once we got to the shade-dappled path, we heard plenty of resident and migrant species around us: Carolina Wrens were tuning up and Eastern Wood Pewees sang just a bit further along.

Migrating flycatchers and especially warblers were hopping about in the trees, but wait — that wasn’t the plan. We had hoped that as the morning sun heated the upper parts of the tree canopy and warmed the birds, they would slip down closer to the ground, making for good views. Unfortunately, the birds had not been consulted: they mostly stayed way up there. We caught glimpses and managed to identify some, but for the most part we did not have those in-your-face views that we all enjoy so much.

Well, that’s how it goes with birding sometimes. And the slow birding didn’t seem to dampen spirits. Everyone was enjoying the sounds and the all-too-fleeting sights — and why not on such a beautiful day?

Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Wood-Pewee

The previously announced end time for our hour-long walk and went; a lazy Sunday morning was no time to stay on schedule. We all eventually wandered back to the parking lot, more or less together. By now, it was heating up, on its way to a hot afternoon, and we were accompanied on our way by the sound of Blue Jays that had begun to vocalize — a lot!

All in all, not the birdiest of days, but we saw and heard enough to be satisfied anyway. After all, it’s like the old adage says “A bad day birding beats a good day working.”