On March 23, the OYBC crew all met up in a Wendy’s parking lot before embarking on an exciting field trip to the Clear Fork Reservoir and the Ohio Bird Sanctuary. When we first got to the reservoir, we saw some Turkey Vultures sunning on a dike. Once we pulled off the road into a parking area, we found a patch of water that wasn’t glazed with ice, and spotted some Lesser Scaup, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Common Goldeneye. We also saw two Belted Kingfishers fly over, as well as a flock of gulls with a few Bonaparte’s mixed in.
Later on down the road at picnic area #2, we saw four Blue-winged Teal in a cove. We enjoyed tossing pebbles onto the ice, which attracted many Ring-billed Gulls. Also, we found an Olive-sided Flycatcher. After about ten minutes of it having its back to us, the bird finally turned around and revealed its true identity: a Song Sparrow. Afterwards, we walked through the woods back to a Bald Eagle nest. We saw an Eastern Phoebe, a Ruddy Duck and, of course, Bald Eagles.
We worked our way over to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary and spotted a very interesting bird right away: Lucy the chicken. She followed us around and even let most of us hold her. We took a walk around the sanctuary and looked at some of the amazing birds that had been rehabilitated and now live there permanently. There was also an aviary that we explored, and I tried a very interesting snack as well. Most people would think that live mealworms would taste disgusting, but I thought they had somewhat of a cheese flavor. There was an old boy scout building that now houses some of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary’s warm weather birds during colder months. We got an up-close look at Strix, a Tawny Owl from Europe and Asia. While we had lunch (not worms), Education Coordinator Jan Ferrell talked about the sanctuary’s history and upcoming projects.
After lunch we all went for a walk in the woods around the sanctuary, led by some of the Junior Naturalists who volunteer there. We saw many different birds, including some Wood Ducks that we spooked out of a creek and some Turkey Vultures that were eating a deer carcass.
After the nature walk at the sanctuary, we all went back to the reservoir. We quickly realized that all the ice had melted. We eventually found a couple of Horned Grebes with the spotting scope, but not much else.
Overall, the OYBC trip to Clear Fork Reservoir and the Ohio Bird Sanctuary was a very successful trip that resulted in a list of 42 species including Common Loon, Field Sparrow, and Hairy Woodpecker.
Editor’s note: Central Ohio OYBC Advisor Gerry Brevoort adds the following on behalf of all the advisors: A heartfelt Thank You to OYBC parent Mike Zook for organizing this field trip! Mike thoroughly scouted the area in the days preceding our event and made sure everyone had detailed maps at their fingertips. He partnered with the folks at Ohio Bird Sanctuary who provided us with a presentation, facilities where we could lunch, and teen tour guides to show us around. The work they do there is amazing and inspiring!
Report author Trevor Zook is a student member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club. Check out the photo album for this trip. Central Ohio OYBC student member Aaron Tayal compiled the following list of species seen on the trip.
Great Blue Heron