A New Year Vagrant and Winter Birding

Varied Thrush by Lisa Phelps

Varied Thrush by Lisa Phelps

From Donna Kuhn

Due to the shorter daylight, we started later than usual, 6 AM, meeting at the traditional Worthington Mall. Snow was predicted to start in the morning in Columbus, but not until evening in Cleveland. So, we headed north, stopping at the McDonald-s and Der Dutchman before going to the Mohican State Park, where a continuing group of Evening Grosbeaks did not disappoint.  We saw one stunning male with several females.  We also saw Pine Siskins, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches and other feeder birds. We hated to leave the Grosbeaks, but we had miles to drive and birds to see.
We proceeded to Lake Erie Bluffs Metro Park, walked out along the gravel path by the railroad tracks off Lane road,  and were rewarded with a Common Raven flying over toward the landfill. We observed a kiting Kestrel and the ubiquitous Rock Pigeons.
A report of a Harris’s Sparrow sent us scurrying off in what turned out to be a futile chase.  The bird never reappeared for us or for other birders. We were entertained by a Belted Kingfisher calling and flying very close to us.

Varied Thrush by Lisa Phelps

Varied Thrush by Lisa Phelps

Lake View Cemetery had been hosting a Varied Thrush, and positive reports made that our next stop.  We found the bird, a lifer for a couple of Avid birders.  We made a stop at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve to look for Northern Saw-whet Owls, but we were unable to find them.

Searching for Saw-whets by Lisa Phelps

Searching for Saw-whets by Lisa Phelps

It wouldn’t be January if we didn’t scope gulls, so we stopped at East 55th Marina finding Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black backed Gulls, the most common varieties. The only waterfowl were Mallards and a few American Coots.

We stopped at Wendy Park, where Jen Brumfield was spotted scoping the thousands of gulls.  We were able to pick out a couple Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a few dozen Great Black-backed Gulls among the hordes of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. We left as the snowstorm was starting to darken the skies. Snow was falling by the time we drove though the Cleveland suburbs. The storm intensified with decreased visibility and snow covered roads made for a long drive.
Special thanks to our drivers for getting us safely home!
36 Species for the day:

Canada Goose
Mallard
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Double-crested Cormorant
Cooper’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Carolina Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Varied Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Evening Grosbeak
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Brown-headed Cowbird
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow