Trifecta of Owls: 30 March 2019

Barn Owl by Corinna Honscheid

Barn Owl by Corinna Honscheid

The weather forecast showed rain blanketing the state of Ohio. But, we are the Avids, and the trip must go on. It was not raining in the parking lot in Worthington, where five of us met at 5:30AM. We heard an American Robin singing for our first bird of the day. It starting raining on the drive to Cleveland. I got a message that we were intrepid and crazy for birding in such weather. The forecast seemed to indicate a possible break in the rain in Cleveland so we hoped to make the most of it.
Northern Saw-whet Owl by Corinna Honscheid

Northern Saw-whet Owl by Corinna Honscheid

We started birding in the parking lot at the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve. After diligent searching, Beth found the Northern Saw-whet Owl, well concealed against a branch in an evergreen tree. Since the rain had stopped, we decided to walk the perimeter trail. Lots of passerine activity greeted us. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over. Later, a Peregrine Falcon flew low right above us. Susan found an Iceland Gull, although she’d never seen one before. There was nice variety of waterfowl, including Horned Grebes in breeding plumage, Bufflehead, Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Scaup and Red-breasted Mergansers. Another highlight were 4 Fox Sparrows. The Saw-whet Owl was active and moving about in the pine tree near the parking lot on our return from the hike. It looked down at us, providing excellent photo opportunities. We saw 3 other birders during the hour and a half we were there.

Iceland Gull Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve by Susan Brauning

Iceland Gull by Susan Brauning

The rain started as we returned to the cars, so we decided to skip Wendy Park (and the Great Cormorant) and head to Wayne County where the annual Shreve Migration Sensation was happening. The Barn Owl kept its appointment with us. The landowner welcomed us to his silo. It was truly an awe inspiring sight to see this heart faced owl staring down at us. We decided to make it a 3 owl day, and with help from Sue squared, found the adult Great Horned Owl and a pure white Owlet on its nest.

The only shorebirds were Killdeer and a single Greater Yellowlegs. Waterfowl were sparse. We found a few Sandhill Cranes. With the rain picking up we decided to call it a day and arrived back in Columbus at 4 PM. We managed to stay mostly dry while Central Ohio set a record with 1.9 inches of rain on our trip day. We saw 55 different species of birds. Our trip lists for 2019 are now on eBird. This list of species follows.

Canada Goose
Trumpeter Swan
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Mallard
Redhead
Lesser Scaup
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Horned Grebe
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Sandhill Crane
Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs
Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Iceland Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Loon
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk
Barn Owl
Great Horned Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
American Robin
European Starling
American Goldfinch
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Song Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Common Grackle
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow