Friday, February 22, 2013

Search for Wintering Waterfowl, February 12

I noticed some postings on Ohio Birds from Rick Asamoto about White-winged Scoters a Caesar Creek State Park on Saturday, February 9, and possible Ross's Geese at Cowan Lake State Park on February 3.  Rick is a reliable reporter, but that was several days ago or while I was till in Minnesota.  These are birds I still need and a short distance from home.  I did not find the White-winged Scoters at Furnas Boat Ramp so I also tried the Beach, the North Boat Ramp, the Campground and Ward Road.  I found a few dabbling ducks, Mallard, Black Duck and American Wigeon, as well as divers, Ruddy Duck and Lesser Scaup and some American Coot.  Nothing new for the year.  I checked nearby Spring Valley WA, but there was someone running coon hunting dogs, so I left.

I continued to Cowan Lake, where I found Horned Grebe, new for the year at the marina but far out along the far shore.  At the east end of the lake beyond the beach and picnic area I found a single Cackling Goose with Canada Geese and some Northern Shovelers, but nothing new for the year.  I checked Melvin Quarry north of Wilmington, but found only another Horned Grebe and a few Canada Geese.

The Sun was setting, but I still had enough time to check Spring Valley WA for Rusty Blackbirds.  I arrived at the parking area at the trail leading to the boardwalk.  First I checked the feeders at the blind, but found nothing new for the year.  Then I walked down to the boardwalk.  They had improved the path with drainage and stones on the path.  Last fall the path was really muddy from all the springs in the area.  I sat on a bench on the platform waiting to see if any blackbird flocks show up.  Red-winged Blackbirds roost in the cattails in the marsh.  Eventually one individual Red-winged Blackbird male posted up on top of a tree near the platform and one at the beginning of the boardwalk.  Eventually, a flock of about twenty blackbirds landed in the trees at the beginning of the boardwalk.  I walked back to get close enough to scan with binoculars.  I heard Rusties making their squeaky gate calls and found about nine of males plus females.  With Horned Grebe and Rusty blackbird, the total is 136.      

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