Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Finally Home but Birding on the Way, Monday, March 25

I continued to have some diarrhea late Sunday and early Monday morning.  I continued the same therapy that I have been using since the onset of the noro-virus attack.  A Little Gull has been reported at Dillon Lake State Park near Zanesville which is right off of I-70 on my way back to Cincinnati.  I stopped there and looked at the boat ramp and the state park but did not find the Little Gull which had been last reported on Tuesday of last week.  I called my birding friend Doreene Linzell who had seen this bird with Dan Sanders earlier to find out exactly where they had seen the bird.  She confirmed that they had seen it a the boat ramp.  I stopped there one more time.   There were 25 Ring-billed Gulls, Horned and Pied-billed Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers and perhaps other waterfowl.  I did not find the Little Gull.  I stopped by the dam to get a different vantage point of the lake, but did not find the Little Gull.  I headed west toward home, satisfied that I had at least tried for Little Gull while I was well within range of a previous sighting.  There will be more opportunities for Little Gull this year. 

The snow cover seemed to decrease as I continued west toward Columbus and south toward Cincinnati.  However, the snow cover was enough to cover the ground and grass.  I realized as I drove south, this could be an opportunity to find birds along the roadside and at feeders due to feeding at the road edge where the ground and grass are exposed.   I exited I-71 on to State route 73 and drove to Caesar Creek State Park.  On the beach there was a narrow strip of sand exposed from the snow.  There I found two, perhaps three, American Pipits, a new bird for the year.  There were two for sure.  A third bird flew off before I could see it well.  I could see the buffy under-parts, the brownish back, wings and tail and when they landed after taking flight, I could see the white outer edges of the tail.  I could also hear the single "seeeet" calls they were making.  They were feeding like pipits creeping low along the ground and walking along the edges as they fed.  It is good to add this one to the list, although they are easy in Alaska where I am headed later in the spring.  Next I went to the visitor center in hopes of finding an early Chipping Sparrow at the feeders.  No luck there.  Plenty of Song Sparrows, American tree Sparrows, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Sparrows, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Northern Cardinal and House Finches but no Chipping Sparrow.  The naturalist told me that someone had reported a Chipping Sparrow at the feeders recently but that she had not seen it.

I continued my quest to Spring Valley Wildlife, where I found the feeders bare and without food.  I walked down to the boardwalk and waked out.  A large flock of Wood Ducks and Mallards flew up from the right.  Later I counted seventeen Wood Ducks.  I continued to the end to the observation platform.  There were about five Northern Shovelers and a flock of teal flew up, containing at least three Blue-winged Teal and about 15 Green winged Teal.  Blue-winged Teal is a new bird for the year.  In total, I saw seventeen Blue-winged Teal in several small flocks.  I whistled the "ker-weeee" call of Sora.  I have found that sometimes both Soras and Virginia Rails answer, but not this time.  Probably too cold and snowy for a response, but it is not too early.  There were Rusty Blackbirds still present at Spring Valley.  I heard them giving their rusty gate calls/songs and saw a few.  

I arrived home before dark, satisfied with this trip to the east for rarities.  Now I must make plans and flight reservations for my next series of trips.  American Pipit and Blue-winged Teal make the total 191.

There are still some local birds to add for the year.  I still need Winter Wren, which should still be in the area.  Eastern Phoebe, Pine Warbler and Rough-winged Swallow should be back from the winter south and Louisiana Waterthrush should soon be returning.  I'll keep these in mind as I run quick errands and make travel plans.    


  1. (from Ryan Tomazin)

    Too bad you didn't go straight to Erie, PA, on Sunday. They had an unprecedented 12-gull day, including Franklin's, BL Kittiwake, 50+ Little Gulls, and more. Little Gulls should still be there, and they've had Glaucous, Lesser Black-backed, and more.

    1. Ryan,
      Thanks for the thought. The spectacle in Erie was indeed spectacular. Driving to Erie would have been a very lucky choice. Jerry McWilliams posting was 19:57 pm on Sunday, by which time I was already committed. I still have greater rarities to chase than Little Gull like Little Bunting in Oregon, Grey Heron in Newfoundland, Crimson-collared Grosbeak in Texas and at that time Sunday a Nutting's Flycatcher in Arizona. Finding Little Gull elsewhere is still possible this spring as well as into the fall and early winter. Franklin's Gull is easier to get in migration in Texas right now, where I am likely heading next and is possible during fall migration and on the breeding grounds. I already have Black-legged Kittiwake, Glaucous Gull and all of the other gulls seen in Erie on Sunday, March 24. I discounted a chase to Erie for Little Gull for the above reasons. Thanks for the thought.

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