4/23/2020 - 4/26/2020
Took a little time Friday morning to bird a local park and ended up back there on Sunday. In between, I took a trip to southern Ohio to look for migrants.
Friday morning was bright and sunny. This is not what I actually hope for when I go out to shoot. It is easier to shoot on overcast days. You do not have to worry about shadows on overcast days. Friday was just too nice. The sun was shining, and the weather was warm. What I am saying is that the birds were very active and up high in the trees. I was able to sneak in a shot of a Wood Duck, but that was really it for photos. I did have a couple new migrants. Eastern Kingbird and Baltimore Oriole were singing in the parking lot area.
Saturday started at 2:15 AM. I hopped in the car and headed east. Shawnee SP in Ohio was high on my list of places to visit this spring. I have seen lots of excellent photos from the area and was eager to check it out. The place is 3.5 hours from my house. Given the current pandemic, this meant a lot of planning for minimal contact. Mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Drinks and food in the car. All that to get there and find a car that had slid down a steep bank there and needed a tow strap to get pulled out. So, in spite of plans, I had interaction, anyway. Emergency assistance handled, it was finally time to start shooting. The amount of birds in the area was incredible. Hooded, Blue-winged, and Black-and-white Warblers were singing everywhere. I also had Prairie, Worm-eating, Northern Parula, and Yellow-throated Warblers in several places. Louisiana Waterthrush was present but not as plentiful as the large flowing creek would have suggested they would be. Several Broad-winged Hawks, Ovenbird, White-eyed Vireo, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers round out the list of notables. Oops - and Northern Rough-winged Swallow. For as much as was heard, getting pictures was a challenge. Still, the place was beautiful, and I would love to go back some time.
Rain set in Saturday on the trip home, and it was still raining Sunday morning. I needed some sleep anyway. I was at Ft. Ben by 9:30 AM; eager to look for migrants and get some shooting in. With the cold and the rain, the warblers were feeding lower. I was hoping to track down Yellow Warbler, but I could not find one when I arrived. In fact, I spent most of the first hour picking up fishing line and pulling Garlic Mustard plants. Eventually, the weather warmed a little, and the place came to life. I spent about 4 hours there, and I only ever made it about halfway down the main trail. New migrants (at the park) included Yellow Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, and a heard-only Cerulean Warbler. The usual warblers were there and active, as well. I told myself, when I was heading to the park, that I did not need more shots of the Prothonotary Warbler. I should focus on other things. Yet, every time it sang, I could not help but to try and track it down. So, I have some more Prothonotary Warbler shots. It is really a hard thing to complain about.... Chimney Swifts and Norther Rough-winged Swallows were plentiful over the creek, and there were some Warbling Vireos, too.
I had thoughts of hitting other spots around town. But, perhaps, this was enough birding for this weekend. It is hard time of year. No matter how much birding you do, someone, somewhere, is going to see and get a great shot of a bird that you would have loved to see. That is just the way it goes. Welcome to migration. It has arrived.
Thanks for reading,