Monday, November 16, 2009

Another so-so birding day in SW Ohio

Seeing all my birder friends' lists from recent trips from all over the place has got me wanting to see birds. Since my current financial situation will not allow me to travel to the places where good birds are, I can only bird locally for now. (My life list has been stuck at just under 300 for some time, partly due a lack of funds and the lack of quality bird habitat in SW Ohio - specifically referring to wetland/shorebird habitat)

I decided to stop by East Fork State Park Nov. 16th. I have had the feeling that I am overdue to get a good bird or rarity for some time now, but today was not the day. A quick scan of the beach and the lake with the scope only produced Ring-billed Gulls and 3 Herring Gulls. That was it. As I was getting ready to take off, a woman and her child walked down to the water's edge and the child threw something into the water. About 3 seconds later, I noticed a bird with white wing patches flying in fast from the right. It landed right in front of me. It was my FOS (first of season) Red-breasted Merganser (female). I don't know where the bird came from, but I can see how I missed it as it was feeding(?):

Feeding or drinking? female Red-breasted Merganser

The bird finally stopped feeding(?) and started preening.

After not seeing anything else, I decided to stop by the dam as I had to go that way anyway. Scanned the lake a second time and only came up with 2 Mallards and 6 Pied-billed Grebes. As I was getting ready to leave, a large bird flew in from over the tree line - an immature Bald Eagle that landed in a tree across the lake. At about the same time, another birder came running up to the car asking if I had seen it. I stopped to talk to him and ended up carrying on a long conversation about eagles, people we both know, and eagles. Always enjoy meeting new birders!! About 5 minutes into our conversation about eagles, another immature Bald Eagle flew in from the same direction and landed in the same tree.

I was able to get a distant shot of the eagles from across the lake. There are 2 eagles in the picture below if you look hard enough. (click on image for larger image)


  1. Nice one Donald it just goes to show that anything can turn up at anytime. Good one.

  2. ...great merganser shot, and I love that immature Bald Eagle!!

  3. Like the bird shots. Enjoyed this story also. I know the feeling of limited funds and not much to photograph. Hang in, this to shall pass. Carol

  4. I found your blog thru nature blog network,I really liked your posting about the vultures,we are having dozens here in our woods in Pa.lately,for maybe a week or more,staying & roosting here in the tall pines overnight.What a sight to see the first thing in the am,they fly somewhere during the day-probably to the deer farm above us to feast-then around 4pm they fly back to our woods to roost overnight.
    Your pics are great.phylliso

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  6. Thanks for all the positive comments! I have been seriously contemplating temporarily (or even permanently) giving up my blog due to my current circumstances. I will try my best to keep it current.