Monday, February 04, 2013

Back to birding!

This young Herring Gull looks about the way I felt for a while.  I just haven't felt like doing anything but sleeping.

Young Herring Gull

Now that I am feeling much better from my bout with whatever bug I had, I have been able to get back to doing some birding.  People have been seeing some good birds on the east side of Cincinnati  so I thought that I would go out to try to find some of them.

I originally went to the Medahl Dam to try to find the reported Surf Scoter there.  The day I went it was 67° F.  I didn't see the bird.  I decided to just check different spots along the Ohio River.  Nothing much anywhere.

I got so bored, I decided to take pictures of plants.  Here is a plant that many locals probably didn't even know existed here.

Mistletoe along Ohio River in Pt. Pleasant, Clermont Co.

I remember seeing this around the Ohio River only when I was a kid. I remember telling people that this was  Mistletoe, but they didn't believe me.  I now know that it is indeed Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum.  It is fairly common along the Ohio bank of the Ohio River, but not so much as you travel even a few miles from it.  

The weather had changed dramatically in just a short time.  As it was close to 70° F the days before, it had turned to the single digits with snow by the end of the week.   I decided to watch the feeders to see if anything good had come in.  I didn't see anything noteworthy rare wise, but I did get to enjoy the many colors at the feeders like this handsome male Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Red-bellied Woodpecker male

As I had two days off in a row, I just couldn't sit home and watch the feeders all day.  I had to get outside.  The temperature was only 15° with negative wind chills, but the sun was shining bright.  I decided to go chase the Surf Scoter again.  I have only seen what I thought was one through my scope at East Fork State Park, but it was such a distant view, I didn't even count it on my life list.  

I got something to eat, and headed to Medahl Dam to look for the Surf Scoter.  Boy it was cold.  My hands were freezing as I don't like to use my binos with gloves on unless I have to.  I figured I was close enough to the car, I could go back to heat up.  

The first bird I saw pop up right in front of me was a Ruddy Duck.  It was as close as I have been to one.  It quickly disappeared   I saw a Horned Grebe and Pied-billed Grebe - no scoter.  And then I saw a dark duck pop up in the rough water near some wood debris - SURF SCOTER!  

Surf Scoter

What a cool looking bird!  The current kept drifting it closer to me, and I could see that it didn't like.  It started hanging out with some Ring-billed Gulls which made it more comfortable.  

Surf Scoter and Ring-billed Gull

Surf Scoter

Surf Scoter

Love that massive, colorful bill.

Surf Scoter

I think I can count it this time!  I was so excited about seeing this life bird, I didn't realize that I couldn't move my one hand til I got back to the car!


  1. Anonymous8:13 PM

    It has been so cold - but it feels even more rewarding when standing in the cold finally pays off!

  2. Nice! Way to go Surfin' Cincinatti.

  3. Congrats Donald onyour life'r, you deserve it for the endurance.
    All the best Gordon.