Sunday, May 13, 2007

Home, sweet home.

I got back home around 7 this evening, after a very long, misdirected drive. I ended up going back a different way that I came, so I spent a good amount of time in Fremont, Ohio. Ever heard of it? I didn't think so.
I'm in a sort of post-trip let down period, but I am sure that I will snap out of it.
On the home front, the baby chickadees are getting feathered out, and the horny tree swallows dropped one egg while I was gone.
Yesterday's sunset
Yesterday's sunset was so full of color, I felt like I could reach out the window and grab some.

Today, I took the auto tour at Ottawa NWR. I realized that I didn't have time to take the ferry to Kelley's Island, unless I wanted to be home, like, now.

Within its 9,000 acres the refuge has marshes, open water, wooded wetlands, coastal wetlands, shrub lands, grasslands, cropland and an estuary. In short, it's basically a huge bird magnet.

flying stinker
Stinker in flight.
Ottawa car tour
A lot of the reserve looks like this.
This part of Ohio is as flat as a pancake, and before we started messing with it, the predecessor to Lake Erie extended from here to Fort Wayne, Indiana. It turned out to be great farmland, but as we all know, wetlands are precious beyond measure.
stinkers hanging out
I sort of got tired of seeing great blue herons. I mean, they are like the pigeons in downtown Cincinnati!
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All of the male red-winged blackbirds were sitting in the middle of his territory, barking at anyone who would listen.
resting cormorants
Double-crested cormorants...the "Canada geese" of western Lake Erie. This guys have enjoyed a boom in population after the effects of DDT almost wiped them out (along with lots of other waterfowl and raptors). They are now so numerous, they are booting herons from nesting sites.
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A lesser yellowlegs. Ever tried to ID sandpipers? It's like nailing Jell-O to a wall. Tricky and slippery. But a few good field guides help. And a sunroof you can stand up in, too.
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Greater and lesser yellowlegs.
The greater was a lifer. I was a lot farther away than it looks.
Somewhere in here, I also saw a solitary, but I couldn't get a good picture of it. Another lifer.
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A dunlin! Lifer!
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A powwow of dunlins!
flooded flats
More of the reserve.
The auto tour winds its way through the reserve on dusty gravel roads, about 2 miles worth.
It's so diverse, it's possible to see just about anything. Warblers, ducks, geese, swans, sandpipers, swallows, herons, cranes...
Beaver 2
...and BEAVERS!!!!!!!!
How about that? A wet beaver.
Go ahead and laugh. You know you want to.

Beaver 1
Isn't he cute? He swam right towards my car, nibbling the water as he went.
(He wasn't carrying the stick...that was just sticking out of the water)

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The cherry on top of my birding sundae:
A bald eagle nest. Right in the same tree that I got my life bald eagle last year.
And to add to this serendipitous event, Bill Thompson took this picture in April. The same place. The same TREE, for chrissakes. That, my friends, is the definition of kismet.

So, my trip list in no particular order:
Bald eagle
Red-tailed hawk
Turkey vultures
Black vultures
Canada geese
Blue-winged teals
Great blue herons
Great egrets
Pied-billed grebes
American coots
Lesser yellowlegs
Greater yellowlegs*
Solitary sandpipers*
Ruddy turnstones*
Red-winged blackbirds
Purple martins
Bank swallows
Tree swallows
Rough-winged swallows*
Barn swallows
Herring gulls
Ring-billed gulls
Bonaparte's gulls
Double-crested cormorants
Canada warbler*
Yellow warbler
Bay-breasted warbler*
Chestnut-sided warbler
Mourning warbler*
Black and white warblers
American redstarts
Black-throated blue warblers*
Black-throated green warblers
Wilson's warblers
Magnolia warblers
Common yellowthroats
Northern parulas
Lincoln's sparrows
White-throated sparrows
Song sparrows
Ruby-crowned kinglets
Baltimore oriole
Gray catbirds
Eastern kingbird
Rose-breasted grosbeaks
Mourning doves
American robins
American crows
Common grackles
American goldfinches
European starlings (bleeeech!)

So, that's 56 different species, and 11 lifers.
Not bad for 2 days, eh?


DK & The Fluffies said...

Happy Mother's Day!

Liza Lee Miller said...

Glad you are home safe and sound! 11 lifers. Wow! Loved your pictures. Hope you had a great Mother's Day!

Jayne said...

I'd be feeling like I was coming off a crack high if I saw that many birds and that many lifers in TWO days! I am green, green, green!

beth said...

There are worse places than Fremont - but not many.

I lived in Cleveland for five years and had no idea that there was such fun right around the corner. This post was AWESOME! Not to mention EDUCATIONAL!

I am a thanks for the inspiration. I don't actually look for birds on my own yet; it'll take a while before I'm ready. But I like watching you do your thing!

Glad you had a good trip!

Mary said...

Glad you didn't drive too far out the way and made it home on Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day!
Happy Lifer Weekend!

I'm impressed with your list and photos, Susan! You did good.

mon@rch said...

Welcome back and Happy MothersDay~! Congrats on your lifers and such a wonderful list of birds!