Monday, May 21, 2007
Early morning on Thursday May 10th, staff and board members set off on foot, bicycle or public transportation to explore the diverse habitat and wildlife in their own neighborhood. The threat of rain faded and the weather turned warm and sunny. To our delight we found our nearby wetlands, meadows, riverbeds and woodlands alive with the songs and beauty of birds. Scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, great blue herons, red-tailed hawks and screech owls are only a few examples of the birds we saw and/or heard. But birds weren’t the only creatures stirring, we also spotted snakes, turtles, frogs and groundhogs to name a few. It’s comforting and awe-inspiring to know how diverse and dynamic Ohio’s natural habitats can be in our very own backyards!
By going carbon conscious this year, it made birding a little more challenging. However, by reducing our consumption of fossil fuels and thereby reducing the pollution and greenhouse gas they produce, we were doing our part to combat global warming and other environmental issues. If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to reduce the impact of global warming, please visit: http://www.audubon.org/globalWarming/
If you would like to learn more about Birdathon 2007, a complete list of bird sightings are available here.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Bay Village, Ohio
Well, our early evening bike ride to Lake Erie was less fruitful than our earlier walk. We were able to pick up two more birds, a Herring Gull and a Tree Swallow to bring our total to 57 species. In addition, we managed to wear the girls out pretty well and my feet are aching.
Maya was very helpful pointing out the birds she saw, it usually went something like this, "Hey look at that, there's a bird!!" Gee Maya what is it? "It has a red breast so guess what it is....its a Robin!" I guess the apples doesn't fall too far from the tree - she is already pointing out identifying charactaristics in addition to identifying the bird itself. She was also able to find "the worlds longest dandelion" which was about 18 inches long, and we found a groundhog in Porter Creek taking a swim - no kidding.
Off to bed after a beautiful day in Bay.
Bay Village, OH
I scheduled our Bay Village birdathon for May 11th to take advantage of David's availability and birding expertise.
Our family's birding day started around 7:30 am when Maya (3.5 yo) woke up David and myself and we headed downstairs for breakfast - there was a House Wren sitting on the back fence. We opened up the kitchen window and had half a dozen species (mostly by ear) before we even finished our cereal! I know 7:30 is late in the birding world, but when your pre-schooler decides to sleep in you take advantage of it!!
Once Sadie (10 months) woke up we eventually got out the door around 9am for the trek to Huntington Metropark. As we strolled through the neighborhood David's keen ear picked up a few warblers including a Nashville Warbler (which we later also saw) along some wooded lots. About half way there we had to make a "potty" break for Maya at a friends' house (thanks for coming home just in time Rich). Just down the street from our friend is a nesting Red-Tail Hawk who was feeding his/her two large fluffy white chicks. This nest is on a residential street right in someone's front yard. Very cool.
We had at least 20 species before we even made it into the park! Once we hit the woods Sadie was sleeping in her carrier and David and Maya did a bit of garlic mustard pulling. We heard a beautiful Wood Thrush and picked up a Hooded, Wilson, and Black-throated Green Warbler.
Once we hit the multi-purpose trail we met two very friendly birders who used to live close to my in-laws in Florida. They were excited to hear that we were with Audubon and CMNH (where David works). The conversation was interuppted by Sadie waking up and yet another "potty" emergency....off to Lake Erie Nature and Science Center! Species count is around 36.
After LENSC (where we could have added quite a few to our list from the wildlife garden!) we headed to the beach. The water was like glass and there was little activity by the time we got there but we did pick up Bonaparte's Gull, Roughed-Wing and Barn Swallow in addition to the expected Ring Bills and Mallards. After a short time on the beach, we headed back home for lunch picking up an Ovenbird on our way back through the woods. Also spotted my favorite Red Headed Woodpecker in the meadow picnic area.
A weary mom and hungry kids totalled up 54 species upon returning home (including the Turkey Vulture that flew over the house after hearing me complain we had not yet seen one.)
We plan to take a picnic to the lakeshore for dinner this evening to continue the quest! Where is a Canada Goose when you need one?
It is nice to know that residents of Clintonville, a very urban neighborhood within the City of Columbus, can see 50 bird species in a 24-hour period without the use of a car. There is wildness even in the heart of the city.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
So far, the species he's seen are: Black Billed Magpie, Yellow Warbler, Starling , Robin, House finch, Rock pigeon, Mallard, Gambel's Quail, Towhee (western race), Blue Grosbeak (1st spring) Cliff swallow, Western Kingbird, Coot, Ruddy duck, American Avocet, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Barn swallow, Kildeer, Black Necked stilt, Brown headed Cowbird, Canada Goose, California Gull, Snowy egret, Redhead (puchard), Red tail Hawk, Willet, Turkey vulture
Sharon split off this morning to put in a few hours of work at COSI, but just called in from the bike trail on the way back home to report a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and a Scarlet Tanager - just north of Spring Street downtown! She and I plan to work the bike trail to the north later this afternoon and, as previously reported, visit Greg Cunningham's house for the owl this evening.
For the record, we started our Birdathon at 7:40 am today, which means we can still get up early and work the OSU wetland again tomorrow morning for at least another hour, ending at 7:39. We carbon-conscious Birdathoners never give up!
Off to the shower and another tick check.
I'm not an expert, but I think this Scarlet Tanager is a bit outside of its usual habitat.
Technically, I think in order to count it would have to be a live bird. But since at least one of our groups today has already seen one, maybe we can let it slide.
It might only be plush, but at least it was sighted in a carbon conscious fashion! (I walked to the Audubon Ohio office, in order to bring everyone all the news from the front.)
They saw a total of 25 species, including: Barn Swallow, Summer Tanager, Blue Gray Gnat Catcher, Cardinal, Baltimore Oriole, Great Blue Heron, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Coot, Song Sparrow, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Northern Flicker, Laughing Gull, Yellow Warbler and House Wren.
The sun is out, the woods are green, and the birds are singing. Let's go.
So far, the species they've seen include: Red-Winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal, Gray Catbird, Carolina Chickadee, Double-Crested Cormorant, Mourning Dove, Rock Dove, Mallard Duck, Wood Duck, Blue Gray Gnat Catcher, American Goldfinch, Canada Goose, Common Grackle, Great Blue Heron, Blue Jay, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Parula, East Wood Pewee, Song Sparrow, European Starling, Rough-Winged Swallow, Tree Swallow, Chimney Swift, Warbling Vireo, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, House Wren and Swainson's Thrush. Stay tuned for more news from the field!
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
The current leaders and their totals to date are:
- Cheryl Roberto (Audubon Ohio Board) - $1,075
- Heather Starck (Audubon Ohio staff) - $800
Coffee. I will be checking for owls early as Venus wanes in the western sky, then listen for the pre-dawn chorus of new arrivals mixed with those resident birds already on territory. Coffee. Next it will be checking out the close known individuals to fill the list. Coffee. Then on to whatever feels right, checking for morels underfoot and birds overhead. Good birding to all.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
The Audubon Ohio Birdathon will be held on May 10th, and this year has a new and exciting twist: a carbon conscious Birdathon. Members of our staff will be birding only from locations that they can reach on foot, by bicycle or using public transportation. By doing so, we will limit the amount of fossil fuels we burn and the pollution and greenhouse gas they produce, which are major contributors to global warming.
This year, we'll also be posting details as we go through a carbon conscious day search for birds, so you can follow our progress as we go. Check back to this site to hear all about it .
By taking on the challenge of a carbon conscious Birdathon, we will be doing our part to help reduce fossil fuel consumption in order to protect wildlife and ecosystems that are at risk from mining, drilling, deforestation and development as well as reducing air and water pollution. For more details about global warming and what you can do, visit http://www.audubon.org/globalWarming/ .