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February 22, 2014

It has been really cold this winter but we had a great day on our first field trip of the season. There were 12 of us on the walk and we started at the north end of the lake. There was lots of sunshine and the only open water at the lake was where the water flowed into the lake from Buck Creek. We were able to stand in one location and look over the birds. We ended up seeing lots of waterfowl including Canada and Greater White-fronted Geese, one Mute Swan, and 24 Tundra Swans, and 15 species of ducks. The ducks included American Black Ducks, Northern Pintails, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Canvasbacks, and other more common species. This area should remain good for ducks until the lake starts to open up. Right now the rest of the lake is solidly frozen.

October 6 - 7, 2012

The highlight this weekend was a Red Phalarope found on the beach on Sunday, October 7. It was right along the edge of the water near the gulls just after 7:30 this morning. There was also one Franklin's Gull remaining on the beach. We walked some of the trails on the eastern edge of the park and found several species of warblers including Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Blackpoll, Palm, and Black-throated Green over the weekend. Large numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches remain in the pines along Grant Road south of the horsemen's area.

Red Phalarope by Larry Jeanblanc

Red Phalarope by Larry Jeanblanc

September 22 - 23, 2012

Warblers and other birds are migrating through the area. Over the weekend we recorded 10 species of warblers on the horsemen trails off Grant Road. We also recorded 5 species of vireos and a couple Yellow-bellied Flycatchers. Red-breasted Nuthatches have been common in the white pines along Grant Road. On September 23 we counted about 20 of them. There haven't been many birds on the lake yet but we have seen Double-crested Cormorants and a Pied-billed Grebe. On September 23 we found 31 Franklin's Gulls on the beach along with a Sanderling. We also found a bird we think is a Western Sandpiper.

Western Sandpiper and tail end of a Sanderling by Larry Jeanblanc on 9/23/12.

Franklin's Gull by Larry Jeanblanc

September 9 - 11, 2012

The birding has been excellent during this period. A Buff-breasted Sandpiper has been on the beach as well as a Franklin's Gull and more usual inhabitants such as Killdeer and Ring-billed Gulls. There have been some swallows and cormorants also. Many migrant warblers have passed through. We have seen 19 species of warblers including an Ovenbird, Cape May Warblers, and a Black-throated Blue Warbler. We have also seen 4 species of vireos and some thrushes.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper by Larry Jeanblanc on beach at Buck Creek State Park

April 14, 2012

We had a nice walk at Batelle Darby Metropark this morning. It was cloudy and sprinkled just a little but we saw birds. We spent our time at the wetlands. There were still a few ducks around including a pair of Ruddy Ducks and several Blue-winged Teal. We saw several species of shorebirds including Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpipers, and Wilson's Snipe. We also saw several species of sparrows. We got great looks at a pair of Vesper Sparrows and got great looks at some Swamp Sparrows. We also heard a Grasshopper Sparrow but it wouldn't cooperate. We also saw a couple Marsh Wrens.

March 24, 2012

We had a walk at Buck Creek State Park this morning. This has been the worst year for ducks in March I remember for the state park. We saw just a few ducks at the north end of the lake today. We did find a single loon, a Pied-billed Grebe and a Horned Grebe. There were some Brown Thrashers around along with a few sparrows. We got good looks at a Field Sparrow and some Eastern Towhees.

March 11, 2012

We visited George Rogers Clark Park this morning. Birds are moving north and we found a few migrants as well as some permanent residents and winter visitors. We found at least three Pileated Woodpeckers. A Hairy Woodpecker was defending its territory by drumming on a nice dead branch with a nice sound. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was in the same area that Julie found one on the Christmas Bird Count. We ended up finding six species of woodpeckers on our walk. A couple Wood Ducks flew by. At least three phoebes were near the dam. As we walked back toward the car, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew by. A Herring Gull and a pair of Ring-necked Ducks were on the lake. There is a wet field on Upper Valley Pike near Fox Hollow Road that is attracting a number of ducks. We waw Green-winged Teal, Northern Pintails, and Norther Shovelers there this morning. Because it is on the east side of the road, afternoon viewing would be better.

March 10, 2012

We visited Buck Creek State Park this morning. There are a number of ducks on the lake but the lake is big and the ducks are scattered. We had some of the best viewing from the campground this morning recording 12 species of ducks plus grebes and a single loon. At the north end of the lake we found a Ross's Goose which is a rather rare visitor. While we were watching the goose a couple Lesser Yellowlegs landed very near us. We also saw our first Bonaparte's Gulls of the year.

October 23, 2011   Buck Creek State Park

We looked around Buck Creek State Park for a little while on Sunday morning. Sparrows are really starting to move through the area. We saw lots of White-throated Sparrows plus a few White-crowned Sparrows, a Swamp Sparrow, a Fox Sparrow, a Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrows, and a couple Field Sparrows. There are finally extensive mudflats at the north end of the lake. They are attracting a number of shorebirds. We saw over 300 Killdeer, a few Dunlins, a few Pectoral Sandpipers, three Greater Yellowlegs, three Wilson's Snipe, a Least Sandpiper, two Semipalmated Sandpipers, and a Baird's Sandpiper. On the beach there was a Sanderling.

Baird's Sandpiper by Larry Jeanblanc

The birds recorded and the times first seen are listed below.

October 1, 2011

We went to Battelle Darby Metro Park this morning. We had a nice walk along one of the trails seeing a few warblers, some woodpeckers, and a number of other species. Then we took another walk at a new area of the park. We walked along the bike trail and then out to one of the ponds. Here we found a number of ducks including pintails, shovelers, both teal species, a wigeon, a Lesser Scaup, and lots of coots. There were a few shorebirds including a White-rumped Sandpiper and an American Golden Plover flew over. We saw three Northern Harriers flying at one time. The highlight was a Peregrine Falcon that flew over.

September 18, 2011

Three of us visited Buck Creek State Park on Sunday and found some interesting species. First we found a Cackling Goose with the Canada Geese on the beach. Some of the smaller races of the Canada Goose were reclassified as a different species a few years ago and called Cackling Goose. They look like Canada Geese but are much smaller with short stubby bills. They nest far to the north and only occur here in the nonbreeding seasons. This is the ealiest fall record we have. We also found a Baird's Sandpiper on the beach. At the horsemen's area off Grant Road we found 9 species of warblers and several other migrants. We are still seeing a few Indigo Buntings but now they are brown although the males could still show a little color on their wings and tails.

Baird's Sandpiper by Larry Jeanblanc

Cackling Goose by Larry Jeanblanc

September 3 - 5, 2011

The weather wasn't ideal this weekend but we did find a few birds. Saturday was extremely hot and Sunday it rained. Monday was a little better but it was very windy. There were a few shorebirds on the beach over the weekend including a Stilt Sandpiper and a Sanderling. They were joined by 4 Common Terns and a Forster's Tern on Sunday. On Monday, an Osprey flew over.  At the horsemen's area off Grant Road a few warblers showed up on Monday including Tennessees, Chestnut-sideds, Magnolias, Black-throated Greens, and a Blackburnian. Hummingbirds and Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos also put in an appearance. 

Osprey by Larry Jeanblanc

May 20, 2011

We took a walk at Buck Creek State Park this morning. There are still some migrants passing through although they are getting harder to see with the leaves being out. Some of the flycatchers are just showing up. We found 4 species of small flycatchers (Willow, Alder, Least, Acadian) that look almost the same. At this time of year they are singing and easy to identify that way. A few warblers are still passing through and we found Blackburnian, Blackpoll, Black-throated Green, Canada, and Wilson's. Many breeding birds are singing and defending territories. Warblers that nest in the area included Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Northern Parula. There are Boboliks on Yeazell Road east of Hodge Road. These hayfield nesting birds are very strikingly colored and entertaining to watch as they fly over the fields singing. It can still be interesting to get out and look at the birds during the summer.

May 12, 2011

The Bell's Vireo is back at the same location in Springfield as the last two years just east of Linden Avenue and East Washington Street along the bike trail. There was also an American Avocet on the beach at Buck Creek State Park.

May 6 - 8, 2011

We had a great trip to Magee Marsh and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge this weekend. Friday was great with about 20 species of warblers on the bird trail at Magee Marsh. The highlight of the day was a Barn Owl that sat in a tree all day in view from the boardwalk. Much of the day someone had a scope on the owl and people were lined up to look at it. Other highlights were a woodcock, a Whip-poor-will, and an Eastern Screech-Owl all seen from the boardwalk. As always we got great close up looks at many warblers on the boardwalk. At least three male Prothonotary Warblers had territories along the boardwalk and everyone had great looks at them. On Saturday the auto tour was open at Ottawa National Wildlife. We took the drive and even though it rained some we had great looks at a Least Bittern someone had found and showed it to us in their scope. Then we got great looks at a male Yellow-headed Blackbird. On Sunday there was a Virginia Rail along the boardwalk.

Black-throated Green Warbler by Doug Overacker

American Woodcock by Doug Overacker

May 3, 2011

There was a report of a Franklin’s Gull at the beach today. I rode out there this afternoon and saw the gull plus a couple Forster’s Terns. The sight of the day though was the swallows. They were flying everywhere. Hundreds and hundreds of swallows, over the lake, over the fields, and over the streams. Barn Swallows were the most common but all six species were represented.

May 1, 2011

This is one of those days that happen only once in every few years. Three of us took a walk up to the Crabill House and around the woods along Buck Creek just below the dam. We ended up looking around Old Reid Park for a few minutes. During this approximately 3 hour walk we recorded 19 species of warblers, 4 vireos and at least 75 species. Below is a list of some of the highlights.

Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Scarlet Tanager
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch

Then in the afternoon I got a call from Brian who reported Marbled Godwits and Willets on the beach at the state park. I drove out to check them out. I saw both of the reported species plus some Forster’s Terns and a Spotted Sandpiper. It was a great day of bird migration.

Willets, Marbled Godwits, and Forster's Terns by Larry Jeanblanc on beach at Buck Creek State Park on May 1st 2011

Marbled Godwits by Larry Jeanblanc

April 30, 2011

We had our trip to Davey Woods this morning. It was a very pleasant walk and we saw several interesting birds but several other birds were only heard. We had great looks at a Wood Thrush. Most of us also saw a Hermit Thrush and a Veery. Some of us got a brief look at a Yellow-throated Vireo when it landed right over our heads. Looking straight up is not the easiest task. We found several warblers but only heard most of them. One or two Cerulean Warblers sang but we didn’t get to see one. We also heard Ovenbirds, Black-throated Green Warblers, and a Louisiana Waterthrush. Some of us got a look at a Northern Parula and an American Redstart. We found a White-breasted Nuthatch feeding young at its nest Cavity and a pair of Blue Jays building a nest.

Northern Parula by Larry Jeanblanc

April 24, 2011

I birded at Buck Creek State Park for a while this morning. I found several warblers including Yellow Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, Palm Warbler, and Common Yellowthroat. The highlight of the morning was a Prairie Warbler. A couple species of vireos have arrived including a Blue-headed Vireo and a Warbling Vireo. A few Gray Catbirds have arrived along with both orioles.

April 23, 2011

We had our trip to John Bryan State Park this morning. We found a few warblers including a Louisiana Waterthrush and some Yellow-rumped Warblers. We also heard Ovenbirds, a Hooded Warbler, and a Northern Parula. Other highlights included a Pileated Woodpecker and a couple Broad-winged Hawks.

Yellow Warbler by Larry Jeanblanc

April 16, 2011

 I looked around Buck Creek State Park for a little while this morning. Most of the ducks and other waterfowl are gone. Double-crested Cormorants are still around. The Ruby-crowned Kinglets were singing in the woods today. Several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were also singing. Near the Crabill House I had my first House Wren of the season. I recorded five species of warblers today including Yellow-rumped, Palm, Pine, Yellow-throated, and Northern Parula. The Pine Warbler was in the white pines at the northeast corner of the woods along Buck Creek just below the dam. The Palm Warbler was just a little ways from the Crabill House. An Eastern Bluebird is staying the area near the marsh below the spillway. Within the next couple weeks many more migrants should be arriving

April 3, 2011

This morning there were about 25 Wilson's Snipe along Baldwin Lane just south of Route 4 on the east side of the road in a wet field. There are lots of Bonaparte's Gulls on the lake at Buck Creek State Park along with a few ducks including Red-breasted Mergansers. Both Horned Grebes and Pied-billed Grebes are on the lake but the Eared Grebe seems to have moved on. The Ross's Goose remains on the ponds at Old Reid Park.

April 2, 2011

We saw a few birds at Spring Valley this morning. The first Northern Rough-winged Swallows I've seen this year were flying over the lake. There were also several Swamp Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers. There was a large flock of coots on the east side of the lake and a few ducks remaining including Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, and Blue-winged Teal. Several Wood Ducks flew over. We saw a Red-shouldered Hawk and a couple Black Vultures.

March 25 - 27, 2011

We had some exciting birds at Buck Creek State Park and Old Reid Park this weekend. The highlight was an Eared Grebe that was hanging out right next to the tower at the southwest corner of the lake. There is also a Ross's Goose that spends some time in Old Reid Park. The American White Pelicans are also still around but they have been moving around some and so may be seen almost anywhere on the lake. The American Pipits are still present in the field on the east side of Grant Road just north of the horsemen's area. Most of the ducks have left the lake but there are still a few around mostly at the north end of the lake in the shallow areas around the islands.

Eared Grebe by Larry Jeanblanc at Buck Creek State Park

Ross's Goose by Larry Jeanblanc at Old Reid Park

March 19 – 20, 2011

We had a field trip on Saturday and I birded Sunday at Buck Creek State Park. The highlight was 5 American White Pelicans at the north end of the reservoir. They were first reported on Thursday. They were then seen on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday morning I saw them early but couldn’t find them later in the morning. There are still hundreds of ducks on the lake. The most common are Lesser Scaup and Red-breasted Mergansers but I saw 18 species for the weekend. Other species seen were Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Scaup, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, and Ruddy Duck. There are also Common Loons, Pied-billed Grebes, and Horned Grebes on the lake.

Along Grant Road just north of the horsemen’s area in the grassy field on the east side of the road I saw about 200 American Pipits.

On Sunday I also saw my first Greater Yellowlegs of the year.

American White Pelicans at Buck Creek State Park by Larry Jeanblanc

March 6, 2011

I looked around Buck Creek State Park this morning. The highlight of the morning was a Common Redpoll. I saw it along the northern most access to the lake off Grant Road. It was feeding on the north side of the gravel lane with some Song Sparrows and American Tree Sparrows. We only see redpolls every few years in Clark County. I also saw some Wild Turkeys on the west side of the lake near the cemetery on Route 4. There are still lots of diving ducks on the lake. They are scattered around the lake along with Pied-billed and Horned Grebes. The best viewing changes based on the wind and sun. I saw 9 of the 10 common diving duck species this morning. There are a few dabbling ducks but they are concentrated in the shallow water at the north end of the lake. The most common species this morning was Green-winged Teal but there were also a few Northern Shovelers, American Wigeon, and Gadwalls.

February 26, 2011

We had a great walk this morning at Buck Creek State Park. We started out at the north end of the reservoir where we had a couple thousand geese including 28 Greater White-fronted Geese. We also spotted 10 species of ducks here. Then we moved to the access off Route 4 across from the cemetery. We walked down to the lake and looked over hundreds of ducks. There were quite a few Common Goldeneyes along with many Lesser Scaup and a couple Greater Scaup. There were a few Red-breasted Mergansers, Redheads, and several Canvasbacks. Our next stop was the overlook at the southwest part of the reservoir. Again we could see quite a few ducks. Here we spotted a single Long-tailed Duck. This is the first one I've seen here since December 2000. In all we saw 2 species of geese, 17 species of ducks, plus Pied-billed and Horned Grebes and American Coots.

December 24, 2010

There were 4 Greater White-fronted Geese with a flock of Canada Geese on Neer Road just west of Mahar Road this morning. Just down the road there were 2 Wilson's Snipe in the creek west of the Neer Road bridge.

November 13, 2010

We had a field trip to Buck Creek State Park this morning. There were a few ducks on the lake including 4 Redheads, 7 Canvasbacks, a female Green-winged Teal, Horned Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, and a couple Common Loons. At the north end of the lake on the mudflats were a few Killdeer, over 20 Dunlins, 5 Wilson's Snipe, and a few American Pipits. Then we checked out Old Reid Park and found 6 Cackling Geese. I am assuming these are the same birds that Brian Menker reported last week. Below are a couple pictures of the geese.

Cackling Goose at Old Reid Park by Larry Jeanblanc on 11/13/10

Cackling Geese with Canada Goose at Old Reid Park by Larry Jeanblanc on 11/13/10

November  6 - 7, 2010

We had some great birds at Buck Creek State Park this weekend. On Saturday we spotted 9 Tundra Swans on the lake as we drove across the dam. Then as we walked on the beach an adult Bald Eagle flew by. Then next to the small marsh next to the Prairie View parking lot we found a couple Fox Sparrows. On Sunday we found a Red-throated Loon on the lake with some Common Loons. On the beach we found lots of Killdeer and a Baird's Sandpiper. Then a few American Pipits flew over. Later at the mudflats at the north end of the lake we saw Killdeer, Dunlins, and Wilson's Snipe. We also found a couple more American Pipits walking around on the mudflats.

Baird's Sandpiper by Larry Jeanblanc