Monthly Update: March 2017
Spring is here! Spring is here!
The unpredictable weather from February carried over into March. The beginning of the month came in like a bang with tornado warnings and high winds. Then it snowed. And then the rains came and wouldn’t stop. Of course a few beautiful sunny days were mixed into the month along with below freezing temperatures. And then this cycle of crazy weather would repeat itself.
The weather just couldn’t make up its mind. It reminded me of this clip from my favorite show “The Office”. I bet you have never had the weather compared to a vasectomy before??? 🙂
The good news? Birds are starting to migrate back to Ohio! The mornings are now filled with the sights and sounds of our feathered friends. Most of the males are desperately looking for a mate, doing anything to try and impress the ladies.
My morning walks with my dog have become much more interesting than the middle of winter. Just yesterday I was able to spot a Belted Kingfisher in our backyard, how exciting!
Checklists and Birds in March:
- Total # of Species Observed: 30
- Birds Added to Life List: 7
It started with a Red-shouldered hawk perching in a tree in my backyard and ended with a small flock of Brown-headed Cowbirds sitting quietly at the top of a tree. In between, I added a Turkey Vulture, Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Northern Flicker, and Eastern Phoebe.
Slowly but surely, I am increasing the birds on my Life List. I am really excited for April and more and more birds arrive back from the south. In about a month, I am also heading to Utah, which could give me a bunch of new birds for my checklists.
Favorite Birding Trip of the Month:
I had a tie for my favorite outing in March. Am I allowed to have two choices? Yes, yes I am.
First, on March 19th I went to the Gorge Metro Park very near to my house. It was my first visit here and I was very impressed, not so much by the amount of bird species observed (only 8) but just by the natural features.
I took about a 3 miles hike through the Gorge, which flanks the Cuyahoga River. Except in this particular spot the river has actually backed up into a small lake because of an old dam. This dam creates a huge man made waterfall on the other side, which was impressive. It was built in 1912 and interestingly provided electricity for many of the trolley cars in Akron, among other things.
But very soon this dam should be removed (2019) with the goal of making the Cuyahoga River healthier and to create a free flowing river all the way to Lake Erie. This sounds good to me! I would love to put my kayak in and not have to worry about traversing the extremely high dam.
I did encounter a new situation while on this hike.
The gorge is known for having these amazing rock ledges. Part of the walk is actually under, over and through these ledges.
While walking alongside a ledge, I almost stepped on this dead bat. I looked up and was directly underneath a high ledge, I’m assuming he must have fallen down from where he was hibernating?
I nudged him just a bit with my boot and to my amazement he pulled his wing closer to his body! He somehow was still alive.
After pondering for a bit on what to do, I used my gloves and picked up the small bat and moved him to the side of the trail and tried to cover him with some leaves to keep him warm.
My guess is that he was going to pass away soon. Was there anything else to do in this scenario? I considered calling a local wildlife rehabilitator but wasn’t sure if they accepted bats. Who knows, maybe he had rabies and I narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital!
My other favorite trip occurred on March 26th at Kendall Lake in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There is a 3.5 trail that I followed which goes through open fields, woods and obviously next to a lake.
I saw 20 different bird species! A new record for me and added 5 “lifers”.
Favorite Bird of the Month:
The common Mourning Dove does not get much respect or attention even though they have such a pretty and distinctive call that is easily confused with an owl to non-birders or “common people”.
Around our house, we had a lot of interaction with Mourning Dove’s in March.
First, for a few days a pair of them kept flying into our garage and sitting atop our junk and specifically high on our storage boxes. I’m guessing they were trying to find a safe nest.
Multiple times I had to shoe them out of the garage, hoping they would find a more natural place to nest and raise their young.
Next, they decided to build a nest in our gutter at the corner of our house. The picture to the right is actually taken from my kitchen window.
Sorry for the terrible picture, I couldn’t get her to cooperate and raise her head up and look at me for the picture. I’m hoping we don’t get a huge rainstorm and wash her and the eggs away!
Bird Watching HQ Updates:
In March, I published three new posts:
Please check them out if you haven’t already!
Once again, this is a substantial increase from last month and I appreciate everyone that has “liked” the Facebook page. I have been trying to post on their a few times per week which has helped to grow the page along with some targeted Facebook ads.
Email Subscribers = 8
This still has been the biggest challenge! Please consider subscribing to my email newsletter 🙂 I promise there won’t be any spam and I only plan on emailing once per month just to give an update on news posts to Bird Watching HQ.
To try and help promote my email list, I created a PDF to my post “12 Actionable Bird Watching Tips for Beginners (and a few for everyone!)” that is delivered to your inbox free after subscribing.
More birds are on their way! With Spring here and the days getting slightly longer every single day, it’s only a matter of time before all of the Ohio migrants are back.
I can’t wait to get out into the woods and practice my ID skills. Specifically, I want to improve my identification with warblers. Ohio gets many migrant warblers that call Ohio their summer home. Unfortunately, normally when I hear or see one I am stumped! It has been a matter of not focusing and learning the nuances of each species.
Also, I am almost exactly a month away from my trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah! I will be there for a few days the second week of May to do some backpacking with friends. This trip is creeping up and I haven’t even started preparing for all the new bird species to be seen!
Do you have big trips coming up in April?