Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Day at The Wilds

Thursday, January 24, 2008
Dust-bathing horned larks.

The Ohio Ornithological Society had its annual winter birding day at The Wilds in SE Ohio recently. More than 125 hardy souls made the scene. It was colder than a gyrfalcon's uvula there on the rolling grasslands near Cumberland, Ohio. The Wilds is a rare animal breeding and research facility nestled in the middle of 10,000 acres of recovering strip mine. And it's got the birds. In winter it's home to loads of raptors. The day's raptor tally included American kestrel, red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, northern harrier, rough-legged hawk, bald eagle, and golden eagle. Large numbers of waterfowl were seen on those few ponds still unfrozen. Horned larks, a snow bunting, and even a few over-wintering eastern meadowlarks were present, too.

Cars lined up to see the last bird of the day.

But the bird that about half of us stayed to see waited until sunset to make its appearance. A short-eared owl coursed low over the frozen grasses giving all of us a great look.

Short-eared owl.

It was a fitting end to another wonderful day of birding with my fellow members of Ohio's largest birding organization.

For an another report of the day, see OOS Director Jim McCormac's blog here.


On January 25, 2008 at 9:24 PM Mary said...

Every time I see your birds in flight I shake my head. Awesome! The line-up of cars in the setting sun is a good shot, too.

On January 27, 2008 at 12:29 PM KAMDOU said...

Very interesting site that I find rich, pleasant and well organized!
Honour for me if you include it in my "Multilingual" topliste Panorama


And to participate in the multilingual forum Panorama

Best continuation!
Sincerrely Yours! Kamdou

On January 27, 2008 at 5:47 PM AndrĂ©e said...

I went on the Memorial Day count here. How do you guys do it in this weather? And the New Years Count? Forget about it! I'm not a birder but I love to hang with birders and learn and get photos. Maybe I will be considered a birder after awhile. I find it very hard to get hawks and owls in flight. I think my camera is too slow.

On January 28, 2008 at 6:44 AM KatDoc said...

Sorry I missed this trip (again.) I was in FLA, where I had raptors aplenty, including red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, bald eagles, and more osprey than you could shake a stick at.

I got short-eared owls at Armleder Park, here in Cinti, but they are out almost all day there. They don't wait for dark. They are really cool!

Maybe next year I can get to The Wilds. I'm still looking for my Ohio golden eagle.