"We took the all-purpose trail that skirts woodlands, shrubland and wetlands on one side and field/prairie on the other. The field/prairie habitat is also where a couple of television towers are located, which provide good places for birds to perch on as do the guy wires that stabilize the towers. As we proceeded a partially dead tree provided views of Cedar Waxwings, one of which had a very bright yellow tail band. American Goldfinch and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird also perched on the tree."
Early Evening Bird Walk, West Creek Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, August 18, 2021 Report
By Nancy Howell
Another delightful evening bird walk with August’s walk held at the West Creek Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks on Wednesday, August 18, 2021. Nancy Howell and Mary Anne Romito were the leaders. The group of 10 birders, photographers, and those who wanted a nice evening walk with some birds and other natural sightings tossed in, had a great time. A couple of the participants had never been to this park so introducing them to the area was a bonus.
Three species of birds as our “target species”, for the walk - Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Bluebird, and American Goldfinch - were hoped to be seen in the West Creek Reservation habitats that harbor these species.
In all, the evening produced 19 species and only one of the three target species, a little lower than expected, but still nice. The group was “greeted” by two very cooperative Red-tailed Hawks, an adult and a juvenile bird. The young bird was quite vocal, seeming to want to be fed despite it being grown up. A third Red-tail was sighted later on. Participants got good views of the hawks. American Goldfinch, one of our target species, were abundant since there are many open fields along the trail. A single House Finch decorated the top of a small tree near the Watershed Stewardship Center and a couple of Mourning Doves zipped by.
We took the all-purpose trail that skirts woodlands, shrubland and wetlands on one side and field/prairie on the other. The field/prairie habitat is also where a couple of television towers are located, which provide good places for birds to perch on as do the guy wires that stabilize the towers. As we proceeded a partially dead tree provided views of Cedar Waxwings, one of which had a very bright yellow tail band. American Goldfinch and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird also perched on the tree. Gray Catbirds liked hiding in the shrubby areas and were more heard than seen. Shaun Missig photographed a Baltimore Oriole that wanted to stay more hidden than viewed. The open fields allowed Barn Swallows to fly overhead and a single Chimney Swift also liked the open areas around the towers.
Eastern Wood-Pewee were heard in the wooded area. Later in the walk, one was sighted at eye level, catching insects. We were able to look at field marks, bi-colored bill, wing bars, no eye ring and the typical flycatcher insect-catching behavior. Another species of flycatcher, an Eastern Phoebe, was sighted on a fence. It too went after insects but when it landed it bobbed its tail. House Sparrows were also viewed on the fencing near the phoebe. Blue Jays called and flew by and Mary Anne Romito heard a Great Crested Flycatcher calling from the woods.
American Robins were seen here and there but as we reached a wooded area with another tower, many Robins were perched on the guy wires. The wooded area has wild cherry trees and, no doubt the robins were feeding on the fruits, then gathering on the wires. Northern Cardinals were sighted and the call of a juvenile cardinal begging for food indicated a successful nesting. Song Sparrows dodged into the shrubs before many got their binoculars on them. A small flock of Common Grackles flew over and details of their body and tail shape and size was discussed.
A few other things that were sighted and admired. An annual Cicada was on a small tree near the beginning of the walk. We stopped at two bridges that cross West Creek, the first bridge overlooks a mini canyon carved into the shale by the creek. Who would have known this if it were private property? The second bridge crossed a shallower and more typical view of West Creek. We also stopped to look at a Bald-faced Hornet’s nest, fortunately a good distance off the trail. The nest was constructed on a small tree and touched the ground, very unusual for this species of hornet. We were glad to have binoculars to view the way the nest was built as well as the insects entering and exiting. Lastly, all the while we were walking the waxing, gibbous moon was getting higher and brighter. A wonderful evening.
View: Early Evening Bird Walk, West Creek Reservation, Cleveland Metroparks, August 18, 2021 Report (PDF)
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