Walking the trail we encountered common birds, American Robin, Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers and more. Rounding a bend on the trail with a different view of the lake, a Double-crested Cormorant came in for a landing and later a flock of six cormorants flew over. A Blue-headed Vireo sang and was seen by most, but lighting was terrible due to overcast skies, so the beauty of this early vireo was lost.
Bird Walk Report
Event: Field Trip to Lake Isaac and Spring Bird Walk
Date: Sunday, April 29, 2019 Time: 7:30 a.m.
Location: Lake Isaac, Middleburg Heights, OH 44130
Leaders: Nancy Howell, Rich Kassouf
Target species: All species we can find in a variety of habitatsResults: 8 Birders and 51 Species
Description: The April Field Trip for Western Cuyahoga Audubon took place on Sunday, April 28, 2019 and was a joint walk with the Spring Bird Walk series. The location of the field trip was Lake Isaac, a remnant glacial pond in the Big Creek Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, and was led by WCAS members Nancy Howell and Rich Kassouf.
Besides the two leaders, 8 hardy birders braved another drizzly, cool Sunday morning. Forget the drizzle and muddy trails, everyone was game and in the 3 ½ hours spent afield, 51 species were located. The list of species and number of each species follows this narrative. Most species were viewed by everyone, but some were located by songs or calls. It pays to have many eyes searching the trees, shrubs and ground. Habitat around Lake Isaac is changing as the park is removing non-native plant species and replacing them with native trees and shrubs.
Prior to heading out on the trail, observers spent time at the parking area tallying species on and around the lake. Canada Goose and Mallard were the only waterfowl sighted there. A Spotted Sandpiper did a fly by, a Great Egret sailed in and stayed for a little while, and a Belted Kingfisher dashed over the lake, giving its rattling call. Three species of swallows were noted - Tree, Northern Rough-winged and Barn. A sharp-eyed participant noted a single Cedar Waxwing on some vegetation at the lake’s edge and we all got great looks at it. When it took off, 3 of its flock mates also joined it. Other species around the lake’s edge were Eastern Phoebe, Red-winged Blackbird, Song Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Gray Catbird, House Sparrow and three different warblers - Yellow, Yellow-rumped and Palm.
Walking the trail we encountered common birds, American Robin, Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers and more. Rounding a bend on the trail with a different view of the lake, a Double-crested Cormorant came in for a landing and later a flock of six cormorants flew over. A Blue-headed Vireo sang and was seen by most, but lighting was terrible due to overcast skies, so the beauty of this early vireo was lost. White-throated Sparrows were heard singing in the area. Then one birder sighted something low to the ground. From where she was standing she was the only one who could see it, the rest of the group, including the leaders, could not … she thought we were all blind as she described the bird and its movements. Finally the group moved in her direction and pop - a cooperative Hermit Thrush was seen by all. The group stopped at the Cooper’s Hawk nest, but the hawk was not seen.
Under the power line cut through, which provides different habitat, a varied array of bird species were tallied including Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Northern Flicker, House Wren and Carolina Wren. Brown-headed Cowbirds seem to like the power lines too and hang out there.
Cutting into a wooded trail that overlooks Baldwin Creek, the creek’s floodplain, and more high tension power lines, Rock Pigeons and European Starlings frequent the power lines, but it also provides views of the sky which produced a soaring Red-tailed Hawk and Turkey Vultures. The floodplain, filled with water from the night’s rain, held Wood Duck and Mallard. A pair of Eastern Bluebirds were sighted at the wood’s edge. In the distance a Rose-breasted Grosbeak was heard singing, but stopped before we could get close enough to find it. Exiting the woods under the power lines the group located a Field Sparrow. We soon reached the all-purpose trail along Big Creek Parkway where yards and homes provided habitat for Chipping Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove and several other common neighborhood birds. - Nancy Howell, Bird Walk Leader
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