Just can’t get enough of the urban birding along the Towpath. Seven participants had a terrific time enjoying the sights and birds on February’s walk. The day was sunny, skies were clear and it was not terribly cold. A couple of inches of light, fluffy snow had fallen early in the morning which was perfect to enhance the sometimes “gritty” architecture of the Flats. - Report by Nancy Howell
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2022
Location: Towpath Trail, Scranton Flats
Leaders: Nancy Howell, Al Rand
Results: 33 Species, 7 Birders
Just can’t get enough of the urban birding along the Towpath. Seven participants had a terrific time enjoying the sights and birds on February’s walk. The day was sunny, skies were clear and it was not terribly cold. A couple of inches of light, fluffy snow had fallen early in the morning which was perfect to enhance the sometimes “gritty” architecture of the Flats.
Starting from the parking lot on Abbey Ave. the usual urban birds greeted us, European Starling, House Sparrow, House Finch, and Rock Pigeon. A couple of American Goldfinch briefly stopped at the seed heads of vegetation at the lot. We began to see a few flocks of Double-crested Cormorants heading north toward Lake Erie. A few more pigeons flew by, but did some quick maneuvering while in flight, why? Oh, how about that Cooper’s Hawk that perched not too far from the I-90 bridge. The pigeons, no doubt, saw it before we did and made their way quickly to safety. A few gulls were seen but too far to get an identification.
The pair of Peregrine Falcons made a wonderful showing. First, perched on the I-90 bridge, then moving to the Hope Memorial Bridge (Lorain-Carnegie Bridge) where a nest box had been placed a couple years ago. The peregrines were observed mating and spending time in and around the nest box. Will it be used this year? It sure would be fun watching the birds nesting and raising young.
Heading down toward the Cuyahoga River we could already see some waterfowl, gulls, and herons. While on our way down to the river American Crow, Blue Jay, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, and Northern Cardinal were seen or heard. The river held a number of Canada Geese, a couple of Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead, and Mallard as well as Great Blue Heron. Once reaching the observation deck that extends into the river, we also found American Black Ducks, a single female Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, maybe “Lester”?, Redhead, and both Ring-billed and Herring Gulls. At the observation deck we also met a couple of WCAS members who stopped by to check out the birds by the river before heading elsewhere to bird. One participant brought to our attention a coyote that was walking around the gravel piles on the opposite side of the river - cool!
Continuing along the river we encountered other waterfowl, Common Goldeneye, Canvasback, and more Redhead and Lesser Scaup along with American Coot. As we got closer to Collision Bend, Al Rand spotted a Belted Kingfisher perched quietly along the river. Had it seen the peregrines and was playing it safe? Near the firehouse we encountered White-throated Sparrows and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks circled overhead.
Walking around the Scranton Peninsula we came to the “weedy fields” where it was hoped that some sparrows or other songbirds might be found. Additional cardinals, a couple of Red-winged Blackbirds, a Downy Woodpecker and another mockingbird were tallied. The morning did get a little warmer and I had predicted that Turkey Vultures should be seen as the warming thermals from the buildings are great places for them to circle then head off to locate food. Not long after that, two Turkey Vultures were seen. A great morning in a great area.
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