Walking toward the open fields, we began hearing (if not seeing) several breeding birds including two Willow Flycatchers that managed to stay hidden except for a few brief moments. Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats were vocal along the path in areas of wet, successional growth and ever present Tree Swallows flew acrobatically, keeping us company throughout the morning. ~ Bird Walk Leader, Tim Colborn
We stopped at the first fields near the entrance and immediately were rewarded with a singing, fluttering Bobolink and vocal Song Sparrows. At the feeders near the field station building, we had looks at Red-headed Woodpecker, Baltimore Oriole and a few other common species.
Walking toward the open fields, we began hearing (if not seeing) several breeding birds including two Willow Flycatchers that managed to stay hidden except for a few brief moments. Yellow Warblers and Common Yellowthroats were vocal along the path in areas of wet, successional growth and ever present Tree Swallows flew acrobatically, keeping us company throughout the morning.
Our destination was Oil/Gas Well “F” where two target birds had been reported for several weeks. We had already seen one Bobolink near the Well busy with displaying males performing their flutter flights and singing their R2D2-like songs. In total, up to seven males were seen or heard with many providing stunning views on nearby posts.
The second target remained visually elusive despite vocalizing within feet of the path in three separate locations. In the last several years, the Nature Preserve has become a reliable location to find Henslow’s Sparrow. This year is no different and birders had seen and heard many of this species over the prior two weeks. While we heard the sparrow’s lightning fast “se-lik” song in the same area where the Bobolinks were so common, they never did show themselves. Several potential reasons for the no show were discussed including the weather, the somewhat lateness in the season, and possibility that many of the birds were now on nests. Regardless, it was still a thrill to listen to what is the shortest song of any of our North American breeding songbirds. While observing the Henslow’s Sparrows and Bobolinks, we got terrific views of singing Eastern Meadowlark, a pair of Eastern Bluebirds and a flyover Green Heron.
We then decided to hike the short Tamarack Bog trail and picked up a handful of woodland species including a singing Wood Thrush and both Northern Flicker and Hairy Woodpecker. A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak sat out on a perch and belted it out its sweet song.
The walk back to the parking area yielded many of the same species including some very good looks at an accommodating Willow Flycatcher. In total, 48 species were seen or heard throughout our walk.
Four of us then headed to the nearby Coliseum Grasslands. This Cuyahoga Valley National Park property is the site of the former Richfield Coliseum, once home to the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team. The structure was demolished in 1999 and the property transferred to the National Park. Since then, it has been managed to allow for the growth of a natural grassland habitat to emerge. From the roadside parking area, we were able to spot Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlark as well as a kiting American Kestrel before our departure. We added three new species for the day bringing our total to 51. - Bird Walk Leader, Tim Colborn
Bird List - Bath Nature Preserve
Bird List - Richfield Coliseum Grasslands
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