On Saturday, November 17th, Western Cuyahoga Audubon will be doing a Hotspot Birding Field Trip at Sandy Ridge Reservation in Lorain County. We’ll be focusing on waterfowl and water birds primarily. It will be the heart of the waterfowl migration, particularly for dabbling ducks. Birds like Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Green-wing Teal, and Mallards, should all be in good number here in mid-November.
Hotspot Birding at Sandy Ridge Reservation Introduction
We’re here at Sandy Ridge Reservation. It’s a three hundred-ten acre property bought in 1990 and now a part of the metro parks system here in Lorain County.
We’re standing behind a couple of the ponds behind the nature center. These ponds are fairly healthy; they are surrounded by bullrushes and cattails. We’ve seen turtles and dragonflies here in late September and that speaks to the relative health of this wetland area.
The park is, as I said, three hundred and ten acres of mostly wet habitat. So there is some dry fields, and some woodlands - the woodlands are wet woodlands with a lot of water in the springtime.
But the real remarkable thing about Sandy Ridge is the rehabilitated impoundments.
This area used to be completely wetlands and then for years and years converted to farmland and now has become the wetlands that it used to be and continues to return to the natural wetlands habitat.
We’re looking to do a Hotspot Birding excursion here in November and we’re going to be coming here primarily to see waterfowl. The swans, the ducks, geese, grebes, and other water related birds should be fairly abundant.
We’re looking forward to going through those, identifying them, and enjoying them in what we hope will be some relative abundance.
Hotspot Birding at Sandy Ridge Reservation November 17, 2018
On Saturday, November 17th, Western Cuyahoga Audubon will be doing a Hotspot Birding Field Trip here at Sandy Ridge Reservation in Lorain County.
We’ll be focusing on waterfowl and water birds primarily. It will be the heart of the waterfowl migration, particularly for dabbling ducks. Birds like Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Green-wing Teal, and Mallards, should all be in good number here in mid-November.
We’ll also be looking for wading birds, Great Egrets and Herons, and maybe even some late shorebirds such as Dunlins, Yellowlegs, and Snipe. Those are the birds we’ll be focusing on in our Hotspot Birding.
The marshes here provide terrific habitat and food for birds in their migration and we’ll be looking to take advantage of that and those birds as they travel south.
Hotspot Birding at Sandy Ridge Reservation Lorain Metro Parks Habitat
We’re standing just outside the woodlands habitat here at Sandy Ridge and we’ll be walking through there.
While there are a number of nice passerines to be seen in spring and fall migrating through here, and there are a limited number of resident passerine birds here - the real value of Sandy Ridge is its marshes with the wetland habitat providing a lot of space, habitat, and food for ducks, geese, swans, wading birds, and shore birds.
Sandhill Cranes have nested here in recent years, there is a long-time pair of resident Bald Eagles, and other water-related birds may be seen here.
Hotspot Birding with eBird Occurrence Graphs
Hotspot Birding will be dictated in some part by our review of the eBird Illustrated Checklists, which are essentially seasonal occurrence graphs, or abundance graphs, giving us an idea of what birds are likely to be at a hotspot at any one time.
So, in November, we’ll be looking for waterfowl at Sandy Ridge Reservation. We know through these occurrence graphs it is the right time be here for many dabblers and some divers.
For instance, we should have opportunities to see Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, American Widgeons, Green-wing Teal - those birds in some abundance based on information we’ve gleaned over these historical records taken from eBird and their seasonal occurrence graphs, or what they call, their Illustrated Checklists.
In the wintertime, we’ll be looking for gulls and we’ll be using the same Illustrated eBird Checklist to give us an idea of where to look for the various gulls and what the likelihood of seeing those gulls is and working through the locations where the likelihood of those gulls is greatest.
Each of us that uses eBird should beware on the hotspot pages of these illustrated checklists of these terrific tools to help us focus on one general group of birds or many. Certainly to know what birds are likely at a given hotspot at a given time of year.
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