Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lunchtime Fieldtrip Thursday: Caesar Creek State Park

At about 11:30 I headed up to Caesar Creek State Park. It was 12 degrees. When I pulled into the visitor’s center 22 mins later, it was 10. It was cold, but because it was sunny it didn't seem that bad. Everything sparkled in the fresh snow, and the bird sounds were clear and amplified in the brisk air. I asked the ranger if the redpoll had made another appearance since last week, but no, he hadn’t come back. The siskins hadn’t been there today either, nor the purple finches, but that was okay. I just wanted to get out and walk in the snow.

To get a little closer to the birds at the feeder, I slipped around back to the trail that overlooks the lake. One other set of footprints on the trail showed another birder had had the same idea. The lake was gorgeous, shimmering in the sun.

Love this tree with the cool woodpecker holes.

...and this hole looks like it's still under construction.

As I walked past the construction hole, a startled junco flew up and shot just to the right of my head, eye level, inches to the right of my ear. I watched his little pink bill fly by. It was so cool I could barely stand it. It was audible too. The wings made a tiny sound as he shot past my ear. He was like a little bullet of grey feathers with a pink beak. Junco bullet! 

Almost immediately I heard that wonderful little nuthatch sound and looked up. There he was, just over my head. 

Even the white-breasted nuthatch was chilled, 
puffing up his feathers to insulate against the cold.

That same fat, beautiful Fox Sparrow from last week was there, as well as three Tree Sparrows, lots of juncos, chickadees, goldfinches, downies, red-bellieds, white-breasted nuthatches, and the other usual suspects. Missing from the bunch, Red! He's probably hanging out with the redpolls and siskins, the little traitor!


Diane said...

Beautiful little story, Kelly. There is always an added loveliness to the woods in the winter. Everything, including those little birds, are finally completely visible to us and the leafless trees take on a sensational beauty themselves. Nice story.

Kelly said...

...and a very beautiful comment!

Heather said...

Hi Kelly. I found you over on the Nature Blog Network. Welcome to the Network! I'm an Ohio birder, too. I live in Athens county, about 3 hours east of you. Sorry to hear you haven't seen the Redpoll yet. I've heard other reports of Redpolls in southern Ohio. I'm hoping, hoping, hoping one will show up at my feeders before the season's out. We started getting Siskins at our feeders about 2 weeks ago, the first I've ever seen. It was pretty cool!

Kelly said...

Hi Heather! That's exciting. I've yet to have a siskin visit my feeders. With the irruption that's been reported, I'm hoping one will drop by. At least the Horned Larks have returned. They are really cute. You're lucky you live in the beautiful hills of southeast Ohio. It must be gorgeous there. Thank you for stopping by!