Thursday, October 11, 2012

The eagle's nest at Spring Valley Wildlife Area...

Sunday Matty and I drove up to the Spring Valley Wildlife Area, a beautiful wetland just past Waynesville, OH (about 35 minutes from our house). We wanted to hike out through the corn fields and windbreaks that border the wetland to check out what we hope is an eagle's nest. Before we set out on that hike, though, we took some time to study the marsh and look for birds on the lake. I went to the east and photographed some asters, and when I came back to the car, I found Matty writing in his journal...

Matthew Riccetti writing in his field journal at Spring Valley Nature Preserve in Waynesville, Ohio.
Matty writing down a few of his observations in his field journal (south parking lot, Spring Valley Wildlife Area).

A page out of Matthew Riccetti's journal from a Spring Valley Wildlife Area visit.
...nothing is sacred when you have a mom with a camera.
Journal entry from August 8, 2012 (by Matty Riccetti)
Spring Valley Wildlife Area
 
"It is an interesting day at Spring Valley marsh. The trees are beginning to blush red and orange in the cool air of the approaching winter, and the birds are finding nests (roosts/places) among the leaves to barricade themselves from the autumn frosts; however, the marsh looks the same. The lily pads still polka dot the surface, and frogs still hop in the water as I draw closer. The marsh refuses to alter its appearance for the coming season; the landscape thus is both picturesque and confusing. Although the marsh still clings to its summer ways, it is still indescribably beautiful the way it picks up the autumn hues from the trees. Seasons change, but the beauty and depth of the marsh does not."

The dedication sign at Spring Valley Wildlife Area in Waynesville, OH.
...birders from all over our area head to Spring Valley to see marsh species and wonderful displays of ducks. It's one of the best marshes in southwest Ohio. This summer I saw Marsh Wrens around the boardwalk, and I've seen Sora and Virginia Rails there many times. 

The Little Miami bike trail at Spring Valley Wildlife Area. The eagle's nest is located off the bike trail on the Little Miami river.
...another reason I love Spring Valley--it's on the Little Miami bike trail! After viewing the lake and marsh, we walked to the bike trail. The eagle's nest is located about a mile south of the south parking lot. Hop on the trail at the parking lot and go left. When you see the cornfields, follow the windbreaks down to the river. The nest is visible from the trail in a huge sycamore. It's on the other side of the river. We saw it from the trail this summer, and now that the leaves have fallen a bit, it stands out even more. 

An eagle's nest (or at least what we think is an eagle's nest) on the Little Miami River at the Spring Valley Wildlife Area.
An eagle's nest on the Little Miami river at Spring Valley! 
Earlier this summer, we saw this nest from a distance. It was much bigger than any Red-tailed Hawk's nest we had ever seen, and it was located where a park attendant said an eagle couple had nested this spring, so I'm 90% sure it's an eagle's nest. I can't wait to check it out this coming February or March to confirm. The nest looked big from a distance, but up close, it was huge! It's actually located on the other side of the Little Miami river from the trail, so you're still not that close, which is good, because the eagles can remain undisturbed. It looked a lot like the eagle's nest I saw up close in Florida (click here and here for those photos.)

Matthew Riccetti sketching the eagle's nest. The temperatures were dropping quickly...we wished we had warmer coats!
Matty sketching out the eagle's nest (or at least what we think is an eagle's nest) across the river...
After viewing the eagle's nest, Matty and I headed back up the trail to the old beaver's pond. We were looking for the Red-headed Woodpeckers that liver there. Red-headed Woodpeckers are rare in our neck of the woods, but there is a population at Spring Valley, and we were hoping one or two would be about. We saw male and female Downy Woodpeckers, a few Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and we heard a Pileated, but no Red-headed Woodpeckers. It was getting late and the temp was dropping quickly, so we took the cut-off back to the lake, and when we emerged from the woods we heard something....and to our left, a Red-headed Woodpecker flew up from the ground and over the trees. His tell-tale white back feathers were flashing in the low light. Pretty cool...

A female Downy Woodpecker peaks from a hole in a dead tree at the beaver pond. Night was falling and the temperature was dropping!
A female Downy Woodpecker peaks from a hole in a dead tree at the beaver pond. She was in and out of the hole several times. We were hoping for close-ups of a Red-headed Woodpecker, but this little Downy was so sweet, we were just as happy. A male Downy was two dead trees down. He was fluffed up against the chill...and just as sweet.

12 comments:

grammie g said...
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Janice K said...

It makes me happy to see how you and Matty are able to share your love of nature, art and very expresive writing. You are very blessed.

grammie g said...

Hi Kelley...How great is that.. your son still likes to do these thing with Mom,and enjoys it! : }
I sounds like you had a enjoyable day, and I love that head poking out of the hole in the tree! Cute
Grace

grammie g said...
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Bob Bushell said...

Nice the way, he's certainly loves wildlife.

Gillian Olson said...

Lovely place for birding and so great that your son shares your love of nature and birds.

Laure Ferlita said...

My word! When did Matty grow up??? He's become a young man since I saw him last. Great to see how much he enjoys birding and nature.

Roy said...

Hey Kelly, I think Matty has considerable hidden talent.

Betsy Adams said...

Hi Kelly, Love this post --and seeing Matty so involved is wonderful!!!! Loved reading his journal. He is a good writer...

Great eagle's nest... When we were in Yellowstone recently, we saw a big nest up in a tree. Not sure what big bird lived there --but it was a big nest...

Hugs,
Betsy

Claire M said...

What a priceless experience. Your photos, reflections, and your son's journal entry were all a delight to see and read.

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

It looks like a great day, a wonderful post.

Guy

Kelly said...

Thanks everyone!! I always love when Matty comes out with me. He always does a great job of recording his thoughts and observations. This spring he did a week on the Appalachian trail and wrote about his adventures every day. He now has a nice record of what he did and thought, which taught him the value of keeping a field journal.