Saturday, March 7, 2009

A windy and fun day at the Oxbow

Today Matty and I, Ben (Matty’s friend), and Ken (Ben’s dad), all went to the Oxbow in Lawrenceburg, Indiana hoping to see an eagle or two. The weather was surprisingly mild and the warm temps were welcome. We didn’t find the eagles, but we did see many nice ducks, such as Red-headed Ducks, Northern Pintails, Ring-necked Ducks, American Black Ducks, Pied-billed Grebes, American Coots, Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, and Canada Geese (of course). We also saw many fine birds including most of the usual suspects plus a Hairy Woodpecker, numerous Kildeer, two Great Blue Herons, and Horned Larks that were twittering in the cut cornfield!

Ben and Matty...the cornfield to the right of Matty is 
where we heard the very loud twittering Horned Larks! 
We saw a female further up the road, separated from the flock.

American Goofballs faking an American Bald Eagle sighting...

Along with the surprising warmth today came annoyingly strong sustained winds! As a result, I found out I really, really need a spotting scope. Identifying ducks without one, especially in the wind, is difficult. I have a wonderful pair of Nikon binocs with a motion stabilization button that really works, but when the wind is tossing you all over the place even motion stabilization can’t help. A spotting scope on a tripod would. Because of all that tossing there were a few ducks we couldn’t 100% positively ID. One being what I know from look and feel was a Common Merganser (3 of them, actually), but if I can’t see every ID characteristic clearly through the glass, I don’t count it. Boo! Rick’s birthday is coming up soon (he’s a Pisces too). I think he might like a spotting scope…

Do you have to pick up every stick you come across?

As an aside--Jon just emailed me and reported he saw an immature American Bald Eagle circling around 4:00 p.m. We left at 2:20. One of these days...

About the Oxbow
The Oxbow is a large floodplain at the confluence of the Great Miami River and Ohio River. This floodplain is part of the Mississippi Flyway and the outer edges of the Atlantic Flyway. Thousands of migratory birds rely on this important staging area for resting and refueling on their long annual migrations. Recently, Audubon Ohio recognized the Lower Great Miami River as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Because of its many rare or unusual birds, such as the wintering population of Bald Eagles and Black Vultures, migrating Ospreys, unusually large summer concentrations of wading birds such as Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets, and the use of the area as a major migratory path for ducks, the Oxbow area was qualified for membership in the elite club! With over 283 species of birds at the Oxbow, the variety is greater than that of many National Wildlife Refuges.

...the turtle was looking especially cute 
sunning itself on the branch.

Oxbow, Inc. is an all-volunteer citizen's conservation group ( working to preserve and protect our area's vanishing wetlands. For more information or to become involved, check out their Website.

...the view from one of the fields, crossing over to 
the mudflats and another pond. Preserving wetlands 
from encroaching industry is crucial and can't wait.


Kim said...

You will see the eagle I just know you will.

I think it's wonderful you are getting your kids into birding at such a young age. My kids are in their mid teens and early twenties so are past the age where they would go on a field trip with me. Future Birders you have there Kelly!

Phil and Mandy said...

Lovely day out Photos Kelly, Turtle very nice, we don't really see them here. Phil

Jayne said...

Sounds like a wonderful area to explore, and looks like you all had a great time. :c) It was 76 degrees here yesterday! Come on spring!

Laure Ferlita said...

Certainly didn't expect to see Mattie in short sleeves! Wow, what a wonderful day to be out enjoying yourselves.

Hang in there on the eagle, it will be there.

Rob Ripma said...

The Oxbow really is such a great spot to bird!

It's great to see young people out enjoying the birds!

Steve said...

I theought the Oxbow was going to be a bar! Looks like a great place, plenty of birds to see as well as the Goofballs. Keep looking for the eagles Kelly, you'll get one soon. Nice Turtle picture.

Kelly said...

Kallen...I'm happy Matty is also a birder. He want to be a vet and likes all things "animal."

Phil and Mandy...Thanks! On another log across the pond, there were three sunning themselves.

Jayne...the weather was gorgeous and we had a lot of fun. Not quite as warm yesterday...and the slow descent to colder temps starts again tomorrow evening. :-(

Laure...thanks! I hope I see one this fall. About 18 years ago, I saw many wintering and nesting at Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee. That was really cool.'s very cool. So many birds nestled between industry...yet at the same time, rural. We will head there more this spring for the migration.

haha! Great name for a bar...would have been fun too. Thanks on the turtle....I'll keep hoping on the eagle...