On my mini-vacation to Hocking Hills this Labour Day weekend, I was certainly expecting to see some life birds, but not the amount I ended up counting! Plus, I sighted an uncommon Connecticut Warbler (see my last post) and what's more, got some photos of him! All the hiking we did produced nothing more than a few Cedar Waxwings, but it did burn some calories. We stayed at a cute bed and breakfast near Athens, OH, and boy did it have birds! Nestled in by a forest and a marshy pond, I was out there with camera and bino's every chance I got. If the 10 Wood Ducks foraging in the pond and the (still unidentified) flycatchers weren't enough, there were life birds of the warbly kind to be seen!
The first morning, I was randomly hoping to see vireos out my window. What do you know, I open the blinds to see vireos in the trees! I scrambled to get dressed, grabbed my gear, and headed out into the cool morning air. (When I say cool, I do mean cool). The wet grass froze my feet clad in flip-flops, but I didn't care. A flurry of colourful feathers was all around me; I barely had time to watch one bird before another stole my attention.
I saw my first American Redstart; what an awesome sighting! They really do love their tails...
Then there was the female fall-plumage Blackpoll Warbler, Philadelphia Vireo, and fall plumage immature Black-throated Green Warbler. I'd only ever seen Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat; before that morning I never appreciated warblers much. Now...I am officially hooked on warblers!! ID'ing them is fun but challenging in the fall and I believe is a great exercise. I'm still not comfortable ID'ing them in the field, but taking photos then using a field guide at home is a good start. (Remember, I only started seriously birding in late May this year.) I also observed (but did not photograph) a Hooded Warbler...it looked more like a Wilson's Warbler until it flashed its white tail feathers. Bingo, it was a Hooded!
That morning also brought familiar birds such as Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Northern Cardinals, Red-bellied, Downy, and Hairy woodpeckers, Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, Turkey Vultures, Red-eyed vireos and more...
The next morning was slower and less active, but I still sighted some great birds. First off being the male Connecticut Warbler... wahoo! A great find for Ohio and in general. See my last post for more information on this one.
Also, some wood-peewees and Redstarts.
That day I also found (but did not keep) a beautiful primary feather of a hawk. Looked like a Red-tailed or Cooper's...
Well, I hope to visit Hocking/Athens again because it was beautiful and birdy!
My Bird List for the Hocking Trip
-Black-throated Green Warbler