Sunday, April 12, 2015

Oxbow Wetlands Birding

Flooded Oxbow Wetlands
 When my kids were little, we always took the Interstate past the Cincinnati Airport to cross the Ohio, and reach my hometown of Harrison, Ohio, on the west side of the county.  They would ask, "Are we there yet?" and I had them watch for the lights on the power station, and the big bridge over the river. Then they knew we are almost to grandma's house. In the spring, both the Ohio and Great Miami Rivers would flood for miles and miles. I returned there Saturday for some birding at Oxbow, Inc., which was founded in 1985 to protect this area from development.
Of course, since the water was so high, we only walked along the levee above the water levels, but we found 51 species for the morning despite the flood, not including this beaver who didn't see to be  affected at all by the the high water.
Cattle Egret
A trio of Great Egrets in breeding plumage were joined by a single Cattle Egret along the grassy shore of the levee.
Black and Turkey Vultures
Both Black and Turkey Vultures soared overhead looking for something to eat. When the flood waters recede, they will feast on all the big carp that get caught in the shallows and can't escape to the river.
Double Crested Cormorant
I never saw the crests in these Cormorants until recently, and couldn't get a close enough shot of the crests on this guy. But look at him taking off from the water! Several Bald Eagles perched in trees waaayyy across the water, an Osprey circled overhead, and a Red-tailed Hawk perched by the highway. But we didn't find any warblers at all, but saw most of the swallow species from the area.
Gulls and Caspian Terns
A sandbar hosted a group of Ring-billed Gulls and Caspian Terns. Some Blue-winged Teal, Ruddy Ducks and Scaup joined them with American Coots.
Red-winged Blackbird Female
Red-winged Blackbirds called in the reeds trying to establish nesting territories. I think the females are absolutely gorgeous.
Wood Duck male
We expected to find some Wood Ducks at Oxbow, but didn't. When I got home, my daughter and the kids invited me to join them at a local park to feed the ducks, and we found this drop dead beautiful Wood Duck there. I'll have to return to Oxbow with some Cincinnati birding friends some day when the water isn't so high.

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