Chasing birds…

Or what I believe is called to “twitch..”.

Last Wednesday found me out in Weston, Ohio, southwest of Bowling Green and Toledo, in search of three possible regional rares; a Prairie Falcon, a Snowy Owl, and Eurasian Collared Doves. I had created a nifty sight chart based on recorded observations of all three species before I headed out early in the morning. On the ground in Weston, I spent four hours driving around the field grids, but came up empty on all three rarities I had wanted to see, I didn’t even see a single dove anywhere, Eurasian or otherwise. I did manage to see several Merlins, a Red-Tailed Hawk, a huge Bald Eagle just sitting in a field, but that was about it. Needless to say, I was very disappointed, especially when I discovered that three others had observed the falcon. The Snowy, come to find out, had flown due south to the town of Wood, where he was observed right alongside the road.

This morning, I went chasing another bird, a female Harlequin Duck that had been heavily observed at the Rocky River Park. Heading up there this morning, I first stopped at Lake Rockwell, and finally saw some Hooded Mergansers, an immature Eagle, some Scaup, and a ton of Canada Geese, of which I am almost certain there was a Cackling Goose hiding – they are actively avoiding me. I honestly really need a spotting scope, and hoping that something comes in for me this month, I have my eye on a Zeiss Harpia 95. That’ll certainly up my game!

Arriving at Rocky River, there were a few people already there. I climbed up a small bluff overlooking the stormy Lake Erie, and met David, a birder from Columbus who, it turns out, was also looking for the Prairie Falcon on Wednesday and also came up short. He asked if I were there for the Harlequin, and pointed the way. Score! What a beautiful little grey bird, bobbing about in the heavy turbulent waters of the lake, not too far offshore. IO was able to observer for several minutes, before she drifted to the west behind the rocks and out of sight. But at least I got to see her!

So I’m currently running about 50-50 on my bird chases. I am thinking of giving the falcon another try this week… we’ll see. I’m also wanting to work on my 2020 list, so I’ll be hitting up some of the hotspots in Ohio and Pennsylvania.. can you say Presque Isle? Thinking ahead, May is going to be SO busy! I cannot wait!

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