Birding coastal Ohio

   Last weekend I took my annual two-day, two-night trip up to northern Ohio to bird Ohio's Lake Erie shorline. And as always, I had a total blast, even adding a few species to my life list. But then again, don't I always when take this trip? I have written about it previously here, and here. Here's a somewhat-photographic journey depicting how it went (all photos copyright me).

   The first night at the lake was on Friday evening. I arrived around 5:30. Immediately after arriving, I checked in to my hotel and went to a local fish joint to grab some supper before heading to the lake for some birding before the sun set. I planned to head to East Harbor state park, which is a phenomenal birding hotspot in both the spring and fall, and seems to be a great spot to find bald eagles, based on past experiences. However, back to the story. After arriving, I walked one of the short trails through the wetland area sandwiched in between the lake and the bay. I didn't see any noteworthy birds, however, until I walked the shoreline. This is where I saw nearly all of the birds that I did see that night.

Along the beach on the rocks were many ring-billed gulls. I had just begun to walk along the rocky shoreline and watch the ring-billed gulls when I glanced up and saw my first eagl of the trip, what appeared to be a first or second year eagle. After snapping a terrible photo, I moved on. It wasn't until a good while later and much further down on the beach that I began to see interesting birds (not counting the juvenile eagle already mentioned, becasue it was interesting). Along the shore I saw a number of sanderlings, which was a lifer for me. I was intently photographing a particularly friendly little sanderling when another member of my party called to me and pointed- at an adult bald eagle sitting in a tree right behind me, not 50 feet away. I snapped the not-so-great photo below before rushing around behind it to get the sun in a favorable position for a photograph. Unfortunately, by the time I was behind it and ready to photograph, as luck would have it, it flew away.

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Back on the shore photographing sanderlings, I noticed that there was also another visitor a short way ahead- semipalmated plovers, yet another lifer for the trip. Below are photos of both a sanderling and a semipalmated plover that I managed. They were actually very friendly and some of them let me get very close.

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Semipalmated plover

   I guess that is about all I have to report birdwise, besides an osprey that I saw at Ottawa National Widlife Refugre two days later, and another bald eagle that I saw leaving ONWR the same day. I also got a close-up sighting of an osprey at the nature sanctuary on Put-In-Bay. Below is a photo of that, as well as picture that I will use to conclude this post, which is a more patriotic photo that I took on the departing ferry.

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Perry's Victory Monument, Put-In-Bay, Ohio.


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