Birding fallsville

   Most Ohio bird watchers (or hunters, nature enthusiasts, etc.) have heard of Fallsville Wildlife Area in southern Ohio. The area is popular due to the ring-necked pheasant released there every year for hunting, and the large number of ponds which are open to fishing. But for me, the area serves as different sort of attraction- good birding grounds.

   So yesterday at about 5 PM I set out for Fallsville. The day was overcast, and had sprinkled off and on throughout the day, but the temperature was a cool 69o, and the humidity was low- the weather was great for virtually any outdoor activity. Minus the dreary clouds (had it been a weekend) the day would have been perfect in all aspects.

A large, tree-lined pond flanked by large fields of alfalfa and grasses.

   Though I must admit the birding wasn't spectacular that day (though I did see a few noteworthy species), the trip was quite enjoyable. My main hope had been to see some waterbirds. My main interest had been in sandpipers, but I saw no form of water-birds that day. Neither sandpiper, plover or water fowl was to be found at any of the numerous ponds that I scouted.

   It wasn't until I was at a particular corn field lined by a thick tree line that I saw most of the noteworthy species that I tallied. I remember last year spotting a few warbler species, among others, in this same spot. On this particular trip I was rewarded with multiple yellow warblers at particularly close range (and yet I have no photos to show for it), a few of both barn and tree swallows, an eastern kingbird, eastern phoebe, many gray catbirds and brown thrashers, and a handful of ever-popular northern cardinals. The photo below was taken not far from this spot.

A brown-thrasher settled down on a wooden fence rail.

   The only other noteworthy bird species that I saw (if memory serves me, which usually it doesn't) was a brightly colored male Baltimore oriole. However, I did see some other wildlife. Rabbits were numerous, of course. If you have ever been to southern Ohio, you will probably know that there is no shortage of the cottontail rabbit here. Besides rabbits, I saw a groundhog (aka woodchuck) and some sort of large water-loving critter. It was larger than a muskrat, so I am still trying to identify it. The area isn't exactly suitable for beaver (which live mainly in the far north-eastern regions of Ohio in the heavily wooded regions by Lake Erie). Overall it was a great trip, and I managed to rack up a tally of 29 differnt bird species total. I will finish off my post with a photo of a picturesque (it looked much better in real life, trust me) water hole right off the road near the end of my trip:

A picturesque water hole where the mystery-critter was spotted.

   Until next time, happy birding.

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