Water Birds

Ohio is a bit like Zambia in that they are both landlocked, but also have a lot of water in the form of rivers and lakes.  Zambia is famous for its water birds (at least in the birding world) and I am finding out that birders love Ohio’s water birds as well.  Especially during migration, there are many.  I would even have to say that as far as my personal experience goes, Ohio’s ducks beat Zambia’s.  I didn’t think it was possible for birds in Ohio to beat out any in Zambia, but I think the ducks have done it.

Jonathan and I recently got a week free of kids.  We had originally thought to go on a fabulous vacation but we decided it was really too short to enjoy all the bother of travelling and we could save a lot of money by staying home.  We spent a couple nights out, travelling around Ohio and managed to get some birding in.

I was pretty psyched on a quick trip Sunday, to Columbus, that wasn’t really supposed to involve birding, to make a stop at a small, local park and pick up two lifers.  We didn’t have a camera that day, but later that week got some pictures of Bufflehead.  Greater Scaup was the other lifer.

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On Monday, we went up to a local park near our house where a Common Loon was hanging out.  Turned out there were quite a few loons,  which was a first for me in Ohio, and also some Horned Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers, both of which were lifers.The day was dark, so our photography was difficult, but we enjoyed our outing and my two lifers.

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I love the scruffy crest on these Mergansers!

On Wednesday we went for a one night trip up to Lake Erie.  We stayed the night at Maumee Bay State Lodge and visited several nearby parks.  Our first stop which was on the way was at Sandy Ridge State Park near Elyria.  I had read on Facebook that there were Sandhill Cranes there.  We missed out on the cranes but I got some lifers so it was well worth the stop and it is really a lovely park. 

Again, the birds were far away and liked the shady areas so photos were tough. . . . All of these are heavily cropped.  Lifers included:

Redhead,

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Gadwall,

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Ring-necked Ducks,

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and my favorite, Hooded Mergansers.  These guys certainly rival any ducks that I saw in Zambia.  Their hoods are amazing and the rest of their plumage is quite striking with their black, white and deep chestnut markings.  They among some others, have restored my interest in birding in Ohio. 

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The Wood Ducks were not a lifer, but their plumage is also striking and beautiful and I love to see them whenever I get a chance. 

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Well, enough for now. After this, we moved on to Lake Erie, but I will  write the second half of this on another day.

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