Lark Sparrow – A Little Out of Range?

Kelley Center Nature Preserve in the Miami River Valley (of Ohio) is a secret treasure not 8 miles from my house that I discovered and explored this morning with my two youngest sons. Arriving a bit late in the morning, the birds were a bit scarce, but the scenery and weather were heavenly.I captured a picture of this sparrow, who with his back to me, turned around to stare after he heard the snapping of my camera. I knew then he wasn’t a familiar face, and it took me quite some time to identify him in my field guide, cross referencing him with the 10 or so varieties of sparrows that are within range here.

Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow Back Side
Lark Sparrow Back Side

When I couldn’t quite place him, I ventured out a bit, and found he was just a tad out of range; at least according to the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. It stated that their map showed the Lark Sparrow only coming as far as Western Indiana. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology online guide, however, shows their range coming as far east as central Ohio.

I just love his chestnut coloring on his crown (lateral crown stripes), and how it contrasts with the white.

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Yellow Rumped Warbler
Yellow Rumped Warbler

Located due East of Cincinnati out Route 50, Indian Creek Wildlife Area is closer than you’d think, but far enough away to give that “in the middle of nowhere” experience. Two hunters said they had seen a Wood Duck and a Teal, although he didn’t say which variety of Teal. We didn’t see any ducks. Arriving late morning didn’t garner too many songbird sightings either. Songs and calls filled the air from time to time, but all species were elusive.

The Yellow-Rumped Warbler did make a fine appearance, and is a new addition to my life list. Although the shots aren’t the best, he kindly provided a view of every angle of his beautiful fall plumage. The tell-tale yellow spot on the tail and on the rump. A nice shot of his left and right sides as well as his underside. He is also showing the fine lining of yellow where his wings meet his breast. Click on a picture for a closer look.

yellow rumped right side
yellow rumped right side

yellow rumped warbler left side
yellow rumped warbler left side

yellow rumped warbler bottom view
yellow rumped warbler bottom view

The Area has a marsh which we discovered on our way out. It is supposed to be a place where migrants pass through. The following birds have been sighted here: Great Blue Heron, grebes, cormorants, American Woodcock, Northern Bobwhite, Wild Turkey, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Eastern Screech, Great Horned Owl, Red-shouldered Hawks, Barred Owls,,Accipiters are present in migration, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Harrier is a winter resident as are Tree, White-throated, White-crowned, Swamp and Fox Sparrows, juncos, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Golden-crowned Kinglet. Song and Field Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, Eastern Bluebirds, Eastern Meadowlarks and Horned Larks are permanent residents. All of our woodpeckers are resident including Pileated.

Summer residents include Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Eastern Pee-wee and Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Great-crested, Willow and Acadian Flycatchers, many swallows, Wood Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Gray Catbird, Warbling ,White-eyed, and Red-eyed Vireos, Yellow, Yellow-throated, Blue-winged, Prothonotary and Kentucky Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-breasted Chat, Louisiana Waterthrush, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Indigo Buntings and Grasshopper Sparrows.

With 1,799 acres, it’s not difficult to believe that many species call it home; winter or summer, or at least pass through. They all must have had the day off today. I will definitely be back.

Cincinnati Birding

The Cincinnati Bird club sponsored a talk last night by Tim Toldford; Federally Licensed Master Bander and Hummingbird Bander. He heads the Hummer/Bird Banding Research Collaborative www.hbrcnet.org. He shared fascinating information about banding birds and data collection. Check out his website.

Going birding this morning at the Indian Creek Wildlife Area in Brown County and hoping to find many migrants. It has 1,799 acres of largely untouched area, which is a diverse landscaping of ponds, open grassy areas and forested sections. Look for pictures this weekend!