Friday, September 11, 2009

East Harbor State Park, Sept. 11

Late this afternoon (Friday Sept. 11) I checked out several areas in East Harbor State Park, just east of Port Clinton. In the area of the swimming beach and around the small offshore islands there were good numbers of Ring-billed, Herring, and Bonaparte's Gulls, plus two Lesser Black-backed Gulls (both in second-cycle plumages). There didn't seem to be any other small gulls associated with the approximately 100 Bonaparte's, but this would be a logical time and place to look for Little Gull.

The area south of the southernmost beach parking lot has extensive trails through the woods, and in the past I've often found this area to be very good for fall migrants. Today it was surprisingly quiet, with few birds of any kind and almost no migrants. The wind was strong out of the east and it has been that way a lot recently, so this rather exposed eastern edge of the park may have had the birds blown out. With a shift in wind direction, of course, it could be excellent again sometime in the next few days.

Checking other areas in the park, I found a couple of mixed flocks of warblers in the thickets of dogwood and other trees around the edge of the "frisbee golf" course, northeast of the Lockwood picnic area near the park exit. Most interesting were two Mourning Warblers, only loosely associated with the other warblers. As usual at this season, I noticed them first by their odd "thick" chipnote, and managed to pish them up out of the thickets. Notable among the larger birds were three Bald Eagles overhead and more than 50 Wood Ducks on the sheltered bays.

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