Male Wood Duck practicing the Hokey-Pokey
Winter loosened its death grip on northeast Ohio today long enough for some of us to do some birding wearing less than three pairs of mittens and two coats. Susan and I opted for our 30,000-acre backyard, AKA the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to see if spring migration is truly on the wing.
As we prepared to hit the trail that leads back to a massive beaver pond, a young couple parked next to us was getting into their car. She asked her partner, “Do you think it’ll be okay to take the snow brush out of my car when we get home?” As the young man slumped into his seat he said, “Well, this is Cleveland and it’s only April, ya know.”
Tree Swallows on a date
Ya gotta be tough to live here.
Regardless of the weather, there are no bad days for birding. Some are just better than others—and today was one of the latter. I wasn’t the only photographer on the trail today. Many of the others, however, were taking pictures of the sun so that they might show their grandchildren what it looks like when the clouds roll away.
Male and female Wood Ducks
Birders know there are often signs, subtle indicators, that this day might be better than the last one. Our sign was a quick look at a Winter Wren just as we hit the trail in earnest. The bird looks like a brown ping-pong ball with feathers. No matter how hard we tried, we could not get the little guy to make a better showing. Winter Wrens are always a treat; in April they’re as rare as a, well, a sunny day.
Northern Cardinal in his best camo
I’ve heard many non-birders say that finding birds is hard to do because they’re all that same brown color. Hmmm. At least at this time of the year, nature has brightened up the scene a lot. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I believe birding might be the most colorful pastime a person can have.
Take a look at what we found in our three-mile jaunt on one small speck of land on planet Earth. These are four common birds in northeast Ohio. I just hope none of them has put away the snow brush away for the season.