Monday, September 12, 2011

Birding in Rural Indiana

When one thinks of awesome places to go birding, I doubt they would consider rural north central to be that place. Over the weekend, I co-lead a field trip with Indiana Young Birders Club member Landon Neumann to local birding hotspots in Cass County. While you might not see as many warblers as you would at Eagle Creek Park or as many shorebirds as you would at Goose Pond FWA, it is a fantastic place to spend a day birding.

We went to many places that most Indiana birders have probably never heard of. Our first stop was at the Berry Patch, the local high school's outdoor learning lab and cross-country course. The habitat here is exceptional! Birds were everywhere and the biggest challenge was not finding warblers but identifying them as they moved at light speed through the tops of the trees against a dark and foggy background. Even with those challenges, we had eight species in just an hour of birding.

Next we stopped at France Park, a large county park, just outside of Logansport. There were very few warblers but we got all 6 of the vireos that you can expect in the area including one each of Blue-headed and Philadelphia. After a quick stop at birdless Lake Cicott, we headed to some shorebird spots that Landon had found over the summer. The first is farm field that appears to have some broken drainage tile. It is right along a very busy highway which makes for some interesting birding since the parking is on the shoulder. Since shorebirds in Cass County are few and far between, we were happy to find both Yellowlegs, and Solitary and Pectoral Sandpipers mixed in with all of the Killdeer. Our second shorebird stop was a bust with only one Killdeer present.

We finished the day at the Highway 17 marsh with lots of swallows and our only Green Heron and Pied-billed Grebe of the day.

Hopefully more people will start birding their local parks more frequently. Who knows what birds we are missing out there!

-Rob

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