Independence Dam, Defiance, Ohio birding, outdated reports through 2005. Note for birders: Bald Eagles (6 is the maximum number I've seen at any one time), Wild Turkeys (maybe 50 in a group!) and Cliff Swallows nest at the far eastern end of the park. This is a highly recreational park in the summer with bumper to bumper traffic (mostly teens showing off their cars), but nearly deserted in winter, when the best birding occurs! Come November, hundreds of gulls (Bonaparte's, RingBilled, Herring) appear and disappear. In January, the dam keeps the water open when the rest of the county is frozen, attracting Mute and Tundra Swans, Common and Hooded Mergansers, Snow Geese, RingNeck Ducks, Gadwall, Shovellers, Pintails, diving ducks like Scaup, Bufflehead, Goldeneye, Redheads and Canvasbacks, as well as hundreds of Mallards, Black Ducks and Canada Geese, and concentrations of Great Blue Herons. Best birds here: Great and Lesser BlackBacked Gulls, Caspian Terns, Ospreys in spring and fall. Webpages list Cerulean and YellowThroated Warblers as residents, neither of which I've seen here. I'm not the best birder in world-- come and tell me what you find! 2005 January 1, 2005 Took a long, lazy walk finding almost TWO DOZEN ROBINS, a small flock of FOURTEEN CEDAR WAXWINGS, SEVEN WILD TURKEYS, a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, TWO ADULT AND ONE JUVENILE BALD EAGLE, WINTER WRENS, Kingfisher, Carolina Wrens, Brown Creepers, GoldenCrowned Kinglets, YellowRumped Warblers etc. The water was very swift with chunks of ice from upstream, so very few Canada Geese and Mallards and only 3 Common Mergansers. Very pleasant. 1/27/5 Wow! A long absence from Independence Dam and I find hundreds of HERRING GULLS with only a few RingBilled (the reverse is usual, if there are gulls at all) and at the GM hotwater outlet (where SR281 crosses above SR424) was a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL!!! He greatly diminished the significance of the many Common Mergansers, and of the flock of ROBINS flying across SR18 at Slough Rd. 1/28/5 Add Common Goldeneye to the list, 2 males and a female. 1/29/5 Almost 400 Herring Gulls (all those pretty pink legs! Second only to Radio City!), under 10 RingBilled Gulls, many Common Goldeneye and Common Mergansers, a single Robin, YellowRumped Warblers, 18 Black Ducks, but no Canada Geese and only 2 Mallards on the entire river's length. 4 Carolina Wrens. The Eagles weren't seen at the nest (perhaps they're inside it!) but it was great to see one fly along the snow-covered riverbank. 2/4/5 500+ gulls, more balanced now between Herring and RingBilled, with the usual Common Mergansers and Common Goldeneye, only 10 Canada Geese. 2/5/5 500 or so gulls still there, pretty evenly divided between Herring and RingBilled. A pair of LESSER SCAUP showed up among the Common Mergansers (34 in one group, all male except for 3 females). 2/6/5 A pair of Black Ducks join the regulars at Independence Dam. Two-thirds of the gulls (mostly Herring) were at the GM hot-water outlet (SR424/SR281) with the remaining third (mostly RingBilled) remaining at the Dam itself. 2/7/5 Ditto yesterday. 2/8/5 200 Gulls in flight 2/10/5 No gulls! 2/19/5 Day Two of GBBC: Independence Dam was practically gull-less again! American Black Duck 5, American Goldfinch 5, BALD EAGLE 2 adults, BROWN CREEPER--FOUR, BlackCapped Chickadee 5, Canada Geese 36 (pitiful when compared to past years before hunting was allowed here), Cardinals 8 all in one place, Common Goldeneye2, Common Merganser 2, Crow 2, Downy Woodpecker 3, Flicker 1, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET- TEN, Great Blue Heron 1, Herring Gull 6, Mallard (12 in flight, incredibly pitiful number compared to past years), PINTAIL DRAKE IN FLIGHT - 1 certainly most unexpected bird, RedBellied Woodpecker 3, RingBilled Gull 4, Song Sparrow 2, WhiteBreasted Nuthatch 2, Wild Turkey 3, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (just 1!). 2/20/5 Only a juvenile Bald Eagle overhead. 2/24/5 20 or so Common Mergansers, constantly diving, and my first pair of WOOD DUCKS this year. 2/25/5 15 was the highest count I could get at one time of Common Mergansers. 3/6/5 4 RingNecked Ducks 3/12/5 Under Boy Scout invasion, but 8 male Robins and my first KILLDEER of the season were near the entrance. 3/15/5 PiedBilled Grebe and a pair of Lesser Scaup. 3/23/5 Buffleheads 3/25/5 7 pairs of Common Mergansers, 2 PiedBilled Grebe and a pair of Scaup. 4/2/5 A pair of Common Mergansers, and my first TREE SWALLOW of the season. 4/11/5 Not much around (checking Preston's Island, Power Dam) unless you count two pairs of Wood Ducks at Independence Dam. 4/27/5 Swallows were the keywords at16/C and Independence Dam, Preston Island and Oxbow Lake 4/23/5 Jack-in-the Pulpit where they were in large clumps on the banks of the canal! 5/4/5 Quick drive shows just a Cormorant and Golden Ragwort. 5/10/5 I hate having to work-- it gets in the way of birding big-time. After work, the alleged fall-out was way gone with the only new bird for the year being a Yellow-Throated Vireo. The frustration comes from the rest of the Black Swamp Audubon's trip to Crane Creek 5/19/5 Warblers here too, but only new bird for the season today was Pewee. Dame's Rocket, Wild Columbine, and Cow-Parsnips in bloom. 6/1/05 Back from Memorial Day, three Chestnut-Sided Warblers were pleased to meet me at Independence Dam 6/12/05 A large stand of Thimbleweed, Poison Hemlock and Nodding Thistle near Independence Dam. 6/20/05 After the Black Swamp Audubon meeting, we went for an extremely short walk (from the first shelter house to the opening gate) but found 27 species in a few minutes (DoubleCrested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, RedHeaded Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Warbling Vireo, Purple Martin, Northern Rough-Winged and Barn Swallows, Carolina and House Wrens, American Robin, Gray Catbird, European Starling, lotsa Cedar Waxwings, Northern Cardinal, RedWinged Blackbird, Common Grackle, BrownHeaded Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, Turkey Vulture) plus the tamer-than-average raccoon. Today's new blooms: Everlasting Pea, Purple Loosestrife, Field Bindweed, Garden Phlox (wildflower? it's in the Wildflowers of Ohio book by Henn, as an escape), Deptford Pinks.7/2/05 The Drill Sargeant and I on another power walk (the Marina to the split in the road in 25 minutes!), but I fleetingly glimpsed: Double Crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Turkey Vulture, Wood Ducks, Killdeer, Belted Kingfisher, RedHeaded, and Downy Woodpecker, Flicker, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Blue Jay, Tree and NRoughWinged Swallow, WhiteBreasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Yellow Warbler, Chipping and Song Sparrows, Cardinal, Grackle, Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, Goldfinch, House Sparrow (32sp. 50" doubletrack) 7/14/5 Unusual bathing trio at the entrance: Orchard Oriole, Bald Eagle, and Kingbird. 8/3/5 Nothing remarkable (new blooms: White Snakeroot, Pickerelweed, and TURK CAP'S LILY , but just outside the park at AdamsRidge/Elliott was a RedShouldered Hawk, probably the first I've seen in Defiance County. 8/15/5 50 RingBilled Gulls and a CASPIAN TERN. A short time later, Roger and Pat reported an OSPREY and THREE BALD EAGLES showed up as well, with more CASPIAN TERNS, and even COMMON TERNS! 8/25/05 Many RingBilled Gulls, Killdeer, Mallards and Great Blue Herons, but highlights were 7 DoubleCrested Cormorants and a juvenile LITTLE BLUE HERON by the dam itself 8/27/5 Bruce H and I arrived about 7pm to find the Little Blue Heron still there, but before I could set up the scope and try to digiscope 5 shots, a carful of wading kids chased it, and the Great Blue Herons and the RingBilled Gulls and Killdeer away. It circled slowly up above the trees and followed the river west... About a dozen Great Egrets were there, though. 8/29/05 A dozen or so Great Egrets, 8 Cormorants, lotsa RingBilled Gulls but couldn't find the Little Blue Heron. Wild Morning Glory, Wild Hibiscus and Yellow Tickseed 9/11/05 Warblers were here, too! BlackThroated Greens were most numberous, but also Magnolia, Cape May and BayBreasted, and a YELLOWBELLIED FLYCATCHER. Only had an hour to spare, and a pleasant hour it was. Very high numbers of Starlings, Robins, Blue Jays, Great Blue Herons and Mallards, but also BlackCapped Chickadees, Canada Geese, Cardinals, Catbirds,Crows, DoubleCrested Cormorant (6), Downy Woodpeckers, Flickers, Goldfinches, Great Egrets (12+), Killdeer, Kingfishers, Mourning Doves, Peewees, RedBellied and RedHeaded Woodpeckers, Tufted Titmice, Warbling Vireos, WhiteBreasted Nuthatches, Wood Ducks, a single Carolina Wren, and low numbers of RingBilled Gulls. 9/14/05 Great Egrets, Cormorants and an OSPREY. 9/17/05 My first four BONAPARTE'S GULLS of the season, plus the Great Egrets, Cormorants, RingBIlled Gulls and an OSPREY are still hanging around. 9/25/5 Independence Dam has been pretty weak all week, too, with all the gulls departed, but the dozen Great Egrets and a Cormorant still around. And three duck hunters' trucks.10/6/05 Even the great egrets are gone, but a cock Pheasant and Jon Diller were there! 10/14/5 Six RingBilled Gulls.10/19/5 14 RingBilled Gulls and a lone Herring Gull. 10/20/5 Exactly the same as yesterday: 14 RingBilled Gulls (5 of them juveniles, like yesterday) and a lone Herring Gull. 10/21/5 In the waning moments of the poor light from a rainy day a pair of adult BALD EAGLES sat in the river eating, a YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER and a troupe of YellowRumped Warblers flitted overhead; 7 RingBilled Gulls remain. 10/22/5 Duck Hunters! The only State Park where you need not get in a drawing to put up a duck blind, nor do you need to put up $50 to put up your blind or set out your decoys. And you can admire the Bald Eagles while you wait for the ducks and geese to drop in. You'd think there'd be even more hunters and decoys here! Just 5 RingBilled Gulls, 3 DoubleCrested Cormorants, the YellowBellied Sapsucker, YellowRumped Warblers... 10/27/5 Nothing 10/28/5 Nothing 11/1/05 Nada. Zilch.11/10/05 Yesterday Bruce & I had only one RingBilled Gull here; today there were over a hundred!. 11/16/05 A tom Wild Turkey wandered fearlessly beside the road. Foamy, furious, fast water
11/18/5 A RingNecked Duck is the only bird visible at dusk. 11/25/5 Independence Dam, Power Dam, SR66 at Maumee, Bronson Park, Preston Island All absent of any waterfowl whatsoever. 11/27/5 10 Great Blue Herons (all in trees), 48 Canada Geese (fly-bys only, nothing on the water at all), 3 Bald Eagles (the two adults at the nest, the third a juvenile), a Cooper's Hawk (not normal for here), 10 Wild Turkey (by the dam on the opposite shore), 480 RingBilled Gulls (none apparent on a drive-through, but small flocks flew deliberately upstream all morning, not dallying or stopping to eat or swim), 2 Mourning Dove, 1 Belted Kingfisher, 9 RedBellied Woodpeckers, 8 Downy Woodpeckers, 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 1 Flicker, 27 Blue Jays, 2 Crows, 12 BlackCapped Chickadees, 6 Tufted Titmice, 9 WhiteBreasted Nuthatches, 6 Brown Creepers, 6 Carolina Wrens, 10 GoldenCrowned Kinglets, 1 Robin, 1 Cedar Waxwing, 10 Juncos, 11 Cardinals, 14 American Goldfinch, 4 House Sparrows from 9 to 11am. 11/30/5 The gate is now locked; nothing of interest. 12/13/05 Wow! The river is frozen and the hunters must've deserted the park: 1000 Canada Geese and 20 Mallards. But two guys dressed like duckhunters (ie camo) in a white pick-up were taking video of them...2004 1/4 What a difference a day makes! Six inches of snow, and I didn't get far before the sleet and freezing rain forced me to turn around to ensure I could make it home. The RubyCrowned and GoldenCrowned Kinglets, YellowRumped Warblers, Flickers, and especially Bluebirds were spectacular against the pure white. One RingBilled Gull. 1/11 One of my first birds was a Bald Eagle soaring overhead before I even entered the park, and a second was sitting in a tree near the dam. A dozen RingBilled Gulls have showed up. Failed to find the ruby-crowned kinglet, but even better a HERMIT THRUSH was at the end of my long trek through the park and onto the trail to Florida. Parallel to State Route 424, it was just before the Henry County Line, where the traffic sign warns of a 50mph curve. A cache of grapes and rose hips seemed to be the attraction. A small deer seemed to be stranded on a chunk of ice at the entrance to the campground, where the river diverges and then converges around a small island.60 or so Wild Turkeys were under the eagle's nest, where there were also 2 Bald Eagles. Were these the same two I saw at the entrance of the park? I had seen the Independence Dam eagles at 11:30 and 2:30pm, and the Florida eagles at 3:20pm... 1/19 One Eagle at the dam. With the river frozen above the dam and below the Florida bridge, ducks are finally beginning to gather albeit still Canada Geese (a mere 100), Mallards (maybe 50), and Black Ducks (22). 1/21 A SURF SCOTER surprised me here tonight after work! Also, Common Mergansers (under 10), Common Goldeneye (also under 10), a single adult Mute Swan, Black Ducks (under 30), Mallards (50+), Canada Geese (500+), and 2 Great Blue Herons. 1/22 A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER has joined the SURF SCOTER! There were 2 Surf Scoters in Paulding County (one county south) at least from 11/1/03 to 12/7/03 and a WhiteWinged Scoter was also there at least from 11/17/03 to 11/23/03. Maybe they never left! Also the Mute Swans have increased to 3 adults and 1 juvenile, asleep on the ice above the dam. The other ducks continue as last night. 1/24 There with a non-birding friend so didn't search too long. Found the WHITE-WINGED SCOTER but not the Surf Scoter. 4 adult and 1 juvenile Mute Swan were among the regulars. 1/25/4 Bird of interest was of course the WHITE-WINGED SCOTER. 1/28 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER plus usual Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Mute Swans are up to 6 adults and a juvenile, still only a dozen RingBilled Gulls. Best of all was an adult Bald Eagle soaring over them all. 1/30 New birds tonight were COOT and PINTAILS. WHITE-WINGED SCOTER plus usual Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Mute Swans are up to 7 adults and a juvenile, still only a dozen RingBilled Gulls. Best of all were a pair of adult Bald Eagle soaring over them all. 2/2/4 Independence Dam What little birds there were have disappeared except for 3 Black Ducks, 25 Canada Geese, a dozen Common Mergansers, ie no mallards, goldeneye, or scoters. 2/4/4 Independence Dam State Park 750+ Canada Geese, 250+ Mallards, 24+ Common Mergansers, 10 Black Ducks, 4 Mute Swans, a few Goldeneye, 2 immature RingBilled Gulls, and a Coot. A bit of a thaw may have allowed birds to hide further downstream in the closed area of the park. 2/5/4 Independence Dam State Park Canada Geese, Mallards, Common Mergansers, Black Ducks, 3 Adult and 1 juvenile Mute Swans, a few Goldeneye. 2/6/4 Independence Dam State Park Same birds as yesterday plus a Coot. 2/8/4 Independence Dam State Park Fran, Dave and I walked to the campground area. HOODED MERGANSER pair were best birds, but also first Lesser Scaup (2 hens), a male Bufflehead, 7 adult and 1 juvenile Mute Swan, the single Coot, a single RingBilled Gull. Unbelievably slow year for ducks. The river was thawed all the way to the turn-around, and altho' there were plenty of Canada Geese (400+), Mallards (200+), and Black Ducks (24+) at the dam itself, there were tons more along the whole length of the river. A couple dozen Common Mergansers, and Common Goldeneye were there too, with a dozen or so Bluebirds and Yellow-Rumped Warblers, and an adult Bald Eagle soaring overhead. 5 Carolina Wrens. 2/9/4 Independence Dam State Park Amazingly few birds after the huge crowd yesterday! No Mallards or Canada Geese or Coot. Just Black Ducks, Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Mute Swans. 2/11/4 Independence Dam State Park Back to normal with normal numbers of the normal birds: Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, Goldeneye, the lone Coot, 2 Great Blue Herons, a single juvenile RingBilled Gull, Mute Swans (5 adults, 1 juvenile and one adult dead on the shore...) 2/15/4 500 Canada Geese, 84 Mallards, 28 Black Ducks, 6 Mute Swans (plus a dead one still on the shore), and a Coot.2/17/4 300 Canada Geese, 100 Mallards, 3 Black Ducks, 6 Mute Swans (plus a dead one still on the shore), a Coot, couple dozen Common Mergansers, and yet another dead bird. It was smack in the middle on the frozen ice just above the dam, looking oh so much like it was shot down. The red head, the very white belly, and the white-on-both-sides wings pointed to Canvasback. Someone placed skinned carcasses about the size of a coon on the ice near the dead swan, perhaps to feed the eagles? 2/18/4 pretty much the same as of late, but for a second-winter Herring Gull 2/21/4 Dad and I toured Independence Dam (5 adult Mute Swans, 100 Canada Geese, 50 Mallards, 25 Gulls --a couple Herrings mixed in with the RingBilled-- and 2 Black Ducks). 2/22/4 Independence Dam today was just as bad as Power Dam yesterday, with the water so furious the only birds there were 3 Mute Swans (2 adult, 1 juvenile) asleep on the ice above the dam.2/24/2 Independence Dam Empty. 3/1/4 Water was furious and the only birds that could take it: a drake Lesser Scaup, a Great Blue Heron, 2 RingBilled Gulls, a pair of Mallards and a Canada Goose. 3/10/4 Empty. 3/14/4 Started to walk but rain and sleet and wind forced me to be happy with the Common Merganser and the Great Blue Heron at the dam itself. No eagles in evidence at the nest, and the band of Wild Turkeys were on the east side of the Florida bridge. 3/21/4 A drake GreenWinged Teal, a pair of Common Mergansers, 6 Wood Ducks, 21 Canada Geese and I managed to pull two male RUSTY BLACKBIRDS out of a large flock of Cowbirds, Starlings, Robins, and RedWinged Blackbirds. There were almost no females in the group. 3/24/4 Empty. 3/29/4 10 Common Mergansers and a Horned Grebe. 4/4/4 Empty. Too cold and windy for any birds here! Not even the eagles or turkeys put in an appearance. 4/5/4 A pair of Common Mergansers. 4/7/4 7 Cormorants 4/8/4 2 pair of Common Mergansers 4/9/4 9 Common Mergansers,16 Canada Geese, a pair of Wood Ducks and 2 drake Mallards. The park has re-opened! One Eagle was in the nest, the other in a near-by tree! 4/20/4 This is not usually a shorebird site, but tonight there were 6 Lesser Yellowlegs, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, a Solitary Sandpiper, and a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, my first of the year. Also there were the usual Wood Ducks Killdeer, and Canada Geese, and a Great Egret. A Bald Eagle sparked a conversation in which it was rumored that a second eagle's nest may exist directly behind the first restroom! 4/22/4 A Common Snipe and a Solitary Sandpiper were the unusual inhabitants. Lotsa YellowRumps but nothing else. 4/25/4 Wood Ducks, Solitary, Spotted Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, and a Common Snipe at the turnaround. Weirdest of all, no warblers except for tons of YellowRumps-- and a loudly singing ALDER FLYCATCHER which I hesitate to even write about, it's so embarrassing. I went to get my video camera to record it when 3 loud guys in pick-up trucks came up. I felt weird enough with binoculars... 5/1/4 By the time we returned home, it was 5:30pm and very gloomy. Although the rain had mercifully held off all day, now it poured. Nevertheless, I checked in fortunately to find more firsts-of-the-year: 2 Forster's Terns (deeply forked tail, white wings), Cliff Swallows, Chimney Swifts, Warbling Vireo, Black&White, BlackThroated Blue, Parula Warblers (the rain evidently grounded a whole flock of warblers in migration, which I could not adequately observe due to the rain and gloom. Just a few minutes observing while hiding from the rain in the car!), and another Scarlet Tanager! 5/2/4 headed out very early to see if the great warbler fall-out from last night was still in effect. It was gloomy and raining and very windy at 8am, but nothing can dampen my spirits on any spring day! There were plenty of warblers alright, albeit no firsts-of-the-year, except for Indigo Buntings and RedEyed Vireos. Scarlet Tanagers at 3 different spots, all very close (one drinking from the river, another on the ground by the road as I walked by!). 5/9/4 Lots of Warblers this morning, but only a few first-of-season: Yellow-Throated Vireo, and GreyCheeked Thrush 5/16/4 HOT this morning, with lots of warblers and lots of loud singing, a virtual cacaphony! The very first bird I binoculed was a male BLACKBURNIAN (bold lettering cuz he was my first-of-season), the second an amazing male CANADA WARBLER, the third a male CAPE MAY, and the fourth and fifth were male PARULAS, all almost as soon as I stepped out of the car, and all were close-up and look-as-long-as-you-want. The Wood Thrushes were singing everywhere (I hate to say it again, but "finally!"), making the assault on the ears and eyes almost overwhelming. Also my first-of-season ORCHARD ORIOLE. Rosebrock/SR18 A lone Wild Turkey by the road.5/23/4 Only one warbler species-- 3 male Parulas! So the rest of this entry is just BBB (boring bird blog). After yesterday I decided I'd TRY to keep a list, but it was very hard to notice birds one usually ignores. In the section between the campground gate to the turnaround (usually the best for warblers, in the order of best birds first): 2 Parulas (dueling so hard their tiny bodies shook with the effort of singing), 1 YellowBilled Cuckoo (heard only), 1 Least Flycatcher, 2 Great Crested Flycatchers, 4 Wood Ducks (in the tall trees), 1 RedEyed Vireo, 6 Cedar Waxwings, 1 Peewee, Phoebe, 3 Baltimore Orioles, 1 Indigo Bunting, 1 Chimney Swift, 1 Downy and 2 RedBellied Woodpecker (each at the nest hole with grub), 1 Flicker, 1 Blue Jay, 1 Cardinal, 1 Catbird, 5 Cowbirds, 4 Warbling Vireos,1 Grackle, 3 RedWinged Blackbirds (mourning the destruction of their nests due to the swollen river), 4 Canada Geese, 10 Robins, 1 Red Squirrel, 2 Chipmunks, 1 Fox Squirrel. From the turnaround to the last shelterhouse 1 Parula, 1 YellowBilled Cuckoo (seen), 2 Great Crested Flycatchers, 14 Wood Ducks (12 of them looked newly hatched!), 1 RedEyed Vireo, 6 Cedar Waxwings, 2 Peewees, 10 Baltimore Orioles, 1 Towhee, 1 Carolina Wren, 2 House Wrens, 2 Chipping Sparrows, 1 WhiteBreasted Nuthatch, 4 Blue Jays, 2 Cardinals, 4 Catbirds, 2 Warbling Vireos, 3 Grackles, 2 RoughWinged Swallows (nesting in the broken restroom, wherein were also the severed wings of a small hawk), 20 Canada Geese (flying), 19 Robins (many fledglings), another Red Squirrel, first Red-Spotted Purple of the season, and a Snapping Turtle (crossing the road thrown in the trunk of a car by an older man and woman checking the waste cans for aluminum cans). It was more like a breezy summer day than one of the last days of spring. 5/24/4 Word is out: one new eaglet in the nest 5/30/4 Better birds first on an early morning walk from the first cement restroom to the next: 2 YellowBilled Cuckoos, a Spotted Sandpiper, a Bald Eagle, 2 Indigo Buntings, 4 Wood Ducks (in trees), a Peewee, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a Willow Flycatcher, 8 Cedar Waxwings, 5 Baltimore Orioles, 1 House Wren, 1 Blue Jay, 5 RoughLegged Swallows, 6 Cowbirds, 4 Cardinals, 4 Catbirds, 2 Chipping Sparrows, 6 Turkey Vultures, 1 RedBellied Woodpecker, 3 Goldfinches, a House Finch, 5 Mourning Doves, 12 Robins, 6 Canada Geese, 4 Grackles, plus 1 Rabbit, 1 Red Squirrel, 2 Chipmunks 6/6/4Independence Dam More dangerous signals of my obsessive/compulsive nature, since this morning I walked from the ranger restroom to the first block restroom counting all I saw. I don't know why. In some kind of alphabetical order: Baltimore Oriole 20, Belted Kingfisher 1, Blue Jay 4, Cardinal 3, Catbird 6, Cedar Waxwing 20, Chimney Swift 5, Chipmunk 6, Chipping Sparrow 6, Cowbird 3, Eastern Kingbird 2, Flicker 3, Fox Squirrel 1, Grackle 16, Great Blue Heron 3, GreatCrested Flycatcher 3, House Sparrow 14, Phoebe 1, RedBellied Woodpecker 1, RedEyed Vireo 1, RedHeaded Woodpecker 1, Red Squirrel 1, RedWinged Blackbird 2, Robin 14, RoughWinged Swallow 4, Song Sparrow 4, Starling 4, Tufted Titmouse 6 (all in one spot!), Turkey Vulture 3, Warbling Vireo 10. Purple Martins in house at SR 18/Flickinger. 6/13/4 Very high water (park will probably close today) but continued my nonsense tour, finding in the Campground Area 3 Phoebes (one is nesting at the entrance display), Scarlet Tanager, YellowBilled Cuckoo, 2 YellowThroated Vireos, 2 Hairy Woodpeckers, GreatCrested Flycatcher, 1 Kingbird, 1 Indigo Bunting, 6 Cedar Waxwings, 9 Baltimore Orioles, 5 Warbling Vireos, 2 Great Blue Herons, 1 Flicker, 2 Jays, 2 Cardinals, 1 RedBellied Woodpecker, 2 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 Mourning Doves, 20 Robins, 6 Cowbirds, 3 Grackles, 3 Red Squirrels, 5 Chipmunks. The Marina: 1 RedTailed Hawk, 9 Turkey Vultures, 1 Towhee, 2 Chimney Swifts, 2 RoughWinged Swallows, 2 House Finches, 2 Baltimore Orioles, 1 Chipping Sparrow, 2 Song Sparrows, 1 Flicker, 1 Blue Jay, 3 Mourning Doves, 12 Robins, 4 Cowbirds, 40 Grackles, 18 RedWinged Blackbirds, 5 House Sparrows, 7 Starlings, 4 Chipmunks 6/27/4 on the 3mi walking trail from the campground to Florida OH In order of my interest: 10 Cliff Swallows, 2 Wood Thrush, 1 Green Heron, 3 Bald Eagles, 3(!) YellowBilled Cuckoos, 1 Wild Turkey, 1 YellowThroated Vireo, 13 Cedar Waxwings (hawking from the clouds of insects over the river), 1 Hairy Woodpecker, 3 Barn Swallows, 3 RedEyed Vireos, 4 Peewees, 2 Phoebes, 10 Wood Ducks (some ducklings looked newly hatched!), 1 Kingbird, 2 GreatCrested Flycatchers, 29 Warbling Vireos, 12 WhiteBreasted Nuthatches, 5 Great Blue Herons (the river was seldom visible from the path), 4 RoughWinged Swallows, 4 Tree Swallows, 1 Chimney Swift, 4 Flickers, 16 Baltimore Orioles, 1 BlackCapped Chickadee, 3 Tufted Titmice, 7 Blue Jays, 4 Crows, 3 House Wrens, 2 Chipping Sparrow, 15 Cardinals, 8 Catbirds, 12 Song Sparrows, 3 RedBellied Woodpeckers, 3 Downy Woodpeckers, 15 Am Goldfinch, 5 Mourning Doves, 8 RedWinged Blackbirds, 31 Grackles, 66 Robins, 5 Cowbirds, 1 Killdeer, 1 Mallard, 20 Canada Geese (in a tense quiet clump not 20' away on the canal, hoping I'd pass without noticing them-- so I pretended not to and they stayed frozen), 6 House Sparrows, 2 Starlings, 3 Red Squirrels, 13 Chipmunks, 2 Fox Squirrels10/24/4 Making sure the Pleiades, aka the seven Great Egret sisters, have truly left. Lots of YellowRumped Warblers.10/29/4 Oxbow Lake, Independence Dam, Power Dam nothing.11/3/4Oxbow Lake, Independence Dam nothing. 11/21/4 water was fast and furious, so the bird action was at the entrance (50 Canada Geese, and my first three BUFFLEHEAD of the season-- two drakes and a hen), and at the end of the campground (the Eagles building their new nest!).11/28/4 wild rafting water. 12/11/4 2 Winter Wrens! 12/21/4 frozen upstream of the dam with 70 RingBilled Gulls and one Herring Gull. The rest of the park was blocked off and since it was nearly dark 12/26/4This should've been a great day with hundreds of ducks and geese since the river is pretty much frozen except for where the dams are, but the duck hunters know that too. Independence Dam First arrived to see a huge cloud of gulls leaving. Knew something was up-- three trucks with hunters in camo. Left to Power Dam to see skeins of Canada Geese leaving as I approached. Nothing at the dam. One truck parked there-- another hunter? A beautiful JUVENILE EAGLE circled overhead. Why would people hunt where there are EAGLES?!!! Back to Independence and the gulls were back-- all 400+! Most were RingBilled, but there were a few Herring, including a couple Juvenile Herring. The hunters' trucks were parked at the gate, where evidently they put in their red canoe/kayak. As I approached the second pavilion I found the hunters walking on the Independence Dam riverside, putting out geese decoys. Not much farther downriver I flushed an ADULT EAGLE. Why would people hunt where there are EAGLES?!!! walked from the dam to the eagle's nest. Coming back, I congratulated the hunters on their "harvest" of Canada Geese and took their picture as they took each other's picture with the dead birds. Best birds of the walk: ROBIN, 22 COMMON MERGANSERS (under the Eagle's nest, where both adults sat), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, Brown Creepers, 2 Black Ducks, one Mallard... The river is unfrozen from the dam to the eagle's nest, but frozen on either end with no ducks. What a waste. The only place I could see Canadas in any amount were sleeping on the ground in the field beside GM. 12/29/4 Defiance County Independence Dam More duckhunters. It's been happening for three years, although last year's e-mail: "As you may have expected, hunting is not permitted at Independence Dam State Park. Although a former park ranger who is no longer employed by us, Steve Clemens, may have hunted from a small island on the river, the island is not state park property and is therefore outside of our jurisdiction. No duck blinds have been permitted on state park property at Independence Dam to the knowledge of the park management. If you should happen to see hunting you believe to be occurring from state park property, please report the incident immediately to the Harrison Lake State Park office at (419) 237-1503. Thank you for your concern for the safety of park visitors at Independence Dam and the opportunity to address your concerns. Lynn Boydelatour, Chief Naturalist Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation 1952 Belcher Dr., Bldg. C-3 Columbus, OH 43224 614-265-6556 With God, All Things Are Possible (state motto)" Calling Harrison Lake State Park you will find out that hunting is indeed encouraged at Independence Dam, to the point that they moved a fence disallowing cars driving the park, but allowing hunters to put their boats in. This does not bode well for the Christmas Bird Count on January 2. Today's blinds and decoys were right at the entrance by the dam itself.20031/1/3 A time for New Beginnings, especially at Henry County's Florida OH bridge. Evidently hunting pressure from the Independence Dam State Park (nothing there) has forced the birds here, just on the outside edge of the park, with a juvenile Tundra Swan swimming amidst hundreds of Canada Geese and Mallards. Remarkably enough A SECOND-YEAR BALD EAGLE and a THIRD-YEAR BALD EAGLE have set up house at the same location as the old nest that blew down in 2002. It was totally amazing to watch them construct a new one, so little and flimsy at this point! Below them, the usual Wild Turkeys. 1/4/3 Walked Independence Dam to see 10+ Bluebirds, 10+ Yellow-Rumped Warblers, a GoldenCrowned Kinglet, Kingfisher, 2 Carolina Wrens, etc but only 2 Mallards, no geese, no gulls. Florida Bridge (just outside the Park's east end) was the hot spot though, with hundreds of Canada Geese and Mallards, the Swan, and Wild Turkeys. An ADULT BALD EAGLE and a THIRD-YEAR EAGLE were at the nest site, with the third-year bird bringing 10-foot sticks to the new nest! 1/9/3 Florida bridge 3rd year and adult Bald Eagles were at the nest. Below were at least 48 Wild Turkeys, easily counted in the snowy field. 50 Canada Geese, 5 Mallards, and a Carolina Wren were nearby. Independence Dam Waterfowl are returning since hunting finally went out of season: TWO Swans (juveniles) were near the dam, albeit across the wide river on a very cloudy night at 5pm. I couldn't really make out bill color, but judging from the narrow delicate bill of one and the thicker wedge of the other, I'd say one was Tundra and one was Mute. Also, one was very white, and Sibley says that Mutes are mostly white by November. I had never realized one could judge by tail-length until I read this at home. Hopefully they will be there tomorrow. 50 Mallards and 300 Canada Geese were near the turn-around at the other end, as well as 2 Black Ducks. At least 20 Great Blue Herons were scattered the length of the park, as well. 1/10/3 Independence Dam 2 juvenal Swans, one clearly Mute, and the other not really clear-- wrong angle into the sun, medium tail. Weirdo in full-size red truck writing down license plate numbers, so I left quickly, only seeing 10 Mallards, 10 Canada Geese and a few Great Blue Herons. At the warm-water GM outlet (281/424), were about 50 Canada Geese and about 20 RIngBilled Gulls. 1/13/3 Not able to bird this weekend, and had to replace a water pump in my car today-- not much time for birding. Quick trip to Independence Dam found FOURTEEN Great Blue Herons huddled around the warm water outlet with Mallards and Canada Geese and a few Gulls. Little at the Dam itself, but this should improve when the river freezes... 1/15/3 Independence Dam The river above the dam is now frozen, so birds are again concentrating here, even though the river is totally unfrozen the length of the whole park below the dam. 6 Common Mergansers, a Black Duck, and the 2 Swans brightened the growing crowd of (over 1000) Canada Geese and (over 100) Mallards. One white Canada band: 2E7K. Only found one Great Blue Heron.1/16/3 Independence Dam the water is unfrozen from the dam to the Florida bridge, but not beyond it. The eagle's nest was bigger, but no eagles were to be found today-- just lots of Wild Turkeys, a Brown Creeper, and a lonely juvie Tundra Swan. In the park itself were still huge numbers of Canada Geese (three whtie bands: 2e7k, 7e2f, 3e5k and an orange band k1y0) and Mallards, with an even 12 Black Ducks, 2 juvenal Mute Swans, a single Herring Gull, a Kingfisher, and no common mergansers. Jewell has it's very own Cooper's Hawk, chasing the numerous Starlings and House Sparrows near the elevator.1/19/3 Independence Dam State Park Numbers were up for Mallards (not 200 yet) and Black Ducks (not 100 yet), as the river freezes even more (from the start of the towpath trail and beyond). With cold predicted yet this week, the congregation of birds should be tremendous soon. The two Mute Swans were present but I couldn't find the tundra . Amidst all the Canadas was a SWAN GOOSE (aka Chinese Goose, black bill and knob). I couldn't find any banded geese. An adult Bald Eagle and a Third-Year Eagle were fishing at the entrance to the campground, not disturbing the geese or the ducks in the least. It was great watching them eat. Temperatures somewhere in the teens and very windy but four carloads of hikers were at the towpath trail ahead of me. A Michigan couple with heavy accents kindly pointed out ROBIN immediately to the left and the path entrance. The 3 mile path remains in Defiance County for the first 15 minutes, then in Henry County the remaining 45 minutes. Opposite the huge hornet nest, a flock of SEVENTEEN ROBINS flew across SR424, across the canal, over my head on the towpath trail, into the narrow growth of trees between the trail and the river. One would've landed on my head but I flinched involuntarily! I was surprised to find a cock Pheasant on the far shore of he river. The adult Eagle flew remarkably close on his way back to the nest, and by the time I got to Florida the 3rd year Eagle was coasting over downtown Florida. 1/22/3 Independence Dam Warm-water outlet there were FOURTEEN Great Blue Herons with about 100 Canada Geese and a few Mallards massed in one tiny spot. At the Dam itself, 17 Common Mergansers and 3 female Buffleheads joined the usual melage of Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks and 2 juvenile Mute Swans. Power Dam was spectacular with the tall frozen falls at the dam, with hundreds of Mallards and Canada Geese (one a green-banded 6ma3), and a few Black Ducks. In addition, Donna Daniel with ODNR released these Bald Eagle statistics: Eagles were recorded in the following 45 Ohio counties: Adams 1, Ashland 3, Belmont 2, Brown 2, Clermont 1, Coshocton 2, Defiance 1, Delaware 6, Erie 13, Franklin 2, Geauga 7, Guernsey 3, Hancock 2, Harrison 6, Henry 4, Holmes 8, Huron 1, Knox 6, Licking 3, Lorain 3, Lucas 11, Mahoning 9, Marion 2, Meigs 2, Mercer 2, Monroe 1, Morgan 2, Muskingum 4, Noble 4, Ottawa 20, Paulding 1, Perry 1, Pike 11, Portage 9, Ross 4, Sandusky 79, Scioto 1, Seneca 17, Summit 1, Trumbull 20, Union 1, Washington 6, Wayne 2, Wood 9 and Wyandot 9. Mark Shieldcastle, eagle biologist for the Division of Wildlife. “The bald eagle population has made incredible strides to go from only six eagles counted in Ohio's first winter survey in 1979 to a record 304 birds recorded in this year's survey.” This year's count included 167 mature bald eagles and 137 immature bald eagles, birds less than five years of age. Last year, wildlife officials reported 259 bald eagles in the winter survey: 147 adult eagles and 112 immature eagles. A record 107 eaglets fledged from a record 79 nests during last year's nesting season. A remarkable 63 eagles were recorded at one location on Muddy Creek Bay on Lake Erie's Sandusky Bay during the aerial portion of the survey this year. <excerpted from "http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/news/jan03/0122eagles.htm">1/23/3 Independence Dam The ice had creeped from where it was yesterday (at the park turnaround) up to the last restroom today, congregating 1000+ Canada Geese, 200+ Mallards, 100- Black Ducks (numbers up), 50- Common Mergansers (numbers up), 20- RingBilled Gulls, 20- Great Blue Herons, 3 female Bufflehead, 2 juvenile Mute Swans, an Adult Bald Eagle forced by the ice from the nesting area to the park area to fish, and the Swan (or Chinese) Goose even more closely together. 1/24/3 Independence Dam, Power Dam, Bronson Park all very much the same as yesterday, except there were no mergansers at Independence, and two pairs of Common Goldeneye took their place. 1/26/3 Checked Independence and found my first Independence Crow of the month, and a female HOODED MERGANSER diving with the Goldeneyes. 1/28/3 still had the 3 female Buffleheads, the female Hooded Merganser, the two Mute Swans, but also 2 male Common Mergansers have returned, and FOUR BALD EAGLES interacted with each other (fight? mate?) at the last restroom in the park itself, where the river was part ice, part water. One was clearly an adult. Another looked like an adult but had a brown stripe at the bottom of his white tail. A third was very white underneath, and the fourth was dark sitting in a tree the entire time. Since the month and Winter Atlassing is almost over and I haven't run across any SCREECH OWLS by accident, I used my CD to call until answered (but no longer). Two of the Canada Geese at Independence Dam were orange-banded: k1y0 and j8a9. 1/29/3 Chills and fever threaten, but glad I went through Independence Dam State Park as a COOT appears on the scene. While watching the coot, a WINTER WREN popped up from the river bank, sat by the car a few seconds, then popped down the canal bank on the other side of the road! Amazing! Power Dam and Bronson similar to yesterday.1/31/3 Still not feeling the best, but Independence Dam was pretty refreshing with 2 Gadwalls and a RingNecked Drake new on the scene. A very dark juvenile Bald Eagle sat on the ice in the middle of the river, sticking out like a sore thumb, but not scaring anyone as ducks floated serenely past. A SharpShinned Hawk appeared finally at 24/281-- I had looked for this little guy all month at his usual haunt a block away at the golf course. Power Dam and Bronson similar to yesterday. 2/4/3 No Canada Geese! --evidently due to the weekend thaw. Lots of the other usuals though: 16 male/3 female Common Mergansers, 5 pairs of Common Goldeneye, the 3 female Buffleheads, a female Hooded Merganser, a pair of juvenile Mute Swans, lots of Canada Geese, Mallards and Black Ducks. 2/5/3 Met Jon Diller and Roger & Pat there, but only saw the now-regulars: 16 male/3 female Common Mergansers, 5 pairs of Common Goldeneye, the 3 female Buffleheads, a female Hooded Merganser, a pair of juvenile Mute Swans, a Kingfisher, lots of Canada Geese, Mallards and Black Ducks. A huge Cooper's Hawk was in front of the Ranger Station, and another at the last house on 281 before the US 24 intersection! 2/14/3 Waterbirds: 1 RingNecked Duck (drake), 2 juvenile Mute Swans, 2 Gadwall, 5 Lesser Scaup (all drakes), 5 Bufflehead (4 female, 1 male), 18 American Black Ducks, 22 Common Mergansers, 506 Mallards (3 BlackxMallard), 1843 Canada Geese (8JZ9 green, K1Y0 orange J8A9 orange) Other birds: ONE JUVENILE BALD EAGLE EATING A FISH ON THE ICE 1 Carolina Wren, 1 WhiteBreasted Nuthatch, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Golden Crowned Kinglets, 2 Song Sparrows, 2 Tufted Titmice, 2 Flickers, 3 Bluebirds, 3 American Tree Sparrows, 3 RedBellied Woodpeckers, 3 Mourning Doves, 3 Downy Woodpeckers, 5 Juncos, 5 House Finches, 6 Cardinals, 11 European Starlings, 12 Yellow Rumped Warblers. The water here is free-flowing and ice-free to the turn-around, so birds are not concentrated. TWO ADULT BALD EAGLES SITTING IN THE NEST with 50 Turkeys below, 1 House Finch 2/16/3 The Gulls appeared out of nowhere! Many gulls were simply following Common Mergansers and stealing the fish right out of their mouths when they surfaced! Waterbirds: 1 HOODED MERGANSER (drake), Kingfisher, 2 Common Goldeneye (pair), 2 Great Blue Herons, 2 Gadwall, 5 Bufflehead (4 female, 1 male), 35 American Black Ducks, 46 Herring Gulls, 49 Common Mergansers, 90 RingBilled Gulls, 667 Mallards (3 almost white hens), 1485 Canada Geese ( 3e5k 2e3k white bands). 3 of the Canada Geese had obviously broken wings, and one lay dead on the ice, his exposed entrails the only apparent damage. A huge catfish, almost 3' long, also lay on the ice, only the stomach area missing. A raccoon ambled along the icy edge in broad daylight. I lost the sheet detailing the other birds, but I do remember 4 Flickers in one spot. Nothing else really noteworthy on the list, I'm sure. 2/17/3 A tour of Independence Dam, Power Dam, etc was pretty useless with the heavy falling snow making viewing pretty darn bad, let alone unplowed roads. Male Common Mergansers stood out pretty good (counted 52 of them near the dam), as well as a pair of Goldeneye. 2/19/3 Much the same, with the warm weather melting the ice and de-concentrating (if that's a word) the birds. The gulls were all gone, except for one RingBilled Gull. Power Dam Much the same but only 5 RingBilled Gulls and no eagles. 2/21/3 Not counting the large numbers of Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, and Blue Herons to which we have become so accustomed and yet still so appreciative of, Independence Dam had no gulls or swans, but did have 2 CANVASBACKS, 4 REDHEADS, a pair of Lesser Scaup, 7 pairs of COMMON GOLDENEYE, a single COOT, and a black-billed Chinese Goose.At the other end of the park, the ADULT BALD EAGLES were at the nest. I had assumed that the large flock of Wild Turkeys had evidently walked across the wide frozen river to be on the road when I pulled up, but lo! I watched them FLY from the road to their usual haunt beneath the Great Nest. Awesome.2/25/3 Numbers are down since the fast-flowing water thaws the water a mile past the campground and disperses the birds. 750 Canada Geese (instead of the usual 2500 nightly), 75 Mallards (down from the sometimes-500), 15 Black Ducks (down from sometimes-100), Great Blue Herons down to 7. Still some nice birds there including a pair of Redheads, 48 Common Mergansers, 4 Lesser Scaup (1 drake), and the 2 Mute Swans. Prof. Dave Reed was there with a class of Defiance College students. 2/26/3 Not counting Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, Great Blue Herons Independence Dam had 5 Bufflehead, 4 male and 1 female Lesser Scaup, 3 Redheads (2 drakes), 8 Goldeneye at least. 2/28/3 Independence Dam had Bufflehead, 8 Lesser Scaup, Redheads (2 drakes), Goldeneye, Canada Geese, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common Mergansers, Great Blue Herons. 3/1/3 Much the same. 3/2/3 Independence Dam Funniest: 6 pairs of Bufflehead tagged by a drake Goldeneye desperately trying to join the group. They looked at him sideways, while hoping the current kept them far enough ahead of him. A flock of fifty American Black Ducks, usually scattered in small groups the length of the river, were at the turn-around. Lesser Scaup were still bobbing with the Goldeneye. No gulls or swans. 3/4/3 Getting worried about not seeing any eagles at the nest-- perhaps they are sitting low down inside. The Wild Turkey flock is eating on the "wrong" side of the road still, probably because the other side is very open and snow-covered. Well over 100 Lesser Scaup and 8+ pairs of RingNecked Ducks joined the regulars (2 Mute Swans, Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Bufflehead, Black Ducks, Canada Geese, lots of Mallards). 3/5/3 same as yesterday in pretty much every aspect. 3/6/3 WOOD DUCKS have arrived! Roger and Pat pointed out a drake HOODED MERGANSER I surely would have missed. Otherwise we are still enjoying Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Redheads, RingNecked Ducks etc amid the more usual Mallards, Black Ducks, Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher. No gulls or swans. The water is melted to the Florida bridge, Wild Turkeys are on the road side, the eagles may have been anywhere along the river fishing, but not visible at the nest. Another park visitor told me that the broken-winged Canada Geese have a human cause-- kids in a rusty brown big car swerving purposely to hit them <sad sigh>. 3/7/3 Independence Dam A CANVASBACK DRAKE and NORTHERN SHOVELERS (a drake and four hens) have arrived! Roger and Pat pointed out a drake HOODED MERGANSER I surely would have missed. Otherwise we are still enjoying Wood DUcks, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Common and Hooded Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, Redheads, RingNecked Ducks etc amid the more usual Mallards, Black Ducks, Canada Goose, Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher. No gulls or swans. 3/8/3 Both adult Bald Eagles were sitting near the nest 3/10/3 Took the time to count, finding FOUR PINTAILS (2 pairs) joining the regulars: a drake Hooded Merganser, only 2 Great Blue Heron, 4 Common Goldeneye, only 9 Black Ducks, 11 Bufflehead, 25 Redheads, 32 Common Mergansers, 55 Lesser Scaup, 57 RingNecked Ducks, 200 Mallards, 800 Canada Goose (K1Y0 orange). 3/11/3 Pretty much the same as yesterday, including the FOUR PINTAILS (2 pairs) from yesterday. Hooded Mergansers were up to five (3 drakes), as well as Great Blue Herons, Common Goldeneye, Black Ducks, Bufflehead, Redheads, Common Mergansers, Lesser Scaup, RingNecked Ducks, Mallards, Canada Goose. 3/12/3 Today was absolutely BLACKBIRD DAY with many flocks near the eagle's nest at Independence Dam State Park. I silently coasted to a spot between two flocks of about 200 and using the car as a blind easily and closely viewed many GRACKLES (first of the year for me), RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, male RedWinged Blackbirds, and a single COWBIRD. How odd every year I am almost giddy to see them return, only to almost despise them by fall. Especially nice were the first-summer RedWinged males! At the eagle's nest itself was the THIRD-YEAR BIRD, with only two dark feathers remaining in the tail on either side of the middle, with it's mask almost faded into white. Enthralled the few minutes I could stay, I watched as this Eagle caught a small fish and ate it. No sign of the two adult Eagles. The waterfowl here were about the same as yesterday but mainly concentrated at the entrance to the campground, the water from the melted ice is so fast. 3/14/3 Numbers were way way down with the river open even above the dam: only 1 female Common Merganser, drake Wood Duck, 13 Hooded Mergansers (extra drake), 39 Canada Geese, 48 Mallards, 70 RingNecked Ducks, and 94 Lesser Scaup. 3/15/3 Beware the Ides of March?!!! Nicest day we've had yet for a very very long time! Independence Dam An adult Bald Eagle was perched near the nest. Water was extremely high and muddy and turbulent. Wood Ducks in a flooded field at 424/281. Gulls were plentiful from 424/281 on upstream into Defiance, all that I viewed being RingBilled and Herring, perched on the ice around open spots.3/16/3 The Maumee River was totally ice free, so Independence Dam was birdless until the turnaround, where a Coot, 6 Mallards, 35 Canadas, and a mixed flock of about 100 RIngNecked Ducks and Lesser Scaup escaped the raging current. 3/17/3 was totally devoid of waterfowl--NOT A SINGLE BIRD 3/20/3 After a great January and February, only 10 RIngNecked Ducks and an adult Bald Eagle on the nest. 3/21/3 almost empty still, with only 10 RingNecked Ducks, 3 Lesser Scaup, 2 pairs of Hooded Mergansers, and a Coot. 3/22/3 almost empty still, with only 20 RingNecked Ducks, 3 Lesser Scaup, 2 pairs of Hooded Mergansers, a Coot and a pair of my first PIED-BILLED GREBES of the year. The large flock of Wild Turkeys was in its usual spot, but no eagles were visible at the nest-- could've been hunched down inside.3/26/3 Independence Dam A Bufflehead, 2 Common Mergansers, 14 Lesser Scaup, a Great Blue Heron, and an adult Eagle at the nest. Still no luck finding any smith's.3/28/3 An adult and a 3rd-year Bald Eagle on the ground together behind the nest., 2 drake Common Mergansers, 4 Canada Geese, a Great Blue Heron. 4/1/3 8 Canada Geese, 6 BlueWinged Teal, 5 male Hooded Mergansers, 5 Wood Ducks, 3 male Common Mergansers, 2 Mallards, an Eagle with a fading mask perched near the nest. 4/12/3 just a few Canada Geese and a cock Pheasant struck by a car, with lots of carloads of people.4/20/3 Independence Dam A quick run-through before church found 5 Common Mergansers among the usual Canada Goose/Mallard/Great Blue Heron mix. 4/27/3 Independence Dam 3 hours of walking the place and the best I could come up with were 2 Cormorants and a Ruby Crowned Kinglet! I did run into John W. of Fort Wayne with another couple at the eagle's nest. They had been waiting for an hour, but not even eagles or cliff swallows or wild turkeys showed up! 4/30/3 Independence Dam Stopped here for just a few minutes before work and there were LOTS of warblers. 90% of those I saw were Yellow, Yellow-Rumped and Palm, but there were also Tennessee and Black-Throated Green (singing "Jimmy, Jimmy, Cocoa-Pop!"). Warbling Vireos were wall-to-wall stereophonic for the entire 3 driving-miles of the park! Also first of season for me today were three Green Herons, skeowing loudly at one another as they interacted. Wood Ducks, Mallards, Canada Geese, and 3 Cormorants rounded out the quick trip. The dark cloudy sky made the redbud and hawthorne and fruit trees in full blossom glow brightly as if under a black light! 5/1/3 Still many warblers, but also still mostly Yellow-Rumped and Palm. Tennessee, Black-Throated Green and Nashville too, after about an hour's walk. Also new for the season, two Great Egrets. Still Cormorants, and one Eagle... 5/4/3 New for the season: Indigo Buntings, Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Am. Waterthrush, Least Flycatchers. 5/10/3 Since Independence Dam was closed due to flooding, I started at the eagle's nest and walked west for the 2 miles that the park lies in Henry County. The wicked wind was so vicious it was impossible to hear anything, but still there were plenty of Yellow-Rumped and Palm Warblers around. The only other warblers were ChestnutSided (2), Tennessee (1), and Blackpoll (2 males and a female). One hen Wild Turkey was in the cornfield across from the nest, and another ambled 20 feet ahead of me on the trail for quite awhile before flying up and over me. Wood Ducks were plentiful, but only one pair of Mallards. Veerys, RoseBreasted Grosbeaks and first-of-season Swainson's Thrushes completed the picture. 5/17/3 Stopped off to see that the adult Bald Eagle was on the nest again, and that the CLIFF SWALLOWS were back at the Florida OH bridge. 5/18/3 still closed due to flooding, butI walked the trail from the marina to the first pavilion. Only migrants were Veery, Swainson's Thrush, a single Tennessee Warbler. The Wood Thrush was nice too. 5/23-6/3 saw my first Orchard Oriole of the season at a family picnic 7/7/3 Only the very common birds (Red-Eyed/Warbling Vireos, RedHeaded/RedBellied Woodpeckers, Baltimore/Orchard Orioles, Peewees, etc) were here, with no eagles, no cliff swallows, no waterfowl, no gulls and the only WIld Turkey was a hen that flew from a high tree at quite a height for a quarter-mile in front of the car as I drove.8/3/3 Oxbow Lake, Independence Dam, new "wetlands" just north of StateRoutes 15/18 intersection I have been checking these areas infrequently and always, as today, they hold nothing obviously significant. 8/17/3 Oxbow Lake, Bronson Park to Power Dam to 5-Span quick tours don't rise above the level of Kingfisher, Kingbird, Wood Ducks, etc but a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO at Independence Dam did allow close and extended views as he caught and ate a cicada. 8/22/3Independence Dam was as dull and uneventful as possible, but enroute home at the junction of State Routes 15 and 18 a juvenile 1st-year BALD EAGLE floated overhead very low, the only white being the axillaries. As I pulled over to watch more closely, a young lady in a van also pulled over and asked what it was she had just seen. This seems to lend credence to the rumors of a new Bald Eagle nest at Power Dam, with the failure of the nest at Independence. I try to resist blaming the duckhunters all along Independence Dam last winter, but I can't. 9/23/3 John:I 've forwarded your concern on to the Division of Parks. Andy Ware, ODNR Media Relations Manager, 614.265.6882----Original Message-----From: Bijou [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 10:49 PMTo: Andy.Ware@dnr.state.oh.us Subject: Re: Planet Ohio and Beyond... OHIO STATE PARKS DUCK BLIND LOTTERY SET FOR AUGUST 16 i notice that Independence Dam State Park in Defiance in Northwest Ohio was not on your list for duck blind lotteries. last year several duck blinds were set up nonetheless. then-park-ranger steve clemens was probably the main participant and probable cause, but i want to check with you to see if this is indeed legal... obviously, i think they were a terrible idea withpedestrians frequenting the park walking dogs and such.thanks! John At 11:01 AM 8/7/2003 -0400, you wrote: News Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 2003 OHIO STATE PARKS DUCK BLIND LOTTERY SET FOR AUGUST 16 COLUMBUS, OH -- Hunters wishing to apply for a permit to set up a blind to hunt ducks at an Ohio State Park during the 2003-2004 waterfowl hunting season must enter a lottery drawing to be held at selected state park offices on Saturday, August 16. A limited number of duck blind permits are available at 18 state park locations throughout Ohio. To enter the lottery, applicants must appear in person at a participating state park office and show proof of a 2003 Ohio hunting license, along with a signed 2003 federal duck stamp and 2003 state wetlands stamp endorsement in the applicant's name. Applications will be taken beginning at 7:30 a.m. at most parks, with the lottery drawing at 8 a.m. Exceptions are Deer Creek and A.W. Marion state parks in Pickaway County, where the lotteries will be held at 9 a.m. Each entrant can apply for only one duck blind permit. No one can apply or draw for another person. There is a $50 non-refundable permit fee for lottery winners. Lottery winners have 45 days to construct their blinds. All blinds must be dismantled by March 15, 2004.Participating state parks include Portage Lakes and West Branch in northeast Ohio; East Harbor and Lake Loramie in northwest Ohio; Dillon in southeast Ohio; Buck Creek, Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, East Fork, Hueston Woods, Kiser Lake and Rocky Fork in southwest Ohio; and Alum Creek, A.W. Marion, Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek, Delaware and Indian Lake in central Ohio. For Further Information Contact: Jean Backs, Ohio State Parks (614) 265-7077-or- Jane Beathard, ODNR Media Relations (614) 265-6860 Alum Creek--(20 available) A.W. Marion--(3 available) Buck Creek--(20 available) Buckeye Lake--(14 available) Caesar Creek--(22 available) Cowan Lake--(10 available) Deer Creek--(14 available) Delaware--(25 available) Dillon--(6 available) East Fork--(24 available) East Harbor--(5 available) Hueston Woods--(12 available) Indian Lake--(34 available) Kiser Lake--(10 available ) Lake Loramie--(19 available) Portage Lakes--(29 available) Rocky Fork--(16 available) West Branch--(16 available) John, 9/29/3 Your inquiry has been directed to my attention for investigation and a reply. As you may have expected, hunting is not permitted at Independence Dam State Park. Although a former park ranger who is no longer employed by us, Steve Clemens, may have hunted from a small island on the river, the island is not state park property and is therefore outside of our jurisdiction. No duck blinds have been permitted on state park property at Independence Dam to the knowledge of the park management. If you should happen to see hunting you believe to be occurring from state park property, please report the incident immediately to the Harrison Lake State Park office at (419) 237-1503. Thank you for your concern for the safety of park visitors at Independence Dam and the opportunity to address your concerns. Lynn Boydelatour, Chief Naturalist Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation 1952 Belcher Dr., Bldg. C-3 Columbus, OH 43224 614-265-6556 With God, All Things Are Possible (state motto) 10/3/3Independence Dam Nothing of note.10/6/3Independence Dam No gulls or ducks.10/10/3 Independence Only Great Blue Herons, no gulls or ducks. 10/29/3 Independence Dam nil. 11/7/3 2 Great Blue Herons but no gulls or ducks. 11/11/3 Only obvious birds were a Kingfisher, a juvenile Cormorant, and a lone adult Bald Eagle at the nest. Rumor has it that the other adult Bald Eagle was hit, sadly enough, by a car recently. 11/21/3 zero birds, no gulls, no geese, no ducks, no herons. nothing. 11/29/3-12/15/3 No waterbirds, ducks, geese, or gulls...12/11/3 No waterbirds and little of note. 12/15/3 Open but empty water.12/18/2003 Here's a bone-headed way to save money: block off auto access to a 6-mile park with no exit at the end. Getting off work at 4:30pm, it will be impossible to quickly survey before dark on weekdays and we all know how weekends can be booked! And who can block time to allow for a 4- to 8-mile walk?!!!12/21/2003Independence Dam Upon crossing the Florida bridge just off SR 424 what to my wondering eyes should appear but a green pickup bouncing across the field, directly under the Eagle Nest, an adult Bald Eagle wheeling above it, as if chasing it from his territory. I stopped on the bridge, pulled out the binoculars, and got his license plate number. This was totally unnecessary since when I pulled onto HenryCoRd Z I could see the big sign on the side of his truck: Animal Nuisance Control, Joe S*******. No reason to really take that step either since he stopped on the road beside me later, probably to make sure we were still best buddies. "They got 'em 3 eagles up there don't they?" Well, actually I only saw 2 Bald Eagles (one adult and one very nearly adult plumage) and about TEN WILD TURKEYS perched next to the Eagles and their nest, way up high in the tall bald trees! Evidently the noisy truck (or the noisy coondogs in the white box in the back of the truck) frightened them up there and across the river (ten more flew across the river, across CoRd Z, across the road and into the small woods there). I walked the now closed-to-autos Independence Dam for a bit before I got a cellular phone call reminding me of a Christmas party at 2pm I'd forgotten about. I only made it to the parking lot past the first restroom but still: A Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, a Hairy Woodpecker, 2 RedBellied Woodpeckers, 4 Juncos, 4 American Tree Sparrows, 5 Downy Woodpeckers, a dozen Yellow-Rumped Warblers. It was balmy, sunny, and great not to have to watch for cars, with only dogwalkers and damwatchers to contend with! 12/27/2003 Uneventful but beautiful day in the FORTIES!!! Made it as far as the second but still much the same with RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS. The Eagles were peaceful near the nest, lots of Harriers and RedTailed Hawks, all was well with the world.2002 1/1/2002 Have been sick (more like warmed-over death) since 12/30 but tried Independence Dam (p.35 B5). Only the common: Bald Eagle 1, BlackCappedChickadees X, Canada Goose XXX, Cardinal X, COMMON MERGANSER 1 female near dam, Downy Woodpecker X, European Starling X, Great Blue Heron just 1, Herring Gull XX, Kestrel X, Mallard XX, Mourning Dove X, RingBilled Gull XXX, Tufted Titmice X, WhiteBreasted Nuthatch X, Wild Turkey 75. My Sherwood Backyard Feeders American Tree Sparrow XX, BCCh X, Card X, Carolina Wren X, DW X, English Sparrow X, Goldfinch X, HouseFinch XX, Junco XX, MoDo X, RedBellied Woodpecker X, RedHeaded Woodpecker X, Song Sparrow X, TuTi X, WBNu X. 1/2/02 Independence Dam (p.35 B5) BaEa,BCCh,CaGo,Card,CoMe (female near dam, male at opposite end of park),DoWo, EuSt, GBHe still just 1, HeGu,Kest, Mall,MoDo,RBGu,RockDove XX,TuTi,WBNu,WiTu,WOOD DUCK (drake, just before the turn-around). 1/3/2002 Joe Hildreth checked out the Dam and now saw 5 Common Mergansers (4m,1f) and the drake Wood Duck. 1/6/02 Not exactly up to par, but so glad to be outside again, I decided to walk the 3miles of Independence Dam (p.35 B5) proper and back: BaEa, BCCh, Blue Jays, CaGo,Card,Crows,DoWo,EuSt,Flicker, Goldfinch,GBHe (15 of them today!),HeGu,Kest, Kingfisher, Mall,MoDo,RBGu,RTHa, SNOW GOOSE (just one), WBNu,WiTu,WoDu. May have been a bit early <grin> 1/7/02 Independence Dam (p.35 B5) Joe Hildreth and I saw 2 male CoMe, lots of CaGo ,HeGu,Ma, and RGBu. GBHe were down to 8. Of course, BaEa,DoWo,TuTi,BCCh,Card,WiTu. The snow goose and the wood duck were gone, but in their place Joe found a PIED BILLED GREBE. 1/9/02 With temperatures near 50 degrees, walked Independence Dam (p.35 B5)from the turnaround east to the HenryCo Line with not much to show for it. Of course, this is the only way to see the Brown Creepers <grin>. The river has thawed out even before the dam, but still today's surprise visitor was a single TUNDRA SWAN near the dam itself: ATSp,BaEa,BCCh,BrCr,Card,CaGo,Crow,DoWo,EuSt,Gold,GBHe,HeGu,HoSp,Kest,Mall,MoDo,RBGu,RBWo,RoDo,Tuti,WBNu,WiTu, and the first Hairy Woodpecker I've seen for awhile, otherwise. 1/12/02 Spent four hours today exploring Independence Dam and the area south and east of the river within that block. The Tundra Swan was still there, sticking out like a sore thumb among the Canada Geese, back in the Campground area. 1/13/02 Independence Dam There at the very entrance, mixed in with the usual Herring and RingBilled Gulls was a GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL! A quick drive resulted in Canada Geese,Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagle, WIld Turkeys and the other usuals, with the tundra swan, common mergansers, etc gone. 1/14/02 Drove Adams Ridge Road from work (one Lark, 2 Kestrels, 3 Crows, European Starlings, BlackCapped Chickadee) to Independence Dam (TUNDRA SWAN, 3 MALE COMMON MERGANSERS, PIED-BILLED GREBE, Canada Geese, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, Great Blue Heron, RedBellied Woodpecker, quick drive-through). Most gulls (RingBilled and Herring) had moved upstream out of the park, 281/424, but couldn't find the great blackbacked. Dark early because of rain. 1/16/02 HenryCoLnRd/Elliott Rd (Kestrel, European Starling-- I checked all the flocks for odd blackbirds, but they were 100% Starling-- to Independence Dam after work. In with the Canada Geese at the start of the dam were TWO DRAKE WOOD DUCKS and a single Mallard. The gulls were gone, moved to 281/424. A PIED BILLED GREBE was at the parking spot for the campground, and there were TWO TUNDRA SWANS, along with the usual Mourning Doves and Downy Woodpeckers. 1/18/02 Joe Hildreth and I did a very abbreviated tour of Independence Dam since my sister's birthday party is tonight: the Tundra Swan and the PiedBilled Grebe were still there. 1/19/02 Walked Independence Dam from the Ranger Station to the Florida Trail, 3 miles. Although a very pleasant walk, most birds were seen almost immediately before the first restroom area: American Tree Sparrow, BlackCapped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Brown Creeper, Canada Goose, Cardinal, Common Merganser, Crow, Downy Woodpecker, European Starling, Flicker, Goldfinch, Great Blue Heron, Harrier, Herring Gull, House Finch, House Sparrow, Mourning Dove, RedBellied Woodpecker, RingBilled Gull, Tufted Titmouse, WhiteBreasted Nuthatch. Only added Mallard, Kingfisher, Tundra Swan, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, and PiedBilled Grebe after that. 1/20/02 Casual drive to Independence Dam: my intuition had been correct, because just at 424/281 a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK flew over the car (only the third one I've seen this winter). At the dam were the usual Common Merganser (only one male), a Tundra Swan, Mallard etc. 1/24/02 The Tundra Swan lingers at Independence Dam... 1/25/02 Independence Dam had a spectacular Bald Eagle show, with the birds flying from the turn-around to the Dam proper, where the pair flew and fished and did air acrobatics for a very appreciative crowd. Enroute home, I followed one of the pair all the way up the river to 281/424 where it turned around and headed back towards the Dam. 1/26/02 Mallards the only duck, and only four of them. The rivers are all open, which makes for very bad birding at the Dams. Compare other years, when there were 50 Common Mergansers, plus Black Ducks, Common Goldeneyes, Gadwall, Canvasbacks, Coots, Hooded Merganser, Redheads, RingNecked Ducks, Lesser Scaup, both Mute and Tundra Swans, hundreds of Mallards and Canada Geese...2/6/02 Independence Dam had RingBilled/Herring Gulls, Wild Turkeys, and both adult Bald Eagles in the nest itself... and nothing else! 2/17/02 At Independence Dam we found 69 Canada Geese, 31 Turkeys, 25 RingBilled Gulls, 10 Starlings, 7 Common Mergansers, 5 Crows, 5 Mourning Doves, 4 Mallards, 3 RedBellied Woodpeckers, 2 RedTailed Hawks, a PiedBilled Grebe, a Bald Eagle, a dearth of small birds (2 House Sparrows, a BlackCapped Chickadee, a Downy Woodpecker), but best of all 3 male and 1 female HOODED MERGANSERS. 2/22/02 Joe Hildreth and I were at Independence Dam where a BUFFLEHEAD (single male) was the highlight. PiedBilled Grebe, maybe 100 Mallards (68 easily counted in view), a few Canada Geese and Common Mergansers. A few Gulls. 2/25/02 Nothing dramatic at Independence Dam, but the first big flocks of Grackles, Robins and RedWinged Blackbirds in Defiance County today! 3/1/02 The local Defiance Crescent-News had a photo of the Bald Eagle nest at the end of Independence Dam State Park, in Florida Ohio. 3/6/02 Independence Dam's only highlight were a few Common Mergansers, beautiful in flight. 3/15/02 A lone male Northern Shoveler mingles with the Mallards and Canada Geese at Independence Dam. Only 5 RingBilled Gulls now. Many, many Wild Turkeys gathered under the Bald Eagle nest. 3/20/02 Independence Dam had only the usuals: Wood Ducks, Common Mergansers, Mallards, Canada Geese, RingBilled Gulls, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagles, Wild Turkeys. 3/29/02 Independence Dam had a single Coot, a pair of Kingfishers, 2 RedBreasted Nuthatches (been awhile since I've seen one of these), 3 Bufflehead, 3 RedBreasted Merganser (I don't think I've seen Red-Breasted here before), 3 Hooded Mergansers (1 drake), 6 Black Ducks, 6 GreenWinged Teal, 6 Turkey Vultures on a big fish carcass on shore (very close up viewing), 10 Lesser Scaup, 10 RingNecked Ducks, only a dozen Canada Geese, 15 Great Blue Herons, 20 Wood Ducks (mostly drakes), 30 Mallards, 31 Bonaparte's Gulls, and 200 RingBIlled Gulls (couldn't find any Herring Gulls). 3/31/02 Out before Easter dinner in a hurry: Independence Dam was a roiling, boiling broth of water, no bird capable of sitting on its surface. 4/4/2 Independence Dam's water was still too fast and furious for many birds: 2 PiedBilled Grebes, 2 male and 1 female Common Merganser and 2 pairs of Geese. No gulls. Of course, there's always the Bald Eagles and Wild Turkeys that never fail to entertain. 4/5/2 Independence Dam 6 pairs of Hooded Mergansers, a Horned Grebe, 2 male and female Common Merganser, 2 female Wood Ducks, 5 PiedBilled Grebes. The water is still very fast, so most birds were in the quiet canal beside the office. 4/7/2 Joe & I also stopped off at Independence Dam (3 Common Mergansers, 6 pairs of Hooded Mergansers, 3 Pied Billed Grebes, 3 Great Blue Heron, and a pair of Wood Ducks, the water being still quite fast.) 4/15/02 Although my heart was in Fulton County, I decided to be loyal and bird Defiance County: Oxbow Lake, Independence Dam and Power Dam were all relatively birdless. 4/22/2 Independence Dam was almost empty too, without a single warbler, not even yellow or yellowrumped. Only the plants (Dutchman's Breeches, Golden Ragwort, Serviceberry, Redbud, Wild Cherry, Blue Phox) cheered me up a bit. The parent Eagle on the nest looked balefully over her shoulder at me, evidently covering her young in the "bitter" 40-degree cold-- that warm week really spoiled me! 4/28/02 Independence Dam walk from the campground to the office found much the same warblers (lots of Palm, Common Yellowthroat, YellowRumped), but I did break the Parula barrier-- he was even singing!-- as well as my first Baltimore Oriole and House Wrens of the season. Waterfowl was restricted to a single DC Cormorant, Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, Mallards, Wood Ducks in the trees. RedHeaded Woodpeckers were back in the park. Warbling Vireos were everywhere. It seemed just as you exited the range of hearing one you stepped into the range of hearing the next one, all the way through the park. Towhees and WhiteThroated Sparrows were prevalent as well. 4/29/2 42 Cormorants at Independence Dam. 5/12/02 Inspired by yesterday's May count, I decided what to see what it would be like at Independence Dam before the big Mother's Day event. The weather did NOT cooperate however, with massive showers. In between, I birded: In the short distance between the campground hikers' parking and the main turnaround were 16 Yellowrumps, 4 Tennessee, 4 Palm, 3 Magnolia, 3 Black & White, 2 Blackpoll, 2 Redstarts, 2 Black Throated Green, a Canada Warbler, a ChestnutSided Warbler, a Bay Breasted Warbler. Amazing numbers for this place, in my experience. Still in this very short stretch I saw EIGHT RoseBreasted Grosbeaks in one spot, all male! There was also a Peewee and Least Flycatcher, as well as common birds like 14 Robins, 5 Warbling Vireos, 5 Blue Jays, 4 Grackles, 4 Baltimore Orioles, 3 Goldfinches, 2 Cardinals and a Cowbird. Then heavy rain set in and I retired to the car. After the rain let up, I did the section of the park from the main parking by the dam, to the first restroom: 21 Yellowrumps, 16 Palm Warblers, 12 Grackles, 10 Barn Swallows, 8 Robins, 6 Orioles, 5 RedWinged Blackbirds, 4 Starlings, 2 Northern RoughWinged Swallows, 2 Mourning Doves, 1 ChestnutSided, 1 Black&White, 1 Magnolia, 1 Great Blue Heron. Again, it was a very short section, but the rain would not allow me to continue. After the rain slowed to a sprinkle, I started again from the first restroom to the end of the scrub past the second restroom: a Veery, an Ovenbird, a male Kingfisher, a Scarlet Tanager, a Bald Eagle, a Blackburnian, Black&White Warbler, a RedBreasted Nuthatch, a Great Crested Flycatcher, a RubyCrowned Kinglet, a Green Heron, a Great Blue Heron, a Crow, a RufousSided Towhee, a Turkey Vulture, a Carolina Wren, a House Wren, a RedBellied Woodpecker, a Yellow Warbler (only one!), a Common Yellowthroat (only one!), 2 Wilson's Warblers (my first of the season), 2 Turkeys (heard only, sounded like they were fighting), 2 Bluebirds, 2 Swamp Sparrows, 2 Song Sparrows, 3 Restarts, 3 Cardinals, 4 Magnolia Warblers, 4 Cowbirds, 4 WhiteThroated Sparrows, 5 Catbirds, 6 Mallards, 8 Warbling Vireos, 8 Robins, 10 Grackles, 10 Orioles, 16 Blue Jays, 19 Palm Warblers, and 30 YellowRumped Warblers. It is unbelievable that this number of birds could be found in this short distance. I wish I had had more time to bird the rest of the park before the Mother's Day festivities began but... 5/15/02 After work I walked Independence Dam from the campground parking lot to the Henry County Line. It started out extremely slow, but the closer I got to Henry County the more birds there were: Warblers consisted of a Blackpoll, 2 Cape May, 2 Magnolia, 3 BayBreasted, 3 Redstarts, 3 Yellow, 14 Palm, and 26 YellowRumped (very conservative count!). A molting RoseBreasted Grosbeak was interesting. Other birds included a Veery, a Swainson's Thrush, Flicker, RedBellied Woodpecker, a Peewee, a single Titmouse(!), only one Song Sparrow, only 2 Mallards, 2 Mourning Doves, 2 Wood Ducks, only 3 WhiteThroated Sparrows, only 3 Cardinals, 3 Downy Woodpeckers, 3 Catbirds, 4 GreatCrested Flycatchers, 4 Warbling Vireos, 5 House Wrens, 6 Orioles, 8 Blue Jays, and only 10 Robins. Hmmm..5/26/02 A quick visit to Independence Dam found Sprummer in full tilt, with only 2 Redstarts and a Cape May Warbler. I did see/hear my first Alder Flycatcher of the season this morning though. 5/27/02 After the noon feast, the family and I hiked the 6-mile trail to Florida at Independence Dam. Only a few warblers, all Redstarts. Also 2 Great Egrets, a Swainson's Thrush, a Wood Thrush, a RedEyed Vireo, a male Scarlet Tanager, Spotted and Solitary Sandpiper, Peewees, GreatCrested Flycatchers and wall-to-wall stereo Warbling Vireos and Orioles. Excellent viewing at the Bald Eagle nest, where the adults fed the lone youngster what definitely appeared to be a Groundhog. We had encountered a young Woodchuck with an injured back leg on the trail-- the one that got away? Lots of passers-by stopped to look through the scope at the amazing spectacle. At the Eagle Site was also a nest of BlueJays. Three deer stole out of the woods to stare at us at close range, but the turkeys that usually number in the 60s were nowhere to be found (Season closed just recently). Star of Bethlehem and Lily of the Valley in bloom with False Solomon Seal. Mourning Cloak and SilverSpotted Skippers posed prettily very close to us. Lots of Toads and a pretty big Banded Water Snake. Also at the Florida bridge (at the end of the trail) were Barn/Tree/Cliff Swallows, with excellent views of the Cliff Swallows building nests under the bridge. A Vesper Sparrow called from the field across SR424. 8/12/2 At Independence Dam were 86 RingBilled Gulls, 20 Mallards, 10 Canada Geese and a Spotted Sandpiper.8/25/2 The rising sun at Independence Dam found another GREAT EGRET among the many Great Blue Herons. Not much else, but even this was extremely pleasant in the cool morning with Cedar Waxwings sallying over the road and water after insects, and common birds like Peewees and Orioles calling everywhere. Decided to follow the river to Paulding, seeing only more Great Blue Herons at Power Dam. Seeing no geese, ducks or gulls was mulling me into deep thought and what should break my reverie, but THREE CASPIAN TERNS just after Link Road (which is directly across from a little park/marina I think is called 5-Mile Creek Access on State Route 111). I've seen them in Paulding County, but I certainly think this was the first I have seen in Defiance County. Followed the Auglaize River to Oakwood seeing little but Kingfishers at every bridge. 9/1/2 At the break of dawn, my dachshund Bijou and I were taking a slow walk through Independence Dam. It was very pleasant but also very uneventful. I was looking for early warblers but found none-- just the usual residents. You know it was bad when the best birds were 4 Great Egrets. The best observation was some kind of war between the Peewees and some Blue Jays at the turnaround. Otherwise, very normal with a dozen RingBilled Gulls, Warbling Vireos, Kingfisher, Spotted Sandpipers, etc. 9/11/2 Independence Dam had TWENTY Great Egrets. This is probably the most I have ever seen here, considering ourselves usually lucky to see one or two. I could only find 9 Great Blue Herons. When I mentioned this to another park visitor, he noted that it had been published in last night's paper that Sunday there were 26 Great Egrets here. Not having read the Defiance Crescent-News last night, I searched for it when I got home and found: Also at the dam were 24 Turkey Vultures, 2 RingBilled Gulls, 77 Canada Geese, a Kingfisher and a DoubleCrested Cormorant. 9/15/2 Independence Dam was much the same as the 11th, with 20 Great Egrets, 3 RingBilled Gulls, about 75 Canada Geese, a Kingfisher and a DoubleCrested Cormorant. A Third-Year Bald Eagle was dining on some shoals in the river. 9/21/2 Independence Dam was pretty good this morning: a Caspian Tern with 3 RingBilled Gulls, and a stream of 35 Broadwinged Hawks among 50 Turkey Vultures. One of the Broadwings circled down to a mere 20' overhead. 16 GREAT EGRETS were still hanging around with 10 Great Blue Heron. 8 Cormorants, 35 Canada Geese, 15 Mallards, 3 Kingfishers, and a PiedBilled Grebe also were there. Working with a deadline of 11:30am, Bijou and I couldn't find a warbler at either place to save our souls. 10/5/2 I thought this may be a sign of good warblers at Independence Dam but alas, only more YellowRumps and a large number of very talkative people. There were also a Cooper's Hawk (big!), 10 DC Cormorants, 10 Great Egrets, 10 Great Blue Herons, 3 Wood Ducks, a second-year Herring Gull, a Kingfisher and that's just about it! 10/15/2 Osprey at Independence Dam with a single RingBilled Gull, a Kingfisher, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, a dozen each of Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons, and zero great egrets. Roger and Pat were there as well, and had found a WINTER WREN along the river's shore. We watched the huge numbers of Robins (which were also very thick at Oxbow Lake) and a few Cedar Waxwings.
10/18/2 Highlights at Independence Dam State Park were three Greater Yellowlegs. 11/4/2 the usual melange of Canada Geese, Mallards, Kingfishers, Great Blue Herons-- but zero gulls! 11/9/2 Independence Dam had a gorgeous start to the day as a buck and a doe, splay-legged, drank from the river. 300 Bonaparte's and 100 RIngBilled Gulls swarmed over the place. 11/13/2 Independence Dam 300 Bonaparte's and 100 RingBilled Gulls, with one Kingfisher. 11/15/2 Independence Dam Gull numbers have doubled, but still about the same 3:1 ratio of Bonaparte's to RingBilled.11/16/2 Independence Dam Still about 800 Gulls, but 2 adult and 2 juvenile Herring Gulls have finally joined the group. The Kingfisher was very active even around the fishermen, landing on the rail by the dam many times. A juvenile Cormorant also joined the melee, when a passing juvenile Bald Eagle threw all the gulls into a panic. 11/24/2 Independence Dam HORNED GREBE, 200 RingBIlled Gulls, but only 4 Bonaparte's Gulls. Bought the Meade 8x binoculars with the built-in digital cam and was very disappointed. The digital cam takes pix like any throwaway cam, not at all like the 8x view seen through the binoculars themselves. The binoculars are on their way back to the store, obviously.12/1/2 Independence Dam In search of spectacled eider but found only hundreds of Canada Geese and RingBilled Gulls, a pair of Mallards, and four Common Mergansers. The state must be trying to save money by not plowing so I didn't take too long to avoid traffic snafus.12/5/2 Independence Dam (#1) had over 1500 Canada Geese, but only about 200 widely-scattered Mallards, and no gulls. A single adult Bald Eagle sat near where last year's nest was, as Wild Turkeys fed below. I could only make out the ones that were framed by snow-- 28 at least.12/7/2 Independence Dam Futile birding while duck hunters commandeer the park, from the very beginning by the dam to the end. Only saw 10 RingBilled Gulls, 10 Mallards, a Great Blue Heron and 4 Canada Geese, two of which were being dragged back to the blind across the river, where the hunters had to shoot toward the road! Let's see, duck season thru the 23rd and goose thru Jan 2. I'm not against hunting, but give me a break-- this is a very recreational park.12/8/2 Only two groups of duckhunters at Independence Dam, but that was enough to keep the birds away, with only a female Bufflehead, 100 RingBilled Gulls, a Kingfisher and two drake Mallards visible amidst all the decoys. The warm water coming out of GM into the river a few miles up 424 had attracted about 500 Gulls (only about 5 Herring) and 7 Great Blue Herons. 12/9/2 Independence Dam The female Bufflehead had moved from the end of the park by the campground, to the front of the park by the dam. Also there were 2 female Hooded Mergansers, 2 pairs of Common Mergansers, 2 Mallard Drakes, 100 RingBilled Gulls. 12/10/2 Independence Dam The female Bufflehead was again at the front of the park by the dam, joined by a pair of Common Mergansers, 10 Mallard, 50 RingBilled Gulls, and a Kingfisher.12/11/2 Independence Dam About 100 RingBilled Gulls with 1 adult Herring Gull, 20 Mallards and a Kingfisher, and of course the 6 Great Blue Herons. 12/14/2 An adult Bald Eagle was up front at the dam with 200 RingBilled Gulls (and 5 Herring Gulls), but little else (well, except Great Blue Herons and Kingfishers-- no ducks or geese). At the GM warm water spot were about 600 Gulls, traffic and road conditions not allowing me to pull over and inspect. 12/15/2 Independence Dam 300 Gulls at the front of the park by the dam itself, and another 300 at the end of the park, mark this as an outstanding gull day here. Another 700 were at the GM warm-water outlet up a few miles on SR 424. A remarkable 100 of these 700 were Herring Gulls, and amidst the throng was a single tiny Bonaparte's Gull. At the dam itself I found myself staring at a large gull with YELLOW legs (I'm no gull expert, so I'm not sure if an occasional Herring Gull has yellow legs, or this was a Lesser-BlackBacked. Since the hunters weren't there today (with NO geese and NO ducks), casual visitors are back. A lady got out of her car to take a picture of the gulls just as I found the yellow-legged gull, and all 300 leapt into the air, so I may never know...) I know folks near Lake Erie and other spots will just have to yawn reading this, but for us landlocked birders, the gulls are a very pleasant change from the same Nothingness. 12/17/2 Independence Dam only 50 gulls at the dam, but still huge numbers of gulls with a clump of 6 Great Blue Herons at the river outlet near 281/424. 12/21/2 A walk through Independence Dam showed that YellowRumped Warblers, GoldenCrowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers and Kingfishers are likely next Saturday on our Christmas Count. A juvenile Bald Eagle (white mostly on the axillaries) flew up the river near the dam. No gulls, ducks or geese, though, with water running fast and furious after the recent thaw. Hundreds of Canada Geese and RingBilled Gulls were in downtown Defiance's Pontiac Park just a few miles upstream. 12/27/2 Independence Dam almost 600 Canada Geese, not quite 2 dozen Mallards, no gulls. 12/30/2 An immature TUNDRA SWAN was the only waterfowl at Independence Dam today. 01/01/2001 Independence had about 100 Gulls (RingBilled/Herring), 10 Great Blue Heron, 10 Black Ducks, 50 Common Merganser, 3 Common Goldeneye. 1/2/01 At Independence was a mixed flock of about 30 RingBilled/Herring Gulls, 10 Black Ducks, 6 Great Blue Heron, 50 Common Merganser. 1/8/2001 Independence Dam had a juvenile Mute Swan, 50 Canada Geese, 50 Common Merganser, 50 RingBilled Gulls, 3 Common Goldeneye and 3 Mallards. 1/9/2001 Independence Dam had 3 adult Mute Swans, as well as yesterday's juvenile. Also, there were now male Common Goldeneyes, as well as yesterday's females. Still about 50 Common Mergansers, but no mallards or gulls, only 3 Canadas, and 2 Black Ducks. 1/11/01 Independence Dam was the same (the 4 swans, 50 common mergansers, 10 goldeneye, etc), so I went to check at the Eagle's nest to see if that's where they've been hiding as of late. Surely enough, the adult eagles were at the nest, along with about 50 Wild Turkeys.1/19/01 Independence Dam had a Great Blue Heron and about 50 Common Mergansers. Nothing else. With the Great Thaw the 4 Mute Swans may have drifted down river without the ice to concentrate them at the dam.1/23/2001 Independence Dam had the 4 Mute Swans back, with 250 Canada Geese, 3 Gadwall, 3 Common Goldeneye, 15 Common Merganser, and a Great Blue Heron. 1/24/01Independence Dam was just like yesterday, minus the Gadwalls and plus 2 American Black Ducks. 1/30/01 Independence Dam had the usuals, including Common Mergansers, the 4 Mute Swans, Black Ducks, and Great Blue Herons. 2/5/01 Independence Dam had fast, flooded water but that didn't stop 200 Canada Geese, 10 Common Mergansers, 4 Mute Swans, 3 Great Blue Heron, and pairs of Gadwall, American Black Duck and Mallards from congregating there. 2/9/01 Independence Dam Huge chunks and slabs of ice poured over the dam as the Great Thaw continued. There was no chance for waterfowl, the water was so fast and furious, except for way at the end of the park at the end of a small island which provided some respite from the embroiled currents: 10 Common Mergansers and 10 American Black Duck. 2/10/01 Independence was no longer throwing huge chunks of ice, but furiously pounding, and flooding the road so that one could not enter the park.2/15/01 Independence Dam --Since my Beloved gave me a Barlow for my Spotting Scope for Valentine's Day, I watched the Bald Eagle pair for awhile. Below were two groups of Wild Turkeys, one had 11 members, the other about 35-40. There were also a few Canada Geese (10?), Common Mergansers (6 male, 1 female), and Mallards (30?) but the fast water is pushing the waterfowl to the flooded banks. 3 Great Blue Herons, as well. 2/17/01 Independence Dam: 52 Common Mergansers, 41 Wild Turkeys, 21 Canada Geese, 5 Mallards, 4 Starlings, 4 Eastern Bluebirds, 3 Brown Creepers, 3 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 YellowRumped Warblers, 2 WhiteBreasted Nuthatch, 2 American Black Ducks, 2 RingBilled Gulls, 1 Herring Gull, 1 RedBreasted Nuthatch, 1 Cardinal. 2/20/01 Independence Dam had nothing unusual (2 Canada Geese, 2 American Black Duck, and 20 Mallards) 2/25/01 Very windy, with gusts at 60mph. Only a couple of pairs of Canada Geese, a pair of Black Ducks, RedBreasted Nuthatch and YellowRumped Warbler at Independence Dam. 3/2/01 7 Turkey Vultures floated over SR66 at the WmsCoLndRd. Independence Dam had a pair of Black Ducks and a Bald Eagle. 3/5/019 Turkey Vultures glided slowly over SR66 at the DefianceWilliamsCoLndRd, the first I've seen since 2/19. Stopped by Independence Dam enroute home from work. In spite of a raging gale of a wind and sleet the size of rice, the female Bald Eagle still peeked over the edge of the nest. The male came by to feed her, looking HUGE with his wings spread, through the scope. Underneath were 50 Turkeys on the riverbank, sheltered from the wind. 3/13/01ndependence Dam had 3 Great Blue Heron with 4 pairs of Canadas. 3/16/01 Independence Dam held 4 Great Blue Herons, 3 Common Mergansers (2m,1f), 2 Canada Geese, 1 Mallard, and 1 RingBilled Gull. 3/20/01 Independence Dam 14 Mallards, 12 Common Mergansers, 4 Canada Geese. 4/3/01 Independence Dam's big surprise today was Great Egret, but there was also a pair of Wood Ducks, a pair of Black Ducks, a BlueWinged Teal, 25 Common Mergansers (only one of which was male), the Bald Eagles at the nest, the Wild Turkeys underneath the Eagles, and the ubiquitous Canada Geese. 4/9/01 Independence Dam had Mallards and Canada Geese. 4/17/01 Independence Dam had nothing of interest at all! 9/3/2001 Today at the family picnic at Independence Dam a juvenile Bald Eagle was there, with about 20 DoubleCrested Cormorants, a Great Egret, and lots of RingBilled Gulls, Great Blue Herons, WB Nuthatches, BC Chickadees, and Peewees. No warblers did i spy, however... 11/5/2001 Independence Dam had only 26 gulls, all Ringbilled. 11/27/2001Independence Dam State Park at Defiance had an adult Bald Eagle, 50 Wild Turkeys, a singing Carolina Wren, and 3 Great Blue Herons. And then it was dark! At least I had a beautiful sunset to watch as I steered the rest of the way home. 12/4/2001Still in the 50's, but Independence Dam still had only the usual three: adult Bald Eagles, Wild Turkeys and Great Blue Herons. 12/6/2001 After listening to car radio reports of an ugly shooting at a GoshenIN factory, it was very calming to see both adult Bald Eagles at their nest at Independence Dam State Park. Directly below the nest were Wild Turkeys-- I counted 68 in the open field alone, not even counting the ones in the brush along the river! The beautiful setting sun reflected on the wide river, turning the Great Blue Herons an unusual bronze. It was pretty dark by the time I arrived at Power Dam, but not to worry, since nothing was there anyway. The next minutes driving home were great as the last of the sunset faded into darkness ahead of me-- at only 5:30pm! 2/9/2001"Independence Dam had 10 canadas Power Dam which i just found today had many gulls, but gulls are my definite weakpoint..." Thanks for the report, Joe!
1/1/2000 There was a lone great blue heron, among reduced numbers (150?) of ring-billed gulls and very few herring gulls. I saw no mallards, no gadwalls, no black ducks. There were nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, brown creepers, and chickadees, of course. Strangely, the titmice are still missing.1/2/2000 The gulls are back by the hundreds. I saw 2 mallards, 1 Canada goose, and 3 Great Blue Herons. It was a balmy almost-60 degrees! 1/6/2000 Gulls down to about 100 with 100 Canadas by the dam, then 100 more Canadas with about 100 Mallards by the turnaround. 1/22/2000 The river for the whole length of the park is full of hundreds of Canada Geese, Mallards, and mostly-Ring-Billed Gulls. The rest of the river must be freezing so they're using the water the Dam keeps open. There were also 8 black ducks, 2 Gadwall, 1 Great Blue Heron, and 1 Pied-Billed Grebe among the huge congregation.Eagles are always at Independence Dam. In both 2001 and 2000 they had 3 eaglets, and in 1999 twins. The nest is just east of the eastern end of the park. These stills are from my webcam footage.1/25/2000 Hundreds of Canada Geese, Mallards and Ring-Billed Gulls, and 3 Great Blue Heron persist at Independence Dam State Park, but today adding to the excitement is a single HOODED MERGANSER immediately after the first shelter house, and a BALD EAGLE adult flying treetop level near the back. A large group of Herring Gulls are at the very end of the Park, where the walking trail begins.1/26/2000 The Geese, Mallards, Gulls, Herons and Merganser are still there, but today just where the road splits to accomodate a few trees growing in the middle of the road are 3 MUTE SWANS.1/27/2000 Independence Dam rocked today. The usual hundreds of Canada Geese, Mallards, Ring-Billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Horned Larks, AND a beautiful scene right out of Yellowstone National Park, with the half-frozen river winding between snowy banks around snowy rocks and THREE TUNDRA SWANS, TWO ADULT BALD EAGLES, A PAIR OF CANVASBACKS, THE HOODED MERGANSER, and FOUR COOTS (a friend we haven't seen in quite awhile!). All were near the entrance of the park, near the dam, just after the first shelter house. What a sight, and I forgot the video camera. After seeing today's tundra swans I had to question myself, whether yesterday's mute swans were mute or just these same tundras in the setting sun's poor light. But I'm just sure those were 3 mutes yesterday, and 3 tundras today. How could I mistake these very different birds with each other? Unlikely. There was also a small flock (12?) of SNOW BUNTINGS at CR 24/CR E just outside of Archbold OH in FultonCounty today about 2pm. 1/28/2000 Independence was even better today! Among the usual hundreds were yesterday's specials (3 tundra swans, 2 eagles, canvasbacks) AND 7 MUTE SWANS, a pair of REDHEADS, 2 pair of COMMON GOLDENEYE, 2 pair of HOODED MERGANSER (heretofore there has been only a female hooded), 1 female and 6 male COMMON MERGANSERS, 12 COOTS, 8 GADWALL, and 2 BLACK DUCKS. I guess I wasn't crazy yesterday when I saw 3 tundra swans after seeing 3 mute swans the day before : ) 1/29/2000 Independence Dam State Park. since it was saturday i went earlier than usual (i stop by after work on weekdays). i was surprised to see far fewer birds-- they must go elsewhere to feed? there were still hundreds of Canada Geese (1000?) but today there were about 100 Giant Canadas. They have been of a cobby, short-necked race. There were still hundreds of mallards (300?) and ring-billed gulls (300?) and herring gulls (50?), and the 10 swans were still there (7 mute, 3 tundra), but the odd mergansers/ducks were absent. The dozen coots were still there. 2/1/2000 Independence Dam State Park was hot today. Although I have fairly frequently seen the adult bald eagles at the Dam, today directly beside the road and just before the campground area, was an IMMATURE BALD EAGLE, easily examined by the unaided eye. He was pointed out to me by a guy named Don. A guy named Pat pointed out to me that just after the last restroom before the campground were at least 20 WILD TURKEYS, busily feeding on the far riverbank. Up front just after the first shelterhouse was a small group of diving ducks, made up mostly of LESSER SCAUP but including also at least 2 pairs each of COMMON GOLDENEYE, RING-NECKED, and REDHEAD DUCKS. Mingling with the hundreds of Mallards were about a dozen BLACK DUCKS, and a dozen COOTS. Since I was stopping in after work and dusk was fast approaching, it was exhilarating to see the hundreds of Canada Geese fly in from wherever they had spent the day. Not far away from all the hubub, were a pair of COMMON MERGANSERS. There were lots of swans, too: group of three TUNDRA SWANS, that arrived 1/27 still there, plus...a group of three MUTE SWANS, that arrived 1/28 still there, plus... a group of four MUTE SWANS, that arrived 1/28 still there, plus...a single gray IMMATURE TUNDRA SWAN was swimming with the 4 mutes, plus...an apparent family group of TUNDRA SWANS consisting of 2 adults and 3 immature greys (all the above swans were between the first two restrooms), plus...just past the last restroom was another family group of TUNDRA SWANS made up of 2 adults and 1 immature grey-- 19 Swans altogether. 5 GREAT BLUE HERONS apparently have made up their mind to stick out the rest of the winter since they've already come this far. 2/2/2000 Independence Dam had TWO(!) JUVENILE BALD EAGLES, both flying right beside the dam. I had almost left without seeing them, when I saw Phil & Pam Adams out with their scope. Craig T. stopped, too, and there they were! All 19 Swans were there in their usual groups, but all near the dam. The Turkeys were still there, too. Also, the scaup, redheads, coots, common mergansers, mallards, Canadas, ring-bills, herring gulls. In addition, the CANVASBACK pair and the GADWALLS were back. 2/3/2000 Independence Dam Adult and Juvenile Bald Eagle, first thing, up by the dam itself. Also, 8 male lesser scaup, 1 male redhead, 2 male canvasbacks, 4 male common goldeneye, 8 coots and a lot of female scaup/redhead/canvasback (I didn't take the time to separate them what with their constant diving and bobbing). There were also about 1000 Canadas, 300 mallards, 50 black ducks, 300 ring-billed gulls, 20 herring gulls, 20 turkeys (in the same spot), 3 gadwall, 1 kingfisher, 1 pied-billed grebe and the same swans. 2/5/2000 The same, not that i'm complaining. 2/6/2000 Hey, the gang's all still at INDEPENDENCE DAM, including an adult eagle by the dam, an adult eagle at the nest, and both juveniles in the middle (just past the last restroom before the campground). Coots are up to 16, common mergansers at 10, common goldeneye steady at 4. 2/7/2000 No one left, and no one new came to INDEPENDENCE DAM (ie. still 19 swans), except for a new group of 15 Great Blue Herons. 2/11/00 All the gulls have disappeared! Swans, redheads, goldeneye, common mergansers (I quickly counted 36 males), lesser scaup, eagles, canadas, mallards,coots remain. 2/13/00 Sunday A small group of 5 Herring Gulls and 10 Ringbilled returned today. A group of 19 Tundra and Mute Swans, a Cooper's Hawk, Redheads, Goldeneyes, Common Mergansers, Coots, Lesser Scaup, Mallards, Canadas, Great Blue Herons, Wild Turkeys, Canvasbacks, Gadwall, Black Ducks were all there today, but best of all was an adult Bald Eagle sitting very close to the road surrounded by a small flock of Eastern Bluebirds (6?), Pine Siskins (6?), Yellow-Rumped Warblers (12?), and sitting up above was a Red-Tailed Hawk watching a Fox Squirrel scolding the Eagle from a distance of only a couple feet! And I absolutely would not believe it myself, but there was a Common Yellowthroat, that popped up three times, also near the Eagle (between the first two restrooms). A pleasant surprise was a vanload of Darke County birders, with a very fine scope! Lots of birders were there today thanks to a front-page photo of the swans in the local Defiance Crescent-News. The Freunds, birders from Defiance reported a possible merlin at their Northfield Addition home. They also saw the adult pair of eagles earlier in the day at the nest copulating. 2/15/2000 The highlight of the night was GREAT EGRET. I received the wonderful gift of a spotting scope for Valentine's Day, so spent the night from immediately after work to late dusk looking at the birds from a new exciting perspective. The only gulls there were 2 ringbills, whom I watched for a long time eating fish, thoroughly enjoying the new scope. There were many (50?) male Common Mergansers. 2/18/2000 Friday Independence Dam was busy: Bald Eagle (1 adult), Great Egret (1), Black Duck (2), Gadwall (2), Herring Gull (1), Red-Tailed Hawk (1), Ring-Billed Gull (3), Common Goldeneye (4), Great Blue Heron (7), Mute Swan (7), Tundra Swans (12), Redhead (20), Coot (20), Common Merganser (40), Wild Turkey (50), Lesser Scaup (100), Mallard (300), Canada Goose (1000). 2/19/2000 Saturday Independence Dam is still busy: Bald Eagle (1 adult), AMERICAN WIGEON (1), Gadwall (1), Northern Harrier (1), Red-Tailed Hawk (1), Ringneck Duck (1), Black-Capped Chickadee (2), Crow (2), Ringbilled Gull (2), White-Breasted Nuthatch (2), Hooded Merganser (6), Tufted Titmice (6 in one group), Common Merganser (7), Mute Swan (7), Black Duck (10), Tundra Swan (12), Redhead (20), Coot (20), Canvasback (25), Wild Turkey (50), Lesser Scaup (100), Mallard (300), Canada Goose (1000). Noticeably absent were the Great Egret and Common Goldeneye. 2/20/2000 There were 3 eagles (2 adults fishing, and a juvenile), and 3 PINTAILS and a BUFFLEHEAD, among the usuals (2 Common Merganser, 3 Ringbilled Gulls, 5 Gadwall, 8 Common Goldeneye, 10 Great Blue Heron,15 Black Ducks, 20 Coots, 20 Redhead, 20 Canvasbacks, 100 Lesser Scaup, 300 Mallards, 1000 Canada Geese. The water is fast and furious with the recent thaw, so the birds are widely scattered. I laboriously counted the separated flocks because it looked like there were a lot fewer birds, but the 100 Scaup, 300 Mallards, 1000 Canadas are still there in similar numbers for the last month. 2/21/00 Took more time than usual. The 19 SWANS were all there, albeit much farther down, where the walking trail begins. 1 BUFFLEHEAD, 1 KINGFISHER, 1 FLICKER, 2 GADWALL, 2 KILLDEER, 6 HOODED MERGANSERS, 8 COMMON GOLDENEYE, ca.15 GREAT BLUE HERONS, ca.20 BLACK DUCKS, ca.25 REDHEADS, ca.25 CANVASBACKS, 35 RINGBILLED GULLS, ca.50 COMMON MERGANSERS, ca.100 LESSER SCAUP, ca.300 MALLARDS, ca.1000 CANADAS. Also 5 DOWNY WOODPECKERS all in one huge heavily-berried poison ivy plant, 4 BROWN CREEPERS in one spot, a tribe of 6 TUFTED TITMICE, cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, nuthatches, crows, jays, chickadees. 2/23/2000 A pair of AMERICAN WIGEON highlighted the show at Independence Dam. Fast, furious, foaming chocolate water pushed the spectacle far downstream, with no swans or eagles or turkeys or gulls apparent. CANADAS were down to about 300, and MALLARDS to about 100. A group of about 50 diving ducks seemed to be evenly divided among REDHEADS, LESSER SCAUP and RINGNECKS. There were about 50 COMMON MERGANSERS, a dozen BLACK DUCKS, 6 HOODED MERGANSERS, and 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS. Also the first RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS of the year for me! 2/25/2000 2 COOTS, 4 REDHEADS, 10 GREAT BLUE HERONS (5 on the only ice remaining, the canal behind the ranger station), 30 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 31 COMMON MERGANSERS, 30 CANADAS, CROWS (in 2 groups, 1 of 13, the other of 36), 50 LESSER SCAUP, 100 MALLARDS. Also, the first Robins and Grackles of the year for me! (and of course downies red-bellied woodpeckers, titmice, nuthatches, and killdeer) 2/27/2000 The adult BALD EAGLES have been seen copulating at the nest and have been at the nest ever since. Near the nest are always about 50 WILD TURKEYS. Today's new addition, however, were 10 WOOD DUCKS. 35 Mallard, 30 Ring-Necked Ducks, 10 Canadas, 6 Lesser Scaup, 3 Coots, 2 Redheads, 1 Gadwall, 1 Pied-Billed Grebe 2/28/2000 50 LESSER SCAUP, 36 RING-NECKED DUCKS, 30 MALLARDS, 9 COMMON MERGANSERS, 9 HOODED MERGANSERS, 6 WOOD DUCKS, 6 CANADA GEESE, 2 COOTS, a GADWALL and a KINGFISHER at Independence Dam. 3/3/2000 Independence Dam held 50 Mallard, 30 Ringbilled Gulls, 25 Ringnecked Duck, 5 Lesser Scaup, 2 Canadas. 3/5/2000 Independence Dam was pretty much the same as 3/3, with the addition of 3 Black Ducks, and bumper-to-bumper traffic. 3/6/2000 Monday. Independence Dam. Notables included 50 Mallards,10 Common Merganser, 5 Hooded Mergansers, 4 GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 1 BLUE-WINGED TEAL (first I've seen of these this year), 4 Canada Geese, 1 Kingfisher. 3/7/00 Independence Dam was way down with 1 Blue-Winged Teal, 1 Wood Duck, 2 Kingfishers, 2 Crows, 3 Black Ducks, 4 Canada Geese, 10 Common Mergansers, 30 Mallards. Lots of traffic. Most notable were hundreds of DEAD SHEEPSHEAD, mostly 3-4 inches long but some up to 10 inches, which must've attracted the 50 Ring-BIlled Gulls, and 20 Lesser Scaup nearby (this was at the bicentenniel path). 3/11/00 At Independence Dam were 2 Great Blue Herons, 3 Crows, 3 Common Merganser, 6 Canada Geese, a group of ca.30 diving ducks about evenly divided between Lesser Scaup and Ringneck Ducks, and about 30 Mallards. The gulls were gone again. 3/17/2000 The first Eastern Phoebe I saw this year was at Independence Dam today, along with 20 Hooded Mergansers. There has been the last five days a regular crowd of the usual 30 Mallards, a group of ca.50 diving ducks (Lesser Scaup, Redhead, Canvasbacks), 15 Common Mergansers, 10 RingBilled Gulls, 6 Canada geese, 3 Great Blue Heron, 3 Black Ducks, a Belted Kingfisher, 2 adult Bald Eagles & 50 Wild Turkeys (the eagles almost always at the nest). 3/18/2000 At Independence Dam, 2 Wood Ducks join the 20 Hooded Mergansers, 50 diving ducks, 15... 3/22/2000 Independence Dam had a female Bufflehead, my first this year, as well as a male Hooded Merganser, 2 Ringnecked Ducks, 2 Redhead Ducks, 4 Ringbilled Gulls, 6 Lesser Scaup, 6 Canada Geese, 17 Common Mergansers, and about 30 Mallards. 3/25/2000 6 Common Merganser, 6 Canada Geese, 5 Gadwall, 5 Mallards, 4 Turkey Vultures, 4 BlueWinged Teal, 3 PiedBilled Grebes, 2 Lesser Scaup, 2 Wood Ducks. 3/27/2000 25 Turkey Vultures, 10 Canada Geese, 5 Horned Grebes, 4 Great Blue Heron, 4 Black Ducks, 4 Mallards, 2 Common Mergansers. 4/1/2000 Independence Dam-- 7 Wood Ducks, 6 Canada Geese, 5 Great Blue Herons, 3 Bufflehead, 2 Mallard, 2 Kingfishers, 1 Turkey Vulture, 1 Juvenile Bald Eagle (adults must still be at the nest). 4/3/2000 Independence Dam had 25 Bonaparte Gulls, 15 Turkey Vultures,10 Canada Geese, 6 Coots, 4 Pied Grebes, 4 Great Blue Heron, 3 Horned Grebe, 2 Mallards, 2 Wood Ducks, 2 Crows. 4/7/2000 The Independence Dam drive yielded ca.50 Yellow-Rumped Warblers, ca.50 Golden-Crowned Kinglets, 12 Hooded Mergansers (all female!), 8 Great Blue Heron, 7 Wood Ducks, 4 Canada Geese, 3 PiedBilled Grebes, 3 Kingfishers, 3 Turkey Vultures, 2 Great Egrets (one at either end of the park-- see 2/18 report), and I lucked upon a fast-as-lightning murder of a cardinal by a Cooper's Hawk. 4/11/2000 Independence Dam: 1 Canada Goose, a Brown Creeper, 2 Pied-Billed Grebes, 2 Wood Ducks, 5 Great Blue Herons, ca.50 GoldenCrowned Kinglets. 4/14/2000 6 Canada Geese, 2 Wood Ducks and a Great Blue Heron. 4/23/2000 After dinner, Independence Dam held a Coot, 2 Great Blue Herons, 4 Wood Ducks, 6 Canada Geese and lots of traffic and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. A trip to the Bald Eagle nest revealed parents changing duty at the nest. About 10 cars were pulled over the side of the road watching-- I saw 3 spotting scopes and lots of binoculars-- and it was 7:30pm! At the same spot sitting on telephone wires, well-mixed, were Barn, Tree, and RoughWinged Swallows. 4/27/2000 2 Wood Ducks, 2 Canada Geese, a Redtailed Hawk, a Great Blue Heron and a yellow Common Sulphur butterfly (my first one of the season). 4/30/2000 Independence Dam: First 3 Baltimore Orioles (2m,1f), 2 Yellow Warblers (traveling with 3 Yellow-Rumped Warblers) of the season. Also there were 10 Warbling Vireos (probably more!), 3 Wood Ducks and 5 Canada Geese. The biggest and best part was wonderful viewing of the first Bald Eagle Eaglet of the season--just a grey ball of fluff teetering on the edge! Standers-by said that there were 3 eaglets, but today's Crescent-News would only confirm one. 5/3/2000 New birds for the season at Independence Dam were an Orchard Oriole, Black & White Warbler, Red-Eyed Vireo with plenty of Baltimore Orioles, Palm Warblers, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Warbling Vireos and an unusual Red-Breasted Nuthatch.5/9/2000 Lots of Warbling Vireos and Orioles-- not much else. Oh!-- and two Red-Headed Woodpeckers mating on a horizontal branch : ) Sweet Cicely is everywhere. 5/11/2000 Warbling vireos, Orioles, a Great Egret, and a Double-Crested Cormorant. The Bald Eagle nest: I saw with my own eyes the parent feeding THREE EAGLETS!! They are no longer downy grey, but getting dark brown feathers. 6/4/00 male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.6/13/2000 Independance Dam: spotted a Great Egret and 2 Red-Headed Woodpeckers through the pouring rain. 6/16/00 A very short quick drive at Independence saw a Red-Headed Woodpecker. 6/17/2000 Pam and I took a tour of Independence Dam seeing lots of common birds. In order of appearance: 1.Eastern Meadowlark, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Starling, English Sparrow, 5. Mourning Dove, Grackle, Robin, House Wren, Cowbird, 10. Turkey Vulture, Baltimore Oriole, Rough-Wing Swallows, Cow, White-Breasted Nuthatch, 15. Goldfinch, Song Sparrow, Wood Duck, Chimney Swift, Black-Capped Chickadee, 20.Cedar Waxwing, Indigo Bunting, Red-Headed Woodpecker, RubyThroated Hummingbird, Great Blue Heron, 25.Catbird, Tufted Titmouse, BlueJay, Mallard, Bald Eagle (a parent with 3 juveniles-- a man named Bob had 2 scopes already set up for visitors to easily view them! Bob said the 50 turkeys that usually were around hadn't been seen since hunting season) 30. Barn Swallow, Housefinch, Chipping Sparrow, Tree Swallow, Kingfisher, 35. Carolina Wren (nesting in the shelter house), Cardinal, heard Great Crested Flycatcher, heard Pewees, and heard many Warbling Vireos but didn't take the time to search for them. Our 40th bird was at Pam's house on the Defiance/PauldingCo Line Road-- my first Dickcissels of the year, many many of them on telephone wires,in the weeds, on the road! 8/3/00 still has a single Great Egret frequenting the environs. 8/20/2000 Independence Dam highlights included 2 Cormorants, and the Great Egret. 9/5/2000 Independence Dam held 2 DC Cormorants, 2 Great Egrets, many Great Blue Herons and Killdeer, and extremely nice viewing of a Bald Eagle. The leafed-out trees make touring the river difficult. 12/28/00 A quick drive at Independence Dam saw about 30 RingBilled Gulls, 7 Common Mergansers, and 6 Canada Geese. 12/31/2000 Pam and Phil report a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at Independence Dam today!!! This would've been a life bird, but I could not find it when I returned with Pam after I got off work. 9/1999 The usual suspects for the most part: many Canada Geese (50?), Mallards (50?), Ring-Billed Gulls (45?), Killdeer (30?), Great Blue Herons (25?), Wood Ducks (20?), Cedar Waxwings (15?), but also Double-Crested Cormorants (6), all right at the entrance by the dam. An extremely tame green heron, whose yellow-green toes and neck stripes I could count without binoculars, and an at-ease kingfisher were there, as well as an only turkey vulture. Also Red Admirals, RedSpotted Purples and Viceroys. OCTOBER 2, 1999 Saturday Rare chance to take a walk on such a beautiful autumn day. Starting at 10am near the campground entrance, I walked to the dam itself directly along the river. Best bird by far was the OSPREY that followed me the whole 2hour trip to the front. I wish I had had my video camera is he fished, becoming wholly submerged!! Next best was the female kingfisher that also seemed to follow us along the whole trip! My rule this trip was once I counted 50, I stopped counting that bird, meaning I stopped counting blue jays, killdeer, and robins. Ring Billed Gull (ca.20) Great Blue Heron (10) Cormorant (24) Flicker (3) Song Sparrow (ca.3) Great Egret (8) Yellow-Rumped Warbler (10) WINTER WREN (1) Great Horned Owl(1) Goldfinch (8) Cardinal (2) RedWing Blackbird (7) Mallard (groups of 23,12,9,3,and 8) Pewee (1) Turkey Vulture (1) Song Sparrow (2) NuthatchWB (1) Crow (12) The previous was the list enroute to the dam. Enroute back were: blue jays, goldfinches, red-winged blackbirds, yellow-rumped warblers, robins,starlings, and RedTailed Hawk (1) Swainson's Thrush (1) Wood Duck (2) Turkey Vulture (1) Red-Bellied Woodpecker (1) PARULA WARBLER (1) GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS (16). There were also lots of silver-spotted skippers, monarchs, and viceroys. OCTOBER 11, 1999 Columbus Day chance to take the 3mile hike from the campgrounds to FloridaOH. There were hundreds of pounds of robins and chipmunks. There were also hundreds of warblers, and every one I binoculed(?) was a yellow-rumped warbler. Top bird was a CAROLINA WREN, so you know the 2 1/2 hour trip was not that great. Next nicest were the three BROWN CREEPERS. also-runs included 20 bluejays, 6 red-bellied woodpeckers, 6 downy woodpeckers, 6 goldfinches, 3 great blue herons, 3 white-breasted nuthatches, a killdeer, and a flicker. Oct 21, 1999 quick drive-through yields only WINTER WREN as fairly unusual. 11/8/1999 BONAPARTE"S GULLS mix in with the usual ring-bills, blue herons. 11/15/99 Same. 11/21/99 While driving down Holgate Avenue in Defiance, right in town(!), five tundra swans flew just treetop level beside me for several blocks, then veered left into town! 1:00pm Sunday. I have discontinued visiting Independence Dam Park for a bit due to a heavy wild-haired, black-bearded fellow in a blue sedan who has threatened several there. Until he is gone, I only go after dark to call owls. There are great numbers of SCREECH OWLS that never fail to come to the tape (some grazing the top of my head as they come in!), a few GREAT-HORNED OWLS, but I have been unable to raise any Saw-Whets or Barred Owls. A month later, 12/8/99, in a drive-thru, didn't see the weirdo, but did see 10 common mergansers, 10 Canada geese and the usual 20+ ring-billed gulls at the Dam. 12/12 the gulls are up to 150+. 12/21/99 The gull group is up past 800, conservatively! 50 Canada Geese. A lone mallard. Not much else (quick drive). 12/23/99 Huge amounts of gulls, Canada geese, and mallards. 12/26/99 was our Christmas Bird Count, so Pam Adams, Loch Ohman, and I birded mostly the middle third of Independence Dam, coming up with: 5 American Kestrel, 8 American Tree Sparrows, 3 Belted Kingfishers, 1 Black-Capped Chickadee, 1 Blue Jay, 2 Brown Creepers, 201 Canada Geese, 2 Cedar Waxwings, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 DarkEyed Junco, 15 Downy Woodpeckers, 2 Eastern Bluebirds, 351 European Starlings, 4 Gadwall, 1 Great Blue Heron, 2 Hairy Woodpeckers, 22 Herring Gulls, 15 House Sparrows, 34 Mallards, 1 Northern Cardinal, 10 Northern Harrier, 1 Pied-Billed Grebe, 3 RedBellied Woodpeckers, 3 Red-tailed Hawks, 400 RingBilled Gulls, 17 Rock Doves, 1 Rough-Legged Hawk, 4 Short-Eared Owls, and 11 WhiteBreasted Nuthatches 12/27/99 20 Black Ducks, which I don't often see at here. 12/28/99 The usual high amounts of gulls, Canada Geese, and mallards. 12/29-30 The weirdo in the blue Buick is back, so I'm not.
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