ack home in Indiana, last thoughts on Arizona

ack home in Indiana, last thoughts on Arizona

We recently drove back to Indiana from Southern Arizona. While it was nice to be in a warmer location during the winter, it also was wonderful to get home and see new growth everywhere, water in streams and lakes, and new birds arriving every day.

Southern Arizona also was changing fast before we left. There were a few days with temperatures in the 90s, and migrants were showing up everywhere. Our last visits to Tubac and Madera Canyon yielded three new oriole species, as well as a number of flycatchers, vireos and warblers. It would have been nice to stay another month.

Here in Northern Indiana, the three-month spring birding contest is in full swing. I missed the first month but joined in as soon as we got back. The leading teams already had over 100 species on their lists at the end of March. Today, on April 11, our team finally reached 100, but we are still well back of the leaders. New birds today for us included rusty blackbird, red-shouldered hawk, field sparrow and Eurasian collared dove. We also saw the red-throated loon, which has been at Potato Creek State Park for several weeks.

An interesting thing has been happening in a downtown Elkhart park, not far from Goshen. A pair of ospreys has been nesting on a tower in the park for several years. Recently, a peregrine falcon has taken over the tower. We are not sure what is going to happen with this dispute.

In a similar situation further east in Pigeon River Fish and Wildlife Area, a red-tailed hawk has been perching on a platform that has been used by ospreys for several years. When I was there recently, two ospreys circled over the hawk and even made a pass at it; however, the red-tail stayed put and the ospreys left, at least for the moment.

There are many osprey nests in our part of the state, as there are in Ohio. The bald eagle nest on a small island in the lake close to our home is again active. One adult eagle can usually be seen at the top of a large tree near the nest.

Probably the best bird in the area this spring was a black scoter, which was found at Potato Creek. Early in March several snowy owls were present for a few days. Currently, there are lots of golden-crowned kinglets and eastern phoebes here, as well as a few early brown thrashers and house wrens. The fox sparrows seem to have moved on. Tree swallows are abundant right now, but no other swallows have showed up yet.

Reports from the Bobolink Area on April 11 included a continuing painted bunting near Fresno and a ruffed grouse at Will’s Creek. Also in Ohio, a purple gallinule was found in Highland County. For updates you can call the bobolink area bird hotline at 574-642-1335.

Raptor migration is nearly here. By the time you read this column, you may be seeing the first broad-winged hawks. So far, the weather forecast doesn’t look favorable, but that can change in a hurry. Area hawk watchers are hoping for a good raptor migration this spring.

Good birding.

Bruce Glick can be emailed at bglick2@gmail.com.


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