Today yielded a surprising day of birding in the Greater Mohican Bobolink area. It started out normally enough at Secrest Arboretum, where Bianca Davis led our Birdwalk through the regular trails and the regular species. A good time, with some interesting botany thrown in for good measure. But things got exciting in the afternoon- Marc Nolls called to give us a heads-up on the Northern Wheatear being seen near Berlin, Ohio- about 40 minutes away from our favorite Bob Evans and CBC haunt!
(click photo to enlarge) This Northern Wheatear was just too good to take a chance on missing! We scurried down the back county roads, carefully dodging Amish buggies. It was easy enough to find with Marc and Jason Larson's directions, and the line of cars parked at the end a the drive was a pretty sure tip-off too. The yard had several hired vans and many bicycles along with the horse drawn wagons. This scenic farm and its kind owner was an idyllic place for a life bird, and it was only out of respect for Amish preference, that I did not photograph the many Amish and English gathered there. Black hats or birding T-shirts, we are all the same in the presence of a great bird.
We gathered quietly in a line, all 30 or so Wheatear admirers, and in hushed tones we compared notes on the soft coloring, white rump and tail band when it flew from the open ground where it had foraged for insects, to its favorite log pile.
Northern Wheatears are uncommon visitors from Eurasia, Greenland and Alaska. We have had only two previous sighting in Ohio (1988 and 1998)- and this bird may be a year late for the once-a-decade record, but we didn't mind a bit. Thanks to the gracious Yoder family who allowed us to visit today, may they be blessed with many more wonderful birds, and thankful birders to sign their visitor list!