Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Down -but not out- at Hoover

The shorebird migration has dwindled to a trickle of the late comers to Ohio: the last ones to past through, and some who may possibly be injured or weak.

Photo by Greg Cornett-
The water at Hoover Reservoir is way down too, in fact it may well be the lowest the water has been in years. Hoover may be under more "pressure" to produce, as several other public water systems are besieged with toxic algae.
One must look close to see the Least Sandpiper and a Pectoral making their way across the stone rip-rap along the edge, far from the view of the well loved birding pier at Galena. The water is way down from normal levels and access is limited.

Leslie and Cheryl navigating Hoover- photo by Greg Cornett
Friends Greg and Leslie Cornett recently invited me to kayak across Hoover Reservoir in search of shorebirds. It enabled us to get to where the shorebirds had congregated- far from the sight of the landlubbers. We gently glided along the water, and while the number of shorebirds had long since peaked....

American Golden-Plover photo by Greg Cornett
...one "rock"bar was hiding plovers. Watching them a bit produced this interesting find: a lovely American Golden-Plover. Sorting Golden's from black-bellied plovers is more complicated now their breed plumage is past. Look for clues in their body shape and general mass. Goldens are a bit smaller, and their head is far more elegant and dove-like.
These are long-distant migrants who often fly right over or around Ohio with no stop-off. The adults leave their arctic breeding grounds in the summer, and these were likely the juveniles- which leave in late summer or fall. We are wishing them the best for their first trip to South America where they will winter.

Kayaking may well be your blogger's favorite way to see shorebirds. It is incredible how little attention shorebirds give to humans in a kayak, which allowed us to see the birds up close and personal. Apparently, we don't register as a "fear" for the long and short legged waders, or they're too busy thinking, "So what's up with that hat?"

1 comment:

  1. Loved your article and your blog. I agree that water levels are low all over the state. Even where I live in Warren County.