Friday, June 29, 2012

Breeding Birds of Mohican State Park

Mohican's Covered Bridge is a local icon; it stands near the trail heads to Big and Little Lyons Fall .  These are easily the most traveled paths in the forest, with a steady stream of hikers in the daylight hours. 

But if you arrive early enough, you may have the good fortune to have the place to yourself.  The magic hour is about 6:00 AM.   A Cerulean Warbler was putting on an excellent show  right next to the bridge.

Yellow-throated Warbler photo by Greg Cornett
 Yellow-throated Warblers also inhabit the sycamore trees next to the river.  This riparian corridor hosts an amazing array of avian species, everything from Bald Eagle to Winter Wren.

 Listen for the complex song of Ohio's most musical species, the winter wren is a tiny, chocolate brown puff ball which favors tree roots along streams.  Our forest is enlivened by their melody.

 An off-trail excursion led by Richland County Parks' Director, Steve McKee turned up several of the 22 breeding species of warblers, and the Frank Lloyd Wright  of Veerys.

 Along this pristine seep, the tell-tail signs of  morning bath in the fresh water spring.

 Near by we discover a nest buried in fresh plant life, adorned with moss.  This photo was taken at a good distance, as not to disturb the young in the nest- nor leave a scent trail for their predators.

A small blue egg nearby, indicates one of the thrushes.  It is an excellent possiblity of a Veery, who sing a Haunting circurlar song, with puctuations of  "VEER."

Veery- photo by Wikipedia

Anxious to learn more about nests and eggs, I applied Paul Baicich's book to our mystery.  Veery is a good fit for the nest and egg.  I you don't have this book in your collection, you are missing out.

Now do you see eggs?

 A bit further down we entered a gorge filled with the song a Canada Warbler.  As we passed near the rock edge, a bird spooked off her nest, deftly concealed at our knees' height.

Canada Warbler photo Dave Lewis

 We scurried past, marveling at how well the nest was concealed.  The bird circled back to its nest as we vacated the area.

Mohican is the cradle of life for an astounding number of birds, mammals, unusual plant forms of   ferns, trees and forbs, and even endangered Hellbender salamanders.  We hope to preserve it for our children, and generations beyond.  This park is a place where people connect with nature and sooth away their dreary work-world lives.  As John Muir wrote,

 "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."


1 comment:

  1. I've really enjoyed these posts about Mohican. When I was in high school I went hiking there all the time with my parents, although back then I didn't know enough about birds and plant communities to fully appreciate how special it was - I just knew it was beautiful.