Sunday, June 6, 2010

Birding Amish Country

Amish Country and grassland birds seem to go together and recent reports of a Dickcissel near Shiloh, Ohio were too good to pass up. Shiloh is a little burg in Richland County, a mere 20 miles from my home. It was time to gather up a few friends for a day of excitement... Amish style.

This ground nesting song bird was teed up and singing his heart out, a distinctive stuttering "dik-dik-dik- sizzel." It was easy enough to locate three or four of the birds in the immediate vicinity, calling from posts and fence wires encircling a tidy Amish farm on Free Rd.

It is a pretty scenic spot to bird, but it makes you wonder how they pin the clothes on a line as high as a barn! One has to believe a pulley system in employed in this effort.

Friend Greg Miller (of The Big Year fame- book is about to be released as a movie) trains the scope on some Horned Larks in a nearby field, while Bobolinks "bubbled" their song over our heads.

Here is the yellow-chested wonder! Looks like he played it a little to close-to-the-chin with the dandelion heads! The size of a sparrow with Meadowlark-like markings, these uncommon birds are worth the drive. Ohio is the eastern most portion of their range; Dickcissels are Great Plains birds generally found well west of these parts.

A nearby auction house provides for both "English" and Amish parking.

And if you come to see the Dickcissel, don't plan to be in a hurry. The roads are windy and buggy traffic is the norm. Slow down and enjoy life a little.

Nothing escapes this trio of birders! Greg Miller and Greg and Leslie Cornet helped me scope out the best birds and the best deals in Shiloh's Amish country. We recommend the local grocery for cookies and pies!

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