Late migrant passerines, late shorebirds, early waterfowl, raptors and early winter visitors are all possible on this trip to one of our area’s finest wetlands; the Shaker Trace at Miami Whitewater Forest. The focus of this trip however will be on sparrows. While most neo-tropical migrants move through during September, the month of October sees the bulk of the sparrow passage.
Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow, an otherwise extremely rare migrant through our area, has become an annual and regular migrant at the wetlands, and is seen fairly often here during the month of October. We have a good chance of finding one or two. Lincoln’s Sparrow is also expected at this time of the year and many of the winter sparrows should be in by then. A long shot, but the right habitat and the right time of the year, would be LeConte’s Sparrow. We can expect some surprises and a mixed bag on this trip. Sparrow ID can be a little tricky but our trip leader Ned Keller, an expert birder and the current President of our Audubon Society, will help us sort them out. The weather might prove to be the star of this trip as mid-October has typically cool, crisp autumn days. Fall colors will be abundant and make a picturesque backdrop to what should be a pleasant morning walk.
The trip will consist of level, moderate walking. However the trails through the wetlands are not paved and can be damp and muddy, so wear appropriate footwear. This trip should end around noon. If time permits, Ned may make a quick visit to nearby Fernald Preserve. If you expect to see birds binoculars are necessary. There are no restroom facilities at the Miami Whitewater wetlands, but they are available nearby in the main park area and at Fernald Preserve. A Hamilton County Park pass is required ($3.00 daily, $10.00 annual) at Miami Whitewater for each vehicle.
Directions: We will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the wetlands parking area on Baughman Road. From I-74, take the Dry Fork Road exit # 3, and turn right. Continue past West Rd, and stay on Dry Fork until it ends. Turn right onto New Haven Road. At the first stop sign, turn left onto Oxford Road, and then immediately left again onto Baughman Road. Go about .7 mile to the dirt parking area on the right side of the road, just past the bike trail crossing. Contact Ned to answer any of your questions.