Presque Isle (The Winter is Upon Us!)

Early this morning I woke to drive the two and a half hours to Lake Eerie and Presque Isle State Park. It was the morning of the Three Rivers Birding Club’s outing to this park. I was excited, having only been to the park once before and had not been birding.
I managed to survive the drive (somehow) and we arrived at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. There we met up with the other birders in the group. It was a very cold, blustery day almost Winter like. We then drove to the first stop we were going to.

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View of Lake Eerie
At the first stop we were met by far off looks at gadwall, the first ruddy ducks I’ve seen this fall, blue-winged teal, a bunch of wood ducks, coots, mallards, Canada geese, mute swans, and a tundra swan. Then we moved on to the second point we stopped at. It was getting colder and windier as we continued and I was having thoughts of calling it a day already. I had expected cold but I thought a sweatshirt and sweatpants would be fine. I underestimated the powers of wind. Anyway, all there was at the next stop were a large number of coots, mallards, and pied-billed grebes. However, I did learn that in the Spring and Summer you can find nesting least bitterns there.
We then moved on again to a small beach area. The only bird of interest there was a black-bellied plover. Again we moved on. This time to a boat dock. There we saw many ring-billed gulls, cormorants, and a couple of herring gulls.

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Herring Gull
Then we moved on to what turned out to be the most productive spot we went to. It was a trail going through the woods. The first thing we noticed upon going onto the trail was the large number of yellow-rumped warblers. There were tons of them!

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler

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Another Yellow-Rumped Warbler
It is always a pleasure seeing these warblers as we only get them in migration. Note also, how different they look in their fall plumage then in their breeding plumage (though they aren’t the brightest of warblers even in the Spring). Also, on the side of the trail in the pines, we could hear the high-pitched three note call of the golden-crowned kinglet. The trip leader played their call and they came right in, flitting around in the trees above us. Also, we saw a ruby-crowned kinglet. We continued on seeing hundreds of more yellow-rumps. Then, off in the woods, we heard the repedative call of a red-breasted nuthatch. The leader, as with the kinglets, played its call. It came right in and perched it the tree on the side of the trail.

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Red-Breasted Nuthatch

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Another Photo of the Nuthatch
It’s funny how not two hours away, seeing a red-breasted nuthatch is fairly uncommon while here they are fairly common. We continued on seeing more yellow-rumps, a couple more nuthatches, a downy woodpecker, and a Cooper’s hawk.
All in all, it was a very good day of birding with which I am quite satisfied.

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