Early on Sunday, I led a neotropical migrant field trip with nine GOASers and interested birders. Our destination was Busiek State Forest in southern Christian County, but we diverged a bit to take in some potentially good locations. Our first stop on the way south was just west of the junction of Hwy 65 and CC, where we observed a Great Horned Owl was sitting on two fledglings. A great look was had by all.
Ten minutes later we were gathering the parking lot at Busiek's when a peculiar wren popped up in front of everyone. Turned out to be a Marsh Wren! This was a lifer for many in the group, and the ones of us that had seen the species had trouble recalling how long ago it was that we had seen it.It was then that we settled into the business of the day, searching for neotropical migrants. First to appear was a nice Yellow-throated Warbler in the sycamore near the parking lot. It was not long before we add American Redstart, Black and White Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Northern Parula, Nashville Warbler, and Tennessee Warbler.
We turned around to search for a newly arrived Cerulean Warbler along Wood's Fork Creek. Unfortunately, our attempts were in vain, but we added Blue-winged Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush to our growing warbler list. Kentucky and redstart numbers dramatically climbed.
Moving away from the creek we heard Prairie Warbler and Yellow breasted Chat songs ringing out from the glade. It was not long before we were seeing both. We began to notice that our vireo list was rising; included Red-eyed, White-eyed, and Yellow-throated. It was then that a Warbling Vireo voice rang out in the forest edge. Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings, and an Empidonax sp. unwilling to reveal its identity join in the gathering. Then the highlight vireo of the day, Blue-headed, came into view on the far side of a Cedar tree. Its striking white spectacle dazzled the viewers.
Walking up to the glade, we were reward by great visuals of the Prairie Warblers and a cooperative Yellow-breasted Chat.We then left Busiek State Forest to check a lower stretch of Bull Creek for Ceruleans and a pair of Mississippi Kites that had spent last summer there. No luck on either, but we did pick up Blue Grosbeak, Broad-winged hawk, and Ovenbird.
We concluded the day with a short run down Center Road to Marvin's farm. We added Scissortails and Kingbirds on the way, and Common Yellowthroat while there. Lincoln's Sparrow posed for a picture.All in all, it was a good day considering the brisk north wind, cold temperatures, and cloudy skies. We ended up with 13 warbler species with 68 species total, and departed with hopes of 20+ warblers and over 100 species in a day next week. Complete trip list at the GOAS Message Board.