Email – July 27, 2010 – late season atlasing


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July 27, 2010

OBBA II Volunteers:

Just a follow-up to our recent email….as we near the end of the 2010 atlas season, I want to reemphasize the importance of continuing to get into the field, especially (prior to 31 July). In many places it is still possible to get 40-50+ species in a block in several hours. With over 400 non-priority blocks that have no data and many with <30 species, there are plenty of important contributions you can make. Given safe dates and quietness of many species, it is difficult to get a long list of species, but many species with early safe dates are still found at nests or with fledged young (Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, RW Blackbird, Cedar Waxwing). And, as we continue to emphasize, breeding confirmations are much needed and abound if you give a closer look. In some ways, confirmations are easier to obtain now than in the first half of June. The bottom line is that not being able to easily atlas all species shouldn’t keep us from getting out.

I’ve spent much of July in Region 79 (mostly in Vinton Co.). These species have been singing fairly actively within the past week or so: Northern Bobwhite, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, White-eyed Vireo, Sedge Wren, Hermit Thrush, Wood Thrush, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow (seemingly incessant), Indigo Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, Eastern Towhee, Scarlet Tanager, and plenty more. Species in bold text are especially important atlas records. I’ve even had the occasional Louisiana Waterthrush, Cerulean Warbler, and Yellow Warbler singing, but warblers are far more quiet as a whole. Cooler times of day are of course best, and I’ve had a number of species seeming to sing more regularly in the evening.

In addition to these, think about species like Virginia Rail, Sora, and Red-headed Woodpeckers, and the nightjars mentioned earlier in the week. To expand a bit on the latter, Whip-poor-wills are under recorded in OBBA II. I’ve had them counter singing in Vinton County as recently as a couple nights ago. Recordings should help, but you might listen in quiet forested areas for 5-10 minutes before playing calls. I’ve had good luck in predawn lately, but the moon is bright much of the night right now, so it is a good time to try. Looking at range maps for Whips in OBBA II, note the lack of Whips in northeast Ohio…surely there must be some out there! Compare with the first atlas map. Chuck-wills-widows should also be singing in places. Anyone interested in checking sites in Hocking (Cantwell Cliffs area) or elsewhere?

So please do what you can to squeeze in more field time this year (every bit counts!!). Some areas are much more quiet than others, but the birds are out there. Keep in mind what you wouldn’t do in January to find even a few of the species mentioned above!! Please get in touch of you have questions. Thanks for all of your contributions in 2010.

Best wishes,
Paul Rodewald


Paul G. Rodewald
Director, Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II
Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology
The Ohio State University
School of Environment and Natural Resources
2021 Coffey Road
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1085
Phone: 614-292-9795; Fax: 614-292-7432