Birding and Bird Photography at Mosquito Lake and Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area
For me it's all about experiencing nature, surrounding myself in the sights and sounds, finding serenity and solace...especially during this difficult pandemic. Sometimes, in the moment, I get so mesmerized by the birds and wildlife I encounter that, I forget to get the pic. However, my passion is Wildlife Photography, so I somehow always manage to get my bird and wildlife photo ops. You will see lots of my work here at Mosquito Lake, Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area, and the surrounding area. Keep in mind, this discussion is very brief, just a taste. If you want more information, Google Birding or Bird Photography. Now, let's get started...
Birding vs. Bird Photography
There are two types of Bird Hobbyists, Birders, and Bird Photographers, as well as many people who are some combination of the two. Birding is wildlife observation, identification, and recording. It can be done with the naked eye, with binoculars, or with a birding scope. It also involves identifying birds through their calls or sounds. Birders usually have a checklist to record contacts with birds and a life list to keep track of all the species that they have seen. They may also use a camera to record their sightings. Where Birding is about recording the data, Bird Photography is about capturing the moment...exactly as you see it. It is a form of expression, an art form. Bird photographers capture still photos and videos of birds, with great detail and preferably in their natural habitat. These bird photos and videos are often posted online for the education and enjoyment of readers. I believe they also promote better understanding, appreciation, and advocacy of birds and nature.
Birding and Bird Photography can be done in your backyard, at your favorite neighborhood or community park, or at the lake. You can hike, bike, kayak or even go by car. For Birding, you will need a checklist or journal, binoculars (bins), and a field guide or birding app to help ID the birds. You will probably also want to have a wide-brimmed hat and comfy shoes or boots. For Bird Photography, you will need a good camera (point-and-shoots are okay), preferably with a telephoto lens so you can capture the birds without disturbing them. You may also want to carry a tripod or monopod to steady your shots. I find them unwieldy in the field, instead, I use whatever is handy...trees, fence posts, rocks, etc.
Best Spots for Birding in Ohio
In Trumbull County, we are fortunate to have an abundance of birding and bird photography hot spots. My favorite is Mosquito Lake. I have shared three maps of Mosquito Lake to help you...a large map showing the entire lake and the area roads and highways around it; a northern map, showing Mosquito Creek Wildlife and Wilderness Areas, and a southern map, showing the various points of interest at Mosquito Lake State Park. If you have never been to the State Park or if it has been a while, I recommend a car trip to familiarize yourself with the different parts of the Park and the lake to plan future trips. If you would like to cover more territory, I recommend biking the Western Reserve Greenway. There is a trailhead, Sunside Trailhead, with parking, just a few miles west of the Mosquito Lake State Park on Rt 305. The hiking and biking trail goes all the way to Ashtabula. Barred Owls, Hawks, and Eagles can be sighted. You can bring your camera or binoculars in a cushioned bike bag. The vast Mosquito Creek Wildlife and Wilderness areas to the north also offer excellent opportunities to see Bald Eagles, Osprey, and other raptors, as well as warblers migrating through the area. Once again, I recommend a car trip to get familiar with the area and plan future trips. The hiking trail at Lakeview Recreation Area (LRA) in the south is my favorite to see warblers and other migrating birds in the spring.
Sharing, Support, and Responsibility
Once you've started Birding or Bird Photography, there are many ways to learn photography tips, birding hotspots, or share your photography/videography online. Search Facebook Groups for those that interest you. I have learned much from my peers about Bird Photography and some of the best Bird Photography hotspots, including the Newcomerstown Eagles nest, which I have shared in my photos. Enjoy your time with the birds!... But please be responsible and respectful. Practice natural birding, where you observe and photograph birds from a distance, without disturbing them and leave them as you found them. Birds and wildlife need us to protect, preserve and advocate for them.