I drove to Findlay Reservoir this morning from Wooster to check out the long-tailed jaeger, arriving about noon. I had never been there before, so was not sure where to go. There are actually two reservoirs - a smaller one (probably original one) on the SE side, which is now encompassed on two sides by the larger one that is 3-4 times bigger. There are two parking lots and access points. One on the NW side (road 207) that gives access to the large reservoir and one on the south side (road 205) that gives access to the smaller reservoir.
Having no idea where to go, I started at the NW access. At the top, I was surprised how large that reservoir was. I expected other birders would be there, but no one was, so I suspected I was at the wrong place. I scoped the water there and saw 50+ ring-billed gulls and two greater black-backed gulls, but nothing that looked like a jaeger on the water or flying. However, that was a lot of water to cover. So, I drove to the south access and hiked up to the dike on the smaller reservoir. There were other birders there and one fellow had been there Saturday too. He said that on Saturday, the bird was flying by that spot fairly regularly and showed me some of his photos. However, he said that today, the bird seemed to be ranging much wider, though it had flown by there about 20 min ago. It was about 12:15pm then, so I decided to hike out onto the dike that separated the two reservoirs.
Well, out on that dike, I was with several other birders and, thankfully, the jaeger came flying by in about 10 minutes. It has a habit of flying over the water along that central dike and we got excellent views of the low-flying bird at about 75ft or so. Great views. I stayed there another 25-30 minutes with some other birders. We saw the jaeger quite a ways off sitting on the water over towards the SE corner of the reservoir and also flying along the wood line in that area. Finally, the bird again headed our way as several of us followed it in our scopes. Once it got closer, I changed to binoculars and it again made a close fly-by of only 50 feet or so with excellent views. It even landed on the water for 30 seconds or so within 100 ft of us before then circling high above. While waiting for the jaeger, I also saw two black-bellied plovers fly in and land on the dike and several black terns flying over the water. I left about 2pm.
So, overall, I had great views of the jaeger, which was well worth the trip. Hopefully it will stick around a few days more. The best approach seems to be to park in the south parking lot and get out on the dike. Then watch the smaller reservoir and find the bird flying or sitting on the water. Hopefully it will then fly by your position for a good view. That make take a half hour or so of patience. Good luck.
Ohio-birds mailing list, a service of the Ohio Ornithological Society. Please consider joining our Society, at www.ohiobirds.org/site/membership.php. Our thanks to Miami University for hosting this mailing list.
You can join or leave the list, or change your options, at: listserv.miamioh.edu/scripts/wa.exe?LIST=OHIO-BIRDS Send questions or comments about the list to: <listowner...>