For Arthur P. Foreman Sr. of Warren, being an avid birder is not so much a hobby as a lifestyle. Foreman spent his childhood exploring the outdoors in Alabama. He has always been interested in nature and this has led to his passion of bird watching. He enjoys watching birds around Trumbull County in areas such as Mosquito Lake and Packard Park. Recently, Foreman discovered two rare birds at Packard Park, a greater white-fronted goose, which he saw on March 7, and a red-necked grebe, which he discovered on March 11.
"I call these birds early spring visitors. They have various sightings throughout the state of Ohio, especially the red-necked grebe, but this was the first time I saw one," Foreman said.
Don Keffer, of Bristolville and Foreman's friend, also is an avid birder. Keffer said that when Foreman found the greater white-fronted goose at Packard Park, he gave him a call. Keffer said he dropped everything that day and hurried over to the park.
Tribune Chronicle photos / R. Michael Semple
Bird watcher Arthur P. Foreman of Warren watches birds in the Mahoning River from Packard Park.
"If we see something rare, we call each other," Keffer said. "(Foreman) finds a lot of rare birds in Packard Park. He is good at finding birds that are out of place and that you would not expect to see. He is a magnet for those types of birds. When we see that rare bird, we are like kids on Christmas; we are excited. When your fellow birder friend gives you a call that he has seen a rare bird, you drop everything that you are doing because you might not see that bird again. We saw thousands of Canada geese along Mosquito Lake, but to see a greater white-fronted goose at Packard Park in Warren, is really uncommon. You usually see greater white-fronted goose in the American South."
Foreman said that the greater white-fronted goose migrating numbers are fewer, therefore, they take safety in mixing with large flocks of Canada geese. The greater white-fronted goose is listed as a "rare" migrant in The Ohio Bird Record Committee's Checklist of the Birds of Ohio.
Foreman said that another rare duck he found at Packard Park was the red-necked grebe. According to the "Ohio Cardinal Magazine," in the entire state of Ohio in 2012, there were only nine spring sightings of the red-necked grebe. He said that during the winter months, the red-necked grebes spend their time in the east and west coastlines. Foreman said that the red-necked grebe's spring migration route will take some of them across the Great Lakes.
Foreman said he has been birding for 15 years and said that he has photographed more than 200 species of nesting, as well as migrating, birds inside a six-mile distance of Warren. He believes that anyone can see just as many birds in their own locality and back yard.
Foreman said that last year he saw one of his better finds, an upland sandpiper.
"I found him at Mosquito Lake," he said. "There are some that nest here, but most of them nest at airports. Last year, the Partners In Flight-U.S. listed the upland sandpiperon the Threatened to Be Endangered List. There were four sightings of the upland sandpiper recorded in the state of Ohio in the fall of 2011."
Foreman said he loves watching warblers. He said that warblers are a challenge because they are really fast and active birds.
"Some warblers are slightly larger than hummingbirds, while there are some that are much larger than hummingbirds," Foreman said. "Warblers come in through early May. Right now, people are looking for waterfowl because it's migrating season for waterfowl. Owls and eagles are nesting right now."
Foreman said he has had numerous rare birds published in the Tribune Chronicle. He said he tries to submit his rare birding sightings during the time of migration season. He said he has had two of his rare bird findings published in "Ohio Cardinal Magazine."
Keffer said that with birding, you might not get to see what you are expecting to see. On the other hand, he said you can see a bird you weren't expecting to see.
"Especially this time of year in the spring, because it's migration season and different birds are moving," Keffer said. "It's kind of like clockwork. When you are a birder, you look for different birds at different times of the year."
Larry Richardson, of West Farmington, was a director of the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center in Bay Village, for 21 years. Richardson is now retired and currently leads nature tours and trips throughout the county. Richardson has been birding for 45 years and is a great friend of Foreman.
"(Foreman) is an advocate of beautiful things in Trumbull County," Richardson said. "He is an ambassador of everything beautiful in Warren," Richardson said. "He encourages us that we don't have to travel many miles to experience nature."