Over the years, one tends to judge the quality of a route on the diversity of bird life found along it. There are some that are excellent, others that are good or so-so, and then there are those that are just downright poor. And knowing the value of conducting surveys in these agriculturally-dominated landscapes that are bird-poor doesn't help the adrenaline to flow in the surveyor. The Lockport route is one of these "poor" routes.
Having survived some torrential rains the previous evening and night in a small but very nice motel in Bryan, Ohio, I found my starting point without difficulty. After following a swollen river and passing through some woods associated with the Goll Woods natural area, the route headed straight west for more than 20 miles through flat, prime agricultural country. There was a virtual absence of livestock, just mile after mile of row crops, some wheat, small woodlots, and farmsteads. With the flat land, roadside ditches were shallow, and I was amazed how many roadsides were mown with a lawnmower by the farmers. At least this made picking up 14 aluminum cans easy along the route. It was a little windier than I would prefer but with the landscape being so open, hearing bird song wasn't inhibited much and was good practice for doing the upcoming western Minnesota routes.
I wasn't expecting a large species total as the average for the last 3 times the route was surveyed (1998-2000) was 49 species. I managed to find only 46, and numbers were exceptionally low for some species compared to the 1998-2000 average. For example, I found only 8 Barn Swallows versus 39, 5 Savannah Sparrows versus an average of 22, 18 Song Sparrows versus 52, and both goldfinch and House Finch numbers were lower than the 1998-2000 average. Although Wild Turkey has been recorded on the route, I passed on the gobbling turkey heard in the direction of a farmhouse in unlikely looking turkey habitat when I heard a peacock sound off from the same direction. The rain held off until stop 49 when a heavy mist began to blow through in waves, and the last 30 seconds at stop 50 was spent inside the car.