Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Days 4 and 5 at Magee Marsh
Since I did not post yesterday, there is some catching up to do tonite. To start, yesterday found us out on the boardwalk by 8 AM to discover that the number of birds was definitely lower than the past 3 days. We did meet up with Greg Miller who we birded with throughout the day. Doreene took a picture of Greg (center), Dan Sanders (right) and myself (left) in front of the Magee Marsh sign. As I mentioned recently, Greg is one of the 3 birders featured in the upcoming movie The Big Year based on the book of the same name. I met Greg and Dan back in 2001 on a pelagic trip out of Hatteras, NC. Dan did a big year in 2005, so you have in the top photo 3 of the 14 birders who have seen 700 or more bird species in the ABA area in a calendar year.
While the birding was fairly slow compared to previous days, it began to pick up in the afternoon. One of the highlights was finding a woodcock (2nd photo from the top) resting right next to the boardwalk. Needless to say the photogs were having fun snapping multiple shots. We called it a day about 6:30 looking forward to today and possibly an influx of new birds overnite.
I checked into the Comfort Inn where I had stayed during my visit here last year. I rushed off to have dinner with Dan and Doreene, and returned to discover that somehow I had ended up with a smoking room, and could not change since the motel was full. Then the reason I did not blog last nite was that the Wifi was malfunctioning. Instead my frustration level went up more as I watched the aging Celtics lose to the Heat. Finally at midnite fire alarms went off forcing us all outside for over an hour while the fire dept. sorted out what was happening. The only good news was that I heard and saw a common nighthawk flying around the outdoor lights. We were allowed back into our rooms only to have the alarm go off again at 2 AM. I finally was able to get back to sleep about 2:30.
We were supposed to meet this morning at 7:30 to drive the 20 miles from Port Clinton over to Magee. But after the nite from hell at my motel, I did not make it over to Magee until 11 AM. Once there, I found that a new wave of birds had arrived and the place was hopping with birds and birders.
About mid day I was able to find Gabriel Mapel from Virginia who is only 11 and is doing a big junior year. I knew about him and that he was at Magee because he is doing a blog which I have provided a link to now on this blog. I wanted to find him to say hi, and also to encourage him to see the garganey while he was in Ohio. On his blog he had said he was not going to see it because he did not think it would be accepted as a wild bird, but Dan and I encouraged him to make the effort because it probably was going to be accepted as a wild bird.
The birds kept coming in throughout the day, and by late afternoon with the winds coming off Lake Erie, it seemed like all the birds had moved into the woods along the boardwalk. As a result we had one of those magical birding times. We sat on the rail of the boardwalk and everywhere we looked there were birds actively feeding.
After about an hour at just that one spot we were ready to head home for the day having seen 20 species of warblers plus 5 species of vireos. Some other species also seen included swainson's thrush, American robin, white-throated and lincoln sparrow, least and great crested flycatcher, ruby crowned kinglet, scarlet tanager, red-breasted nuthatch, tree swallow, rose-breasted grosbeak, common grackle, red-winged blackbird, and blue jay. The bottom 2 photos are of a blackpoll warbler (next to bottom) and a philadelphia vireo (click on any photo to enlarge). Tomorrow could be even better. Stay tuned!