Sunday, May 20, 2012

My two days of The Biggest Week

Since I have never been able to get up to the Lake Erie region of Ohio in the spring, this year I decided to make that happen.  The Biggest Week in American Birding was already going strong, so there were plenty of other birders there with eyes and ears to alert to any good birds.  I really wished that I could of stayed for the entire event, but work wouldn't allow that to occur.  I caught the last couple of days of the event.

I had arrived on the lake on a Thursday afternoon having had a six hour drive due to traffic from a automobile accident.  I got there just in time to attend Birdchick's Birds and Beers event.  It was nice to meet many of my online birding friends as well as those that I have not seen in a long while.  Some of which included Birdchick, Janet Kissick Hug, Linda Rockwell, Dawn Simmons Fine, Debbie Miller and Gunnar Engblom

Since I have seen pictures of the many birders on the boardwalk at Magee, I kind of knew what to expect before hand.  I am not one that likes to bird in big crowds.  I usually bird by myself.  When I finally arrived at the boardwalk however, I found there to be not as many people as I expected.  Most were crowded along the first section to the observation tower.  After that, people were very spread out.

Here is a shot of some of the cars at Magee.  I would have taken a picture of the birders, however I want to assure a certain ODNR watercraft officer that I really do take pictures of birds and not people while on ODNR lands (there is a story to it).

Magee Cars

This was standing in the middle of the parking lot on one side (there are two sides for those that have never been there).  This is about half way between the two parking lots.  Cars were on both sides the same length as seen here.

Once on the boardwalk, I noticed that the most common warbler was Yellow Warbler.  They were everywhere.

Yellow Warbler 

I am used to seeing warblers far and up.  It was hard getting used to seeing them too close to focus my big zoom lens point-n-shoot camera!

Here is a very cooperative Chesnut-sided Warbler, almost too cooperative!

Chestnut-sided Warbler


Chestnut-sided Warbler

Seemed to "glow" in the low light like he was radio active.  Such a nice looking bird.  The warbler decided to come close and give some funny expressions.  

Chestnut-sided Warbler

I really love the expression here!

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Here is a Cape May Warbler that just sat on the edge of the parking lot for a while.  The heavy leaf out made lighting a challenge.  

Cape May Warbler

 I was expecting to see many more Magnolia Warblers than I did, only a handful.  As of this morning, I noticed a good deal of them around still.  I was only able to get the rear end of one.

Magnolia Warbler backside

There were many American Redstarts around.  Again, the lighting was a challenge.

American Redstart

Spied this Hermit Thrush walking around at my feet on the boardwalk.

One of my most needed group of birds is shorebirds.  I have a lot of holes in that area, as there isn't much in the way of quality shorebird habitat in this part of the state.  Have I known the area better, I think I could of gotten some that I need.  

Here is a shorebird that was right off the boardwalk.  This American Woodcock was with a baby.  I could not get a shot of the baby, as there were too many people to see it from my position.  

American Woodcock

After Magee, I decided to head to Maumee Bay State Park.  I have only been here a couple of times and always see good stuff here.  Just as it was getting dark, I saw shorebirds flying around on the beach.  I decided to go check them out and found three Ruddy Turnstones.  I have only seen this bird once, and it was a very brief glimpse at Caesar Creek State Park.

Ruddy Turnstones

Ruddy Turnstones

Ruddy Turnstones

Before seeing the turnstones, I took a walk on the boardwalk.  I heard a Wild Turkey gobbling and a couple of people I passed on the boardwalk said that there was a turkey ahead.  Here is what I found.  A young buck and a Wild Turkey in a standoff.

Deer / Turkey Standoff

I decided to end my two day trip on the boardwalk at Magee.  I am glad I did.  There was a report of a Kirtland's Warbler on the new Crane Creek Estuary Trial.  While not a life bird, the one glimpse I had of one was very brief.  This particular female was very cooperative and allowed many people to view her.  This was definitely worth the trip.

Kirtland's Warbler (female)

Kirtland's Warbler (female)

Cool looking back pattern

Kirtland's Warbler

Little bit of streaking on the head.

Kirtland's Warbler

Had a wonderful time, much needed escape.  Just wish I had more time up there.  Hopefully, I can make it up next year.  Not long after I got back, there was a Least Tern and White-faced Ibis up there.  Happens every time!

I will leave you with this sunset from the beach at Maumee Bay State Park.

Lake Erie Sunset (Maumee Bay)



  1. Ah, well done Donald! It looks like such a marvelous event. I hope to make it up there some day too.

    It looks like plenty of the Warblers waited for you. Did you get any new birds or was this just a nice meeting with old acquaintances?

    Anyhow, nice way to start the summer phase. Thanks for sharing.

  2. No new birds. Did have fun with friends.

  3. What a lovely post - I acn appreciate the American Redstar and the Turnstone but everything else would be new for me... the Warblers are something else

    Superb stuff

  4. Awesome days Donald! That Kirtland's Warbler would have made the entire trip worthwhile for me! Love the American Woodcock too!

  5. You have some amazing birds in your part of the world. All new to me. The warblers are stunning.

  6. Nice post with excellent pictures. The pictures alone would make me want to go there, because they show how much character the place has!

  7. Excellent trip and photos Donald would love to see any of those birds in the UK . Cheers Rob

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