Friday 23 May 2014

Magee Marsh, Ohio - Day Five

With a little bit of extra 'gen' from Dermot Breen, I checked the fish ponds and flooded meadow area either side of the causeway as you approach Magee Marsh parking lots. Here I had several small flocks of summer plumaged Dunlin and there were about three Semi-palmated Sandpipers mixed in with them as well as two Semi-palmated Plovers in and around the same spot. I also added Black-crowned Night Heron and Green-winged Teal to the trip list.
I birded the board walk east to west and it was clear that there had been a clear-out of warblers, numbers were lower than previous days as were numbers of birders. I heard but did not see a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (disappointed about that, a bird I'd love to see) and met another birder who'd had a brief but good view of a Black-billed Cuckoo, I looked also for that but neither saw or heard it.
I did at least add Willow Flycatcher to my life list, a silhouette perched in a tree but giving its distinctive 'Fitz-bew' song. I received a field tutorial from a US birder on the songs of the Empidonax species, 'Fitz-bew' for Willow and 'Free-beer' for Alder were the bits that I remembered. Although the warblers were moving on, we were entering prime time for these flycatcher species.
At this stage of the day the light was very harsh so it was pointless to take the camera out. I walked the shore before lunch and had a few small flocks of Ruddy Turnstone with the odd Dunlin sitting on the breakwater jetties. After lunch I walked the estuary trail and had a single silent (and therefore unidentified) Empidonax. I also checked an area of flooded meadow off the Benton-Carroll Road (just off Highway 2 less than a mile east of Magee Marsh) and added Lesser Yellowlegs to the list. I was told that Greater Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpiper had also been seen here but all I had were Lessers. With little else to see for the day and feeling quite tired, I decided to call it a day at 2.30pm and get some rest before the final full day of birding on Tuesday.

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