Wednesday 21 May 2014

Magee Marsh, Ohio - Day Four

Today, Sunday, I was a feeling a bit tired and so I slept in back at the hotel. I expected the crowds to be  on the boardwalk again but I knew if I spent another day at the photography spot it would be more of the same.
That afternoon I walked the board walk with my gear. Its possible to find a spot where there are no people, make a little space for yourself and just wait for something to show. I will add also that people are very polite and courteous towards one another, no-one misbehaves and everyone tries to give each other an opportunity to see or photograph a bird.
I joined a small group of birders first near the east entrance trying to get shots of a female Golden-winged Warbler. There were several females around during my visit but none showed too well. This particular individual came very close at times but there always seemed to be either a part of the boardwalk or a branch in the way of a shot.
Numbers of Canada Warblers (all males) seemed to be up too compared to previous days. I first saw this species in Ireland in 2006 when Maurice Hanafin and Seamus Enright found one near Kilbaha, County Clare. That was a female first winter. I also had tree-top views of males in Panama and they are striking birds but it was fantastic to see males so close at Magee Marsh, so close at times there was no need for bins as they fed within touching distance (and no, I didn't try to touch them!).

Male Canada Warbler
In the afternoon I birded a trail near the visitor centre and had White-crowned Sparrow and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. I almost stood on a Northern Water Snake (scared the crap out of me, not venomous but I didn't know that at the time). I watched an Eastern Phoebe flycatching from some pines in the parking lot.
In the evening I gave the photography spot an hour, I had it to myself and while the only decent shot I got was of a female Black-throated Blue Warbler, I did have tree-top views of a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak (lifer) and a Veery joined the other thrushes briefly before an American Robin chased it away (pity, as I really like Veerys and wanted a photo).

Female Black-throated Blue Warbler

Before I left a birder came up to me and asked if I had seen the roosting Nighthawk, I hadn't, so he took me off to show it. I was very glad he did, it was roosting high up in a sycamore near the west entrance. Here's a record shot of a life bird for me.

Roosting Common Nighthawk
As I packed up to head off I had the feeling that while tomorrow would be quieter, a lot of people that I gotten to know over the course of the last four days would also have finished their time at Magee and moved on too. The boardwalk would be easier to move around but a less people to share the experience with of seeing these amazing birds. The weather too didn't suggest that there would be an arrival of new migrants and I expected that a clear-out would be evident.

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