Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Migration Time in Ohio

Red-winged Blackbird
When it's May in Louisville, everyone's thoughts turn to horse racing and mint juleps. This year, it rained for three solid days during Derby Week, and I was glad to stay home and ignore the entire event.
Red-winged Blackbird female
However, in the world of birding, all eyes turn to the birder's Mecca, Magee Marsh in Northwestern Ohio on Lake Erie.  This is the shortest distance across the Great Lakes to Canada for birds migrating  northward to nest. If the weather is bad, they all hunker down in the many parks and nature preserves, eating bugs and getting ready for the flight across Lake Erie.
Common Yellowthroat
Birders migrate in from all over the United States as well, on the lookout for their favorite warblers in particular. Dick and I drove almost 5 and a half hours through pouring rain, and waiting to get around accidents in Cincinnati. We used the time to bone up on our bird calls, especially some of the warblers. They are especially difficult, in my mind, since they are small, hop around ALL the time, and mostly seem to stay directly overhead, resulting in "warbler neck" for the birder below. Another birder found some Nashville Warblers and a Blackburnian, so I got good looks at them, but no photos.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak male and female with Red-winged Blackbird
When we arrived in Oregon, OH, our hotel room wasn't ready, so we went down to Maumee Bay State Park, headquarters for the Biggest Week in Birding! The park has a boardwalk through a large marshy area. Altogether, we saw and heard 30 species today.
 Of course, not everything you see will have feathers. This little raccoon hid in a hollow tree.
Eastern Screech Owl
The park provides nesting boxes for owls, swallows, wood ducks, and anything else that wants to move in to one. This little red Screech Owl hid behind some leaves for a snooze, knowing that nothing would be able to find him behind the leaves.
Blue Jay
We are meeting Dick's sister and her new boyfriend who is a birder. They haven't been to Magee Marsh yet, and it's been several years since we last came. Lots of great birds to find in the next couple of days!

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