14 May 2012

International Migratory "Kirtland's" Day...OHIO (12 May)

Well, Saturday dawned with the large parking lot at Magee Marsh packed with cars, which could only mean one thing...it was either International Migratory Bird Day (traditionally the busiest day of the spring season) or there were some great birds around. As it happened both were true. Some of the long-established scenes from this special spring day were there to see as usual...Tom Bartlett perched on his ladder (YES-ladder) doing his traditional fund-raising big sit from his lofty perch, and swathes of Amish were in town sporting their distinctive dress, and keen eyes on the birds. Indeed it was an Amish group that brought so much joy to many that day as they stumbled upon a female-type (or immature male?) Kirtland's Warbler along the new Ottawa NWR Crane Creek Estuary Trail. Up until this point many did not even realize this trail existed (indeed it is new since last spring), although I doubt anyone in the Magee Marsh/Ottawa area on Saturday will ever forget this trail. The Kirtland's hit the headlines mid-morning and was still performing in the evening bringing many people a lifebird and lot of people excellent views of this scarce warbler, which amazingly turned up on at least four occasions in the week at both Ottawa NWR and Magee.

Indeed it turned out to be a good day for warblers all round for me with other choice species including several - Bay-breasted Warbler sharing an area with a couple of patched male Cape May Warblers which both drew considerable attention from a small gathering which were watching in excitement. Squeezed in between these warbler viewings was a red-ringed Black-billed Cuckoo, which was my first at Magee this spring, and was one of a handful adoring the trees there on this day. However, best of all, besides the "Special K" of course, was a super male Mourning Warbler that abandoned its usual furtive habits and popped up in plain view of an appreciative group of around 100 birders late on. The suddenly (and just as I had realized I had forgotten in the excitement of the moment to raise my camera-a Homer Simpson moment for sure!), it took off and flew low over everyone's heads, then dropped out of sight, at which point a loud cheer and applause went up from the group. I am not appalled to say I was infected with the moment and clapped heartily too! It is these snapshot magic moments in birding that I wished I had the nuance at the time to film, as they would perhaps convey to the new birder or non-birder the extreme heights of elation that these marvelous winged creatures produce among us. Indeed I hope to be clapping warblers at Magee Marsh each spring from now on. It is truly a special place for warblers, and the community spirit among the birders there. I definitely once again felt part of the "flock" there this spring, so thanks to all who made it so, and I enjoyed every warbler-filled moment! 

More to come from Magee mighty soon...

1 comment:

jay said...

What a wonderful description of the excitement surrounding the spotting of a Kirtland's Warbler at Magee Marsh. We were on the boardwalk when a woman ran buy yelling "Kirtland's on the Crane Creek/Estuary Trail". Off we, and hundreds of others went. She was the Pied Piper of Kirtland's. We had great views of the bird both morning and later in the day. The bird seemed oblivious to the hundreds of viewers and cameras clicking and flashing away. Thanks for the photos too.
Jay and Carol Hadlock
Herndon, VA