08 May 2012

Warblering Free...OHIO (9 May)

Have spent the last few days warblering along the infamous Magee Marsh boardwalk in Ohio - the home of American Warblers. Thew last few days have seen some choice sightings including Blackpolls, Bay-breasteds, and a stunning couple of Hooded Warblers yesterday.
After the rigors of a challenging spring in Texas, dominated by strong southerly winds and some frustratingly slow periods of migration, this was just the antidote needed...lots of warblers, and in full song too. After the silent springs down in High Island (where they sing little as they are so far south of their Boreal breeding grounds), it is always a joy to hear the Magee chorus of warblers. Don't get me wrong, High Island, will always be very special to me, and probably cannot ever be surpassed as my favorite US birding destination, but it's nice to have the contrast in birding styles. When at Magee, it is back to birding by ear, which we oft forget when dealing with the mute migrants down south.

Today's highlight was several feisty male Prothonotary Warblers daring you not to pick them as your favorite warbler, and competing with the local Tree Swallows for nesting cavities. One persistetn lemony male has been driven out from a hole several times by a belligerent pair of swallows staking their claim to the hole. Another crowd favorite today was this male Northern Parula that hung around in front of a wall of lenses at the close of day. It may have had a crowd that any Hollywood star would have been proud of, although the parula showed none of the antics of actors in the face of the paparazzi, and simply foraged away plucking bugs from the trees, as if there was no one there...magical.  

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