With warbler numbers on the wane, after a a prolonged period of northerly winds, and a band of rain to the south of us here at Magee Marsh in Ohio, blocking birds from moving north, it was good to have other avian distractions to relieve the relative lack of warblers. Namely, two nesting American Woodcocks had been sitting on eggs over recent days by the parking lot no less, and finally one of the clutches had emerged to the delight of many. When I heard the news I rushed over to find the "hen" American Woodcock bobbing (as only woodcocks can do), with four fuzzballs walking behind, and even, on odd occasions, trying, badly, to imitate their mothers distinct gait. Comical does not even cut it. This was birding at its very best and this was thoroughly absorbing. This was my first ever sighting of young woodcocks, or "woodcocklets", and it was every bit as exciting as I thought it would be. The news spread fast, and pretty soon a crowd had gathered to enjoy the experience.
I visited later and was alarmed to find that a lone chick, calling desperately, seemed to have lost the three other chicks and the adult bird. At times the chick wandered, precariously, towards the parking lot, initiating some people to shoo the bird back towards cover, and hopefully away from danger. Thankfully, the next morning I and a few others found the mother again, complete with all four chicks, and saw them wander across the potentially dangerously car park, emerge unscathed, and disappeared off into the safety of the woods, and were soon lost from view. A happy ending to a great story from the natural world.
With winds changing soon, and warblers stacked up further south, I sincerely hope to be posting more migrants, and especially warblers, soon...!?