17 May 2009

“Special K” turns up the heat at Magee…(Magee Marsh, Ohio): 17 May 2009

After a bumper morning of warbler fun at the “Magee Migration Madhouse”, Iain Campbell and I opted for some downtime with local birder Ethan Kistler at another good Ohio birding site, Oak Openings. Ethan was hunting for Red Crossbill for his Ohio list. We had only been there for five minutes, (and already enjoyed a couple of smart-dressed Red-headed Woodpeckers and singing Field Sparrows), when the call came in – KIRTLAND’S WARBLER at Magee Marsh, where we had been guiding just this morning. All thoughts of crossbills were forgotten and we were quickly swinging the car back in the direction we came. Forty-five minutes later and still no-one had re-found the bird since the teenage birder from Michigan found it at 1pm. It was now near 3pm. Iain was unfazed and walked right onto the bird, when mayhem then ensued as many birders on site went into panic as this was a lifebird for many (the bird is endangered and highly localized, breeding almost exclusively in young, dense Jack Pine stands in Michigan, with just a few other very recent records in Wisconsin too). The bird popped up and we all happily labelled it a female, only for my later wings spread shots to reveal it was actually a first spring male. The bird was a bitch to be frank, and spent long hours evading us all, but right near 7pm (and after another long, long period of frustrating absence), Iain Campbell once again returned to the boardwalk and casually walked right onto the bird for the second time that day, and quickly created another rapid-fire on site twitch for the second time today. Lifebird for Iain and me, and the good old feeling for me of a classic British twitch of old (e.g. Golden-winged Warbler in 1989, minus several thousand people!). Good stuff.

1 comment:

Jana said...

Hi Sam, Glad to make your acquaintance today. My husband and I were standing by our white Honda today at Oak Openings when you all got the call about the Kirtland's warbler. Congratulations on seeing it, and thanks for posting the photos!