22 May 2009

Warblers check out, Flycatchers check in at the “Magee Migration Resort”…(Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Magee Marsh, Ohio): 21 May 2009

This week we had the high of the promise of southerly winds and a third wave of migrants dropping in at Magee Marsh, that was cruelly dashed as we realized with a little dismay that the large mass of birds witnessed on radar moving up from the south must have sailed straight over us under cover of darkness. A quiet time at Magee has seen many warblers desert the woods, although flycatchers have come in to replace them, and with a distinct change in the style of birding. Before we watched a myriad of colourful warblers dangling all around us. Now we scrutinized subtle grays, olives and whites to work our way through the Empidonax flycatcher crowd that has since come into Magee Marsh woods, on the southern shores of Lake Erie. These late movers are the biggest ID challenge in the US and we have enjoyed in similar proportion IDing some and leaving a good few unnamed too.

Over the past few days Willow Flycatchers have moved in around the Obs itself at Black Swamp, although despite calling continually in these areas I am still looking for my first countable one (i.e. one that I physically see singing, seeing as this is basically the only 100% reliable method of ID on current knowledge). An Alder Flycatcher sung his way onto my list today along the boardwalk that also held a few Yellow-bellied Flycatchers, the odd Least Flycatcher, as well as Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Wood-pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher making for a bumper crop of 8 flycatchers over the past few days.

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