21 May 2013

Homage to Woodcocks...OHIO (May)

Although I have enjoyed American Woodcocks  at Magee Marsh each and every one of the five springs now I have partaken in the spring season there, it was not until this year that I nailed a truly good shot of one. It was only this year when I saw them virtually beak-to-nose patrolling around with newly-hatched fluff ball chicks that I finally got the shot (s) I had craved for five years. But it was well worth the wait. The views of the odd "shorebird" were outrageously good, and I appreciated its oddity all over again: the eyes sat so far up on the head, its ability to disappear at a moments notice, even though it is stood right out in the open, and, of course, that strange, bobbing gait. For a long period before the "hen" woodcock had sat on a nest completely in the open with the sun on her back (this is not where woodcocks are mean to nest-they should be under the shade of the woods!), patiently tolerant of a regular stream of birding admirers who would pop in to check on her progress. Then finally, one day there she was parading around (or should that be bobbing around), with four furry things in tow. It was a great observation, tempered slightly when I returned several hours later to see one of the chicks looking lost, with no sign of the other three or its mother. However, a happy ending was ensured when the next day tje brazen mother walked all four chicks across the Magee Marsh parking lot, at the height of the birding season (i.e. it was jam-packed with hundreds of cars and people), and safely guided them back into the woods, where woodcocks should really be! Along with the Long-eared Owl and Ruff in NW Ohio this spring my personal spring highlights.

More to come from spring 2013....

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