10 May 2013

World Series of Warblers...OHIO (9 May)

So the "birding soothsayers" had gazed into the crystal ball that is the weather map and all that means for migration, and put it out there that this was to be THE day of the week so far. Hopes were high, radar maps backed up their bold predictions, showing masses of birds on the move, after a week that had seen precious little migration in this part of the Midwest. So we were out early, ready for a day of rain, and migrants with it. As it turned out, barely a drop of rain was felt in this part of northwest Ohio for most of the day, despite an ominous sky looming overhead all day long. However, the other thing we were prepared for was migrants, and, of course, warblers in particular; and we got them, in spades! Before we had even made it to the famous Magee Marsh Wildlife Area boardwalk, the tweets were coming in, revealing a swathe of new individuals and species from the day before.

I decided to check out the now famous, new, Crane Creek Estuary Trail (which famously produced an all-day Kirtland's last year), but found it hard to make headway from the car park as Black-throated Blue, Canada, and Blue-winged Warblers blocked my path. Then, once I had made it on to the trail itself, a gorgeous Golden-winged Warbler stopped me in my tracks. It was clearly going to be one of those classic Magee days we all revel in. By the day's end I had bumped into a further 2 (at least) Golden-winged Warblers, Mourning Warbler (thanks Sherrie for the tip-off), and a super confiding

Northern Parula (that literally wowed the tower crowd all day long). This led to a heady total of TWENTY FIVE WARBLER SPECIES for the day (2 less than my all-time highest day total of 27), which was a total I shared with two other Tropical Birding guides-Cameron and Scott, who were competing with me in our own, grandly-titled, "World Series of Warblers". The loser was to pay for a round of drinks (no non-alcoholic drinks allowed), but in the end we were tied. Scott and I got Golden-winged up on Cameron, who spent his time at Cedar Point NWR, while he got a Yellow-throated Warbler up on us there at this closed area.

Other highlights included healthy numbers of Least Flycatchers, Veery, Swainson's, Hermit, and Wood Thrushes, a beach-combing Clay-colored Sparrow, a day-roosting Whip-poor-whill (why are all of them this year in non-photogenic conditions!?), and a super evening Prothonotary Warbler admiring its own reflection in the water, providing a final, magical moment of the day.

I have 3 days left to enjoy spring migration, and I intend to, whatever the weather and whatever the birds!...

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