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Archive for February, 2017

MAY 12-16, 2017  Warbler Capital of the World: Magee Marsh, Ohio 

Magee Marsh, a prime migrant trap for North American warblers and songbirds during spring migration, is located in north-west Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie; the fourth largest of the Great Lakes of North America.
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Standing on the famed boardwalk surrounded by large numbers of warblers, grosbeaks, thrushes, orioles, and other songbirds preparing to migrate to their breeding grounds in the north is an unforgettable experience not to be missed. Seeing a tiny jewel of a warbler so close that you do not even need binoculars is a rare and breath taking encounter.  Twenty-nine (29) species of warblers are possible with many close encounters with these jewels. The numbers and the experiences are Magee Marsh’s claim as the “warbler capital of the world”.

The boardwalk meanders through a diversity of mini-habitats including thickets, brush piles, damp bog like ground, shallow ponds, and trees and shrubs of various kinds and heights. Each mini-habitat is a favored feeding site for the many migrants. We will walk casually along the boardwalk  watching for movement, stopping looking and listening as well as taking cues from the other birders along the boardwalk who are happy to share the birds they are watching.

warbler-chestnut-sided-dsc_456741-copyThis is a great place for photography and often times birds are so close that a telephoto lens is useless.  Even though there are many shrubs and trees, they have only just begun to leaf out so we will have many opportunities for good photos of the birds.

Another fun and interesting experience on the boardwalk will be the people. Birders of all skill levels, of all ages, from all walks of life, students of all ages, and a wide variety of styles of dress. The people are just a varied as the birds and also fun to watch!

Naturally migration is influenced by the weather and some days have fewer migrants arriving. But if migrating songbirds encounter the expanse of Lake Erie with a north wind or rain, they drop down by the hundreds to rest and feed before making the flight across the lake into Canada where they will breed. With a few good days of birding one can experience Twenty- nine species of warblers, with a possibility of the rare Connecticut and Kirkland’s Warblers, 6 species of vireo, many eastern songbirds, thrushes, flycatchers, waterfowl and shorebirds as they migrate north.

swan-trumpeter-dsc_13234-copyWe will stop in at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory located at the entrance to Magee Marsh where several vendors will be located. Also along the lake’s shoreline lies Maumee Bay State Park, Ottawa and Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuges. Here we will look for birds that we do not or are rarely see in Texas such as: Nesting Woodcock, Mute and Trumpeter Swans, American Black Duck, Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, Greater and Lesser Scaup (hopefully we will find them together to compare), Canada Geese, Ringed-necked Pheasant, Black-billed Cuckoo, Great black-backed Gull, Black-capped Chickadee, American Tree Sparrow, Snow Bunting, Bobolink, migrating shorebirds, and Golden Eagle (rare) to name only a few of the 307 species that have been recorded in the region.

We will spend most of our time looking for warblers and songbirds at Magee Marsh and Maumee Bay State Park, but some time looking for shorebirds, sparrows, and other birds at nearby locations. We will visit Magee Marsh, Ottawa Refuge, Fields, Pastures, and Roadsides in the surrounding area .

sparrow-rufous-sided-towhee-copyOne day we will drive to a unique area south of Toledo known as the “Oak Openings”. The Nature Conservancy says it is “one of the most important ecosystems in the country”.  These oak savannas once covered over 25 million acres and formed a transition zone between the prairies of the west and the forests of the east. Here we will look for breeding Lark Sparrow, Red-headed woodpecker, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Prairie Warbler, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Alder Flycatcher, Grasshopper Sparrow, Whip-poor-will and Henslow’s Sparrow (both rare).

Each day we will explore various locations for warblers, vireos, flycatchers, shorebirds, and songbirds. The habitat will be quite varied and beautiful. Some days we will spend more time in the wooded sections, other days more grassland/marsh/shoreline habitats. Some days we will have only a 20 minute drive to the site, other days about an hour’s drive. Each night before or after dinner we will review the days birding and I will give details of the next day’s location and other info. Our schedule will remain flexible to take advantage of the movement birds and the possible occurrence of a rare migrant which usually happens.

PRICING FOR TOUR

The price in $1445.00 double occupancy. Add $285 for a private room. Four nights and five days. Does not include airfare, meals other than breakfast at the hotel, personal items, tips, medical services or expenses if needed, lost or damaged optics, cameras or other gear or equipment.

To register for the trip, please email me per the contact form below. If the trip is not full, I will send you a confirmation with instructions for payment, flight, and other details.  If full, I will add you to a waiting list and notify you.

Additional information on flight arrangements, hotel, more specific itinerary, packing, clothing, and other details will be provided tour participants.

I hope you can join us for this truly spectacular Warbler Experience!

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Yes! I am interested in this fantastic tour. Please tell me more!

 

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