Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May Migration Magic at Magee Marsh

[May 2016. Magee Marsh, OH]

While the title of this post is purposefully contrived to be a tongue twister, we assure the reader that its import is not. Indeed, come the month of May, the Southern shores of Lake Erie in Oak Harbor, Ohio, come alive with the arrival of countless neotropical migrants -- as warblers, blackbirds, sparrows, thrushes and shorebirds break their epic journey from tropical America to rest and refuel en route to their nesting grounds farther up North.

Dutifully, as this blogger has endeavored to do over the years, a record of observations of species and their dates of occurrence has been maintained at this Flickr Album -- indeed, at the current count, a full 1287 photographic records may be found stretching back to 2011.

Each year at Magee is different -- this year, the expected "big waves" were fewer and later. Nonetheless, there were truly some spectacular days when a single tree or brush could be found laden with 4 to 6 species of warbler -- and that too, at close quarters. This blogger knows of no other venue where number, diversity and proximity are all so favorable to observers. And, for proof, look no further than this scene from the famous boardwalk:

 
Highlights from 2016 include a good showing of Northern Parula, Nashville Warbler and Cape May Warbler; on the downside, the "overshoot" warblers were missed (eg., Yellow-throated, Kentucky and Worm-eating) as were the scarce warblers such as Mourning, Hooded and Cerulean.


And thus, without farther ado, let's get to the birds:

American Redstart:




American Woodcock:




Bald Eagle: 





Black-and-white Warbler:




Bay-breasted Warbler:






Blackburnian Warbler:





Baltimore Oriole:


Blackpoll Warbler:




Barn Swallow:


Brown Thrasher:


Black-throated Blue Warbler:




Black-throated Green Warbler:




Cape May Warbler:




Chestnut-sided Warbler:




Common Yellowthroat:


Downy Woodpecker:


Great Horned Owl:


Great-crested Flycatcher:


Golden-crowned Kinglet:


House Wren:


Lincoln's Sparrow:




Magnolia Warbler:




Myrtle Warbler:




Northern Parula:




Nashville Warbler:




Northern Waterthrush:




Palm Warbler:




Pine Warbler:




Prothonotary Warbler:




Scarlet Tanager:



Tennessee Warbler:





White-throated Sparrow:



Warbling Vireo:




Yellow Warbler:




While Magee Marsh is rightly described as a Mecca for birds and birders alike, it is no less an attraction for the naturalist photographer -- to get the once-in-a-lifetime luscious close-ups of species in their breeding prime.
 

1 comment:

  1. It's good to see your once-in-a-lifetime photography so prolific in your blog, Hemant. The overshoot of the birds was a very unfortunate condition for you this year. You are certainly still making observations at Magee Marsh, as is my hope at least. While visiting my brother in Salisbury, Massachusetts in mid May, it was warm enough to have the windows of the house open at night. There was one particular morning (5/19) when a near deafening chorus of bird calls woke me from my slumber about an hour before sunrise. It was an experience which I thought included many species ready to make their next migratory leap. I considered making a recording of the event on my cell phone as the voices of the birds gradually diminished. Having failed to do so has me merely remember this remarkable event that was extinguished before sunrise and regrettably not repeated in the following week. It's my hope that it will not be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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