Sunday, June 15, 2008

EEOB birding trip to Magee Marsh

May 18, 2008. Our last birding trip of the academic year was a huge success. I had always heard of warblers dripping off the trees at Magee Marsh during peak migration, but I hadn't expected it to be literally true. Well, it was, and it was truly an amazing site. We had enough participants to fill my minivan, and we met at 5 am to drive up to the shore of Lake Erie.

We arrived at about 8 am, just in time for the visitors center to open. Barn swallows were nesting in the rafters over the entrance.

Purple martins were in the bird condo next to the building. This was a life bird for me - the first of several for the day.

The ubiquitous Canada Goose family.

Cape May warbler

We spent about the first hour just in the parking lot on the edge of the boardwalk entrance. The sun was shining here and the birds were very active picking off insects off the foliage.

Cedar waxwings

A juvenile Bald Eagle . . .

being chased by a Grackle. Cheeky, eh?

Birders were flooding the parking lot and boardwalk. Aside from the occasional thunderstorm, including small hail, it was a perfect birding day.

Magnolia warbler

Rose-breasted Grosbeak. This fellow was seranading us with his beautiful song for quite a long while.

Philadelphia vireo

American Redstart

My favorite lifer for the day - Whip-poor-will. It looks like a burl . . .

American Robin nestlings

Wilson's Warbler

Northern Parula

One of the best sightings of the day, and another life bird for me: Connecticut Warbler. This bird was super cooperative for all the paparazzi flashing it. Dozens and dozens of birders were maneuvering for a look, and everyone was very nice about showing it to newcomers.

We stopped at Ottawa Nature Reserve to go look at the ponds. This Great Blue Heron was working something in the grass and we watched it tug and tug. . .

until it dislodged this water snake. It was probably a Lake Erie watersnake.

I suspect the bird was heading to some rocks to bang the snake senseless before swallowing it. Eeeeeyew!

A Baltimore Oriole collecting nest material

Herons are certainly successful predators. We stopped briefly at Metzger Marsh and spotted this Green Heron gobbling a huge bull frog. You can see the frog's foot poking out of the bird's beak there.

The frog put up quite a fight,

but the bird eventually succeeded in swallowing it.

We had a great day of birding with about 75 species seen. What a fantastic end to a nice series of bird trips with EEOB faculty and students.

No comments: