Thursday, May 5, 2011

Zee-zee-zee-zur-Zee! - 03 May 2011

It was supposed to be a nice day... Its Tuesday morning and I'm on my way to Ottawa Co. and Magee Marsh in Ohio.  Its pouring.  Today's forecast now calls for high winds and rain all day.  Since I'd taken a vacation day to go birding I decided to chance it and go, anyway.

After passing the 3 Cattle Egrets just before the entrance to Ottawa NWR I arrived at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory shortly after 7 am.  The boardwalk was empty, and only 1 car was in the lot (and he was reading the paper).  I cracked the window and listened to the chorus of birds coming from the west end of the boardwalk, so I decided to get wet and walk around.  I left the camera in the car so it wouldn't get soaked and just took the binoculars.

As I stood atop the observation tower I spotted the first of many Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers and Palm Warblers.  A Nashville Warbler made a brief appearance, followed by an Orange-crowned Warbler.  Somewhere below me a Northern Waterthrush was belting out its song. 

I made a complete loop of the boardwalk.  Along the east loop I spotted a stunning Yellow-breasted Chat perched on one of the downed willows just feet from the boardwalk.  Ten feet away was a lovely (but soaked) male Prothonotary Warbler.  No camera ('nuff said).  Then the rain let up.

I returned to the car to get my camera gear.  I draped a tower over the camera/lens/flash to protect it from the rain, which started up again just minutes after returning to the boardwalk.  Along the way I espied Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, White-throated Sparrows, a lovely Black-throated Green Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, beautiful looks at a Tennessee Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Gray Catbird, and House Wrens.  I had hoped to find the Virginia Rails and Sora seen earlier in the week, but found only Yellow Warblers, Swamp Sparrows, and a female Rufous-sided Towhee.

I ran into the first humans a bit after 9 am and made my way back around the boardwalk.  I failed to relocate the Chat or the Prothonotary, but did run into a nice male Black-throated Blue Warbler.  Yellow-rumps and Palms were everywhere, but surprisingly elusive for photos. 

I then heard the beautiful and distinct, 'zee-zee-zee-zur-zee' of a Black-throated Green Warbler.  The bird appeared overhead and proceeded to forage within 2 feet of the railing!

I followed it for the next 10 minutes trying to capture some images of the stunning male as it hopped, foraged, and paused to belt out its song.  I was able to get several sharp images to go along w/ the dozens of soft, out-of-focus images due to the camera focusing on nearby branches or leaves.  But I was happy!

I returned to the car to grab a bite to eat before heading for another loop.  As I was exiting the west end of the boardwalk a tattered male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was huddled next to the wooden path and munching on some seed.  The singing Northern Waterthrush was foraging among the flooded trees and appeared long enough for a quick photo.

The rains and cold returned with my next loop of the boardwalk.  Highlights of this trip were thrushes: Swainson's, Gray-cheeked, Hermit and Wood ThrushAmerican Robins and Gray Catbirds added to this list.  A Brown Thrasher brought some confusion when I couldn't figure out what thrush I was looking at as it flew through the woods.

Not quite done w/ warblers, I found a willing Black-and-White Warbler foraging in a tree above the boardwalk.

I might've been cold and soaked, but I was happy to have spent some quality time w/ the warblers this day. 

Time to celebrate the upcoming Biggest Week in Birding!


Bob said...

Stunning photos, Jerry (as usual). I love the close-up of the Black-and-White Warbler's face.

Bob said...

Stunning photos, Jerry (as usual). I especially love the close up of the Black-and-white Warbler's face.

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

What a great day! So many wonderful sightings and captures. Your last photo says it all!

Anna said...

Great up close warbler photos! Black-throated Greens are always so friendly!

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