I had the day off, so I headed to Magee Marsh and the Biggest Week in American Birding. I arrived at the parking lot shortly after 7 am and decided to park at the east end of the boardwalk. There, I ran into a couple of older gentleman (names unknown) and had a very pleasant discussion regarding cameras and photography (I was able to offer a couple of suggestions for budget bird photography). I then walked onto the boardwalk and immediately ran into Jeff and Dawn Simmons Fine, and Gunnar Engblom, director of Kolibri Expeditions and author of BirdingBlogs.com. It had rained the night before, and the boardwalk was as slick as wet ice, so footing was very delicate.
Near the south side of the boardwalk a pair of Black-capped Chickadees were courting, with a male presenting food to a quivering female. I managed a couple of pics before they flew off. A Blackpoll Warbler was calling in the distance, but failed to come close enough for any pics.
The Prothonotary Warbler made a brief appearance, as did a Blue-headed Vireo. A Brown Thrasher was foraging in the leaves near a large log, while both Veery and Swainson's Thrushes flew by the boardwalk.
To my absolute delight I ran into the Nemesis Bird team of Alex Lamoreaux, Anna Fasoli, Andrew Weber and Justine Weber. They had planned to be at Oak Openings today, so I'd been bummed that I was going to miss them. If you're unfamiliar with them check out their blog site. These are the birding stars and ornithologists of tomorrow!
I then ran into the great Charles Owen, and we walked the boardwalk toward the west end. A Lincoln's Sparrow appeared briefly, and I heard a Kentucky Warbler. Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was seen earlier near marker #4, and was still there when we arrived. Canada Warbler appeared, but refused to approach close enough for photos. A Golden-winged Warbler was reported nearby, so we joined a large crowd looking for it, but it was a no-show. Others would find a Golden-winged on the dike west of the parking lot on the lake, so at least two birds were in the area. Several Woodcock were near the boardwalk, and a number of folks were looking for them.
The tower area was hosting a singing Prothonotary Warbler that provided great looks and photos to many folks, while a Northern Parula was singing near the top of the tower. I saw local photography experts Rodney Laura and Andrew Sturgess, and got to talk with them for a few minutes.
I spotted Iain Campbell, co-owner of Tropical Birding Tours and said a quick hello. I then spotted Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association. I took the opportunity to introduce myself and we had a nice talk. I took the opportunity to congratulate and thank him for the terrific job that he's doing w/ the ABA. I'd wanted to get his picture, but was surprised when he asked to take mine, so we walked over to the boardwalk to get my picture taken for a possible spot in one of his future blogs.
I failed to find the Golden-winged Warbler along the lakeshore, but did hear a Black-billed Cuckoo on the way back. I saw Charles again, and he offered to drive me back to the car, but I declined, wanting to check the parking lot again before I headed off to meet the Birding Ohio group at Porkey's just down the road from the Black Swamp Observatory.
It was now noon, and I wanted to head to Porky's Pizza Trof, but first I had to stop by the Black Swamp Observatory to say 'hi' to fellow digiscoping guru Kevin Bolton, aka, the Jersey Digiscoper. We didn't have time to chat too long, so I stuck around and said hello to Stephen Ingraham, optics expert for Carl Zeiss and another fellow digiscoper.
Linda Rockwell. Kimberly Kaufman arrived, and I finally got to meet her in person (I even got a hug...:). Kenn Kaufman was also there, and I got to have my picture taken with him and the great "Dr. Bob" Setzer, himself.
|Jeff and Dawn Simmons Fine|
|Judy and 'Dr. Bob' Setzer|
Thank you, Ohio!