Monday, April 22, 2013

I Pity the Fool Who Misses BWIB! - 21 Apr 2013

This Hooded Warbler gave a look that would've scared Mr. T!  But what a stunner. This bird put on a show for dozens of ecstatic birders / photographers as it hammed it up next to the boardwalk at Magee Marsh.

Robin and I arrived shortly after 9 am and joined the rest of the (growing) crowd on the boardwalk.  A Cerulean Warbler, Pine Warbler and Prairie Warbler had been photographed here yesterday while Pt. Mouillee was making me her bitch.  I was hoping that one of these birds might show this morning.

Near the west entrance this Ovenbird appeared on the forest floor and casually walked (not hopped) through the leaves near the boardwalk, and gave wonderful looks from just a few feet away.  Other birds, like Winter Wrens and Hermit Thrush and White-throated Sparrow were less cooperative.  I was fascinated by this Ovenbird, though, that was in no hurry to be going anywhere.

Nearby a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was flashing its tail feathers and foraging in the branches just above the railings!

Just a few minutes later, though a group of photographers were stalking a bird along the shoreline, so I wandered down to check it out.  A Hooded Warbler!  And a stunning male ta'boot.  The bird was on a branch about 40' back on the ground, and was just sitting there.  We couldn't have been more surprised when it headed straight toward us.

For the next several minutes it flashed, foraged, and danced just a few feet away from us.  The morning sunlight was breaking through the clouds and trees and just lit the bird UP!  The shutters were clicking fast and furious, yet the tiny male Hooded Warbler did not seem to care. There was little surprise when Facebook would light up w/ photos of this bird for the next day and a half.

I continued on around toward the east end of the boardwalk, and managed to pick up some nice-but-obstructed views of Winter Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Blue-headed Vireo, and more Hermit Thrushes. Several Brown Thrashers made brief appearances but would not allow any photos. Singing Carolina Wrens and a Red-tailed Hawk had me searching the treetops w/o success.

I finally got a decent look at one of many Brown Creepers and snapped away as one bird foraged in the open.

Nearby another Hermit Thrush paused long enough for a few nice portrait shots, while a Wood Thrush surprised several of us w/ a cameo.

Returning to the car there was news of an Orange-crowned Warbler, but it would not reappear until after we left.  I would settle for a foraging Ruby-crowned Kinglet that flew to branches within inches of my head (too close to photograph). Meanwhile several others had seen and photographed the Hooded Warbler, as well as a White-eyed Vireo.  American Woodcock was sighted on the forest floor.  As we were leaving I watched several Yellow-rumped Warblers fly in from the Lake Erie shoreline along w/ several more Blue-gray Gnatcatchers.

So, the birds are starting to arrive, and anticipation is building for the next 3 weeks of birding.

Don't be the fool, and make sure to get out here to Magee Marsh for the Biggest Week in American Birding.  There's a reason this place is called the Warbler Capital of the World!

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