Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Biggest Week in Birding, Day 3 - 5 May 2013

I arrived at the east end of the boardwalk at Magee Marsh promptly at 9 am.  I was looking forward to catching up w/ Anna Fasoli and Cory DeStein of Nemesis Bird fame, and spending the morning birding with them.  The parking lot was already full, and reports of good birds were already coming in.

I took the boardwalk almost to the big loop when I ran into Anna and Cory and chatted with them a bit.  Stephen Ingraham made an appearance, and was taking videos of the boardwalk and the birding experience happening at the time. We chatted for a few minutes before Anna and I headed back toward the parking lot and a return to the boardwalk from the west entrance (she and Cory had a Worm-eating Warbler there, and it was a target bird of mine).  Along the way we stopped to take a quick photo of the most famous American Woodcock in all of Ohio - this little lady was incubating eggs right in the parking lot for hundreds to see and photograph.  Just one day later she would be presenting 4 new chicks to the entire Biggest Week crowd!

No sooner did we leave the Timberdoodle to her business that we ran into a very cooperative and beautiful Magnolia Warbler along the edge of the parking lot next to the boardwalk.  For several minutes we both fired dozens of photographs of this gorgeous male from just several feet away.  A Chestnut-sided Warbler joined the fray for just a moment, as well. Nice start!

A crowd of birders had gathered at the west end, where most of the bird activity seemed to be taking place.  We hadn't stepped 10 feet into the place before a beautiful Blackburnian Warbler made an appearance just a foot over my head - too close to photograph!  A Baltimore Oriole also followed nearby and put itself in very close quarters.  A nice Bay-breasted Warbler also presented itself for a pic or two.

Once the activity slowed just enough I had time to take in crowds on the boardwalk.  Birders appeared to be coming from all over the place.

Me photographing Charles Owens photographing
Kayleen King Perez photographing...
Anna and Cory

A very cooperative Worm-eating Warbler was nearby, so we continued on around the small loop, stopping just long enough to see a Northern Waterthrush, and spending a few minutes waiting for a Black-throated Blue Warbler to come our way.  It would make us wait, and so we eventually headed toward the next crowd, which had spotted the Worm-eating Warbler foraging just above the ground about 15' back from the boardwalk.

My only chance at seeing/photographing the bird required squatting down and poking my lens through the bottom rail of the boardwalk.  But there it was, a lovely Worm-eating Warbler!  Nemesis bird no more...  We spent several minutes trying to photograph the bird as it bounced in and out of view.  With autofocusing nearly impossible due to innumerable branches, I had to resort to manual focusing.  It worked surprisingly well.  I also made sure to keep the flash off so I could get fast enough shutter speeds. When I finally stood up I found myself in company with the great Jeff's Loughman and Schulz!  What a great surprise.

Totally satisfied w/ our efforts, we continued on, where Anna quickly picked out a Blackpoll Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo.  Both birds were a bit of distance off, but gave nice binocular views even if photos required heavy cropping...

Just a few seconds later we would spot a Hooded Warbler foraging in the trees directly next to the boardwalk. Unfortunately the bird was constantly ducking behind the trunk, and moving so fast, that we exhausted ourselves trying to get a decent capture. For the next 15 minutes we panned and held the cameras and lens above our heads until our arms shook. But we managed a few keepers among the dozens of blurry butte shots...

We were thinking that we could relax for a moment, but then a gorgeous Black-throated Blue Warbler appeared in the next tree and promptly posed for several minutes.  A second set of reps later and we had some very nice images of this beauty.

But wait! There's more.  No sooner does this bird leave that a singing Yellow Warbler appears directly overhead. Over my head!  I had to lean backward to get this pic. A less-cooperativer Black-throated Green Warbler appeared, followed by a more-cooperative Chestnut-sided Warbler.  Whew!

We moved on along the boardwalk near the big loop, and found a singing White-eyed Vireo working the thickets about 100' back.  It came out long enough for long-distance photo.  Someone then yelled out 'Worm-eating Warbler' directly in front of us.  So we scanned the ground for the next five minutes trying to find the warbler before a nonchalant Ovenbird walked out from under a large log.  False alarm!

We wandered around to the east end of the big loop and found a perching Eastern Kingbird posing nicely just off the rails to our right.  Gorgeous!

By now things had slowed to enough of a crawl that we started thinking about lunch.  So Anna, Cory and I headed back to the cars and drove over to Blackberry Corner for some lunch.  On the way out I had to stop to grab one last photo of a soaring Red-tailed Hawk.

Thank you Anna and Cory for a great morning of birding!


Cory DeStein said...

Great pictures and write up Jerry! Really enjoyed reading it, my disgusted face in that photo must have been when I was trying to get that Hooded Warbler!

Dawn Fine said...

Gorgeous photos Jerry! So many birds to see there! Hope to see you next year!

Jon Swanson said...

So these were not digiscoped?

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