Sunday, May 12, 2013

BWIAB - Day 10 - 11 May 2013

The day started cold with heavy clouds and the threat of rain.  But that didn't stop folks from filling the parking lot at Magee Marsh 3/4 by 7 am.  By 8 am the parking lot would be full, with the majority of birders milling around the west entrance to the boardwalk.

Warbling Vireo
I started at the east end for a quick loop of the marsh, and immediately heard the calls of Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Black-throated Green and Black-and-White Warblers.  Charles Owens was coming from the other direction (he had been here since 5 am...) and was willing to walk w/ me back toward the west end.

At the big loop a cooperative American Redstart foraged a few feet away, and I was able to get a photo or two before the gorgeous male bird flew back into the canopy.  The flash and Better Beamer produced a bit of a harsh light, but w/o them the birds would be dark and blurry.

I finally met the great Brian Zwiebel, one of Midwest's finest bird photographers, a few moments later.

Palm Warbler
Swainson's Thrush and Veery were pretty common birds this morning, as the Hermit Thrush has seemed to move on.  Overall the birds weren't as cooperative as reported yesterday, but there were plenty to watch through binoculars: Northern Parula, Cape May, Tennessee, Nashville, Black-throated Blue and Black-throated Green Warblers.  Myrtle Warblers were moving in small flocks of 4 - 6 birds at a time, as were Palm Warblers.  We also picked up Blackpoll and Canada Warbler at farther distances. A highlight of the morning was running into Debbie and Paul Miller, who I'd met last year on the trip to Oak Openings.  We stopped long enough for a group photo (or three - someone kept closing their eyes...).

We had nice looks at a pair of Carolina Wrens that were foraging on the ground and on at the base of the trees, but I was at poor angles most of the time.  No keepers.

At the west end the boardwalk was packed w/ too many birders, and we could barely get through.  We decided that next year the BSBO should sell t-shirts saying "We Survived the Boardwalk".  With display tents set up next to the boardwalk Charles showed me the "Warblers of Magee Marsh" poster he was selling, with proceeds going to the BSBO.  They make great Mother's Day gifts, folks!

It was great running into Mary Tremblay and chatting w/ her and her friends from Florida.

Overhead a Common Nighthawk was roosting in the tree over the parking lot.  Charles had watched it fly into roost early this morning.  I was going to walk back to the car for the scope so that I'd could digiscope it, but the morning was getting late.  Instead, I plodded along the parking lot looking for warblers.

I ran into a cooperative Nashville Warbler foraging overhead.  It even came down low enough to display a glimpse of its red cap!

A Tennessee Warbler was belting out its 'tsika-tsika-tsika-che-che-che-che' call nearby.  I finally spotted it and got a pic or two before it disappeared. Note the yellowish wash to the throat - it indicates a female bird.  Too bad the Cape May and Blackburnian Warbler that were also in the same tree move back into the woods out of reach of the camera.

I'm hoping to get down here one last time during the week before the trees leaf out and the birds move on.

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