Sunday, May 11, 2014

Magical Day at The BWIAB - 08 May 2014

Blackburnian Warbler
After successfully re-finding the Long-billed Curlew at Willow Run A/P in Wayne Co., MI I took off for NW Ohio and The Biggest Week in American Birding festival.  I arrived shortly before 10 am and stopped off at the Optics Alley tent to spend some time w/ Stephen Ingraham and Paul Sayegh, inventor of the new Digidapter™ digiscoping adapter.  Paul was telling me that he was excited to announce adapters that now fit the ATX/STX line of Swarovski scopes, as well as Kowa and Leica scopes (in addition to Zeiss).  While chatting a stunning male Scarlet Tanager landed in the maple tree next to the tent, but I was too slow w/ my scope to get any photos.

The parking lot was already full when I reached the boardwalk at 11 am, and had to park in the overflow lot next to the East Boardwalk entrance.  A gorgeous male Baltimore Oriole provided the first pics of the morning from the trees next to the parking lot, and from then on the rest of the day would be hopping!  I was going to title this post "Kabillion" since I calculated that the Number of Birders x Number of Birds x Number of Photographs being taken = 1 Kabillion (even).

Cape May Warbler
Yellow Warblers were everywhere, and singing! Nashville Warblers held one group of birders' attention, while a gorgeous Blackburnian Warbler held another crowd's attention.  A lovely Cape May Warbler held still another crowd captive. And on, and on, and on...

Nashville Warbler

A highlight bird for most people might be this Mourning Warbler that was close to the boardwalk all morning. Canada Warbler was also seen, but I dipped.  Apparently a large flock of Indigo Buntings landed in the parking lot at 7:30 am and thrilled those already there.

American Redstarts, Gray Catbirds, Northern Parula, and Magnolia Warblers were everywhere.

I was a bit stunned to overhear someone call the Black-throated Blue Warbler a 'trash bird'! No way!  Bay-breasted Warblers and Blackpoll Warblers, on the other hand, were a bit more challenging to find.

Bay-breasted Warbler
female Blackpoll Warbler - note yellowish wash on chin and white vent

note black stripes on back

I ran into Patricia Rydzewski and we walked the boardwalk, finding Blue-headed Vireos and Chestnut-sided Warblers.

Out in the parking lot an American Woodcock was on nest. Luckily her area is roped off so noone inadvertently steps on her or her eggs. Toward the Port-a-Potties a Common Nighthawk was roosting in broad daylight high up on a branch along the edge of the parking lot.  I managed a few digiscoped images.

My back was feeling the strain of carrying three cameras so I tried to nap in the car.  But watching a steady wave of Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Palm, and Chestnut-sided Warblers moving along the parking lot, I decided to try my hand at some digiscoping.  Not-easy-at-all!  But I managed a few keepers.


A Baltimore Oriole making regular passes at the oranges made for a nice digiscoping subject.

At about 4 pm I took another walk on the Boardwalk.  With the sun starting to lower in the sky, the winds were starting to calm, and suddenly the warblers were at eye-level or lower.  Stunning looks at Chestnut-sided Warblers, Black-throated Blues, and American Redstarts just inches away was amazing.


female Common Yellowthroat w/ serious conjunctivitis

Swainson's Thrush - note buffy eye-ring and cheeks

American Redstart - check out those rictal bristles!

presumed Least Flycatcher

As I returned to the car a large crowd was enjoying eye-popping looks at a Prothonotary Warbler that was foraging next to the Boardwalk.  At points the gorgeous male was foraging on the Boardwalk under people's feet.  Incredible.

As part of the Biggest Week in America Blogging Team, I had the opportunity to have dinner with other bloggers at the cottage of Linda Rockwell. It was the chance to meet some of the other wonderful folks who help make this festival one-of-a-kind special.  Thank you all for making this a great day!


h2otara said...

Incredible number of great birds and photos! Have a wonderful time Jerry.

Kevin said...

Great shots Jerry I miss not being there ,,,Migration was so so here with almost everything being at treetops made it difficult and Suck..I will definitely make it next year if somebody sponsors me or not.

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