Magee Marsh, OHIO

May 14-17, 2015

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LCJ - Total Bird List

Decided on the spur of the moment to take a short trip out to Magee Marsh on the southern shores of Lake Erie in Ohio. This is a premier birding hotspot in spring with a big birding festival that attracts thousands of birders from all over the country. We timed our arrival to hit the closing days of the "Biggest Birding Week". We also decided to stick around the immediate Magee area since we only had a few days.

May 14, 2015:
We arrived, after an 8 hour drive, at the Magee boardwalk around 3:15 PM. The weather was pretty chilly and overcast but there were birds everywhere. The beauty of Magee is that the birds stack up along the coast, reluctant to cross Lake Erie, so they can build up in bird numbers. Coupled with the fact that most of the trees along the coast are quite short, birds are frequently well seen and quite low. Not that "warbler neck" is completely unavoidable but seeing birds here is so much easier than seeing them back home.

Very conspicuous because of their numbers, their vovalizations and the sheer brilliance of their plummage were the Baltimore Orioles which were everywhere.

Baltimore Oriole

We spent a couple of hours walking the boardwalk trail where we found: White-eyed and Warbling Vireos, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 10 species of warblers (Tennessee, Orange-crowned, No. Parula, Yellow, Magnolia, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, American Redstart, Mourning and Canada).

Before heading to the Comfort Inn in Oregon we stopped off for dinner at a local bar called the Crazy Girl Saloon; not fancy but good, simple food and lots of local color.

May 15, 2015
The day dawned very chilly and overcast so after breakfast we headed over to Metzger Marsh where we picked up a few waterbirds: Wood Duck, Mallards, Gadwall, and American Wigeon. We also found Pied-billed Grebe, Coots, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper and Dunlin, plus Caspian Tern and about a dozen Bald Eagles.

Driving to the end of the road there's a parking lot and a small woodlot which was really hopping with birds. Lots of Blackburnian Warblers, Blackpolls, Redstarts and more. This amount of activitiy made us anxious to get down the road to Magee and see what was happening there,

Magee provided an excellent collection of birds: Peewee, Yellow-bellied, Least and Great-crested Flycatcher. We also picked up lots of warblers including: Tennessee, Parula, the ubiquitous Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May, Black throated Blue, Black-throated green, Yellow-rumped, Bay-breasted, Blackpoll, Black and white, Redstart, an elusive Prothonotary, Wilson's, Common Yellowthroat and Ovenbird. We also got great looks a Lincoln Sparrow.

After a picnic lunch in the parking lot we decided to check out a new area that none of us had ever visted, Toussant , which is a short drive away. The sun had come up and the day was warming up when we arrived. It's a series of raised dikes that proved not very birdy for our vist. Our best birds were Red-shouldered Hawk, Willow Warbler

red phase Eastern Screech-owl

After a quick stop at Boss Unit which was very quite we headed to Maumee State Park to walk their boardwalk trail. These are some lovely trails through flooded woodlands. We didn't have alot of numbers of birds but we did have some really nice birds: Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes, Veery, Black-billed Cuckoo, 2 different Eastern Screech-Owl (both gray and red phase), and Palm Warbler.

We made a quick stop at the Nature Center and checked out the very active Purple Martin colony before calling it a day and heading back to Oregon and our hotel. After a clean up we drove into Toledo for a lovely dinner at The Real Seafood Company where we watched the sun go down over the river.

May 16, 2015
Another overcast start although not a chilly as yesterday. We drove out Corduroy Road in search of the Meinke Marina. When we saw the sign we pulled into the marina which is huge looking for Cliff Swallows. They like to nest under bridges so we went looking for likely spots without any luck. We did however add No. Flicker. Going back to Corduroy we continued until we came to a small bridge which was clearly the spot we were looking for. Cliff Swallows were everywhere with numerous nests under the bridge.

Then it was back to Metzger Marsh where we added some new birds: Green-winged teal, Green Heron, Black-bellied Plover, short-billed Dowitcher and Marsh Wren.

We. then headed for Magee but made a stop along Krause Road listening for sparrows and hoping for Upland Sandpipers. Instead we found a Sandhill Crane in a cornfield with Canada Geese.

Magee Marsh boardwalk again proved the place to be. We had many of the same birds as before but managed to add: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Black- capped Chickadee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and another Mourning Warbler.

After lunch we headed next door to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge where we drove the auto looped. Things were prett quite but we did manage to pull in a couple of new birds for the trip: good looks at Trumpeter Swan, King Rail and Common Moorhen.

Trumpeter Swan
Yellow Warbler
Pied-billed Grebe

When we came off the auto loop we decided to walk the trails behind the Nature Center. It's a lovely area but we didn't have that many birds so we cut the walk short and headed back to the vistor's center.

Calling it a day we headed back to the hotel to clean up before dinner at the Oregon Inn. We'd eaten there before and remembered liking it but this time the food left a great deal to be desired. It's a shame. It's a very nice place but the food this time was really bad. Oh well.

May 17, 2015
Today, our last day, turned out to be sunny and warm. After checking out of the hotel we stopped by the Pearson Metro Park right down the street. A group birding there yesterday had Cerulean Warbler so we decided to try for it. The Park is lovely. It's quite large with plenty of woods, trails and public recreation facilities. We stayed for about 15 minutes but couldn't hear any sign of Cerulean so we decided to head back and spend our last hours on the Magee boardwalk.

We headed straight to the west end of the parking lot to look for Woodcock that had been seen right from the parking lot. Luckily we caught sight of 2 birds strolling around a wet area and easily observable. We then started walking the boardwalk. The warm weather evidently gave many of the birds the courage to fly north because things were much more quiet. We found about 11 species of warbler and not in good numbers but we got great looks at a perched Great Horned Owl.

Before heading for home we made a quick stop at the Boss Unit but there were very few birds there so we decided to call it a day and start the long drive home.

Although it was a short trip and we didn't get to some of the outer areas like Oak Openings this time we had some great looks at some great birds. More importantly we had lots of fun.

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