Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Audubon's Warbler!

Karl Overman and I headed down to Ohio yesterday hoping to see some spring migrants and were not disappointed. Along state route 2 we saw hundreds of Broad-winged Hawks flying over along with the occasional Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, or Turkey Vulture mixed in. After trying unsuccessfully for the Black-necked Stilt we headed to Metzger to try for the Tricolored Heron. It was right where it had been previously reported, running around in the marsh. The Tricolored Heron was lifer #359 for me.
Down by Lake erie there were lots of Bonaparte's Gulls along with Caspian and Forster's Terns.

The trees were full of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Yellow-rumped Warblers and Karl spotted a Yellow-throated Warbler.

After Metzger We headed over through Ottawa to get to Magee Marsh. Along a back road we were happy to find an adult male Cape May Warbler along with Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers in a tree in front of a house. The Magee boardwalk was overrun with Myrtle Warblers, we estimated there were about 200. A Blue-winged Warbler was nice to see and provided a photo opportunity.
Along with about ten species of warblers we also saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, several Brown Creepers, lots of Hermit Thrushes, and a Winter Wren.
Back at the parking lot we checked the lake and found hundreds of Ruddy Ducks and good numbers of Lesser Scaup and Bufflehead as well. We decided to walk along the edge of the parking lot to see if we could find any more warblers. As we were walking over there I asked Karl how good Magee was for stray western warblers. Just after he said it was not a great place for stray western warblers, I spotted an Audubon's Warbler in the trees!
Incredibly, this was the second Audubon's Warbler I had seen in two weeks! Looking at the Magee checklist it was unclear whether or not this subspecies has been recorded at Magee before, so this might be the first record for the park! While driving around the area a little more, we found a Merlin and two Long-billed Dowitchers. We decided to try the entrance road for Metzger one last time to see if we could find the previously reported Cattle Egret. This time we found it in the grass close to the road where I was able to get this picture.
After a stop at the lost peninsula in Michigan where we added Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Common Yellowthroat to our list for the day, and stopped at the Erie Marsh Preserve where we saw a Common Goldeneye, Solitary Sandpiper, lots of Dunlins, and a Vesper Sparrow, we headed home. It was definitely my best day birding this year and one of my favorite birding days ever.

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