Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A warbler extravaganza at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area!

I spent the weekend up in the marshland region of western Lake Erie, and am darn glad that I did. Saturday was excellent, with many notable bird observations, but none to rival the amazing Curlew Sandpiper that Steve Jones found. The bird was in its breeding finery, and wowed hundreds of birders. Kudos to Steve for producing the 6th Ohio record of this Eurasian vagrant. I've got plenty of photos of the bird, and will try and post some of them here eventually.

Sunday dawned COLD - a nippy 35 F at sunrise. Brisk winds didn't make things feel any warmer. As the fabled Bird Trail at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area had seen an influx of birds on Friday evening, I figured that they'd all still be around, augmented by any new arrivals on Saturday night. The migrants would be resting and refueling, building fat deposits and energy for the flight across Lake and on to points north.

No one who was at Magee on Sunday morning was disappointed. The birds were absolutely incredible. I've been going to Magee since before there was a boardwalk, and have seen years of bounty and bust. This was BOUNTY with a capital B. Of the myriad birders present that day, I'm sure there were plenty of greenhorns, and they must have been blown away by the spectacle. I know I was.

Following is a montage of warblers (I saw MUCH more than warblers!) that I photographed along the boardwalk on Sunday morning. The only camera that I used was the Canon 7D II, coupled to Canon's incredible 100-400 II lens, and handheld. I've probably said it before but I'll say it again - this is one of the best rigs for handheld shooting. A plus is that this lens will focus down to 3.5 feet. Believe it or not, there were times when birds were too close for other photogs to focus on, but my setup allowed me to.

SHAMELESS PLUG: If you're interested in learning more about photographic techniques, for birds and many other subjects, David FitzSimmons, Art Weber and I will be teaching a photo workshop at beautiful Lakeside, Ohio on September 20-22. We've got all kinds of cool stuff to show attendees, and plenty of birds will be passing through in their fall transit. Details and registration are RIGHT HERE.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler, female

Yellow Warbler

Another Yellow Warbler (because they're cool)

Blackpoll Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

Nashville Warbler

Palm Warbler

Northern Parula

Prothonotary Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler



Emily Simon said...

These are fantastic pictures! When I was at Magee on Saturday, birds were so low I could see their backs, a rare view for me. I noticed that a number of species have stripes on their back, which is apparent from your photos here. I was especially surprised and delighted to see the Bay-breasted Warbler's beautiful, sharp black and gray stripes. Certainly one of the best days of birding in recent memory!

The Furry Gnome said...

Incredible! Both incredible sightings of birds, and the picturea!