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Ottawa Refuge/Magee Marsh/Crane Creek area birding experiences through May 2004

10/24/99 while friends were in Anderson's at MaumeeOH, I took a quick (5-10minute) walk through Crosscut Park and found at least 15 red-breasted nuthatches! 12/4/99 Saturday. At Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo OH found more WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS, many PINE SISKINS and a life bird for me-- RED CROSSBILL!!! 1/17/2000 delighted to find a NORTHERN SHRIKE at the end of the Causeway at Crane Creek, near Toledo OH! Even sat still for some video! 1/30/2000 A total waste of time birding Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, where the Rare Bird Alert reported a Northern Goshawk. I took the car instead of the truck and the place had not been plowed, so I walked all over. I met some nice people, scared up the same Red-Tailed Hawk five times (not on purpose!), and a saw a flock of Pine Siskins, but... Went to look for the Ross' Goose also reported, but all I saw was a semi jack-knifed into the entrance of Ottawa Refuge, and some very nice deer that posed for video.5/6/2000 Cheated again and took the 2hour drive to Crane Creek-- well worth it with first-of-the-season Yellow-Billed Cuckoo; Orange-Crowned, Blackburnian, Bay-Breasted, Cape May, Blackpoll Warblers; the first Screech Owl I didn't call, the first female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Swainson's Thrush, as well as pleasant conversation with pleasant people on a pleasant day with very pleasant weather, in spite of the fact that i missed out on the golden-winged warbler, which would've been a lifebird for me...

veery on boardwalk

5/5/2000 Cheated and went to Crane Creek. Even though I arrived after work late in the day at 6pm, had a fine time and easily picked up my first of the season Trumpeter Swan, Black-Crowned Night Heron; Blue-Headed, White-Eyed and Yellow-Throated Vireos; Black-Throated Blue (both sexes), Tennessee, Magnolia, Chestnut-Sided, Pine, Blue-Winged Warblers, Scarlet Tanager, Veery, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, American Redstart, and a life-bird--a YELLOW BREASTED CHAT   5/11/2000 Crane Creek Wow! once again! Firsts of the season were Philadelphia Vireo, Prothonotary Warbler (very nice long looks/video of this one), Black-Throated Green Warbler (usually one of the first warblers I see), Wilson's Warbler (many of these, nice video), Canada Warblers, Eastern Wood-Pewee, many Parulas, Black-Throated Blue, Bay-Breasted Warblers. Oak Openings I don't believe I have ever been here in the spring: the beauty is stunning! I marvelled over the great numbers of both white and pink Flowering Dogwoods, as well as Wild Lupine and Hairy Puccoon! I had no idea! In the parking lot were Swainson's Thrushes, as unafraid and numerous as robins! May 15 is the last day one can walk the Dunes Trail, so I combed through many Field and Chipping Sparrows, Indigo Buntings (first of season for me) and Bluebirds until finally I found a new lifebird: LARK SPARROW ! 5/13/00 Crane Creek Saw among many many migrants 2 Snowy Egrets, my first female Scarlet Tanagers of the year, and a very cooperative (and first of the season for me) Common Nighthawk sitting in a tree near the Sportsman's Center. Best of all, hundreds there with me saw a female PAINTED BUNTING! 5/17/2000 Crane Creek was much slower today (of course, I didn't get there until about 5:30pm). Many (20?) Canada Warblers, a few Wilson's Warblers (5?), Magnolia Warblers (10?), Swainson's/GrayCheeked Thrushes, Veeries, Green Herons etc but nothing especially striking. Very relaxing nonetheless, except for the drive! Fragrant Water-Lilies were blooming everywhere along the boardwalk. 11/26/2000Roche de Boeffe in Waterville had about a hundred RingBilled Gulls and 15 Mallards. 1/4/2001 Rushed to Grand Rapids OH at 8 am to see the HARLEQUIN DUCKposted on Ohiobirds@envirolink yesterday, and was not disappointed. Since she was a hen, though, I decided to travel on to Grand Rapids MI, where I saw the drake Harlequin that had been reported since 12/24 on the Michigan List. Here are some pictures I hurriedly took off my video camera. I'll replace them later with better pictures (if it turns out there are better pictures <grin>). Great time. So many similarities between the two: both in a town called Grand Rapids, both associating with Mallards (which also have those 2 white stripes on the back), both between a regular bridge and a rail bridge, both (most importantly) could be seen from the parking spot!1/29/01 I never would've guessed that the thicket at the corner of SR295 and Obee Rd at Oak Openings held White-Throated Sparrows, Yellow-Rumped Warlblers, a Purple Finch, a Hermit Thrush and a Brown Thrasher among others, except for that great e-mail on OhioBirds@Envirolink from Greg Links. They were not even disturbed (except for the Cardinals) when a SharpShinned Hawk flap-flap-glided over. There is supposed to be a Mockingbird there, too, but I missed that one. 2/10/01Grand Rapids had about 100 Canada Geese, 5 Mallards and the Harlequin Duck is still there. 3/10/01 Enroute to Toledo, stopped by Grand Rapids to unsuccessfully search for the Harlequin Duck. A couple from Dayton were there searching too, and had been searching 4 hours before we arrived. There were huge rafts of mixed flocks of Canada Geese, Mallards, Bufflehead, Pintail, Redheads, Scaup, and a Horned Grebe.4/29/01 Still a little early for warblers at Crane Creek, although there were still firsts-for-the-season available: Hooded Warbler, Veery, Rusty Blackbird, Snowy Egret. There were also Nashvilles, alot of Sora, YellowRumps by the ton, Winter Wrens, Louisiana Waterthrush, among others, and a sleeping Screech Owl, on a branch over the trail. A little further down SR2, a EURASIAN WIGEON at Medusa Marsh. 5/5/01Crane Creek had few warblers numerically, but much variety (new for the season are in boldface): Tennessee, Chestnut-Sided, Cape May, BlackThroated Blue, Blackpoll, BayBreasted, WormEating, Northern Waterthrush, as well as Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Yellow-Rumped, BlackThroated Green, Palm. Strangely, the BlueWinged and Blackburnian I had seen at home were not here. Other nice birds on the boardwalk included: Veery (no other thrushes), BlueGray Gnatcatcher, Warbling and White-Eyed Vireo, RoseBreasted Grosbeak male, two Woodcocks at either end of the boardwalk, female Scarlet Tanager, and Ovenbird. Enroute back to the Boardwalk were 5 Snowy Egrets, and the only ducks were BlueWinged Teal, Mallard and Coots. Next door, at Ottawa Refuge were even more great birds. "CUTEST" BIRD OF THE ENTIRE DAY has to be the many SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS. There were also both Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpiper, 30+ DUNLIN, and best of all, a new lifebird for me, seen very close and for as long as I wanted to watch: REEVE

5/12/01 Saturday. Work sent me to Columbus for a seminar, so I got no birding done 5/9,10,11-- right in the middle of warbler season! So I made up for that today, going to Crane Creek for International Migratory Bird Day. Excellent, even more excellent than normal excellent. It would be very lengthy to list all the birds seen, so suffice it to say that among those at the boardwalk were Black-Throated Greens & Blues, ChestnutSided & BayBreasted, Black&White & Blackpoll, Redstarts, Veery, Ovenbird, Magnolia, Yellow, YellowRumped Warblers, & Waterthrushes, a nesting Woodcock etc. New for the season for me there were Mourning Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Canada Warbler, BlueHeaded Vireo and Swainson's Thrush. On the beach at Crane Creek were RUDDY TURNSTONES in breeding plumage! Two miles to the east at Turtle Creek Access was a WHITEFACED IBIS. 1 mile to the West of Crane Creek, Ottawa Refuge was extremely fantastic with lots of Dunlin, Semipalmated Sandpipers and Plovers, Least and Solitary Sandpipers, not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, but SIX COMMON MOORHENS as well as huge numbers of MARSH WRENS. A PEREGRINE FALCON posed at the top of a dead tree, not far from a Bald Eagle, posed at the top of another nearby dead tree. Scope looks were spectacular. A flock of Forster's Tern flew overhead, very picturesque in their backlit condition. goldenwinged warbler was seen by some there, but ever remains my elusive nemesis warbler. I did however see the even rarerBREWSTER'S Warbler for the first time, as well as for the first time positively identifying the LeAST Flycatcher The last sight as I left the park was that of about 25-30 Wood Ducks, mostly males, feeding on leftovers in a field at the corner of State Route 2 and the park's service road. Excellent day. 5/20/01 Sunday. Unbelieveably, I hadn't been birding for more than an entire week, before I decided today to head out to Crane Creek again. Although internet reports had termed the area's birding "lackluster" if not downright dull, I found the day extremely exciting. My first indication this would be a great day was an OSPREY flying over my car on US 6 outside Fremont. Surely enough, at my first five-minute stop at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area on US 6 was an amazing TRICOLORED HERON, easily seen from the viewing platform. Although I've seen it many times in Florida, this is only the second time I've seen it in Ohio. I stopped off at Castalia Duck Pond, at what is usually a hotspot for all kinds of ducks in the winter. Now it was only a creche for what must've been 100 Canada goslings. Mallards and Chinese Geese and RingBilled Gulls were there, too of course. My first visit to Pike Creek Wildlife Area at Sandusky, also was incredible. There were Forster's Terns, but also COMMON TERNS, as well as Caspian Terns. Remarkably, there was yet another adult LITTLE BLUE HERON. Also standing out in my mind were large numbers of Dunlin, Sandpipers (Solitary, Semipalmated, Least, Spotted, Pectoral, Yellowlegs), Semipalmated Plovers and many birds I'd seen for the first time this season: at least six BlackCrowned Night Herons, WhiteRumped Sandpipers, ShortBilled Dowitchers, BlackBellied Plover and who thought there would still be ducks around: Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, both Scaups, Redhead, Ruddy. Ringneck, Coots. Big misses here were glossy ibis and black terns. At Port Clinton, an adult Bald Eagle flew low over the car on SR 2, as another adult lazily flew beside the highway. Outside the entrance to Crane Creek was yet another adult Bald Eagle. Crane Creek: the leaves on the trees were humoungous and made viewing difficult. Redstarts, Magnolia, Canada, Yellow, ChestnutSided, BayBreasted, Black&White, Blackpoll, BlackThroated Blue Warblers, Veery, Scarlet Tanager male, I can't remember them all, but I do remember well my first YellowBilled Cuckoo of the year. Also, a Woodcock and Screech Owl in plain and open view. AND a goatsucker was sleeping about 10-15' above the boardwalk. There was much discussion among the assembled on whether it was a Whipporwill, Nighthawk, or even ChuckWill'sWidow, but Sibley's definitely showed, by the underside of the tail if not by the extralong wings meeting above the tail, it to be my first Common Nighthawk of the year, a female.

There were lots of Indigo Buntings and Cedar Waxwings, too, which I guess means migration is practically over. In the parking lot: Cliff Swallow! Misses were goldenwinged warbler and yellowbellied flycatcher not that I expected to see them really since both would've been lifebirds. A very pleasant day. 5/24/2001 Thursday. Oak Openings was wild with new birds of the season: LARK SPARROW (Reed/Girdham), HENSLOW'S SPARROW (Sager/Wilkins), BLUE GROSBEAK (Girdham .1mi N of Sager), KENTUCKY WARBLER (White Oak Area), SUMMER TANAGER (SR64@OstrichLane). The Big Miss of the evening was grasshopper sparrow. The Best Bird, Best Song (even heard it going by 30mph), Best View (open, plain view in sunlight for a long time, while singing) of the evening was also a lifebird: ClayColored Sparrow!5/30/2001 Wednesday. Crane Creek , even this late in the season, rocked. Before I even got to the boardwalk, an OliveSided Flycatcher greeted me along the causeway. At the boardwalk, the leaves made it difficult to see the birds easily, but I did see the most Wilson's Warblers I've seen in one day, I do believe, as well as Canada, Black&White, CapeMay, and Magnolia Warblers, Swainson's and GrayCheeked Thrushes (first of the season for me), and Mourning and CONNECTICUT WARBLERS. As I tried to get video of a Connecticut (unsuccessfully), I felt like I was being watched. Not 10 feet behind me were two huge deer, watching me watch the warbler. RedEyed Vireos were everywhere-- two fought with two robins, three others fought with a wren. Warbling and Philadelphia Vireos were also there. A Green Heron was wonderfully cooperative and almost tame. I saw my first Robin fledgling of the year, as well as a nest so full of baby robins I think it will probably burst overnight! The causeway had lots of BlackCrowned Night Herons and Semipalmated Plovers. The BEST BIRD of the night, however, was a bird I've often overlooked evidently, maybe thinking migration was over too early or misidentification: Finally, two of a new lifebird for me: YellowBellied FLYCATCHERS!!!8/9/2001 Immediately after work made the long trip to Ottawa Refuge, and then the long trek back to the estuary. This was extremely well-rewarded, and the whole trip was largely magical. First encounter at the refuge was a doe with her three spotted fawns, very close. Then many, many sandpipers-- Semipalmated, Least, Pectoral, Stilt, both Yellowlegs, both Dowitchers, Spotted, Solitary; Semipalmated Plovers and Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone and Sanderling, and then came the good stuff: I am always amazed at the large numbers of Terns (Common, Caspian, Forster's, and Bonaparte's Gull!) and there were also AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER and BLACK BELLIED PLOVER!! Snowy Egret was there too. But best of all were THREEMARBLED GODWITS

As I reluctantly left (dusk was falling), an Eagle flew off a dead tree. An excellent ending? Nope. Two bucks with large antlers still in velvet calmly watched and chewed as I walked by. Then a pair of RedShouldered Hawks! Then another doe with triplet spotted fawns! Then another buck with antlers in velvet! Then a BlackBilled Cuckoo flew across my path, landing in a tree by the path! Then another doe with twin spotted fawns. They calmly stood there while this time I decided to stop, lay down my pack, unzip it, pull out my video camera, attach the battery and then at last videotape them! Excellent!

Ottawa Refuge parking lot greeter

  9/29/2001We then went to Toledo Zoo this morning, where the hummingbirds were plentiful and very friendly:

10/21/2001 Tempted by the fact that the red phalarope had been relocated, I may not have gone to the correct place and at any rate didn't find it at Sheldon's Marsh. I did find 20 Swans (all Mute except for one Tundra), lots of ducks (GreenWinged Teal, American WIgeon, Mallards, Pintails, Coots, Shovelers etc). Nothing at Crane Creek/Ottawa Refuge shockingly enough. It's open however just on Sundays due to hunting, so I was lucky to get in, I guess. Only 3 PiedBilled Grebes and a Trumpeter Swan! A couple coming off the boardwalk said they only saw Creepers, Kinglets, and Thrushes. It looked like rain, so I didn't take the walk back to the sandpipers. 10/24/2001 Took off for a whirlwind trip to the Cedar Point Causeway to see the RED PHALAROPE, but soon after arriving a Bald Eagle scared the thousands of birds into the air as a storm began to build. I took the long walk back to the car as the rain began, content with the amazing numbers and species (especially 3 adult Great Black-Backed Gulls, the many Forster's Terns and Bonaparte's Gulls, and another glimpse of the Lesser Black-Backed at Huron) that blanched the birding at home, even the 2 dozen Dunlin at the Archbold Turnpike Exit I saw before I left.11/3/2001 Joined the Fort Wayne Stockbridge Audubon Society on their tour of Ottawa Refuge-- an absolutely wonderful day. At least 60 degrees and sunny, butterflies like Sulphurs and Red Admiral and Cabbage and Mourning Cloak were active, as well as the birds. While it is sometimes hard for me to remember the common birds that were seen, conspicuous in their absence were the robin, whitebreasted nuthatch and vulture! Only one Killdeer! DoubleCrested Cormorants, PiedBilled Grebes, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Canada Geese, Mallards, Bald Eagles, Harriers, SharpShinned/Cooper's/RedTailed Hawks, Kestrels, Coots, RingBilled/Herring Gulls, Mourning Doves, RedBellied/Downy Woodpeckers, Jays, Crows, Larks, Chickadees, TItmice, Carolina/Winter Wren, Golden/Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Bluebirds, Starlings, Pipits, Song/Swamp/WhiteThroated Sparrows, Juncos, RedWinged Blackbirds, Grackles, Cowbirds, Cardinals, Housefinches, Goldfinches, House Sparrows etc were seen in regular numbers and as expected. The Pintail Ducks, GreenWinged Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and Mallards numbered in the hundreds. There were just a few Northern Shovelers, even fewer Black Ducks, and only 2 Wood Ducks. Hooded Mergansers were a very nice find, and the only diving ducks (only about 10 were seen). A family of four TRUMPETER SWANS were greatly outnumbered by many TUNDRA SWANS. There were a couple GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS, but many many many DUNLIN. Jim H, one of our group leaders, somehow stupefied me by finding amidst all the dunlin, 2 BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS and a SANDERLING. BlackBellied Plovers were easy to find, and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, Golden Plover, Bonaparte's Gulls and Greater Yellowlegs were also there, albeit in small numbers. My first American Tree Sparrows and SNOW BUNTINGS of the season were there in large numbers. Fox Sparrows, Hermit Thrush and Winter Wrens were at the Magee Marsh boardwalk, along with what we thought to be a very late BLUE-HEADED VIREO. A Gray Catbird in the Ottawa Parking Lot seemed very late to us as well. A NORTHERN SHRIKE shocked us with it's presence, back by the Crane Creek Estuary. My personal favorite bird-of-the-day would have been the RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, however, had it not been for (at the Crane Creek Estuary) the single COMMON REDPOLL 11/6/2001 Ottawa Refuge today at 1:45pm for the VERMILION FLYCATCHeR I had all my cameras (even the 35mm) with me, but by the time I had feasted my eyes on him enough to think of pictures, I only had time for a few seconds of video of strictly souvenier quality. No regrets here, as Peterjohn's lists this as only the third Verm in Ohio: "...first...was discovered by William Porter Jr at Clark Lake Wildlife Area in Clark County on September 20, 1958... an immature male undergoing a pronounced molt...[and] a male reported from Erie County on May 2, 1973..." A fantastic picture of this very bird by its discoverer, Brian Zweibel, is available at Three Fort Wayne Audubon members were there also, who informed me that they arrived mere minutes too late when the bird disappeared at 9:30am, having been there since 7:45am. It had just re-appeared when I pulled up and stayed only minutes! Yesterday's report indicated that the bird only showed up thrice in the day as well: at 11am, 3:30pm, then again at 5pm when it stayed only half-a-minute!

This sign greeted us at the Ottawa Refuge site.

12/7/2001The sun was going down fast, so I skipped Crane Creek and Ottawa Refuge, heading directly to Maumee Bay State Park. The REDPOLLS were easily found, but I drove all of the roads of the park lamenting my poor birding skills, cursing the impending darkness, and asking all the park employees i could find about the location of the SNOWY OWLS. Oh, they had heard they were at Cedar Point Refuge or over on Bayshore Drive, or hadn't heard anything at all about any owls. Just as I was about to leave I looked on the dark green roof of the beach buildings and saw a large white spot-- yep, it was him! An excellent ending for an excellent day. Also, the Nature Center employee reported that one of the Trumpeter Swans shot recently was to be mounted and displayed there. A nice side benefit of a terrible tragedy. 3/12/02 Joe found a Swamp and a Fox Sparrow, as well as 2 Horned Grebes and many Common Mergansers, at Crane Creek. Not sure if this is quite legal or not (if you know, go ahead and tell me, please), but interesting article in the Blade:

5/5/02 Magee Marsh Boardwalk rocked today. Judy L. and I didn't arrive until very late, after 3pm, but even without birds the day would have been great, since the weather was so fine. My first of the season included: Blackburnian, Magnolia, BlackThroated Blue, and ChestnutSided Warblers, Redstarts, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, Least Flycatcher, and Lincoln's Sparrow, but also great views of Ovenbirds, Hermit Thrushes, RubyCrowned Kinglets, Black&White, Yellow and YellowRumped Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, RoseBreasted Grosbeaks, tons of Baltimore Orioles and Gnatcatchers, Screech Owl, Bald Eagles, Great Egret, House Wrens, and Three! RedBreasted Nuthatches in one spot alone! The best bird of the day for me, however, was a Scarlet Tanager at eye-level only 10 or 15' off the boardwalk:

these are hurried stills from video i took on the boardwalk


5/22/02 Got off work at 3:30 and by 5pm was at Toledo's Mallard Marsh. I totally enjoyed the waiting thanks to a great bunch of birders from lots of different places: Columbus, Detroit, Holland MI, Tiffin, Toledo, none of whose permission I obtained to call by name... Lots of calling BITTERNS, Marsh Wrens, and Sora. I was amazed by a fly-by YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD but the others seemed non-plussed. A flight of Black-Bellied Plovers (20?) overhead were startling in their breeding plumage, but all of these paled in comparison when at 7:30pm what should show itself but a drake


okay this is the worst picture I've ever taken, but it's the best picture i've ever taken of a Garganey <grin> and we only saw it for a few minutes...and it was far away... and all those weeds in the way...and it's a clip of an 8mm videocamera shot through a scope... and whatever other excuses i can come up with....

6/29/02 Joe and I did a late-evening tour (7 to 9:30pm) of Oak Openings. Still interesting, with two playful fawns, LARK SPARROWS, HENSLOW'S SPARROWS, GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, and even HOODED WARBLERS! 8/18/2 Joined the unofficial Toledo Naturalist's Association group at Oak Openings on a butterfly field trip organized by Nancy Bucher, and led by Craig and Sue (3 men, 5 women-- nice to meet adults interested in butterflies. It made me feel 12 years old again <grin>). Among those seen were: Skippers (SilverSpotted, European, Leonard's, Peck's), Swallowtails (Black, Giant, Tiger,I Spicebush), Fritallaries (GreatSpangled, Aphrodite), Sulphur (Common/Cloudless, Alfalfa/Orange), Cabbage White, Pearl Crescent, Red Admiral, Viceroy, Monarch, Tailed Blue, Little/American Copper, Comma/HopMerchant. Best bird there was a YELLOWBILLED CUCKOO; we heard it at the same spot on the route back. Second-best: Cooper's Hawk. 12/29/2 Joe Hildreth messaged me that they had ICELAND and GLAUCOUS GULLS at Waterville on the Christmas Count today! 2003 3/15/3 Joe Hildreth and I took advantage of Ottawa Refuge's (Ottawa County) kind offer to ride the open roads, but we didn't stop often since I drove my Lumina sedan instead of my 4-wheel-drive I left at home! We nevertheless had a great time with Tundra and Trumpeter Swans, large numbers of Canada Geese (two orange-banded but too obscured by brush to read, one white 1H5J), large numbers of Mallards, as well as many Pintails, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Black Duck, RingNecked Duck, Shovelers, etc, a juvenile Bald Eagle, and a Cooper's Hawk that flew across the road in front of us, among the birds seen. The Boardwalk had a new (to me at least) tower that I can't wait to utilize this May! At the Sportsman's Center 5 Hooded Mergansers (4 drakes) swam in the small pond apparently unafraid of a growing number of spectators. They would have been easy to photograph, but I didn't think of it nevertheless <grin>. There were lots of deer out in the bright sunshine daylight, too. THOSE I remembered to photograph! <grimace>:

98 Tundra Swans were in a mere flooded field at Seaman/Cousino. Bayshore Park (Lucas County) was the best spot today though, with three flocks of Tundra Swans (19+22+14=55 total), plus one Mute Swan. The ducks were way too plentiful to count-- the only species missed we could think of was canvasback. Only 1 Merganser (female Common) was there. I also missed the bluewinged teal but there were sure plenty of Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Shovelers, Pintails, Scaup, etc and ran into Steve (who had just seen red-shouldered hawks there) and John. We stopped at Maumee Bay State Park where a juvenile Bald Eagle was sitting on a chunk of ice out on the frozen lake. We also saw our first TREE SWALLOW of the season. Many birders were there monitoring the migration today, and gave us an interesting recap of the day:

Joe showed me the PEREGRINE FALCON that nests at the Commodore Perry in downtown Toledo near Third Fifth Field (which I also saw for the first time). When I arrived home in Sherwood about 10pm, a BARRED OWL was clearly calling! It was extremely foggy and the road it was on was nearly impassable with mud, so I decided not to try to call it in with a tape. Nice end for a nice day.

5/13/3 Ottawa County Magee Marsh Boardwalk 12 of Defiance area's Black Swamp Audubon Society (I didn't ask permission to show faces or names of Mr & Mrs Du, Mr & Mrs Di, Mr & Mrs S, John, Lach, Patricia, Don, Dean and I <grin>) spent a few hours on the boardwalk. Before getting to the boardwalk a juvenile Bald Eagle flew in front of us, and before even getting on the boardwalk, a very friendly Palm Warbler was greeting everyone. Numbers were low, but the day was gorgeous and the warblers we DID see were extremely cooperative! The most Am. Waterthrushes ever at one time for me, quite a few Redstarts and BlackThroated Blues of both sexes, and quite a few Yellows. Magnolias, Black&Whites, ChestnutSideds, round out the list, but only one YellowRumped and one Palm. Quite a few Ovenbirds, not cautious at all. Some saw a Canada Warbler and some saw a Wilson's and a Tennessee but I missed them. Best bird for me: first COMMON TERN of the season. Upon our return home, a BROAD-WINGED HAWK flew over Defiance College parking lot! 5/17/3 Magee Marsh Boardwalk My first birds as I came into the park were THREE SANDHILL CRANES-- what a start! As we exited the boardwalk at the end of our tour, we had one of the best views I have ever seen of a male MOURNING WARBLER-- what an ending! Well there also was a Nighthawk on a low branch over the road on the way out. Numbers were low, but weather once again was great, the company was great, and the views of individual birds were great! Before stepping on the boardwalk we had the first of quite a few MALE CAPE MAY WARBLER, while on the boardwalk proper were at least FIVE MALE BLACKBURNIANS, FIVE WILSON'S WARBLERS, THREE CANADA WARBLERS, wonderful WOODCOCK ambling in the weird way in broad open view, many Magnolias, only one female BlackThroated Blue, a friendly cuss pointed out a great SINGING PHILADELPHIA VIREO, a SINGING SORA, many partial views of a shy BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO, great view of grey-phase Screech Owl, (bold caps for my personal first-of-season birds). Also plentiful were Parulas, ChestnutSideds, Common Yellowthroats, Redstarts, Yellows, but I saw only 1 Palm, 1 Tennessee, 1 Blackpoll, 1 Nashville, 1 No. Waterthrush, 1 YellowRumped and zero Black-and-Whites, and BlackThroated Greens! Please bear in mind I was in the company of non-birders, so only made one "quick" walk through. Ran into Fort Wayne's Stockbridge Audubon Society (three carloads of them!) today as well as numerous other friendly birders, all appearing to be having a good time. 10/4/3 Lucas County Kitty Todd Preserve Won the lottery and a field trip virtue of the Nature Conservancy. The only birds there were migrating Blue Jays, Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings and a WOODCOCK-- the plants on the other hand were truly amazing (of course, we did have our noses to the ground a lot!). Please check out their website for lists of all the 110 rare species, but I personally would rename the route the Gentian Tour-- Soapwort, Bottle and Fringed:

I don't know many caterpillars but my guess is that the green guy putting up a big fight is a Sphinx moth (probably Poplar Sphinx judging by the trees in the immediate vicinity), and that last one looks a lot like a Smartweed (Smeared Dagger Moth) Caterpillar... please e-mail me if you know for sure! It was a very fun day under the excellent leadership of Gary Hayes.

10/19/3Ottawa Refuge Today in celebration National Refuge Week the Auto Tour was opened on a beautiful day with great views of common birds like Wigeon, Shoveler, Coots, Pintails, Coots, 2 Bald Eagles, RUSTY BLACKBIRDS, etc and the closest I've been to the group of TEN TRUMPETER SWANS: Time was limited for me but others got out of their cars and found a very late Prothonotary at the Boardwalk, and a Hudsonian Godwit at the Crane Creek Estuary! 5/1/4 Our local Black Swamp Audubon Society took a guided tour (my first) of Irwin Prairie where there were few birds but I nevertheless picked up my first-of-the-year SORA, BlueWinged and Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and Catbird. Mostly Palm and YellowRumped Warblers, and probably under 6 each of them. Nice viewing of a male RoseBreasted Grosbeak. Guide Steve Harvey told us of a near-by 2pm open-to-the-public tour of the Nature Conservancy's Kitty Todd Preserve. Under the tutelage of Kelly, I saw my first-of-the year LARK SPARROW, Scarlet Tanager, Cape May Warbler, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, still few warblers with under 6 each Palm and YellowRumped, and excellent views of many male Towhees. 5/8/4 Boardwalk Taking Mom is always extremely lucky: last time she brought the painted bunting and this time a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW. Other firsts-of-the-season included House Wren, WORM-EATING WARBLER, PROTHONOTARY WARBLER, and OVENBIRD. An extremely-close Sora, a Screech Owl in a cavity, a baby Great Horned Owl, [click to see--> fantastic displays <--click to see] and tons of people contributed to make this a fine day. 5/11/4 Magee Marsh Boardwalk Nine members of the local Black Swamp Audubon Society had a great time: new-for the-season for me included Least Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, Veery, Lincoln's Sparrow, Cerulean, Blackpoll, BayBreasted, and ChestnutSided Warblers. Remarkably late was a Junco!5/22/4 Magee Marsh Boardwalk and environs with the Fort Wayne Stockbridge Audubon Society. Great day to be out even without the birds: Great views of Mourning Warblers (at least 3 different birds), Cattle Egrets (4), Snowy Egret, Yellow-Bellied, Alder, Willow, Peewee and Least Flycatchers, Marsh Wrens with lots of Wilson's, Canadas, Blackburnian, Tennessee, ChestnutSided, Magnolia, Blackpoll, Black and White, Waterthrush, Ovenbird, BayBreasted, YellowBilled Cuckoos, Philadelphia Vireos etc still around, including also one BlackCrowned Night Heron, a Lincoln's Sparrow, Common and Caspian Terns, a third-year Eagle often overhead, just one female Scarlet Tanager, the now-regular Screech and GreatHorned Owls, flocks of Cedar Waxwings, and just one (a male) BlackThroated Blue. Metzger Marsh Ton of Dunlin, Semipalmated Plovers and Sandpipers, 1 White-rumped Sandpiper, 2 Snowy Egrets, a Mute Swan. Really too much to remember, and I just enjoyed the show without trying to write anything down. Saw my first Tiger Swallowtail of the season.

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