Monday, May 28, 2007

Magee area migrants 5/28

This weekend (May 26 and 27), the area of Magee Marsh and nearby hot spots in n.w. Ohio had unsettled weather, with winds and intermittent rain, but with good birding in between storms. Today (Monday May 28) was startlingly calm by contrast, and was clear after the morning fog lifted.

Kim and I spent a couple of hours at Metzger Marsh and about three hours at the Magee Marsh boardwalk today to get a sense of the state of migration. Numbers of migrants had definitely dropped a lot since Friday, but there was still a fair amount of variety. Wilson's Warblers and especially American Redstarts were obvious at both locations, most of the latter being young males, actively singing. Other classic late migrants included multiples of Canada and Mourning Warblers, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and Red-eyed Vireos. We also saw numbers of Magnolia Warblers, plus Bay-breasted, Ovenbird, and others, but no Connecticut Warbler for us today. All five species of Empidonax flycatchers were at the Magee boardwalk, with only one Least but multiples of the others; two singing Acadians were something of a surprise. An Olive-sided Flycatcher was there as well. There apparently had been an influx of thrushes again: even though we were at Magee in the heat of the afternoon, we saw 7 Swainson's Thrushes, 4 Gray-cheeked, and a Veery. Having such a high ratio of Gray-cheekeds was a pleasant surprise; but since this species breeds farther north, on average, than any of our other brown thrushes, perhaps it makes sense for it to be a late migrant.

The extensive mudflats at Metzger Marsh (northwest of Magee) continue to see frequent turnover. Highlights there at midday today included five Red Knots (four in breeding plumage), 64 Black-bellied Plovers, and 70-plus Ruddy Turnstones. The resting flock of ratty subadult Ring-billed Gulls was joined off and on by up to 25-plus Common Terns as well as one Forster's, three Caspian, and two Black Terns.

At this point I don't expect any more big fallouts of migrants, but the woodlots at Magee, Ottawa NWR, Metzger, and elsewhere along the lakeshore should have an interesting variety of late migrants for the next week or so, including sought-after species like Yellow-bellied, Alder, and Olive-sided Flycatchers, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Mourning and Connecticut Warblers, and perhaps some surprising strays. Shorebird migration should continue to make Metzger Marsh worth checking for another couple of weeks at least.

Nature Blog Network