Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Magee Marsh migrants, Clay-colored Sparrow

The wind direction has changed so many times in the last couple of days, along with temperature fluctuations and passing storms, that it's hard to summarize what the weather's impact on migration might have been. But this afternoon (May 1) there were pleasing numbers and variety of migrants in the vicinity of the Magee Marsh boardwalk (Lucas Co., n.w. Ohio). I personally saw a dozen warbler species, and heard about one other being present. To give a rough idea of relative abundance of the warblers today, these are just my own personal numbers from three hours on the boardwalk: Nashville 20, Yellow 15 (but there were many more in areas where they breed south of the boardwalk and away from the lake), Cape May 3 males, Yellow-rumped 180, Black-throated Green 12, Blackburnian 1 male, Pine 1, Palm 50, Bay-breasted 1 or 2 males, Black-and-white 20, Northern Waterthrush 2, Common Yellowthroat 2 (plus more in the marsh south of the boardwalk). Again, these are just my own numbers to indicate relative abundance, not an attempt at the total numbers present, since I didn't even cover the whole boardwalk. Greg Miller and others also reported an Orange-crowned along the boardwalk, but I didn't see it myself. A Cerulean was present the preceding day.

Hermit Thrushes were common: I saw at least 30, along with 10 Veeries, 4 Swainson's Thrushes, and 2 Wood Thrushes. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were abundant -- I saw at least 170, often there were 5 or 6 visible at once, and the total numbers present in the area must have been staggering. White-throated Sparrows were numerous (80-plus), and one Fox Sparrow seemed a bit late. Other migrants seen included Baltimore Oriole 5, Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2, Great Crested Flycatcher 5, Least Flycatcher 2, and Whip-poor-will 1 (a roosting bird that had been pointed out to me and many others by the helpful birding community on the Magee boardwalk). The only rarity that I saw was at the end of the afternoon, about 5:15, just before the rain started: at the east end of the parking lot, near the east end of the boardwalk, a Clay-colored Sparrow was loosely associating with a lone White-crowned Sparrow.

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