Monday, May 21, 2007

North Coast highlights 5/21

We were sorry to miss the OOS conference this weekend, which sounds like it was another excellent event. But Kim and I admittedly were having an outrageously good time on Saturday the 19th, taking part in another tradition: the North Coast Open, an annual big day competition sponsored by the Toledo Naturalists' Association. The event is limited to just five counties in northwestern Ohio (Lucas, Ottawa, Erie, Sandusky, and Wood), no one is allowed to use tapes, the count runs just from midnight to 9 p.m., and everyone on a team must see or hear a bird for it to count, so it's more restrictive than American Birding Association rules. Kim and I were lucky enough to get to team up with Greg Links and John Chadwick, two top-notch birders who know every bird location in this part of the world. Thanks to their expertise, we wound up with a total of 158 species for the 21-hour event. All teams combined had a cumulative total of 199 species, reflecting just how good the birding is in this part of the state.

It was actually kind of a rough day for birding, with cold morning temps and overcast keeping birdsong to a minimum, and then intermittent rain and wind for the rest of the day, or totals would have been even higher. Anyway, a few highlights just from our team's experience: two Glossy Ibises at Pipe Creek Wildlife Area, Sandusky, adding to the impression that there are a lot of these birds around. A lingering Ring-necked Duck also at Pipe Creek.

Two King Rails actively calling at Mallard Club Marsh -- possibly two rival males, rather than two members of a pair (although a pair was seen here previously by Jen Brumfield). Good numbers of shorebirds at Metzger Marsh at the end of the day -- there seems to be a lot of turnover here in the evenings, and we had a Willet flying around and actually doing a burst of its breeding-grounds "song," but our best shorebird here was a beautiful Stilt Sandpiper in breeding plumage, a rare bird for spring. One Olive-sided Flycatcher on Girdham Road in the Oak Openings. Summer Tanagers -- in addition to birds on territory as expected in the Oak Openings, we also had a young male on the east beach at Magee Marsh. Somewhat late were a Hermit Thrush and an Orange-crowned Warbler at Magee.

The Toledo Naturalists' Association has been around for almost 75 years, and they're not just about birds -- their membership includes experts on all aspects of natural history. But as they proved once again on Saturday, they sure know how to go birding!

Nature Blog Network