Monday, April 14, 2008

Magee Marsh, April 14

Kim and I just got back from 11 days out of town. Of course I headed out to Magee for spring migrants, and of course I was not disappointed.

The marsh along the causeway still has numbers of ducks, especially Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Duck, while Lake Erie off the Crane Creek beach hosted hundreds of Ruddy Ducks (many coming into breeding plumage), Greater and Lesser Scaup, and Bonaparte’s Gulls. Along the Magee boardwalk and on the Magee walking trail (see my map at for clarification) I saw most of the expected mid-April migrants: flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Hermit Thrushes, both kinglet species, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Winter Wren, Fox Sparrow. Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers are now very common, and on this early date most are adult males molting into beautiful plumage; I also saw one Palm Warbler and two beautiful male Pine Warblers. I talked to birders who reported having seen Ovenbird and Black-throated Green Warbler, so a few other early warblers are trickling in. American Tree Sparrows have disappeared from areas a few miles farther south where they wintered, but there were groups of apparent migrants near the lakeshore. White-throated Sparrows are picking up but they’re nowhere near peak numbers yet; birders farther south in Ohio may consider this mostly a "winter" bird, but here it is most common as a migrant, and it can be abundant in early May. Apparently there are no longer hundreds of Rusty Blackbirds around as there were two weeks ago, but there are still dozens.

Local weather predictions call for SW winds on Tuesday April 15, continuing through the night and into Wednesday. There should be some kind of hawk movement during the day both days, and an influx of new songbird migrants, especially on Wednesday.

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