Saturday, May 3, 2008

Magee area May 3

Weather was unsettled today (Saturday May 3) with numerous bands of rain moving through accompanying a passing front, but the birding was excellent. At least 28 species of warblers were recorded in the Magee Marsh / Ottawa NWR / Metzger Marsh area. Some of the highlights included Prairie Warbler (singing male) on the Wildlife Beach at Magee, Cerulean, Prothonotary, and Hooded Warblers on the Magee boardwalk, Orange-crowned and Yellow-throated Warblers in the woodlot at the end of the road at Metzger Marsh, and Yellow-breasted Chat on the Magee walking trail and on the Gallagher Trail behind the BSBO nature center. Yellow-rumped and Palm were still by far the most numerous warblers. A good variety of vireos, thrushes, sparrows, and other migrants such as Scarlet Tanagers and Indigo Buntings added to the diversity of the day.

The small woodlot at the end of the road at Metzger had a very high concentration of birds today, probably because there was a major hatch of midges and food was abundant. Warblers were swarming in the trees and bushes, while swallows (mostly Tree but with N. Rough-winged, Bank, Barn, and Purple Martin) were feeding on the lee side of the woodlot in the evening.

Shorebirds were scattered today -- water is high in most of the managed marshes in the area, so most of the shorebird habitat is in flooded farm fields. I looked at several such spots during the last couple of days (Benton-Carroll Road just south of Rt 2; south side of Rt 2 just west of Wild Wings store; Howard Rd half a mile north of Rt 2, etc.) and saw hundreds of Dunlins and fewer Least Sandpipers and yellowlegs, but not much more variety than that. If someone finds a really good shorebird habitat I hope they'll pass that news along.

Right now (after 9 p.m.) the winds are pretty strong out of the west. There's a major high-pressure system moving this way from the Great Plains, and the winds are likely to shift gradually from west to west-northwest by morning, with cooler temperatures (back down to the 40s). I am guessing that not many of today's birds will leave tonight. By Sunday morning (May 4), the skies should be clear and the wind should have died down somewhat. There may be slightly fewer birds around but conditions for viewing them should be more pleasant! With all the winds, it seems that something unusual ought to turn up -- maybe Franklin's Gull or American Avocet. But even without rarities, there is a lot of variety around right now!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these updates. They are much appreciated for those of us coming from out of the area!

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