Thursday, September 25, 2008

Midges, migrants, and Connecticut Warbler

As of Thursday, Sept. 25, there are still excellent numbers of warblers and other migrants in the woods behind the Observatory. There was a large emergence of midges in the area Wednesday night. We know from studies here and elsewhere around the Great Lakes that midges provide a major food source for warblers and other insectivorous migrants, so the abundance of these small insects in the Lake Erie Marshes is one reason why the lakeshore region of northwest Ohio is so spectacular for birding. To the uninitiated, these big emergences of adult midges can be a little unnerving, because the midges (family Chironomidae) look somewhat like mosquitoes. But they don't bite, they're totally harmless, and they help the songbirds fatten up to survive the next leg of their migration, so we should be glad to see them. One notable result today (Sept. 25) was a Connecticut Warbler seen at the new water feature that's right outside Anna's Window on Wildlife, inside the Observatory building. It didn't stay long and I don't know if it will be back, but certainly people will be looking tomorrow. The Black Swamp Bird Observatory is located just north of Rt. 2 at the entrance to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, and at this season it's open to the public from 11 to 5 on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

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