Friday, September 19, 2008

Migration update Sept. 19

During the week of Sept. 14-19 we've had several days with good numbers of fall migrant songbirds in n.w. Ohio. Today, Friday Sept. 19, there were at least 20 species of warblers found in the immediate area of Magee Marsh / Ottawa Natl Wildlife Refuge. I saw more Blackpoll Warblers than any other species, but there were also decent numbers of Magnolias, Am. Redstarts, and Cape Mays. Relatively "early-fall" migrants were still in evidence, with Canada and Wilson's Warblers in small numbers. I was most surprised to see a Blue-winged Warbler, one of the classic "early" migrants, on the Magee boardwalk only a few yards away from an Orange-crowned Warbler, which is a classic "late" migrant among warblers. However, the late shift definitely has not taken over yet: I saw only one Yellow-rumped Warbler, a harbinger of the hordes yet to come, and I saw numbers of Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes but no Hermit Thrushes (Hermits will be the main brown thrushes around in October).

With light northeast winds today, birds were scarce on the north side of the woods near the beach, easier to find a little farther south. One of today's hot spots was at the BSBO office / nature center itself. "Anna's Window on Wildlife" has been a source of delight for visitors for the last three years; recently it has become even more so with the addition of a rain garden and water feature, made possible by a grant from Audubon Ohio. The water feature attracts warblers like magic. I stopped at BSBO briefly today, and immediately saw Wilson's, Magnolia, and Blackpoll Warblers, plus Red-eyed Vireo, in the vicinity of the water. According to those who were there longer, the water was attracting a steady trickle of warblers, thrushes, and vireos all day. (Thanks to John Sawvel, Hugh Rose, and Kim Kaufman for info on this.)

Tonight -- Friday night, Sept. 19 -- the wind is supposed to swing around from east-northeast toward the south, and if it happens early enough, many of these migrants should stick around for the weekend. A bird banding demonstration is scheduled for 10 - 11:30 a.m. Saturday Sept 20 at the BSBO office, just north of Rt 2 at the entrance to the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. This demo is free and open to the public. Also on Saturday there will be a "BSBO Lunch Lecture" at the same place, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., for a nominal charge of $7 (members) or $10 (non-members). Lunch is included, and this Saturday's program will be by Ethan Kistler -- a phenomenal young birding expert -- talking about the nocturnal flight calls of migrating birds. If you're going to be out, consider coming to BSBO to learn about migrant birds from all angles!

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