Thursday, April 15, 2010

Weekend of April 17 at Magee

The upcoming weekend should provide good birding at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and other wooded spots along the Lake Erie shoreline. Good numbers of migrants are in the area as of Thursday April 15. This day had record high temperatures with southwest winds; the southwest winds are supposed to continue overnight Thursday night before some scattered rain moves in on Friday the 16th, with the wind shifting to northwest by Friday evening. More migrants are likely to come in Thursday night, but most of the birds that are around on Friday morning should stay for most of the weekend. Saturday and Sunday, the 17th and 18th, will be cooler, with temperatures mostly in the 40s and with northwest or north winds diminishing on Sunday. Despite the cooler temperatures, there should be plenty of birds to look at.

A check of the Magee boardwalk late on Thursday found large numbers of some early migrants, like Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler, Hermit Thrush, and Rusty Blackbird, and smaller numbers of others such as Ruby-crowned Kinglet (but very few Golden-crowneds), Palm Warbler, Winter Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. A male Prairie Warbler was along the north edge of the woodlot (adjacent to the south edge of the middle parking lot), and singing male Pine Warblers were near the west entrance to the boardwalk and along the boardwalk near no. 22 (see our map of the boardwalk, linked from the main BSBO birding pages, for locations of these numbers).

For birding the area this weekend, if the wind has shifted to the northwest or north, the birds are likely to be back in along the boardwalk toward the south side of the woodlot. The warblers present are very much concentrated in flocks, so if you find some Yellow-rumps, look around carefully to see what might be with them. This would be the way to find other warblers such as Palm, Pine, Black-and-white, Black-throated Green, or other early species. I haven't heard of any Orange-crowned Warblers yet but we're getting into the best time period to find them. Winter Wrens are scattered through the woods in small numbers -- if you see a tiny bird scoot under the boardwalk as you approach, it may be a Winter Wren. There are still a lot of Rusty Blackbirds around, but they’re easy to overlook. Listen for their song, a creaky tlic-tli-tleeeee, ending on a very high note, and look carefully at any blackbird foraging on the ground close to the water inside the woods (but remember that there are lots of Common Grackles in the woods as well).

On the lake just off the Magee beach on Thurday there were large numbers of Ruddy Ducks and Lesser Scaup, and some Northern Rough-winged Swallows flying with the many Tree Swallows.

The Black Swamp Bird Observatory, located just north of Route 2 at the entrance to Magee Marsh, is open in April on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 11 to 5. Stop in to check out the action at the window on wildlife or to get the latest birding news.


HeronGirl said...

Thanks for the updates. Look forward to coming up soon!

Anonymous said...

We've been coming here since before the boardwalk was built. It's my favorite place for the spring migration. So glad that I found your website.

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