|Distant view of White-faced Ibises at Metzger Marsh, Ohio, on May 16, 2012.|
Update Friday, May 18: Areas near the Lake Erie shoreline in NW Ohio continue to have good variety and only fair numbers of migrants through this week. Today I took a magazine editor on a brief visit to the Magee boardwalk, and in a short time we saw over a dozen warbler species plus Red-eyed Vireos and a brilliant male Scarlet Tanager, so the walk was a success. But overall numbers have not been huge, and that doesn't look likely to change soon. Southerly or southeasterly winds are likely to prevail for the next few nights, and migrants should be moving, but I'll be surprised if we see major concentrations of birds in the migrant traps between now and Tuesday. (There's a chance that rains Monday night could put down good numbers here on Tuesday morning, but it's too early to tell about that.)
Late-season migrants are still not present in major numbers. Willow Flycatchers are showing up on nesting areas (such as in the dogwood scrub-shrub areas near BSBO), and just a handful of Yellow-bellied and Alder flycatchers have been found. Wilson's, Canada, and Mourning warblers are present in small numbers. Several Connecticut Warblers have been found locally this week. To search for this species, there are two good strategies: (1) arrive early in the morning and cover a lot of ground near wooded areas, listening for the distinctive song; (2) arrive any time and spend your time moving slowly, peering back into the woods, at areas where you can see the forest floor, to watch for this warbler walking on the ground.
A few local rarities found in the last three days were still present on Friday and would be worth looking for this weekend.
A Least Tern was found by Sherrie Duris at Maumee Bay State Park on the 16th; it has been spending its time mostly along the Lake Erie beach. This weekend, the beach is likely to be crowded with people, so it would be best to look for this bird first thing in the morning.
Three White-faced Ibises were found at Metzger Marsh on the 16th, seen from the second pulloff past the major turn on the way in. These birds flew away in the direction of Ottawa NWR late on Wednesday, but reappeared at Metzger on Thursday. On Friday, seven dark ibises were found at Ottawa NWR, on unit MS 8b; according to reports I heard, these probably included at least four White-faced and two Glossy ibises. In early afternoon, these birds were seen flying away in the direction of Metzger Marsh.
The auto tour at Ottawa NWR will be open Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, from 8 to 4. Anyone who is really keen to see these ibises might want to check Metzger first thing in the morning, then go through the auto tour. Note that the auto tour now starts from the visitors' center, not from the old east parking lot. The road goes north from the visitors' center to the south edge of MS 8b before turning west, and the ibises might be to the east of that point, so scan to your right before continuing on the tour. See our maps of the refuge under the BSBO birding pages ("birding hotspots: directions and maps") for clarification of this.
If you are carrying a smartphone that will work with Twitter, it's still worthwhile to follow @BiggestWeek, because we are still posting updates about rarities and other notable finds there.