Sunday, November 7, 2010

Northern Shrike, Rough-legged Hawk, and other birds near Magee Marsh

At least one Northern Shrike has returned to the causeway that runs north across the marsh at Magee Marsh. This has been a reliable site to find the species for the last couple of winters. This afternoon (Sunday Nov. 7) I saw an apparent adult near the north end of the causeway (closest to the beach), and then later in the afternoon I saw one in flight near the south end of the causeway -- likely the same individual, but not necessarily.

Birders who want to look for this shrike will have to wait until next weekend. At this season the road in to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area is closed for waterfowl hunting on weekdays and on Saturday mornings. But it is open on Saturday afternoons (after about 12:30) and all day Sunday, and it's well worth a visit then.

This afternoon I took advantage of the opportunity to check out the causeway and the east (wildlife) beach at Magee. The beach yielded nothing rare, but it held a good number of typical late-fall birds, including 13 Fox Sparrows, 9 American Tree Sparrows, 60 Rusty Blackbirds, and a Winter Wren. Along the causeway there were still Swamp Sparrows, and fair numbers of American Coots and Pied-billed Grebes. Three flocks of migrating Tundra Swans (totalling 31 birds) flew over headed west to east; the next couple of weeks will be an excellent time to watch for migrating swans anywhere in northern Ohio.

At about 3:30 this afternoon, a Rough-legged Hawk (my first one for the fall) flew past, just north of the parking lot for the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (just north of Route 2, at the entrance to Magee Marsh). It could have been a migrant, but the species does usually winter in this general area, especially over fields on Ottawa NWR just to the west of us. Jeff Gordon, the new president of the American Birding Association, had stopped by BSBO for a brief visit, and he got to see this bird just before he left to continue his drive west -- so the Rough-leg provided a bit of Ohio birding hospitality.


Jerry Jourdan said...

Recent sightings of White-winged Crossbills in SE Michigan suggests a wild winter of irrupted Boreal Birds. Looking for Redpolls already...

Dave said...

We're looking forward to paying a visit this weekend! Woo-hoo!

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