What an amazing ten days we enjoyed at the Biggest Birding Festival in America. We arrived May 3 on Lake Erie, a few miles east of Toledo and set up our site at Maumee Bay State Park. I couldn't wait to register for the festival, learn the schedule, and get the directions to Magee Marsh
boardwalk, the focal point of the bird watching..
|Our site during a clearing after a rain shower|
|Tent of welcome as one approaches the boardwalk east entrance|
We were all set and ready for the first birding day on Saturday. Never could I have imagined the intense grouping of birds in the area. When birds are migrating many factors influence their success. In this area, as the birds approach from the south they see the large expanse of Lake Erie - sixty miles across - and "drop" into this special seven-acre woods to rest and eat and strengthen for the next step in the journey. Birders can walk along the boardwalk and see the amazing birds that are moving through the area. One of the guides explained to me that the warblers seem to arrive in three major waves. We were there for two of the waves.
|Small part of the thousands that visited during the week|
The first day on the boardwalk was so exciting when I had sightings of five warblers I had never seen before. Living near the woods in Maine had given me warbler experiences throughout the years but I had never seen the Bay-Breasted, the Cape May, the Cerulean, the Golden-Winged or the Mourning.
These are part of the thirty different warblers I got to see in that 10 day period.
|Cape May Warbler|
|Bay Breasted Warbler|
The above photos of the warblers came from the Internet but I captured a few of some of the other species also.
|Resting Trumpeter Swan. Neck is stained by iron in water.|
|Baby Great Horned Owl peeking out of nest|
|Black-Throated Green Warbler|
Needless to say that after 108 species, 30 warblers, and 14 life birds (those I saw for the first time) in ten days I was filled with such joy and happiness and "birding" energy. The gratitude I feel for my wonderful partner who encouraged me to take this trip and who accompanied me up and down the boardwalk, is without measure. She also bought me new tee-shirts covered with birds and gave me cards each day celebrating this special time. This area will always hold a special place in my heart reminding me of several things: the great diversity and magic of nature, the joy of sharing our passions with the one we love, and the message in the song "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."
Spring is everywhere! Take time to smell the roses, and to listen to the bird songs around you!