2013 Biggest Week in American Birding – part 4

Throngs of birders came to Northwest Ohio to catch a glimpse of the magical spectacle of birds on their epic journey from as far away as South America on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada. Birders here are on the famed boardwalk at Magee Marsh near Oak Harbor, Ohio.

The last day of Biggest Week was chilly with winds out if the North–not prime migration conditions. But, the cold wind kept the insect-eating warblers low and conditions for photography were excellent. This Cape May Warbler looks like it could have used an extra layer of clothing. Continue reading

A Birder’s Guide To The Biggest Week

Kirtland's Warbler. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

Northwest Ohio in May is…for the birds. No really. It is a very birdy place. It has been my favorite place to visit on the North American continent in May for more than 30 years. And I cannot wait to go back there again this May. It is home to one of the most amazing displays of bird migration. There are many migration hot spots in the East. Your home state probably has a few good areas. And maybe you have ticked all 37 species of eastern wood warblers that occur here in Northwest Ohio, seen all the thrushes, tanagers, buntings, and orioles (and many, many more species). So why visit Biggest Week? Aren't there huge crowds of people? Isn't it hard to find lodging and places to eat? Can't I see all those birds somewhere else? Even if you have all these birds, you should visit this area of Northwest Ohio at least once in your life and experience it for yourself. Yes. There are huge crowds. But with a little planning and patience, your experience should still be unforgettable–even if you don't enjoy big crowds. For lodging and food you should also plan ahead or you will find yourself 30 minutes (or more) away from the comforts and conveniences “civilization”.

Scarlet Tanager. Biggest Week 2012. Photo by Greg Miller

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Openings Still Available for Dry Tortugas Tours 2013

There are several openings still available with Florida Nature Tours (http://www.floridanaturetours.net) with Wes Biggs and other fine leaders this month (April 2013). I went to the Dry Tortugas April 24-27, 2012 with Wes and company and had a blast.  The birds were in good supply, the weather was phenomenal, and the exotic blue waters were as magical as ever.

The brunt of the available spaces occur on the last trip in April 26-29, 2013.  Is this a good time to go?  If you check on eBird, you will find that almost 300 species of birds have been recorded in just the Dry Tortugas and Key West in Florida.  Of those 300 species, 221 have been recorded during the last week in April (the best week of the year in this area).  A whopping 39 species of warblers have been recorded in eBird for this area and 34 species during the last week of April.

I really love the mild weather and beautiful blue waters.  And the birds are fabulous.  You can walk around the Fort or you can sit on a bench and watch the show.  The show, you say?  Yes.  The Fountain.  A fresh water fountain is in the middle of the Fort.  Most all of the species of birds there will eventually show up at The Fountain for a drink.  It’s also a fun place to set up for photography (if that is your inclination).

The Dry Tortugas are a must-see spot for any birder.  A few specialty birds occur in the Keys and the Dry Tortugas including Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, White-crowned Pigeon, Black-whiskered Vireo, Gray Kingbird, Brown Noddy, Sooty Tern, Brown & Masked Boobies, and Magnificent Frigatebird.  Excited yet?  You should be.  It’s a great place to go birding.

Here is info from Florida Nature Tours:

Dry Tortugas photo & message for Florida Nature Tours

Dry Tortugas 2013 info sheet for Florida Nature Tours

And here are some photos from my trip last year to the Dry Tortugas with Wes Biggs (and a host of other fine leaders):

American Redstart adult male displaying - Dry Tortugas FL - 2012-04-26 IMG_5154

American Redstart adult male displaying – Dry Tortugas FL – 2012-04-26 photo by Greg Miller

 

Black-throated Blue Warbler - Key West FL - 2012-04-24 IMG_3859

Black-throated Blue Warbler – Key West FL – 2012-04-24 photo by Greg Miller

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The Dry Tortugas part II

Gallery

This gallery contains 28 photos.

Bird movement was pretty significant on April 26, 2012 and many of the migrants showed up at “the drip”, a fresh-water fountain found inside Fort Jefferson.  The days in the Tortugas this year were quite memorable.  I spent hours watching … Continue reading

Biggest Week update

I’ve been here in Northwest Ohio for the Biggest Week In American Birding event since May 5.  Birding has been exciting and meeting so many wonderful birders has been quite amazing.  It has been a real pleasure meeting so many of you who’ve read the book and cheered me on. (I read the book and cheered me on hoping that I would win–it didn’t work.  Shucks)

It is late tonight and I have an early departure to Kelley’s Island tomorrow.  After six days of birding here I have seen 170 species (most days hovering around 100 species).  So here are some pictures from the start of this event through today.  Enjoy!

Blue-headed Vireo Pt Pelee 2011-05-05

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