Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Biggest Week got longer!

Spring is in the air, and it won't be long until America's Biggest Week in Birding takes place in Northwest Ohio.  And believe it or not, it just got BIGGER!

Yellow-throated Warbler, photo by John Howard
 In order to spread the bird lovin' around, The Biggest Week sends road trips out to place like Oak Openings near Toledo, Catawba Island and Marblehead.  Folks love to look at those neotropical migrants, the wood warblers!  But to see all of them in Ohio, you'll need to head south of Magee Marsh... about 230 miles, or 4.5 hours south to be exact!

Some of our warblers- those southern Ohio specialty birds- show up at Flora-Quest, an event I organize in Shawnee State Park and Adams County.

Biggest Week hits the road to Adams County, with Greg Miller
Last year my friend Greg Miller was already doing the Flora-Quest's Birding trip in Adams and Scioto Counties, and we decided to offer a "Greg Miller Road Trip" to The Biggest Week!

Roadside birding and bird photography "Shawnee style."
Don't try this in Oak Harbor!
He finds great birds everywhere!

Prairie Warble, photo by John Howard
 Prairie Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Scarlet Tanagers have the run of this place. If things go well, we may even turn up a Blue Grosbeak or Henslow's Sparrow.

Greg Miller blessing the birds.
 May the birds be with you, and may you join us next year in Adams and Scioto County. This year the trip is already full, but we have so much fun, I can't believe we won't offer it again in 2014.

Roadside birding and botanizing is the norm in Shawnee.

Shawnee State Park is as far south in Ohio as you can go without falling in the Ohio River. This massive forest is an island of quiet and beauty in an otherwise agricultural and industrial state.  The roads wind through hillsides dotted with rare flowers and divided by sparkling streams.

Blue-headed Vireo builds her nest.  
 Listen for the Blue-headed Vireo. 

Henry's Elfin

Yellow Lady's-Slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens
Watch for the impossibly small Henry'sElfin Butterfly.  They will be near the Redbud trees.

And if you are a really lucky-birder, you might stumble upon a Yellow Lady's-Slipper, one of our most beautiful orchids.  They grow throughout Shawnee.

So if you are itching for some fabulous birding, remember- The Biggest Week just got bigger.

We can't wait to see our Biggest Week / Flora-Quest friends in Shawnee!

Greg Miller and I will be waiting for you there.

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