Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cleveland's Birds and Birders

Cleveland has much to offer, especially if you enjoy a bit of winter birding.  This winter has proven, once again, Cleveland is the place to be.  There are plenty of top-notch birders reporting their sightings and helping folks get fabulous "looks" at everything from gulls to owls.  

Jim McCarty covers all the birding highlights in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland Metropark's darling, Jen Brumfield, keeps us up to-date with stunning photos on her NorthNW / Lake Erie birding blog.  Many of those photos are taken by our friend, Chuck Slusarczyk.  Chuck's photos* capture the all excitement of a bird on the wing or a good fight over fish-scraps.  Nobody does a better job catching in-flight shots and freezing those grand moments in perpetuity.  

*ALL bird photos in this post are the property of Chuck Slusarczyk- and I thank him for allowing me to share them with you.

Pomarine Jaeger is a rarely seen arctic bird. 
A Pomarine Jaeger, an arctic bird which generally winters at sea, has been working the river at Scranton Flats and Chuck has been there to document it.

The Pomarine Jaeger feeds on his ill-gotten goods.
This aggressive pirate, whom Chuck has dubbed "Bruiser," is not above stealing meals from gulls.  He is the bully of the flats.  He will indiscriminately harass gulls and dive bomb unsuspecting waterfowl. He doesn't mind eating a rat or two, either. Think of a black wolf roaming amongst a field of sheep, and you are getting close to nailing his psychological profile. 

"Bruiser" the Pomarine Jaeger is the bad boy of the flats.
Most Ohio birders, of the very lucky ones who have ever seen a jaeger, only get distant views of an off shore bird during fall migration.  With this bird haunting the flats on a regular basis, hundreds of birders have ventured into the heart of Cleveland's old industrial area to get up-close views of this magnificent arctic predator.

A glamour-shot of an Iceland/ Kumlien gull.
Even gulls look winsome when Chuck does the photography.  This winter has provided a boat-load of unusual gulls in the Cleveland area. The all-white gulls are of particular interest to bird watchers.

Chuck Slusarczyk, the photographer and his photo
of one of the many Snowy Owls seen this winter.

It is my good fortune to have Chuck as a friend and you can see many of his photos improving my program at the upcoming Shreve Migration Sensation. It it a mix of programs, vendors and wetland birding.  Mark your calendars for March 29th, 2014 and head just south of Wooster, Ohio to Ohio's Amish country for this educational and fun filled event.

You can find the entire agenda and a list of speakers at or read this summary for more details.  We sure hope to see you there!


  1. Nicely done, Picker! Chuck is a fine photographer and the south shore of Erie is rich in opportunity.
    Good coverage.

  2. Thank you Cheryl, for such a complimentary write-up...what a surprise! I am flattered and honored to be part of your program, and I sincerely hope I can be in attendance to hear your presentation!