Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Biggest Week Birding and more-

This is the week the "Walleye Capital of the World" becomes the "Warbler Capital of the World." Anyone who is remotely connected to birding in Ohio knows that Magee Marsh in North-west Ohio is the epicenter of bird watching for the first two or three weeks in May. The boardwalk was built thirty-some years ago and has been the pilgrimage trail for birders and photographers alike.

About 4 years ago, Black Swamp Bird Observatory endeavored to make sense of some of the Magee Mayhem by organizing The Biggest Week in American Birding trips beyond Magee.

Large-flowered Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum
 So why would the Weedpicker post a photo of Trilliums to represent this event?  Because first and foremost, birds do not live in a vacuum.  They live in forests and woodlots filled with flowering trees and vegetation.

To really understand birds one should look to understand and appreciate the eco-system in which they dwell. That includes the pretty flowers. This explains why Flora-Quest is proud to be a sponsor of "Biggest Week" and why a Weedpicker (with a birding addiction) loves to help with the field trips.

We want our visitors to take in all of the natural history the North Coast has to offer.

Window on Wildlife at Pearson Park in Oregon, Ohio. 
Pearson Park in nearby Oregon, Ohio is always a favorite stop.  The "Window on Wildlife" gives a up-close view of our favorite spring migrants.  In the early spring, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Indigo Buntings enhance the complement of local birds found at these feeders.  It is always an enjoyable and educational stop on our trips.

Clay-colored Sparrow beneath the feeder.
Yesterday our tour was fortunate enough to watch a Clay-colored Sparrow as it fed beneath the bird feeders.  My poor photo includes a photo-bomb by a White-crowned Sparrow (in the foreground), also vying for our attention.

Another group of birders gather outside.

After getting the local news and birding information, another tour driver clued me into a trip highlight: a fox den with young.  Erik Brunkhe and I soon watched as a congo-line of birders looked into a scope trained on three of the most adorable baby fox kits one could imagine.  

Fox kit at Pearson Park
 Apparently, a couple of foxes have been raising kits on this raised mound outside the wildlife viewing area for several years.  Those pipes are the supposed access to the den.  If you visit in person, you can orient yourself with the green electrical box seen in the foreground of the photo.

"Helloo, my mommy left me here with something yummy."
This youngster made quite a display of shaking a muskrat corpse, and brutalizing it upon the ground.  We were so scared. The mighty "hunter" pounced upon the muskrat skin, working up a fury. His mother would have been proud.  

It was mighty good entertainment, even for people who though they were just "birders."

One last look at happy faces...

Another group of perfectly nice birders survived the day with a "Weedpicker" who also looks at plants, trees and mammals, as well as spectacular birds.

We are having a great time at the Warbler Capital of World and I hope you will consider join in on the fun!


  1. I have never been able to get so close to a fox. Good job.

  2. In all fairness, I was none too close to the fox. It is a well cropped photo, and a decent zoom lens. I would never promote getting to close or stressing wild critters. Their comfort should come first. Cheryl