Our First Trip to Magee Marsh

Magee Marsh East Entrance Sign
The East Entrance to Magee Marsh

Each May, northern Ohio’s Magee Marsh is a magnet for birders who want to see a wide number of warblers and other migrants up close. Local Ohio birders make the trip even more worthwhile by throwing The Biggest Week in American Birding festival. It falls during the height of warbler migration, with all kinds of activities held at area birding hotspots. If you are a birder, it really is an awesome adventure.

The 2017 festival ran from May 5 through May 14. Jim and I traveled from Maryland to bird the area from May 6 until May 12. It was our first trip there. We saw so much and learned so much and got to see one hundred and one bird species (sixteen of them warblers.) During the trip we added twenty-seven new birds to our life list, including five warbler species.

This post is an account of what the experience was like for us as first-time visitors to the marsh and the festival, including logistics of staying in the area and visiting the marsh and other local birding hotspots. I also wrote a companion post on Photographing Birds at Magee Marsh.

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American Coots at Black Hill Regional Park

American Coots Neart the Dock at Black Hill Regional Park in Maryland
American Coots Near the Dock at Black Hill Regional Park in Maryland

My husband Jim and I went on a birding day trip yesterday. The local lakes have been mostly frozen over for weeks. So most recent trips have resulted in seeing Canada Geese and Ring-Billed Gulls walking on ice. But on Saturday temperatures went up to around 60. We had to get outside.  I researched recent sightings on eBird to decide where to go. Then we headed to Black Hill Regional Park in Montgomery County Maryland to look for interesting water birds.

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Twenty-Four Robins: The Birds You Don’t See

American Robin

One thing I’ve learned watching birds in my backyard is that there is all kinds of activity going on in the yard that I never see. Today, about five-thirty, it was getting dark and I just happened to glance out the front window and realized that it was full of American Robins. I counted twenty-four, although there might have been more in the darkening yard. They were all spread out over the whole front yard doing their quick scurry, pause and listen, scurry again dance, turning over leaves and excavating here and there, looking for choice insects.

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