USA - Ohio and Michigan - 9th - 20th May 2014

Published by Derek Marsh (dc.marsh2 AT googlemail.com)

Participants: Gillian and Derek Marsh

Comments

We chose to visit Ohio, combined with a short visit to Michigan, after my brother told us that it was a good place for birding. We looked it up online and read that it was a good place to see and photo American Warblers. What we had read was not wrong as we had views along the boardwalk down to two feet and at time the bushes were alive with warblers. Although we had been to the USA before and already seen a lot of the warblers it was great to see them in their splendid summer plumage and in such great numbers.

Accommodation

For our first 10 nights in Ohio we stayed at a lovely B&B called 'Our Sunset Place' located right by the side of Lake Erie at Catawba Island (about 15 minutes drive from Magee Marsh).

Getting there

We booked return direct flights with Delta Airlines from London Heathrow to Detroit.

Getting around

We hired a car for the duration of our trip from Alamo at Detroit airport. Once out of Detroit the traffic was very light. Apart from Detroit the only place we hit traffic was when we went through Toledo. Petrol prices are still much cheaper than in the UK, which is a bonus.

Places Birded

Magee Marsh Ohio


We went here every day for the time we stayed in Ohio, getting there at about 0700hours and staying until at least 1200hours. Some days we would come back in late afternoon and find a big turnaround with the birds. The boardwalk is about 1 mile long and easygoing. There is another trail along the lake to the estuary which was also very good. It was America's 'Biggest Birding Week' while we were there which attracts lots of birder from all over the States and beyond, but this did not affect the quality of birding at all.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Ohio

This is an area of 9000 acres and is just down the road from Magee Marsh. It is made up of marshes, wooded wetlands, shrublands and grasslands. The estuary is also good for a variety of species. There are a total of 308 species that have been listed here. During America's Biggest Birding Week a drive round is open to the public which makes it possible to visit the whole reserve and view all the habitats.

Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area Ohio

This marsh consists of 558 acres by Lake Erie and is a good place to see wildfowl. We only visited this marsh on one occasion to try and see a White-faced Ibis. Unfortunately we failed to see the Ibis but the whole area looked good.

Viewing Platform just South of the entrance to Magee Marsh Ohio

The newly erected platform overlooks an area of flooded fields, which is a good spot for waders.

Nayaquing Point State Wildlife Area Michigan

This is a good place to stop when driving north to see Kirtland's Warbler and also a good place to see Yellow-headed Blackbirds. We missed an American Bittern, which had been showing by the car park earlier in the day and was the only place on our trip where we connected with Marsh Wren. This place is well worth a stop.

Hartwick Pines State Park Michigan

This was the meeting place for joining the Kirtland's Warbler tour, which was just a few miles away. After the
successful tour we returned here to see Evening Grosbeak which are easy to see on the feeders at the Visitor's Centre. We would have liked to have birded the entire park as the whole area looked very good but unfortunately torrential rain stopped us. We did manage to see 2 Northern Flickers from the car. We stayed at the very nice Days Inn in Grayling the night before this tour.

Species Lists

Canada Goose Very common around Magee Marsh. Seen daily
Mute Swan Pair seen on route from Detroit airport. Odd birds noted at Magee Marsh and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Trumpeter Swan 20+ on flooded arable fields N Benton-Carroll Rd. 14/05/2014
Wood Duck Noted most days at Magee Marsh
Gadwall Present Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 17/05/2014
American Wigeon Common Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Metzger Marsh Wildlife area
Mallard Common in all suitable habitat
Northern Shoveler Fairly common at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Ring-necked Pheasant Heard calling at Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area Michigan 19/05/2014
Wild Turkey 1 at Hartwick Pines State Park 19/05/2014
Pied-billed Grebe First noted at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 11/05/2014
Eared Grebe 1 at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge being twitched by American Birders 17/05/2014
American Pelican 5 overhead at Magee Marsh 16/05/2014
Double-crested Cormorant Common over Lake Erie, Magee Marsh. Seen daily
Great Blue Heron Very common around Magee Marsh. Seen daily
Great Egret Most common Heron. Seen daily everywhere
Green Heron 1 on the Estuary trail Magee Marsh 11/05/2014 and again 17/05/2014
Glossy Ibis 4 Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 10/05/2014
Turkey Vulture Common seen daily everywhere
Osprey 1 over Lake Erie, Magee Marsh 11/5/2014
Bald Eagle Seen daily around Magee Marsh and from the decking at Our Sunset Place, our B&B at Catawba Island, and a pair nesting in the car park at Magee Marsh
Northern Harrier 1 at Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area Michigan 19/05/2014
Copper's Hawk 1 overhead Magee Marsh 13/05/2014
American Kestrel 1 a few miles inland from Magee Marsh 17/05/2014
King Rail 2 noted Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 10/05/2014
Common Gallinule First noted Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 17/05/2014 and on other visits also seen at Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area Michigan 19/05/2014
American Coot Very common seen daily
Killdeer A pair usually by the car park Magee Marsh
Sandhill Crane 1 overhead Magee Marsh 13/05/2014
Semipalmated Plover Birds noted off a viewing platform just South of the entrance to Magee Marsh on both visits
Spotted Sandpiper 1 on a pool just West of Magee Marsh 17/05/2014
Solitary Sandpiper 1 off a viewing platform just South of the entrance to Magee Marsh 16/05/2014
American Woodcock Common around Magee Marsh. Up to 4 seen daily there with 2 pairs nesting in the car park
Lesser Yellowlegs 50+ Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 10/05/2014. 1 off a viewing platform just South of the entrance to Magee on both visits
Semipalmated Sandpiper Noted off a viewing platform just South of the entrance to Magee Marsh on both visits
Least Sandpiper 20+ on a pool just West of Magee Marsh 17/05/2014
Pectoral Sandpiper 1 off a viewing platform just South of the entrance to Magee Marsh 14/05/2014
Dunlin 500+ Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 10/05/2014
Ringed-billed Gull Common at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and easily seen around Lake Erie
Herring Gull Common. Seen Daily
Caspian Tern 1 Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 13/05/2014
Common Tern Odd birds seen around Lake Erie most days
Forster's Tern A small group roosting Metzger Marsh Wildlife area 11/05/2014
Black Tern 5 at Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area Michigan 19/05/2014
Mourning Dove Common around Magee Marsh seen daily
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1 along the boardwalk Magee Marsh 12/05/2014
Black-billed Cuckoo 2 along the boardwalk Magee Marsh 13/05/2014
Eastern-Screech Owl 1 roosting along the boardwalk Magee Marsh. First noted 10/05/2014
Common Nighthawk Magee Marsh 13/05/2014
Chimney Swift First noted at Our Sunset Place (our B&B at Catawba Island) 11/05/2014
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Only 1 seen along the boardwalk Magee Marsh 18/05/2014
Red-bellied Woodpecker First noted Magee Marsh 11/05/2014
Downy Woodpecker First noted Magee Marsh 12/05/2014. Often heard calling
Northern Flicker 2 Hartwick Pines State Park 19/05/2014
Olive-sided Flycatcher A few birds arrived at Magee Marsh on 13/05/2014 and odd birds seen after this date
Eastern Wood-Pewee First noted Magee Marsh 12/05/2014. Often heard calling
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher First noted Magee Marsh 13/05/2014
Eastern Phoebe First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014. A few seen at Magee Marsh in the following days
Great Crested Flycatcher Only 1 of this common species seen at Magee Marsh on 12/05/2014
Eastern Kingbird Common at Magee Marsh and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Blue-headed Vireo 1 Magee Marsh 10/05/2014
Warbling Vireo Common seen daily
Philadelphia Vireo 1 Magee Marsh 13/05/2014
Red-eyed Vireo First noted Magee Marsh 12/05/2014. Not uncommon
Blue Jay Seen daily at Our Sunset Place (our B&B at Catawba Island)
American Crow Seemed to be more numerous in Michigan
Purple Martin Very common seen daily
Tree Swallow Extremely common. Most numerous of the swallows
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 2 noted Magee Marsh 11/05/2014
Cliff Swallow 1 Magee Marsh 10/05/2014
Barn Swallow Common Magee Marsh. Seen daily
Black-capped Chickadee 1 Magee Marsh 10/05/2014
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 Magee Marsh 18/05/2014. 1 Hartwick Pines State Park 19/05/14
House Wren Common at Magee Marsh. Seen daily there
Marsh Wren 1 at Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area Michigan 19/05/2014
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Fairly common Magee Marsh. Seen most days. First noted 14/05/2014
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Only one seen Magee Marsh 12/05/2014
Veery First seen 10/05/2014 Magee Marsh, then the odd bird was seen most days. Not uncommon
Gray-cheeked Thrush First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014. Not seen often. Scarce
Swainson's Thrush Common. Seen daily
American Robin Extremely common. Seen daily
Gray Catbird Common. Seen daily
European Starling Common. Seen daily
Cedar Waxwing 30+ Magee Marsh 12/05/2014
Ovenbird First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014. The odd bird seen most days
Northern Waterthrush Often seen by water. First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014. Seen daily
Golden-winged Warbler 1 Magee Marsh 11/05/2014 and another bird noted 17th and 18th
Black-and-white Warbler Common. Seen most days. First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014
Prothonotary Warbler A pair of birds seen daily by the board walk Magee Marsh
Tennessee Warbler First seen Magee Marsh 11/05/2014
Nashville Warbler Only seen a few times. First noted Magee Marsh 11/05/2014
Mourning Warbler Seen after 3 days of searching. First noted Magee Marsh 12/05/2014 then another seen on 13th and another on 18th
Common Yellowthroat First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014 and noted on all visits to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Reasonably common
Hooded Warbler 2 on the 13th and the only ones seen
American Redstart Very Common. Seen daily
Kirtland's Warbler Unbelievably a bird came out and sang in torrential rain on top of a Jack Pine only a couple of yards away from where we stood. In total we saw 3 birds on the Kirtland's Warbler tour, which left around 7.00am from Hartwick Pines State Park, Michigan. 18/05/2014
Cape May Warbler Noted on most days at Magee Marsh. First seen 11/05/2014
Northern Parula Fairly common and noted on most days
Magnolia Warbler One of the most numerous Warblers seen. Noted daily
Bay-breasted Warbler Common seen daily
Blackburnian Warbler This beautiful Warbler was first noted on 10/05/2014 and seen often after that
Yellow Warbler Very common and seen at all places visited
Chestnut-sided Warbler Commonly seen at Magee Marsh throughout our stay
Blackpoll Warbler First noted on 10/05/2014 with a count of 7 birds on 17th
Black-throated Blue Warbler Common seen daily with the highest count on 16/05/2014
Palm Warbler Seen daily from 10th to the 15th May with the highest count of 6 birds on 13th
Yellow-rumped Warbler Common seen daily
Black-throated Green Warbler Common seen daily from 10th to the 15th May
Canada Warbler Up to 3 seen daily up until 16th May. First noted on 10th
Wilson's Warbler An influx arrived after 12th May and seen daily after that
Chipping Sparrow Noted Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 10/05/2014
Clay-colored Sparrow 1 near Hartwick Pines State Park at the Kirtland site 19/05/2014
Song Sparrow Only one seen Magee Marsh 18/05/2014
Lincoln's Sparrow 1 on the Estuary trail Magee Marsh 11/05/2014 and again 17/05/2014
Swamp Sparrow 1 on the Estuary trail Magee Marsh 17/05/2014
White-throated Sparrow Common on the Estuary trail, Magee Marsh
White-crowned Sparrow Noted Magee Marsh occasionally
Scarlet Tanager Common Magee Marsh. First noted 10/05/2014
Northern Cardinal Common. Seen daily
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1 noted Magee Marsh 11/5/2012. Common on the feeders at Hartwick Pines State Park, Michigan
Indigo Bunting Only 1 seen at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 17/05/2014
Red-winged Blackbird About the most common bird seen everywhere
Yellow-headed Blackbird 2 Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge 10/05/2014. 5 at Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area Michigan 19/05/2014
Common Grackle As the name suggests, very common seen daily
Brown-headed Cowbird Common seen most days
Baltimore Oriole Common off the deck at Our Sunset Place (our B&B at Catawba Island). Seen daily at Magee Marsh
House Finch Visiting the feeders at Our Sunset Place (our B&B at Catawba Island) 10/05/2014
American Goldfinch Common seen daily
Evening Grosbeak Common on the feeders at Hartwick Pines State Park, Michigan 20/05/2014
House Sparrow First noted Magee Marsh 10/05/2014. Fairly common