Every year, if I am able, I take a long weekend in mid-to-late May to go to Magee Marsh in Oak Harbor, Ohio. Magee is a truly special place with up-close access to the beautiful migrants of May as they make their way to their nesting grounds in the Boreal forest of the northern United States and Canada. Situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie, many migrants will settle into the low trees of Magee for a break, rather than braving the lake crossing into Michigan or Canada. (Similar to Fall migrant Warblers in Cape May) This makes for spectacular views for those wondering the winding boardwalks of Magee Marsh. Magee gives the opportunity to see Connecticut or even Kirtland’s Warbler as it migrates through and the sheer amount of birds present make it almost always productive (many first timers laugh at what locals would call a slow day as the slow days at Magee are usually highly impressive!) and the experience is one I highly recommend.
I only had 3 days and I was going to take one day to drive 3.5 hours north to Grayling Michigan to seek out the Kirtland’s Warbler so I wanted to make the best of the time I had. Thursday was overcast but there was still (remember that thing about Magee slow days?) a good number of birds around and I marveled at the proximity to Cape May and a female Golden-winged Warbler. Philadelphia Vireo, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and 22 species of Warbler was the “slow” day at Magee. Magee is an amazing place to study the movement and size and shape comparisons. The birding experience to be added in a trip is as significant as the wonderful birds you will see!
Thursday was the opposite of slow. As the sun rose and the bugs got going the birds rose in chorus to meet them and us. After taking a pass on the boardwalk looking for Connecticut, I made my way to the area outside the boardwalk along the parking lot where Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Cape May, and Canada Warblers, along with Tanagers and Orioles made appearances for the hundreds of onlookers swooning at their presence. The birds were gleaning insects and preening just feet above our heads in turns and it made for an amazing show. What a day! I heard someone say that they had been to Magee a few years and they had heard about days like this at Magee but never experienced it. They had now. FUN!
Below are a bunch of the amazing views I got.