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Warbler Heaven!! We visited High Island, Texas, in the Spring of 2012, to take advantage of the migration of warblers from South and Central America passing through Texas on their way north. High Island was famous for the warblers passing though. However, when we were there I only saw one warbler, a Black and White, and that was at Laffite’s Cove Nature Preserve, not High Island itself. It was here that I learned that the best place to observe the Spring migration of warblers was at Magee Marsh along the southern coast of Lake Erie, Ohio. To see if they had a special festival I began checking in January of 2014. This showed the following:
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We flew out and stayed from Wednesday, May 7th to Monday May 12th. We had actually planned to stay until the 15th but the predictions (which turned out to be true) of severe thunderstorms made us fly back on the 13th. Two other events made this a very enjoyable trip. The first was that we arranged to have Davey Frost, a fellow bird photographer who we met on our Costa Rica trip, join us for most of the week. The second was that Greg and Kathy Chemnitz, who we met on our Caribbean trip and who lived in the Cleveland area, also joined us over the weekend. We were trying to turn Greg into a bird photographer. With Davey’s expert help I think we partially succeeded.

We were all blown away by the number of people who showed up. It was not necessary to register for the Biggest Birding event to visit Magee Marsh. The following is the map of the Magee Marsh boardwalk trail.
Pasted Graphic 5 There were 1,400 registrants for The Biggest Week but a total of 40,000 people (most unregistered) showed up over the 10 days. The busiest day was Saturday the 10th. This was a perfect storm of the peak of the migration, a Saturday, and to top it off, International Birding Day. All three of the large parking lots were full. This produced what I called Birder Clusters on the trail. I had amore vulgar term but I will keep that to myself. Photos of some of these clusters are shown on the Birder Clusters page.

One would think that this would lead to a horrible time birding. Ironically, the opposite was true. Everyone was friendly and smiling and not all parts of the boardwalk were that packed. When we did come upon a cluster we knew there was a good bird sighting nearby. If I did not know the name of the bird all I had the do was whisper, “What is that,” and 10 people would reply.

The trip was definitely worth it. Instead of just one we saw a total of 22 different warblers and got great photos of most of them.

Given my love of photographing birds in zoos, we also visited the
Toledo Zoo, listed as among the 10 best zoos in America. This was definitely true of the aviary which I would also rank among the top 10. I have included some of these birds on this Ohio web page but to distinguish these non-Ohio birds from Ohio birds I have placed a Z in front of the bird name. Over the years of traveling around the world I have been pleasantly surprised to be able to photograph in the wild many of the birds I first photographed in zoos. One of the most memorable was the beautiful and striking Inca Tern which I first photographed at Discovery Cove, and then saw many in the wild on our 3 day birding trip in Peru.


Ovenbird 0544 194Palm Warbler 3079 194Passenger Pigeon 1714 194