Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Biggest Week in American Birding: Part 3

Over the next four days, I led four local hotspot trips for the festival. These trips were designed to showcase the wonderful birding locations all over the region and to take a little bit of the focus off of the Magee Marsh boardwalk. One location that I took three out of my four trips to was Pearson Metropark in Toledo. I have been visiting this park for quite a few years and was very excited to introduce participants to this wonderful location. Overall the woods were pretty quiet, other than the one morning that we had, Veery, Hermit, Swainson's, and Wood Thrush, but the new marsh and grassland were pretty fantastic. Each trip was greeted by singing Marsh Wrens immediately after getting off the bus and our hikes around the marsh were very productive producing species such as Sora, Least Sandpiper, and Savannah Sparrow among many others.

Veery, one of the thrushes that was present at Pearson Metropark
One of our other regular stops was at Metzger Marsh. While the wood lot was not very productive, the marsh was fantastic! Many of our participants enjoyed extended scope views of a Virginia Rail sitting in the open preening. We found several shorebirds including, many Dunlin and a Short-billed Dowitcher. One of my groups was even lucky enough to have two Black Tern flying over the marsh. Unfortunately a reported Black Rail was never refound.

Common Gallinule - One of the species that was seen on all of my trips to Metzger Marsh
Even with all of the great birds, my favorite part of all the trips was talking with the participants about the wonderful things happening in northwest Ohio. On the drive back to Maumee Bay, I would always talk about the economic impact of the festvial and what that means for businesses in the area. Blackberry Corners always made a great example of how supporting the festival and Black Swamp Bird Observatory can have a positive impact on your business and I always suggested stopping in for a slice of pie. I hope that I was able to leave the participants on my trip excited not only about the bird but also the impact they are making on the businesses and conservation initiatives in the area.

The festival was one of my absolute favorite birding experiences that I have ever had. It is very inspiring to see what the dedication of a few individuals can result in. This festival would not be possible and would not even exist if it were not for Kenn and Kim Kaufman. There are a lot of people that help make this all run smoothly but without their vision, none of this would be possible.

Look for one more post from me about my experience during the festival that are not bird related but rather people related.

-Rob

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