[Tweeters] Non-WA Birding Trip Repor & Reco: Crane Creek/Metzger Marsh in NW Ohio

Mason Flint masonflint at hotmail.com
Fri May 23 13:05:47 PDT 2008


Late last week I snuck in a couple of days of birding in/around Crane Creek
in northwest Ohio on my way to a business trip in Europe. I thought some in
tweeterdom might enjoy hearing a few highlights.



If you're looking for a beautiful place to see a large variety and large
numbers of neotropic migrants, Crane Creek should be near the top of your
list. I hadn't birded there since I was a kid so it was a real treat. Ken
Kauffman maintains a great Web site with resources for birding in that area
at: http://www.bsbobird.org/birding/. I had the pleasure of attending a bird
banding workshop lead by Ken's wife at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory
(www.bsbobird.org) so I was able to see many of these species listed below
up close and personal. I can't say enough about the kind reception I had
from the Ohio birders and the people at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.
Special thanks in particular goes to Karl Edwards. Karl is a Florida birder
who was nearing the end of 10 days of birding at Crane Creek when I met him
and we spent several hours together over the course of two days. His
birding-by-ear skills were lifesavers for me. Lucky guy that he is, Karl
left Ohio last weekend to head for another couple of weeks of birding in SE
Arizona!



I arrived at the Detroit airport late Thursday afternoon and pulled into the
boardwalk parking lot at Crane Creek at about 6:15 PM. The weather was cold
and windy but the birds were very active. In the two hours or so before dark
I managed to find 20 species of Warbler including TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE,
NORTHERN PARULA, YELLOW, CHESTNUT-SIDED, MAGNOLIA, BLACK-THROATED BLUE,
YELLOW-RUMPED, BLACK-THROATED GREEN, BLACKBURNIAN, BAY-BREASTED, BLACKPOLL,
BLACK-AND-WHITE, AMERICAN REDSTART, NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, MOURNING, COMMON
YELLOWTHROAT, HOODED, WILSON'S and CANADA. Magnolia, Chestnut-sided and
Yellow were around in huge numbers. Most of the others were common.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE'S were everywhere, as were lots of neat flycatcher,
vireo's, thrushes and sparrows.



I woke up at the crack of dawn for my first full day of birding and returned
to the boardwalk. During the course of the morning I picked up another five
warbler species including BLUE-WINGED, CAPE MAY, PALM, PROTHONOTORY and
OVENBIRD. Other notable (for me anyway!) non-Warbler species that were
either common or present in decent numbers included GREAT-CRESTED
FLYCATCHER, EASTERN PHOEBE, ALDER FLYCATCHER, WHITE-EYED VIREO, BLUE-HEADED
VIREO, VEERY, GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH, WOOD THRUSH, BROWN THRASHER, SCARLET
TANAGER, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, SWAMP SPARROW (saw a few dozen!),
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (many dozens of these - far outnumbering
White-crowned) and FIELD SPARROW. I also found an EASTERN SCREECH-OWL in a
tree close to the boardwalk.



That afternoon I drove west toward Toledo to visit OAK OPENINGS METROPARK
(http://www.metroparkstoledo.com/metroparks/oakopenings/) where I added
several new species. Oak Openings is absolutely stunning.imagine a park
about 8X the size of Discovery Park with a mix of Oak and Pine woodlands,
savannah, sand barrens, tallgrass prairie and wet prairie. I only managed
to visit a small portion of this beautiful park. Birding highlights
included BROAD-WINGED HAWK, RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (very common), RED-BELLIED
WOODPECKER, EASTERN BLUEBIRD (dozens), CERULEAN WARBLER (singing but still
hard to find), several HOODED WARBLERS, LARK SPARROW (a good bird for out
there apparently) and dozens of INDIGO BUNTINGS.



Later that afternoon I drove back to Crane Creek for another few hours of
birding before dark and found my 27th warbler species - a CONNECTICUT
WARBLER creeping around slowly on logs above the swampy water.



The only downside of birding at Crane Creek if there was one was that the
birding was so good that the crowds were large at times. At one point I was
surrounded by about 25 Amish birders while watching a skulking Mourning
Warbler. ;) Later, an Amish boy who was probably about 8 years old pointed
out a Prothonotory Warbler coming out of a nest box to me. ;)



I had comparatively little time for birding while in Germany but did manage
one morning in a city park where I found 27 species which included 16
lifers. Overall for the trip I had 46 life birds (including several V2
lifers.don't ask).



Still reveling in the experience.



Mason Flint

Bellevue, WA















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