In my previous blog post about my May trip to Rondeau PP, Point Pelee NP and Magee Marsh, I highlighted warblers. In this post, I am focussing on a selection of my non warbler photos. The photos shown here, in addition to several other photos I've uploaded to my Photo Galleries are listed at the end of this blog. If you manage to make it through this long post (in terms of number of images), then feel free to browse the corresponding photo galleries for additional photos I made on this trip.
May is a great month of the year, if you are a birder or bird photographer in Ontario or the northern USA. it is the time of year when warblers and many other bird species are migrating north to their breeding grounds. Recently I visited three areas that are hot spots for warblers during spring migration: Rondeau PP, Ontario, Point Pelee NP, Ontario, and Magee Marsh, Ohio. In fact Magee Marsh celebrates this time of year with The Biggest Week in American Birding festival, which was held from May 6 - 15 this year.
On the morning of May 12, I headed out in search of a life bird for me, Henslow’s Sparrow, at Grimm Prairie (Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge) in Oak Harbor, Ohio. This restored prairie provides excellent habitat for this and other bird species, such as Grasshopper Sparrow. I walked along one of the hiking trails and about 20 minutes later I could hear the distinctive song. According to Chris Earley’s book Sparrows & Finches of Ontario, Roger Tory Peterson described the Henslow’s Sparrow’s song as “one of the poorest vocal efforts of any bird, a hiccoughing ’tis-lick’”.
Located between Whitehouse and Swanton, Ohio, Oak Openings Preserve takes its name from the surrounding region, which is 23 times larger than the park itself. Most of the park is an oak savanna ecosystem, characterized by alternating wetlands and vegetated dunes. Oak Openings is a great place to check out for birders. It is the nesting place of bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, Whip-poor-wills, Lark Sparrows and many other species. I’ve spotted Summer Tanagers and many Red-headed Woodpeckers in this area during my visits.
The Curlew Sandpiper, a Eurasian species, is a rare migrant along the Atlantic coast and a casual species elsewhere in North America according to eBird and the ABA (American Birding Association) coding for the ABA Checklist Area. For those unfamiliar with these terms, the ABA defines a rare species as one that occurs in very low numbers, but annually in the ABA Checklist Area. Casual species are not recorded annually in the ABA Checklist Area, but with six or more total records - including three or more in the past 30 years - reflecting some pattern of occurrence.