From the first time that I heard of The Biggest Week in American Birding, a birding festival on the south shore of Lake Erie in Ohio, I wanted to go. I had planned to go last year, but professional obligations kept me from attending. This year I was determined to attend. I rented a little cottage right on Lake Erie very near Magee Marsh.
I arrived rather late on Saturday evening, and I was pleased to have dinner with birding friends Dawn and Jeff Fine and equally pleased to see and meet other old and new birding friends.
The next morning I woke up early and headed for Magee Marsh. I was looking forward to attending a photo workshop with Christopher Taylor. I had followed him on Twitter for four years. I am an admirer of his work, and I was anxious to meet him in person.
Our little group of eight photographers set out along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh, looking for warblers and other migrants.
Christopher Taylor (far right) leads a group of photographers in search of migrants.
There were many warblers in the trees, but many of them were in the shadows. This is a situation that I am not much accustomed to encountering in sunny New Mexico, and I struggled a bit to adjust my camera.
I seem to have a certain effect on birds when I attempt to photograph them.
This is the most common view I had of warblers on my first day in Ohio.
This Palm Warbler was sitting prettily on a branch until I tried to photograph it.
A Palm Warbler flees from my camera.
We spent some time watching a Black-capped Chickadee feeding a fledgling still in the nest. Here is the nest, which was right on the boardwalk.
Do you see the hole in the tree? That’s the chickadee nest!
Black-capped Chickadee feeding a fledgling.
Black-capped Chickadee feeding an almost-grown fledgling,
A highlight of the morning was seeing a pair of Great Horned Owlets that were almost ready to fledge.
Aren’t they adorable?
Another look at the Great Horned Owlets
Of course, being a handsome, successful photographer isn’t only endless birds and admiration. There can be fallout from standing under trees filled with warblers.
Chris Taylor is appalled that those lovely warblers would treat him with disrespect.
I am now four days into my personal Biggest Week. I have seen more warblers in three days than I have seen in my entire life, and I’ve even taken photos of some of them. My slow internet connection makes it difficult for me to do many blog posts, but they will come along in a few days. In the meantime, please enjoy Christopher Taylor’s beautiful photos here