Magee Marsh and the surrounding region offer a mix of habitat that is attractive to birds and other wildlife. Throw in the fall migration and the chances are good that a bird watcher from another continent is going to have a very frustrating time trying to identify lots of half seen, hyperactive, totally uncooperative little brown jobs. It’s so much fun.
There’s only one road into Magee Marsh, pity about the spelling, so navigation is pretty easy. The first obvious land mark is the visitor centre. It’s an attractive building set behind a small lake. Adjacent to it is a trail that takes a loop through the woods around some more water ways. The visitor centre didn’t open during the three days we were there and the nature trail desperately needed some pruning. The area wasn’t getting the love it deserved.
Continuing on that single road the woods give way to genuine marsh some of which has been mowed for the benefit of Sandhill Cranes.
And leads to an extensive parking area on the lake shore. Back from the shore there is a boardwalk through the woods again. This is in good condition. So, excellent access, shore birds on the shore, long-legged birds in the marsh, swimming birds on the water and bewilderment on the board walk.
The Warblers are one particular group of American birds that offer excitement and challenge to all. They are migratory, so no matter where you live in the US you are likely to have some pass through your neighbourhood twice a year and if you’re lucky there will be a few that spend a whole season with you. There is a little book by Chris G Early that has advice for the beginner – start with the spring males. Cool, it’s autumn, I’ll come back next spring.
Well no, I’ll put the camera to good use and email the photos to my good friend from St Simon’s Island who is currently living in a motor home in Virginia. It’ll help to keep his mind off what hurricane Irma is doing to his house.
Heading west along the Erie shore the next birding spot is Ottawa National Wildlife refuge, this is more open habitat mainly in the form of shallow ponds.
Further west there is Metzger Marsh, then Maumee Bay State Park and if you keep going a little further there is Pearson Metropark which is mainly forest. Plenty to keep the visitor entertained.