Our group of ten WAS birders (who were joined by a few others here and there throughout the day) were almost the first to arrive at Magee Marsh during Sunday morning's cold, rainy weather. When the rain stopped at 8 am, almost birds were swinging low on branches of bushes, shrubs, trees, or foraging on the ground. Cape May, Black-throated green, Black-throated blue, Blackburnian, Northern Parula, and Chestnut-sided warblers (both males and females) were numerous and mostly at eye level or below. It was a really bonanza for birders but stressful for hungry birds anxious to fuel up and continue their migration farther north to their summer nesting grounds.
Richard Crossley, author of the Crossley ID Guides, spotted a BLACK-THROATED GREY WARBLER east of the tower and a birder stampede to this location was immediately underway. We waited for a while, eventually joining the mob scene, but failing to see this rarity. A few hours later, our WAS group was birding beyond the bridge that begins the big loop. A birder spotted the rarity, calling it out within earshot, and we were close enough so that almost all of us WAS birders saw it. Although this bird was motoring east at breakneck speed, quick-on-the-draw Dave Amamoto got a snapshot <https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S45676666> of this rare warbler that he posted to our eBird list at https://ebird.org/view/ checklist/S45676666. Way to go Dave!
We spotted a PHILADELPHIA VIREO close to a Warbling vireo so we could contrast the former's delicate yellow coloring to drabness of the latter. Northern Waterthrush were loud and boisterous so everyone got on their big, lusty song, and saw a couple of birds firsthand. Both Blue-winged and Canada warblers were onesies but all got good, long looks.
In mid afternoon, we motored to the new Howard Marsh where Dunlins and Black-bellied plovers were in full breeding plumage. Three species each of terns and gulls were in view. Thanks to Jessica Adamczck and Dave for taking the lead here because their field trip leader was fading, eventually revived with an ice cream fix at nearby DJ's.
Special thanks to Dave for compiling the lists, and to all WAS birders who helped one another find this and that bird. Despite bad weather at the start, we had a fantastic and memorable day!
Key: H = Howard Marsh, B = Boardwalk at Magee, E = Estuary Trail at Magee, no code = bird seen at 2 or 3 locations.
Canada goose 10 H Trumpeter swan 2 B Northern shoveler 1 H Wood duck 2 B Mallard 3 Lesser scaup 1 H Double-crested cormorant 9 Bald eagle 3 B Great blue heron 5 E Great egret 3 E
Pied-billed grebe 1 H Osprey 2 H American coot 6 H Sandhill crane 1 H Black-bellied plover 5 H Killdeer 2 H Bonaparte's gull 50 H Ring-billed gull 18 H Herring gull 4 Common tern 1 E
Caspian tern 8 H Sterna sp. 2 H Great horned owl 1 E Eastern screech owl 1 B Ruby-throated hummingbird 3 B Downy woodpecker 1 B Red-bellied woodpecker 1 B Empid sp. 1 E Great-crested flycatcher 1 E Eastern kingbird 2 H
Philadelphia vireo 1 B Warbling vireo 11 Purple martin 1 H Tree swallow 25 Barn swallow 10 H Swallow sp. 6 H House wren 8 Horned lark 2 H Ruby-crowned kinglet 1 B Veery 4 B
Swainson's thrush 8 Hermit thrush 1 (seen by Dave only) B American robin 8 Grey catbird 20 Ovenbird 3 B Northern waterthrush 6 B Blue-winged warbler 1 B Black-and-white warbler 3 B Prothonotary warbler 3 B Tennessee warbler 8 B
Nashville warbler 5 B Common yellowthroat 5 American redstart 8 B Cape May warbler 20 Northern parula 10 Magnolia warbler 8 Bay-breasted warbler 9 Blackburnian warbler 12 B Yellow warbler 14 Chestnut-sided warbler 16
Blackpoll warbler 4 Black-throated blue warbler 14 Palm warbler 3 B Yellow-rumped warbler 4 BLACK-THROATED GREY WARBLER 1 B Black-throated green warbler 20 Canada warbler 1 B Wilson's warbler (seen by Dave only) 1 B Lincoln's sparrow 4 B White-crowned sparrow 1 E
Chipping sparrow 1 E Field sparrow 1 E White-throated sparrow 8 Swamp sparrow 2 B Song sparrow 2 H Scarlet tanager 1 E Northern cardinal 3 Rose-breasted grosbeak 2 B Baltimore oriole 5 Red-winged blackbird 29