Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ottawa NWR Estuary Trail 5/16--Common Nighthawk, Gray-cheeked Thrush

We weren't done birding. In the late afternoon we took a walk on the estuary trail of Ottawa NWR which abuts the Magee Marsh property. (On a map, Ottawa NWR, Magee Marsh and Metzger Marsh look like interlocking jigsaw puzzle pieces.) We were make a halfhearted attempt to find a Connecticut Warbler that had been reported at the end of the trail. Birders get even crazier about Connecticuts than they do about Mourning Warblers but it isn't a bird I can get excited about--just a gray warbler with an eye ring that walks on the ground. Still, you want to see one if you can.

When we got to the spot there were, of course, 25 birders peering into the brush. And, of course, it had "just been seen" not too long before we got there. We stood around for a little while, someone pointed out a Wilson's Warbler, and I moved on to the lake shore. I wanted to find Ruddy Turnstones as long as we were there.

Shari stayed behind and after about 5 minutes called me back from the shore. She wanted the scope. While everyone was standing around looking for a little bird, a big, Common Nighthawk was sleeping on a branch above their heads.It blended in with the limb nicely, but we managed to get out scope set up so that it could be easily viewed. We had a viewing line going until someone said the COWA was around the bend and everyone rushed to not find it, again.

We went back to the beach and 3 turnstones appeared out of nowhere.
Ruddy Turnstone
Photos: Shari Zirlin
We were walking back to the parking lot when we saw a guide we'd gone on a trip with two years ago. I think he might have vaguely recognized us, but probably not--I'm sure he's been on trip with hundreds of people since then. He was pointing out a thrush to the people he was with and we piggy-backed on the sighting. It was not, as I would have first guessed, another Swainson's Thrush, but instead the more interesting (because less-seen) Gray-cheeked Thrush. A very cold looking bird as opposed to the warmer colors on the other thrushes. We thanked him for the FOY and moved along, picking up another Mourning Warbler on the way back. Three Mourning Warblers in 2 days? For me, that's unheard of.
26 species
Canada Goose  9
Mallard  1
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  4
Killdeer  1
Ruddy Turnstone  3
Ring-billed Gull  16
Herring Gull  1
Common Tern  7
Common Nighthawk  1
Eastern Wood-Pewee  1     heard
Tree Swallow  10
House Wren  1
Gray-cheeked Thrush  1
Swainson's Thrush  1
Gray Catbird  2
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Mourning Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  1     heard
Yellow Warbler  5
Blackpoll Warbler  2
Wilson's Warbler  1
Northern Cardinal  2
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Common Grackle  5
Baltimore Oriole  1

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