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The Biggest Week in American Birding

Magee Marsh Wildlife Area perhaps is the world capital of warblers! The biggest week kicks off today! But it is a rainy day, that might have dampened the opening ceremony. We went there the day before when it was sunny and warm.


Bald Eagle. Photography by Stephen.

While approaching Magee Marsh, we saw birders stopped for the waterfowl in the swamp. There were more than a dozen egrets, great blue herons, and a few swans. One nesting bald eagle was perching high up in the tree by the road. There are two couple of bald eagles nesting by the parking lot at Magee Marsh. There were some birders walking on the boardwalk. As beginning birders, we have been to the festival over several years. Birders are always friendly and are willing to show their expertise with you. So we just followed other birders and identified some unusual warblers and other birds. Here is a list of beautiful little birds we saw the other day:

  1. Kinglets
  2. Gnatcatchers
  3. Palm warblers
  4. Black-and-white warblers
  5. Yellow warblers
  6. Black-throated blue warblers
  7. Cape may warblers
  8. Yellow-rumped warblers
  9. Red-breasted nuthatches

A woodcock. Photography by Stephen.


Black-throated blue warblers and Cape May warblers are my favorites.

A huge turtle as big as a dinner plate crawled out of the muddy creek. That was the biggest wild turtle we have ever seen! While sitting on the bench for a break, the parent bald eagles flew right above us towards their nest. They left the nest again in a minute. Through the binoculars, we saw the two baby bald eagles standing up on the huge nest in the tree. They were a lot bigger than we saw them a couple of weeks ago.

We always searched the places where we saw interesting birds before. But the little green heron and the woodcock were nowhere in sight. While walking towards our truck on the road to the parking lot, we saw several people looking down to a small patch of grass surrounded by some green flags. What were they looking at? A guy told us that it was a woodcock sitting there. He picked up a piece of yellow fallen leaf and said its color looked like the fallen leaf and it was hard to see them. I looked really hard at that patch of grass and finally found the dark spots and brown feather was different from the surroundings. Not until I got real close and walked to the other side of the patch and lowered myself to the ground did I see its eye! The black round eye was looking back at me! A woodcock was sitting on its nest on the grass by the parking lot. That was the last place we ever thought a bird would make a nest. It sat still without its eyes moving. I wondered if it was scared with humans surrounding it. I hope it can hatch the babies safely.

For more information, check out http://www.mageemarsh.org/.




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