Rain Birding at the Biggest Week

[dc]M[/dc]onday morning was rainier than we expected, so we ended up parking at the west end of the Magee Marsh boardwalk and birded from the inside the car while the rain poured down, waiting for it to clear up enough for us to be able to walk around the boardwalk. Despite the heavy rain, warblers were moving eastward past us, flitting from tree to tree. The variety was spectacular – in the 90 minutes we sat in the car, we saw and/or heard 20 species of warblers, and close to 40 species total. Certainly, one of the highlights was being able to watch four male Cape May Warblers and two male Bay-breasted Warblers! Several times we were able to watch them at close range as they sang their high pitched songs. View our car eBird checklist.

Prothonotary Warbler - singing male at Magee Marsh (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

After the rain cleared around 11am, we meandered around the boardwalk. The trees were full of singing warblers. We ended up with 21 warbler species and one of the highlights of the walk was the close looks we had of singing Prothonotary Warblers. We spent most of the time looking for birds rather than the typical careful counting of individuals that we usually try to do, so the numbers in our eBird checklist are mostly estimates. Tennessee Warblers seemed to be everywhere, with their trilling songs emanating from just about every part of the board walk.

Veery - Magee Marsh (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Other abundant species included American Redstart, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warblers, Chestnut-sided Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and ‘Western’ Palm Warblers. Some of the less common species included Canada Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrows, and Yellow-throated Vireo. We also got some great looks at thrushes, with several Veery and Swainson’s Thrushes scattered around. It was also really incredible to see two cute little Great Horned Owls peaking out of their nest!

Great Horned Owl chicks at their nest - Magee Marsh (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)