BIRDS IN LANDSCAPES: Warbler Capital of the World
Tour Dates: May 14-21, 2023
In our continuing quest of pursuing birds all across North America, our next adventure brings us to the self-proclaimed “Warbler Capital of the World”: Magee Marsh and environs near Toledo, Ohio. Magee Marsh is known internationally as one of the best places to see spring migrating songbirds in North America. The Black Swamp Bird Observatory manages the Magee site and hosts “The Biggest Week in American Birding” in mid-May each year. You will see terms like “biggest” and “best” mentioned often in connection with this area, and this is not an exaggeration! In spring, millions of songbirds are streaming north toward their nesting destinations in Canada, and sometimes it seems that most of them are passing through northern Ohio. On previous trips we have found our excursion along the mile-long boardwalk to be stalled out at one of the first trees we pass, as songbird species appear and disappear almost too fast to count. On our last visit we had a dozen species in a tree that was not a hundred feet down the trail!
Magee Marsh, which might more accurately be described as a moist woodland, sits on the south shore of Lake Erie. Migrants stop here to feed and rest before undertaking the lake crossing. The presence of ideal habitat, with plenty of food, water and shelter, makes the area an ideal stopover for the birds – and birders. We will visit Magee Marsh as well as a number of other local birding “hotspots”.
Two hundred fifty miles north of Toledo is the town of Grayling, Michigan. Grayling would be just another undistinguished little town if not for the presence of one thing: Kirtland’s warbler. The current population of the Kirtland’s is estimated to be less than five thousand, and most of them spend their summers within hailing distance of Grayling. We will join a U.S. Forest Service tour of Kirtland’s nesting sites which also host a number of other interesting species.
Study Leader: Norm Lewis is Department Associate of Zoology for Denver Museum of Nature & Science and has over thirty years of birding experience. He is a Past President of the Denver Field Ornithologists and Colorado Field Ornithologists. He leads birding field trips for Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as well as trips for the Denver Field Ornithologists, Colorado Field Ornithologists, The Nature Conservancy and Audubon Society. He holds a B.S. in geology from Indiana University and a M.S. in geology from Northern Arizona University.
Exertion Level: This trip will be moderately strenuous, with the usual 6-8 hours of walking and standing on dirt and gravel trails each day. (Note: On any day of the trip, you may opt to rest on the coach for a few hours). Field excursions will take place rain or shine! Participants should be in good physical health. This trip is not recommended for those with walking difficulties or with wheelchairs. To ensure a safe trip for the group, all participants are required to truthfully complete a medical questionnaire in order to participate.
Pricing: Price includes seven nights hotel accommodations, breakfast daily, get acquainted pizza party and farewell dinner, motorcoach transportation for birding and admissions to all birding sites. Price per person double occupancy is $1,995 and single occupancy is $2,695.
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