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Biggest Week In American Birding

So if you’ve been following my Twitter feed, you know I’m at something referred to as the Biggest Week, it’s a big ole’ honkin’ bird festival in northern Ohio at Magee Marsh.  It bills itself as the “Warbler Capital Of The World.”

I have seen quite a few warblers, but not enough yet to call it the warbler capital of the word…yet.  Warbling Vireo Capital Of The World is my current title for it–these dudes are all over the place.  That’s one in the above photo.  I think the winds haven’t been in our favor so far, so we’re not getting the numbers of warblers dripping low off the trees that Ohio birders speak of with reverence, but I’m sure it’s coming soon.

It’s a cool festival though, there are warblers all around. The first bird I got when I stepped out of my rental vehicle was a chestnut-sided warbler (the bird above). It’s not the best photo, I got that with my iPhone and spotting scope.  As a matter of fact, all of the photos in this post were done with my iPhone.  I thought I would challenge myself to only go out with my iPhone for a few days to see what I could do digiscoping wise if I left my SLR in my hotel room.  Some of the results are okay, but some have really surprised me.

Here’s a yellow warbler, they’re all over the Magee Marsh Boardwalk.

Here’s my favorite warbler photo so far of a Cape May warbler and yes, I got this shot with my iPhone and Swarovksi spotting scope.  Am I ready to leave my SLR home for good?

I have to admit, I was worried this festival was going to overwhelm me.  You mostly bird watch from a boardwalk through Magee Marsh and with hundreds of people that can be some sardine birding. I think being short gives me a natural aversion to crowds–I can’t see over tall people and I really don’t like standing in a place where I cannot see an exit strategy.  The west side of the boardwalk is jam packed with birders–some people really enjoy that. Not me.

However, if you are like me and would like some space, the east side of the board walk is for you.  There will be some clusters of birders but you can still get past and there are a ton of bird because warblers move around.  So many birders from all over are here, it’s fun to run into people I know only via Twitter or old friends from festivals past. The camaraderie is 50% of the fun.

2 comments to Biggest Week In American Birding

  • I won’t be able to get there till Thursday afternoon, leaving after work. Never been up there in the Spring. Hoping to make the Birds and Beers event.

  • Wow, that is one crowded boardwalk! Despite the crowds, I have always wanted to check out the best week in birding. May is the one month when I wish I was back in the northeastern USA instead of being in Costa Rica.