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Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Biggest Week in American Birding recap

Magnolia Warbler during The Biggest Week In American Birding Festival, Magee Marsh, OH, "the warbler capital of the world." 

Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler (taken with the Canon SX 50 HS point and shoot the new little camera, which goes for about $400)

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Don on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh

Baltimore Oriole coming to oranges the birders put out

 Here's the birders on the wonderful bird walk we led with Kenn and Kim Kaufman and best of all, the proceeds went to benefit Black Swamp Bird Observatory's outreach and education programs.
Birds and Blooms Magazine were sponsors of the bird walk. It's a beautiful magazine, you should check it out.

Blackpoll Warblers were frequently spotted.

Magee Marsh has a boardwalk that goes through a woodland area that is important stopover habitat for migrating warblers, many of whom are headed to their breeding grounds in the Canadian boreal forest. The boardwalk can get crowded with birders and photographers, but everyone is so nice and they all share space to view the warblers.

Large numbers of photographers were there with big cameras and long lenses, many standing at the woodland edge of the parking lot, before the entrance to the boardwalk.

We just got back from one of the best ever "The Biggest Week in American Birding" Festivals at Magee Marsh, OH, with fantastic looks at warblers. When we were asked by Kim Kaufman (who is directer of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, which sponsors the event, along with other important organizations) and Kenn Kaufman (super-famous, esteemed birder and field guide author) to be keynote speakers and to lead a fundraiser celebrity bird walk with them and do a keynote talk and book signing, we jumped at the chance.

We were at the festival from last Thursday to Sunday and could not have been happier. In addition to an incredible number of events like guided walks, bus trips, workshops, keynote speakers, evening socials, vendor marts, Optics Alley, chances to meet many wonderful birders and more, the real attraction was the large number of warblers and other birds who use Magee Marsh woodlands on the shore of Lake Erie as an important stop-over habitat. The Biggest Week Festival spotlights the importance of this valuable habitat and its role in bird conservation.

Kim and Kenn and the entire group of volunteers and sponsoring organizations did a fantastic job of putting on what is one of the premier birding festivals in North America. It brings together so many wonderful people, all there to celebrate and enjoy the birds. Most importantly, the birds are the real stars and their story of survival and arduous migration journeys is writ large as thousands of birders' eyeballs drink in the eye candy and appreciate these avian jewels. Thanks to all who contributed to the festival and a special thanks to Kim and Kenn as the dedicated conservationists and guiding spirits behind the festival.

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