Jeff and I love to spend time in marshes. We’re always on the lookout for new ones and always excited to revisit some of our former “finds.” Over Labor Day weekend, we were excited to return to one of our favorites, Magee Marsh near Oak Harbor, Ohio. As we’ve mentioned before, Magee is one of the birding hot-spots of the US. We were SO PUMPED to see early fall migrant warblers!
This was an extra-special trip, as it was the year anniversary of our first trip to Magee, which was the trip that permanently infected us with warbler fever. We managed to get out of work a little early so we could head up and hit the marsh on Friday evening.
Unfortunately, bird activity was minimal that evening. We saw a common yellow-throat and, of course, lots of the usual marsh birds (herons, egrets, etc.), but not much else. We enjoyed time in the marsh and also made sure to get to Barnside Creamery on Route 2 for a cloudmaker (see here if you don’t remember why we love this place so much!) and then headed to our hotel.
Saturday, we were up and at ’em early, before it got too hot. Magee was slow again, so we spent some time on the road visiting other possibly-birdy locations – Metzger, Maumee, Cedar Point Marsh – all to no avail. Lots of beauty, very peaceful – there were just no birds. At the end of the day, after a new treat at Barnside Creamery (their wonderful ice cream with peanut butter syrup and miniature buckeye candy…oh my goodness!), we returned to our hotel. That’s the thing about birding – there is no predicting when or if you will see anything.
We got up Sunday morning, swung by Magee again, and because there was no bird activity – we went home. We had a fun time, as always, but we were pretty disappointed at the lack of warblers. We figured we might as well be at our favorite place if we weren’t going to see warblers anyway!
After settling back in at home, we decided to act as if we were still on vacation – hard to do when you’re at home, with all the usual pulls on your time and attention! So, we picked up our binoculars and went out the back door.
It was incredible. There were so many warblers we couldn’t figure out where to look first! American Redstarts, Blackburnians, numerous black-throated greens, several chestnut-sided, a magnolia, and…one I had always wanted to see…a black and white warbler! Now, birders see these all the time, I realize. But I had never seen one, and had always been fascinated with them. We not only saw this guy, we got to watch him hunt for a good four minutes, at least!
We had been traveling at every opportunity to find warblers – and it turns out that now that we have a marsh, we have a treasure trove of them in our own backyard.
I realize I’ve been guilty of similar thinking in many areas of my life. I can strive to reach some goal, achieve some state of mind or spirituality, get some thing. Most of the time, all I really need to do is to open my eyes, my mind, and my heart. Everything I am searching for is right here.