When I learned about Honey Run Highlands, I kept this place in mind as it is much closer to home for me. Some bird species are easier to come by in the southern parts of Ohio. Honey Run Highlands is not way south but south enough. In the earlier part of May I took a day off work and made the trip specifically to see a Prairie Warbler. I did get to see that and more.
My May Migration Wanderings
By Tom Fishburn, WCAS Member
I love road trips. And I love to visit special places during the spring bird migration times. Although the pandemic has certainly limited me, this year I have accomplished some shorter distanced trips to a variety of favorite places as well as some new ones.
Last year I discovered a new park in Knox County and went back just last month. In years past I would travel further to south-eastern Ohio to wander around the Zaleski State Forest and Wayne National Forest to catch early migrant birds. When I learned about Honey Run Highlands, however, I kept this place in mind as it is much closer to home for me. Some bird species are easier to come by in the southern parts of Ohio. Honey Run Highlands is not way south but south enough. In the earlier part of May I took a day off work and made the trip specifically to see a Prairie Warbler. I did get to see that and more.
Weekends can be more difficult to go birding social distancing style. Especially so when a knockout gorgeous rarity shows up like a breeding plumage Red-necked Phalarope. I planned to stay home on that Sunday. But this was in the Rocky River Reservation less than ten miles from home and the bird was a "Lifer" for me.
Taking another day off work the next week l headed to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Bath Nature Preserve. I've never seen so many Blue-headed Vireos than on that day. Mary Anne Romito mentioned how good a year this was for those.
Hoping to avoid crowds on the following weekend I headed to Mentor. Parking at the Zimmerman Trailhead was full, so I checked the Wake Robin Trail. There I was almost by myself. Halfway down the boardwalk a Virginia Rail scooted away close by my feet. I was patient as it wandered in and out of the reeds just 20 feet off the boardwalk. This was a unique opportunity for me, and I enjoyed this bird for a good twenty minutes. Two more stops in Mentor included hiking the Kerven Trail and a final quick stop for the day at Mentor Lagoons Nature Preserve.
Up to this point in the month the migration had been much slower than usual. Apparently, with northerly winds during the first half of May the birds held back. Tim Colborn mentioned another factor to me that the colder than average temperatures may have limited insect spread. Then when the winds shifted from the south on May 18th amazing waves of migrants moved north that lasted all week. Unfortunately for me this was during the work week and I heard about it more than experienced it. Just the same I enjoyed my May road trips and got to visit several parks and see a satisfying variety of birds. With my camera by my side you can also see much of what I did. And I hope you enjoy doing so.
June 5, 2020
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