The boardwalk was congested with people peering through their binoculars at the dense foilage of the forest.
There was no option to get past the crowd, but who would want to?
Whenever there’s a crowd on the Magee Marsh boardwalk, there’s always a rare sighting of a bird.
Did you see it? asked the fellow as I approached the crowd.
No, I answered.
What are you looking at?
A Great Horned Owl, up in the tree, he replied.
See the grackle on the large growth tree straight ahead? Look to the left, in between the V of the two limbs. That’s the Great Horned Owl.
Here, take my spot, said a woman from the middle of the crowd who overheard our conversation.
She moved from her space next to the boardwalk railing.
I’ve seen the owl. You can get a good view from where I’m standing, she said as I took her spot.
And there he was, a brown mass looking in the opposite direction of the boardwalk. I would never have seen him if someone hadn’t pointed him out to me.
A great find for the day! I saw his ears with my binoculars, though the photo I took didn’t show them.
I left my spot on the boardwalk a couple minutes later and spent the rest of the morning strolling along the almost one-mile boardwalk looking for warblers.
Birdwatching at Magee Marsh
Magee Marsh, outside of Toledo, Ohio, is one of the best places in the country to watch migrating songbirds in spring and fall. People travel from as far away as California, Washington, Florida, and Arkansas to see the migrating birds.
As the songbirds travel north in the spring to their breeding grounds, they stop at Magee Marsh on the south side of Lake Erie to rest and gather energy before crossing the water.
And with the low understory, the birds can be easily seen within a few feet of the boardwalk that winds through Magee Marsh.
While the boardwalk is less than a mile long, it can take several hours to make your way to the end as you spot the colorful songbirds landing on the shrubs and low branches of the trees.
Along with the Baltimore Oriole that greeted me at the Magee Marsh parking lot when I arrived, here are the other birds I saw today:
- Northern Parula
- Red-Winged Blackbird
- American Robin
- Great Blue Heron
- Great Egret
- Canada Goose
- Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
- Warbling Vireo
- Yellow Warbler
- Black-and-white Warbler
- Prothonotary Warbler
- Great Horned Owl
- House Wren
- Black-throated Blue Warbler
- Gray Catbird
- American Redstart
- Chestnut-sided Warbler
- Blackpoll Warbler
- Wilson’s Warbler
- Eastern Kingbird
- Tree Swallow
- Barn Swallow
- Boat-tailed Grackle
- Downy Woodpecker
- Magnolia Warbler
- Wood Thrush
- Bald Eagle
- Green-winged Teal
- Black-bellied Plover
- American Coots
- Pied-billed Grebe