Warblers and Megas

It was one heckuva weekend. Sunday morning saw the last remnants of Hurricane Isaac’s precipitation and stalling east winds in the Cleveland region. Passerines that had left Canada on Saturday night were met with fog and rain and what happened Sunday morning was nothing short of a fallout. Wendy Park, which boasts only a tiny stand of cottonwoods and mulberries, was simply LOADED with birds. Two big mixed feeding flocks worked through the woodlot throughout the morning and into the afternoon. 20 species of warblers, including Mourning, Golden-winged, an early Palm, Cape May, Canada, Blackpolls, Bay-breasteds, Tennessees, Chestnut-sideds, Yellows, scads of redstarts and Magnolias and Wilson’s were just a few of the warbler highlights. Eastern Wood-Pewees, Great Crested and Least Flycatchers, and a single Yellow-bellied Flycatcher plus Swainson’s Thrushes and Red-breasted Nuthatches joined the feeding frenzies. Warbling and Red-eyed Vireos were everywhere.

Observers were simply in AWE and it was tough to keep up with the sheer numbers and pace of the flocks as they moved through the mid and upper story.

A visit to Dike 14 – Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve – landed us more Magnolias, Tennessees, redstarts, Black-and-whites, Bay-breasts, Chestnut-sided, Cape May, and Ovenbird and Northern Waterthrush. At this point, Jerry Talkington hit Chagrin River Park and experienced “one of the best days of fall migrants in memory”, recording “over 100 vireos” including FIFTEEN Philadelphia Vireos, 15+ species of warblers and an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

Fast forward to today, Monday the 3rd. Erik Bruder sees a juvenile BROWN PELICAN passing by Huntington Reservation, headed east, offshore by only a few hundred yards. I was lake watching from Lakewood Park and Rocky River Park but could never catch up with this mega bird. Birders scoured Wendy Park, hoping the pelican would find the breakwalls and lighthouses and harbors highly ideal. To no avail.

While scouring the lakefront this morning and afternoon, fingers crossed for the pelican, I found not one but TWO Snowy Egrets – a big time rarity in Cuyahoga County – at the mouth of the Rocky River. These two glorious birds made for #239 on my Cuyahoga County big year list!

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