Just north of Oak Harbor along the Lake Erie coast is the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area.
This expanse of marshland was originally known as a great waterfowl hunting area (you can find an array of decoys dating back to the 1800s in the Bird Center) but now is known world wide as one of the best birding areas in North America, especially during the spring migration. As the birds travel north to their breeding grounds, they pause to gather strength to cross Lake Erie and continue on to Canada. Magee provides the perfect environment for the birds to wait, ample food, and shelter with the variety of shrubs - to old tall trees.
Although we arrived outside of the birding season (March - end of May is best), we still found a good number of birds - most new to my list this year!
When we arrived we stopped by the Bird Center to get a map and a feel for the area, the birding center had a great display of stuffed birds - you don't realize just how big a bald eagle is until you're standing next to it! Looking at the map we were impressed by the number of trails that we could take, there's also blinds out in the field where you can go and wait without standing out like a sore thumb, we opted to explore the "famous" boardwalk that takes you through tall woods, shrubby areas, and right by open marshy wetland areas. Here we saw a couple of warblers, wrens, a white pelican flew over (!!!), a cuckoo, brown thrasher, kestrel, great egrets, ruby throated hummingbirds - and this is in the slow season in the middle of the day!
To get back to our car we took the new(?) beach trail along Lake Erie where we found a few more birds: bald eagle, woodcock, and some sort of piper or plover - couldn't get a good view.
Half a day was not nearly enough time to explore this area and all it has to offer, we will be making a point to return with a long weekend in mind, there's just so much to see!
Also right next door is the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Crane Creek State Park!
Since 2015 we have been exploring and sharing all the amazing things we’ve found in nature.
Emily is an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist who is most often found out in the woods.