This weekend, hundreds of birders will converge on Lakeside, in Ottawa Co.,
NW Ohio, for the Midwest Birding Symposium (MBS). The organizers and hosts
- Bird Watcher's Digest, Ohio Ornithological Society, and Lakeside
Chautauqua - once again have done an outstanding job of lining up great
speakers and a multitude of exciting activities, and everyone is sure to
have a great time. Kimberly and I are looking forward to seeing many
Of course most of us will spend part of the weekend birding. A wealth of
useful material is on the MBS website itself, but I wanted to mention a
couple of other sources of information that may be helpful to visiting
Fall migration through this region lasts for months, with different birds
moving at different times. To help understand what species to expect, I've
written an overview of the timing of fall migration in Ohio, available at
And for those with a specific interest in shorebirds, here is more detail
on the timing of their migration:
The MBS website has directions and maps to many of the top birding sites in
the area. If you haven't checked it recently, note that the maps for a
couple of sites were updated recently. Meadowbrook Marsh is one of the
closest birding sites to Lakeside itself:
Meadowbrook Marsh also was the recipient of funds from the Carbon Offset
Birding Program at the MBS in 2011! That program is repeating this year,
and I hope all visiting and local birders will take part in it.
If you're heading over to the Magee Marsh area, there are two maps (both
updated recently) that cover it. One is an overview of the area:
The other is a detailed map of the Magee boardwalk. This shows the exact
locations of the numbers along the boardwalk, which are often used as
landmarks for interesting birds. When birding the Magee area, it's a good
idea to print out a copy of this map (it's a PDF that's free for printing
by anyone) and stick it in your pocket, so that you'll know where to go if
someone reports that there's a Hermit Warbler at number 23, for example.
Sheldon Marsh, in Erie County, isn't an official MBS site, but it's an easy
stop if you're going east from Lakeside toward Cleveland. I led field trips
at Sheldon Marsh the first time the MBS came to Lakeside, in 1997 (eight
years before I moved to Ohio!), and although it was sort of a long drive,
the birding was good. A birding map is here:
And if you want even more choices of birding spots around the region,
there's a longer listing here:
The Ohio Ornithological Society will be maintaining a Birding Information
Table at the MBS in the front of Hoover Auditorium, and that should be your
first stop if you're planning to bird the region. You can also stop by the
Black Swamp Bird Observatory booth in the South Auditorium if you're
checking out the vendor areas.
And if you happen to be out in the Magee Marsh area, Black Swamp Bird
Observatory will be holding free public bird-banding demonstrations from 10
to 11:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22. This is a
chance to see a selection of migrants up close and learn about their
migrations. The Observatory is located just north of Ohio State Route 2 at
the entrance to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area.
Looking forward to seeing a lot of great friends and a lot of great birds
Oak Harbor, Ohio
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