In n.w. Ohio, the estuary of Crane Creek (on Ottawa NWR, accessed by trail
from the n.w. corner of the Magee boardwalk parking lot) has mostly had
high water this season, limiting the amount of shorebird habitat there.
Southwest winds push the water out, creating a larger area of mudflats and
shallow water. With strong SW winds this morning, I walked out there and
spent a while scoping the flats, and found shorebirds in good variety (15
species) but fairly small numbers. The most notable were three Hudsonian
Godwits. These were VERY distant, and at first I picked them out only
because they were larger, grayer, and paler than some nearby dowitchers,
with different feeding behavior. I still would have put them down as
"probable" Hudsonians except that they eventually flew a short distance,
showing the black wing-linings. They were too distant for me to tell
whether they were adults or juveniles; looking at the overall migratory
path of the species, we're almost a month past the early push of adults,
but numbers of juveniles aren't likely to pick up until a little later in
September. Regardless, the Crane Creek estuary may be the single best place
in the state to find Hudsonian Godwit, sometimes with substantial flocks in
Other shorebirds here included two adult Black-bellied Plovers, two Baird's
Sandpipers, one Red-necked Phalarope, three juvenile Short-billed
Dowitchers, at least four Long-billed Dowitchers (plus some distant
dowitcher sp.), and four Wilson's Snipes. Overall numbers were low, no more
than about 100 shorebirds altogether, probably because this habitat comes
and goes with changes in wind direction and there's not much other habitat
nearby. Still, this spot is worth checking, especially when winds are from
the southwest. A scope is essential here because most of the birds are at
or beyond the limit of what could be identified through binoculars.
Oak Harbor, Ohio
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