Welcome to Birds In My Bins And Lens: Eyeing The Avifauna And Fauna Of The Americas. It has always been a childhood dream of mine to travel to the tropics. I vividly remember being nine years-old, thumbing through seemingly endless stacks of Ranger Rick, National Wildlife, National Geographic and International Wildlife Magazines, dreaming of visiting such wonderful places as: Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, etc. in order to see all the great birds and animals that call these places home. Finally, after 40 years, I am fulfilling my childhood dreams.

Photo Above: Flame-faced Tanager (Male) Ecuador August 2014


Friday, May 9, 2014


I left home on Monday, May 5, 2014 to head down to Findlay, Ohio, to stay with my Ohio family, the Loughmans. It's always good to see them, especially my nephew, Jaryn and Niece, Kira.

My friend, Jeff Loughman, and I would be heading out early the following morning with two other friends, Amy and Jen to go on a twitch for a Rock Wren that has taken up temporary residence in Amish Country in Millersburg, Ohio (Holmes County). For more information about Rock Wrens, click on the following link: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Rock_Wren/lifehistory. From the range map to the left, you can see that this little guy made a wrong turn some where.

After the chase, the four of us would head to do some birding at Magee Marsh and environs to celebrate the "Biggest Week in American Birding" sponsored by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. A great birding festival and one that is gaining in popularity each year. After all, where the festival is located, is considered the "Warbler Capital of the World" A distinction that is well earned!

We would actually spend two days birding the boardwalk and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge with hundreds of like-minded folks.

Jeff and I woke up at 4:00am on May 6th to get ready for the ride to Amish Country. Jen and Amy met us at Jeff's at 5:15am. We were excited at the prospect of getting this rare bird for the area. This is the second record for Ohio. The first being in 1963 at Edgewater Park in Cleveland.

The ride to Holmes County was uneventful, but great conversation was had. We arrived unscathed and undaunted. We met up with some other birders who were looking for the bird, but none had seen this little fella.

We talked to some locals who said the bird was seen around 7:00am at a house, but flew west and wasn't seen again since. This news didn't bode well with us.

Long story short. We searched several areas that the bird was known to frequent, but found nothing. As the clock clicked away, we decided to throw in the towel and head south to Magee Marsh.

Frustrated and disappointed, we loaded up back into Jeff's car for the 2 1/2 hour ride to the festival. We were about 45 minutes on the road, when Jeff got a phone call saying the bird has been relocated and that several birders are currently watching it.

After much discussion, we voted to turn around and try again. The forty five minute ride seemed like an eternity, but we arrived, excited and hopeful. As we pulled in the driveway of the woodshop parking lot, several birders directed us their way and pointed out the Rock Wren that was sitting on a wall that surrounded some fuel storage tanks. Not really a great natural setting, but seeing the bird at all, was good.

Success! This bird was a lifer for Jeff, Amy and Jen. For me, it was a great Ohio "tick"

We watched the bird for about 20 minutes as it flew around, back and forth and foraged in various places. I took a bunch of photos, but none of which are great. They do make for documentation photos for this blog.

As you can see in the above picture, the little guy has a "clubbed foot" This didn't seem to slow the little bugger down in the slightest. The photo below is zoomed in, where you can see that he does have an issue with the foot.

Obviously, we were happy with the decision to turn around and try again for the bird! I was most happy for my three friends who snagged this lifer. It really is a blast watching people get their first ever sighting of a species. almost more fun than getting one for yourself.

Even though the wren is a non-descript bird, it is still beautiful it subtle ways. I am a huge fan of wrens. many wrens of the Tropics are more colorful, but what the drab ones lack in plumage color, more than make up for it with their colorful personalities.

We left the bird, making our way south once again, basking in this successful chase. Conversations then turned to talk about all the warblers that we hoped to see on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh...below are just a couple of photos I took on the boardwalk and beyond. I had a really hard time getting any decent, sharp photos. I guess, I am out of practice. Hope to remedy this problem before my trip back to Panama in June.

Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Yellow Warbler

White-throated Sparrow

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
 Blackburnian Warbler
Great Horned Owl Babies
Black-and-white Warbler

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