We returned to the same wetland complex in Sandusky County that we visited Monday, this time circumambulating the Decoy Marsh restoration project with Ray Stewart and Drew Weber. Drew coached me through my lifer Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii). We got a look at a pair of Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)—it’s easy to focus on the crescent on the face as a field mark, but as I was showing a California birder the Peterson guide for this bird, we both realized (and observed) that the bird does indeed show a sky-blue wing. What a nice walk: full sun on the forest edge rimming the wetland, and enough twists and turns to the path that we could adjust our views of shorebirds and ducks to compensate for the sun.
We heard Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator) calling in the distance, and on the drive back to the meeting point, we found a nesting pair on a unnamed pond for an A+ look for the trip.
Man oh man, some of the robins in this part of the country have a brick-red breast; very confusing. And the Song Sparrows sing a different dialect.
On my own in the afternoon, I walked the Adam Grimm Prairie at Ottawa NWR. I did not detect the target bird for this stop (Henslow’s Sparrow [Ammodramus henslowii], which has been reported recently here), but the stop was worth it. After the crush of the Magee Marsh boardwalk, for almost two hours, I had. The. Grassland. To. Myself. At the end of my quiet walk, after working through a different sparrow ID, I was treated to the sight and sound of at least two Eastern Meadowlarks (Sturnella magna).