Notes From The Field

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge/ Auto Tour

The Sunday Kathy and I left for our much anticipated vacation, the day started out quite uneventful. With it’s normal pit stops along the way for breakfast and other necessary duties, we made it to Ottawa NWR in the normal 4.5 hours or so.

If you’ve never been to Ottawa NWR before, it’s located between Toledo and Port Clinton Ohio, right on Lake Erie. At 6,500 acres this vast refuge is a mix of wetlands, forests, and grasslands. And with a place as large as this getting around is either by foot or bicycle. However today was one of the weekends where the auto tour is open to the public, and this is why we decided to make this our first stop. The auto tour at Ottawa is one of the greatest birding experiences you can have while visiting up here. You can drive at your leisure, park and enjoy the wildlife.

IMG_0172This Eastern Kingbird was actively feeding along the side of the road as we pulled up. I didn’t even have to get out of the car to capture this photo.

IMG_0186Common Gallinule

IMG_0189A real treat during the auto tour was this Eared Grebe. My new camera really had to work for this shot, which was pretty far away.

IMG_0193Common Coot

IMG_0195What I really like about my new cameras is the detail it picks up on the birds. I just love this photo of this Pied-billed Grebe.

As we drove along we’d stop and look for more birds, and enjoy some of the wonderful scenery. There’s one area along the road which is particularly good for Marsh Wrens. These reclusive birds are more than likely heard before they are seen. However every once in a while one would pop up and give you some brief glimpses.

IMG_0198Marsh Wren

As with all good things the auto tour does come to an end. And while it’s open you can always go through again if you didn’t get enough the first time. However for Kathy and me our hotel reservation wasn’t good till 3 pm, and the Magee Marsh boardwalk sat between us and the hotel. So as we slowly drove on out we noticed a car pulled over with the occupants looking out over the marshy area that bordered the road. They were kind to put us on an American Bittern. A really difficult bird to view.

IMG_0206Unfortunately all we were able to see was it’s long stretched out neck and head sticking up out of the grass.

Part 2 of my trip will be forth coming…


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