Spring has sprung

   Yes, dear readers, it is that time of year again. When even the most resilient of us see the change of seasons as a breath of fresh air. It is once again springtime. In fact, spring sprang (unofficially) sevral weeks ago here in southern Ohio. There are now telltale signs of spring all about us: The birds are singing, and droves of American robins, red-winged blackbirds and common grackles have returned (or should I say they are once again in abundant numbers, since all three of the aforementioned species are year-round residents in Ohio?). And once again, the frogs are singing on the banks of the ponds and lakes. The trees are budding, the sap is flowing, and the migratory birds are all headed north. This means that it is time to be gearing up for the waves of spring migration that are rapidly approaching, and the coinciding birding events that are designed to increase your birding knowledge while experiencing great bird watching at the same time. There are two big upcoming spring migration events that come to mind.

   The Ohio Ornithological Society is hosting a ten-year anniversary celebration at Shawnee State Park located in south-central Ohio, just a 15 minute drive from Portsmouth. At the event you will have the opportunity to attend multipe programs by well-known birders such as Brian Zwiebel with his presentation on bird photography and Ohio naturalist and blogger Jim McCormac and his retrospective presentation on the Ohio Ornithological Socety. You can learn more about the event here: http://www.ohiobirds.org/site/calendarofevents.php

   Most likely the most well-known event in the tri state area, and aptly named 'The Biggest Week in American Birding', this event takes place the first week in may every year in northern Ohio along the shores of Lake Erie. The event is situated in a prime birding habitat, where you can find wetland, lake and forest habitats. There are many popular birding destinations in the area, including Metzger Marsh, Cedar Point Wildlife Refuge, the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR) and Magee Marsh, where the event itself actually takes place. The area is unique because of it's large collection of warblers during spring migration. On a great day the possibility of seeing over 20 species of warblers is high. Besides large collections of warblers, vast quantities of ducks and other water birds are on hand, as well as a pair of bald eagles which have a nest at the ONWR. Nearby East Harbor State Park also boasts excellent birding opportunities, and sighting bald eagles near the bay isn't uncommon. For more details, view the website at this link: http://biggestweekinamericanbirding.com/

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