Trip report: The Warbler Tour – Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan (May 2017) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Andres Vasquez.This was a set departure tour.

This was the most unpredictable migration season in several decades according to everybody we asked, and it was my feeling as well based on my experience in the past five years. Fortunately, our tour was designed and planned in such a way that we did not have to depend only on unpredictable migration movements but instead we visited breeding areas of most of the warblers, and we managed to see every single species but one of the 38 possible eastern US warblers. We only missed the difficult Connecticut, largely due to bad luck; a cold front that passed through while we were in the Upper Peninsula, and we just missed one that departed Magee Marsh just before we got there.

Apart from the fantastic wood warblers, during this tour we saw plenty of other great birds and mammals including Evening Grosbeak (photo above) at Hartwick Pines State Park, 14 species of ducks and swans, 7 woodpeckers, 11 species of sparrows including Henslow’s and Lark, both Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, flocks of Dickcissels and Bobolinks, and 16 species of shorebirds out of which close up views of American Woodcock were particularly appreciated. The most exciting mammal, among the 11 species seen, probably was a Black Bear that crossed a dirt road in front of our car.

This trip was also superb in terms of all the different areas we visited, from the beautiful hilly terrain of both Red River Gorge and Shawnee State Park, to the famous migrant traps of Tawas Point and Magee Marsh, and finishing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula boreal forests. Long distances are covered on this trip but it is worth every minute on the tarmac… (to read the full report, click the link below)

The Warbler Tour trip report in PDF format (3 MB file)