Did You See That? Me, Neither.

Early spring found us along Lake Erie in northern Ohio, one of many areas attracting birdwatchers hoping to catch a glimpse of a two-legged flyer they can scratch off their life list. I’m not one of those bird watchers.

But I’d read a flock of birders were near Toledo for the great spring migration, and we decided to see what we could see.


We spotted of a couple of Great Egrets in flight as soon as we arrived, but the warblers were the big attraction here, so we turned our attention to the edge of a small woods where other birders seemed to be focusing their attention.


I learned quickly that this group of birders was eager to share info: “What have you seen?” and “Up in that tree there’s an Orange-Crowned Warbler/Tennessee Warbler/Black-Throated Blue Warbler…”

Of course what I saw looked like this:


I caught sight of an American Redstart and a female Northern Cardinal… both fairly common in these parts. And of course, I glimpsed (and every now and then snapped a photo of) some bird I cannot identify, like this one…


…and this one:


Of course, all around us people were pointing into the mass of limbs and young leaves, whispering, pointing binoculars. And still, all I could see was this:


We heard the unmistakable tapping of a woodpecker and managed to pick out this Downy Woodpecker hammering away on a tree:


And then, finally, this:


A Warbling Vireo, I think. Might not have seen any warblers, but this seems close, eh?

Birdwatching — at least staring at branches, peering between leaves, hoping to spot something — just isn’t for me. Instead, give me the unexpected sighting of a bird I don’t often see any day.

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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3 Responses to Did You See That? Me, Neither.

  1. I am the same kind of bird watcher as you! I’m terrible at identifying small birds and can never find them in the trees when I hear them.

  2. aelkins1 says:

    I am not a bird watcher either, but enjoy spotting wildlife in just about any form wherever we go. My husband laughs at me because I get excited to spot herons/cranes/eagles/etc. For me the excitement is 1) big birds are easier to spot (lol), 2) because I can see them from a distance, they are less likely to fly away so quickly, 3) they are rarer back “home” in Michigan.

  3. Ellen says:

    Thank you both for reading and responding! (Oh…. I am so behind with this blog… Can you guess what my New Year’s Resolution was? And is already in trouble?)

    Beth — The little ones are SO FAST! I don’t know how anyone can ID them…. ! But they’re fun to watch and for me it’s a game: can I get a photo before they fly away? As you can imagine, most of my photos are empty sky/branch or blurry image of something fuzzy.

    Andrea — I completely agree 🙂 I think I learned the Great Blue Heron first and then the Red-Tailed Hawk (have known the robin, chicken hawk [formally known as a turkey vulture] and other more common Midwestern birds for a long time). It’s fun to add a few — we spotted a Common Black Hawk (not so common, it turns out, as its territory is just in certain places of the extreme south of TX, AZ…) in Yuma, AZ, a few weeks ago — a bird we’ve never seen before. That’s always fun!

    Safe travels to you both!

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