Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 54 of 67

53 January 2019 | Birder's Guide to Travel A Wild Turkey, some Canada Geese, a scurry of eastern gray squirrels, and a fox also welcome us. At the footsteps of the idyllic beach rental, which comes chock full of modern- day conveniences, is Lake Erie. Lured by the sight of waves through the window, I explore while Finn unwinds watching TV. Secluded with pockets of water and board- walks, there are several great spots to look for birds, so I'm truly sad to leave the love- ly area early the next morning. As we pull away, light glows off the lake while drops drizzle down. Prepared, we've suited up for today's destination, Pelee Is- land. Part of a peninsula, it's a 90-minute ferry ride from the mainland. The island is a significant hotspot, thanks to its location at the crossroads of two major migration routes, and one of the first points of land- ing for spring migrants. Looking at Finn, I can't help but grin at his new rain boots. They are enormous with nearly more boot than boy. Spinning wind turbines and solar panels dot entire fields as we weave along country roads. When we near the ferry crossing, we re- ceive sad news that the ferry to Pelee Is- land has been canceled due to wind gusts. It's time to eat and regroup. Stopping in the town of Leamington, we devour a hearty breakfast at a bakery that doubles as a restaurant. Before I can even Google a new idea, Finn has acquired the Wifi code and is engrossed in a Fortnite recap on YouTube. I let it slide as his mood, which was a bit sour from the early start, seems to be improving. We decide on nearby Hillman Marsh. Adjacent to Lake Erie, the area features three miles of trails over 35 hectares (87 acres) of pristine marshland/shorebird habitat. There are several vantage points from within the brush and trees to open water and boardwalk. Making our way to the water's edge, Finn is pleased to spot a second cardinal singing happily from with- in the safe confines of a pine. A sense of clockwise from top : n Marsh boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park. n Red-bellied Woodpecker. n Midland painted turtle. n Female Red-winged Blackbird. n Red-breasted Grosbeak. Photos © Jenn Smith Nelson

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