The first wave of spring songbird migrants arrived in the western Lake Erie region Sunday on the gusts of summery, southwest winds.
Twenty species of woodland warblers already have been noted at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory's lakeshore research site near Davis-Besse, and many other species in the first of three typical “waves” of spring migration are on hand.
“It's a classic first wave,” said Mark Shieldcastle, a biologist at the state's Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station in Ottawa County.
The next mass of migrants should arrive around Mother's Day (May 13) in the “big wave,” which typically contains the most diverse numbers of species in spring songbird movements.
Shieldcastle noted that in addition to the much-sought woodland warblers, the following species have shown up along popular western lakeshore observation sites: Scarlet tanager, eastern kingbird, summer tanager and Baltimore oriole.
Dominant first-wave species have shown up in good numbers, including white-throated sparrow, hermit thrush, yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, and swamp sparrow. The wave also has included “overflight” species, those that may have come farther north than their normal nesting range. These may include clay-colored sparrow, hooded warbler, pine warbler and Louisiana waterthrush.
Additional first-wave birds are expected with the next push of warmer, southwest winds, possibly by the weekend, the biologist said. He noted a tremendous hawk migration also is under way.
Good numbers of turkey vultures, sharp-shinned hawks, and broad-winged hawks have been passing through the region. The BSBO spring-raptor-migration survey has listed at least 15 species of birds of prey and has counted well over 6,100 individuals.
wFishing report: The warm weather over the weekend helped heat up the shoreline walleye fishing on western Lake Erie and provided excellent angling on the Maumee River despite high water.
Jigs and minnows remain the ticket for Erie walleyes from Maumee Bay on east to Davis-Besse and beyond. “It's been great,” said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road. The best water has been 10 to 14 feet deep, he added, suggesting anglers try hair jigs in blue/chartreuse or purple or purple/white with minnows. Some anglers also reported success using only the jigs.
Erie angling also has been good around Kelleys Island and west of Middle Bass Island, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Anglers also have had success on Sandusky Bay.
Despite water flows too high to permit wading to Blue Grass Island, a popular Maumee River site in Side Cut Metropark, anglers did very well over the weekend. Water was still high yesterday and it was cloudy, with visibility of just five inches.
Female fish generally are not yet spawned out, said Jan Lowry at Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle. She said that Fort Meigs, Buttonwood Access, and the Towpath downstream from Side Cut also are likely places to try while water remains fairly high.
The tackle shop's fishing derby last Saturday attracted 36 anglers and was won by Eric Mirosavich, of Bay Village, Ohio. He turned in a four-fish limit measuring 80.75 inches to win $180.
Sunday the shop held its 11th annual team tournament, and Pat Dreyer and Joe Tafelski, both of Toledo, bested a field of 15 teams with a team limit of five fish weighing 21.13 pounds to win $375. Thirteen of the 15 teams entered limits. Anglers from as far away as Wisconsin, Minnesota and Wyoming participated.
Angler Dan Spaulding won the shop's big-fish contest and a $50 gift certificate with a walleye weighing 12 pounds, 10 ounces.
Anglers are reminded that the daily creel limit for walleye will remain four until Tuesday, when it will become six. Special spring fishing restrictions on the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, such as no treble hooks and sunrise-sunset hours only, will last through Monday. No gamefish such as walleye that are snagged or foul-hooked may be kept at any time.
The white bass run on the Maumee is in its early stages, but white bass are so thick in the Sandusky River at downtown Fremont that the riverfront smells like fish, said Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply there. Anglers Friday were filling coolers with white bass using catfishing tight-line tactics, but substituting a floating jighead and minnow for hook and nightcrawler, Whitt said.
He noted that the Sandusky yesterday was very muddy and high and action was slow. A few walleye still are being reported there.
Tonight: Program on composting, 6:30 p.m., Sandusky County Park District offices, Countryside Drive off U.S. 20 bypass, Fremont. Also, Thursday, Eldercollege wildflower walk, 1 p.m., Blue Heron Reserve, U.S. 6 northeast of Fremont; call the park district to register, 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577.
Thursday: Public trapshoot, 6 to 9 p.m., Ottawa County Conservation League, Martin-Moline Road, Martin; shoots will run every Thursday evening; call Rick Temple, 666-1399.
Thursday: Program on woodcocks and whippoorwills, 7:30 to 9 p.m., Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Girdham and Reed roads, call for reservations, 535-3057 extension 101. Also, Friday, spring star watch, 9 to 11 p.m., Oak Openings, Girdham and Reed roads, weather permitting. Also, Saturday, 10-mile hike, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Oak Openings, Springbrook Area. Also, Saturday, program on nature's garden, 10 to 11:30 a.m., Oak Openings, lodge parking lot.
Thursday: Trapshoot, 6 p.m., Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg.
Thursday: Butterfly gardening, 7 to 9 p.m., Hidden Lake Gardens, M-50 west of Tecumseh, Mich.; to register call the Gardens, 517-431-2060.
Friday through Sunday: Bird-watching weekend, seminars, birding in prime east-central Ohio locales; sponsored by the Longaberger Company; call 740-322-5588.
Friday: Fostoria Chapter Ducks Unlimited, annual fund-raising dinner, call Frank Keel, 419-435-4805. Also, Saturday, Ottawa County Chapter Ducks Unlimited, annual dinner, call Rich Audiano, 419-243-5102.
Saturday: Boating-education course, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Maumee High School adult education, call 893-5113.
Sunday: Wildflower field trip, 2 p.m., Toledo Naturalists' Association, to Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve, Huron, Ohio; leaders Eric Durbin and Suan Muenzer.
Sunday: Lew Hemminger Memorial Fun Shoot, 11 a.m., Camp Perry Shooting Club, call 419-635-2682.
Sunday: Bowshoots: Sandusky County Bow Benders, County Road 128 south of U.S. 20, Fremont, register 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., call Frank Cantu, 419-547-0472. Also, Adams Conservation Club/Winnetka Bowmen, 240 South King Rd., Holland, register, 9 a.m. to noon, call the club, 865-3821. Also, Dundee Sportmen's Club, register 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 2300 Plank Rd., Dundee, Mich., Special Olympics fund-raiser, 30 3-D targets, call Ralph Mandelka Sr., 734-397-7016.
Monday: Public trapshoot, 6:30 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd. north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; call Frank Shaffer, 691-2769.
Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.