Take a careful look and lock it into your brain, because some of them are phantoms that’ll disappear when a new season comes.
“They’re transient,” said Joe Margetiak, a volunteer at Erie MetroParks. “They’re here and gone.”
They were here this past weekend, when dozens of area residents turned out for a three-day Wing Watch Weekend sponsored by Lake Erie Wing Watch. The local group is made up of county visitors bureaus, park systems and other entities seeking to promote bird-watching opportunities along Lake Erie’s shores.
The weekend included educational seminars, exhibits, guest speakers and hikes aimed at pleasing bird-gawkers eager for sightings.
“I had no idea there’d be that professional of a level of people speaking,” said Jan Sibbersen, a Woodville resident who attended the activities in Port Clinton, Oak Harbor and Huron. “I learned some good photography tricks.”
Among the speakers was local photographer Sharon Cummings, whose nature photographs have appeared in everything from Audubon Society books to Smithsonian magazine.
On Sunday, Sibbersen’s two grandchildren accompanied her to the final day of Wing Watch, where Margetiak and his wife, Charlene, took a flock of folks to area eagle nests. The eagle-centric schedule was fine by Sibbersen.
“I’m not so much of a bird watcher as an eagle watcher anyway,” she said.
The group’s first stop was an eagle’s nest near Old Dutch Tavern on Perkins Avenue, where one of Sibbersen’s grandsons, Noah Jacobson, 9, was anxious to see a bald eagle that was bigger and better than the one nesting near his Woodville home. Among the more intriguing sights that day was a grown eagle that was tearing up its kill and feeding it to its brood.
“Their wingspan is huge,” Noah said. “They’re big and they look cool. And their wingspans are a lot bigger than I thought.”
From tip to tip, a grown eagle’s wingspan is about 6 feet, while the bird itself sits about 3 feet high. That was one of the tidbits of eagle info Margetiak fed his Wing Watchers on Sunday.
“That’s why I’m here,” Margetiak said, pointing at Noah. “These kids will never forget some of the things they’ve seen here today. This is our legacy to them — they can bring their kids out to look at them.”