Monday, September 21, 2009

Close encounters at the Midwest Birding Symposium

I mentioned in my last post that the Midwest Birding Symposium is not only about the birds, but also about the people.

One of the highlights of the weekend for me was attending a presentation by Julie Zickefoose based around her book Letters from Eden.

Not only did she read passages from her book and tell personal anecdotes, but she, along with her husband Bill Thompson, III, sang us a few songs at the end of her presentation. She's got one soulful voice.

In addition to her presentation, I was honored to have a chance to meet Julie and have her sign my copy of Letters from Eden. She was even kind enough to pause for a photo...

Your blogger with Julie Zickefoose... artist, author, NPR commentator, mother, wife, Science Chimp extraordinaire, my personal blog hero and fellow southeast Ohio hills dweller. That's some of her artwork on display behind us. It was a real treat to see her paintings up close!

I also got to meet Julie's sweet kids, Phoebe and Liam, and hubby Bill (AKA Bill of the Birds), a super-star of the birding world in his own right.

Bill up on the big screen during his welcome speech.

Additionally, I got to meet up with some other bloggers, like Nina from Nature Remains (don't know why I didn't get a photo!), Mike Bergin of 10,000 Birds and the Nature Blog Network, and Sharon Stiteler (AKA Birdchick).

Here's Mike sitting at the Live Blogging "booth" at MBS. Looks like he just finished a post on 10,000 Birds about the symposium!

My blogging buddy Kelly (Red and the Peanut) was there, too. You may remember that Kelly visited us in Athens in July, and we went birding together up in the Hocking Hills one day. Well, we went birding together up on Lake Erie, too, making a dash for Magee Marsh one evening, trying to beat the sunset and only barely succeeding.

Here's Kelly at the entrance to the boardwalk at Magee Marsh. We were losing light fast!

When talking about the people at the symposium, I cannot neglect to mention my dear hubby Dave, who spent a lot of time "enjoying the scenery" while I snapped pictures or ran off in the opposite direction from where we had just been walking so I could talk to someone. I owe him many thanks for being so patient while I indulged my hobbies.

Dave enjoying a Lake Erie sunset at the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park

Another IBP (Important Birding Person) at the symposium was Kim Kaufman, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. While I didn't actually meet Kim, she was an active participant in the bird banding demo that we attended on Saturday morning at the BSBO.

Kim holding 2 thrushes of the Thrush Tripleplay (more about that in a future post).

This makes for a good segue into the close encounters I had with birds during the symposium. Yes, I did see some birds while I was there (although I did not manage to see the Kirtland's Warbler that showed up Friday morning at East Harbor State Park!). Here's a preview of the close-ups that I got during Saturday morning's bird banding demo...

Black-throated Green Warbler (get your confusing fall warblers here!)

Brown Thrasher

Ovenbird (the gentleman holding the bird had to tousle it's head feathers a bit to get the characteristic orange feathers to actually show)

Coming up... a detailed look at bird banding, and I look at some of the life birds I snagged during said demo! I told you this was one fun weekend!


Kelly said...

Heather, I love all of your photos! When I see them they bring back memories...."I remember that" keeps going through my mind. Your portrait of Dave is fantastic...the composition is perfect. I bet that will always be one of your favorite photos of him.
(I recognize myself trying to set up my monopod in the fading light!) Love that Black-throated Green (makes me think of Hocking Hills! and the Ovenbird has got to be one of the cutest birds alive...I love that bird and your photo is fab....

Richard King said...

Looks like a great well-organised event. Keep up the good work!

Shame we don't have much of that in Western Australia. Not many birders in Australia, usually old people and viewed as some type of weird nerds by locals!

Andy said...

Looks like a fun time.

Heather said...

Kelly - Here's another thing to remember about the weekend: "What's this?" !!! Ha! I cropped down that picture of Dave to make the composition look good, but thanks... I like it too.

Richard - As far as I could tell, it went over as smooth as could be, so it was certainly as well-organized as you can get! Your comment about the age of birders in Australia is interesting... you're not the only country where it's a bunch of older folks birding! I would say 70% of the attendees of this symposium were 65 or older. This is definitely not the young person's game over here, either, but hopefully that will change as we hook more kids and teens onto birding!

Andy - It was such a blast! I don't know if any of the birders who blog/tweet/chirp were there or not, though...