I really had a good time at the Midwest Birding Symposium recently. Other than being alone with no hot water in the group housing, everything was perfect. (I thought being in group housing would be a great way to meet folks. Wrong.) I'd recommend bringing a friend, or sharing quarters with someone. Hey sis, wanna go in 2011? It was so great to meet many of the folks I knew from Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and nature sites. Nearly my favorite part.
After a wonderful Sunset Cruise we enjoyed a viewing of the birding movie Opposable Chums. If you are interested in birding at all this is a must view. Not everyone will want to participate in the World Series of Birding, but it is sure fun to watch. One of my favorite parts were the clips of interviews held outside, where Pete Dunne and others get distracted in mid-sentence by a bird. Loved it.Bill Thompson III entertaining the crowd. He's good too. (PLUS I got to meet him and sit next to him riding in a golf cart. I think his elbow even touched me).I really, really, I mean really, enjoyed Alvaro Jaramillo's talk about Birding ID Outside The Box. He talked about "Just Know" birding. I believe this is cutting edge stuff. He talked about face recognition and how we can apply it to birding. It doesn't necessarily come quickly, but once it does.. It makes birding so much simpler. Maybe I enjoyed this because I feel like I bird watch like this. I don't know. Many times I'll recognize a bird and ID it correctly, only to have someone say "how'd you know?" One of the things Alvaro said was, when we respond to that question we tend to tell folks the field marks found in the field guideswhen in actuality we ourselves may not have actually used those field marks to recognize the birds. Super interesting Alvaro, I want to hear more!Mike Bergin of 10,000 Birds talked Around the World in 80 Blogs, giving us an overview of how blogs work and showed us how different people have established their blogs. Ken Kaufman told us why we need birds. Lots of super great reasons. Here is is demonstrating the mating strategy of the Mourning Dove - Obviously the female dove is not buying it.Here is the authors row one afternoon. If you had a bird book of any kind, chances are you could have it signed by the author here. Folks seemed to really enjoy this.The Ohio Young Birders sponsored a childrens area and here are a few kids making Owl masks.On my way to Magee Marsh I shot this photo of a Great Blue Heron in the morning fog.
I attended Julie Zickefoose's program on Letters From Eden she read and shared stories from her life and book. Out of the chute I had tears in my eyes. The woman strikes a chord. She concluded with a few songs accompanied by her husband BT3. Very well done folks.
Our last dinner there was quite excellent and very nicely set up. Oh and the food was always good.
Don't let this guys mad face fool you. He was so extremely funny. He shared snippets and stories from a life gone to the birds. When the audio programs are live on the Birdwatcher's Digest website Al Batt's program is not to be missed.
I spent the last hour of the official MWBS Big Sit nearly alone. I did have the company of a skunk, and Al Batt and a few groupies stopped by for a few minutes. This is what the night looked like.
Here is my skunk friend. Maybe it was BT3 in disguise. So funny. A lady was laying in the grass near the feeders listening for birds and in her words "communing with nature" when all of a sudden she LEPT back into the porch area! The skunk had walked right up to her and startled her out of her meditation I think. It was all I could do to not crack up. So funny.
All in all, with very few glitches I felt like the Midwest Birding Symposium was very well organized with lots of great sessions, great venue and great people. I can hardly wait for 2011.