Monday, April 30, 2012
WPBO Spring Fling - 27-28 Apr 2012
Winds were extremely gusty as I walked the shoreline toward the point. At my feet were hundreds of carcasses of Red Admiral Butterflies and white moths of unknown identity. Ring-billed Gulls (mostly second-cycle) were plentiful on the water and in the air, and only a single Killdeer braved the winds near the point.
As I was leaving I met Beth Olson and her friend Diane (?), both from Marquette. They were here for the festival, as well. Returning to the parking lot I decided to get a panorama of the dunes behind me.
A short nap later, we then headed to Taquamenon Falls and the Pub/Brewery to have dinner with Board Members from Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. Mike and Susan Kielb greeted us, along with Jerry Ziarno, Bill Scharf, Tony Janisch, Rosann Kovalcik, Jon Stasenvich, Colleen Vogler, Bob Pettit, and Andy Parsons. Keynote guest Richard Crossley was there, as well. I'm missing someone else...Oh, yeah! Mary Wise (sorry, Mary!).
After dinner I dropped Robin off at the cabin and headed up to the point, where Mike was leading an owling tour at the raptor tower. First, I stopped in the Gift Shop and met Nova Mackentley and Betty Maxson. We chatted a bit until Nova headed out to check nets. I saw Mary and Richard and chatted with them awhile before Mary and I headed to the tower. We were late, as the night flight of Long-eared Owls had passed. Apparently folks also got a good sighting of a rare (for the area) Great Horned Owl. Before heading home, Mary, Rosann, Jon and I stopped by Mike and Susan's home just up the road for a quick glass of wine.
The feeders were active with White-throated Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers, Common Grackles, Purple Finches, European Starlings, and Brown-headed Cowbirds. I would later miss a Boreal Chickadee that showed up nearby in the woods.
I headed back to the cabin to grab my gear for the two workshops I'd be giving at the school. Both workshops (Budget Bird Photography) went well, and turnout was quite good. For those of you who attended, here's a link to the slides.
We then headed to the township hall for the evening banquet. With 200 people crammed into the banquet hall I got to overhear all of the great bird sightings I missed due to my workshop committments: Golden Eagles, Boreal Chickadees, Spruce Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, and Red Crossbills, just to name a few. A late afternoon hawk flight included a dozen or two Broad-winged Hawks. My only consolation was seeing a Merlin that flew by the window as we ate dinner.
Richard Crossley, author of the newly-published "ID Guide to Eastern Birds", gave an entertaining keynote address that included some of his wonderful photography, and stories from his past. We also heard stories of his inspirations that led to creation of the revolutionary guide ("not a field guide"), as well as hints into his future projects.
By evening's end I was too exhausted to head back to the point, so Robin and I went back to the cabin to relax and pack for the trip home.
Special mention needs to be made to recognize the efforts of those folks who made the festival such a success: the people who provided food and hospitality for the banquet, to Tony Janisch (Director of WPBO) and his staff for such a great job w/ the Bird Observatory, the tour guides and speakers, and especially to Mary Wise for organizing such a wonderfully successful Spring Fling. As I said earlier, "Mary, you were Brilliant!".