Our band, 6-7-8-OH, was playing a gig at Mango Mama’s in Port Clinton. Unlike some of our gigs, this wasn’t a fund-raiser for anything, just a Saturday night of playing in a bar. And there was a very good crowd there most of the evening. But what was most noticeable to me was the fact that it was the birders who packed, and rocked, the house. Birders made up only one-third of the band, but probably more than three-quarters of the action in the place.
Where was the stereotypical birder that you might see in a magazine cartoon? Certainly not in this crowd. No, we had the real birders. Three of the sharpest young bird experts in the state, Jen and Phil and Ethan, all twenty-something or barely-twenty, were there to rock all night after birding at Magee Marsh all day. Rebecca and Laura and Michelle were there from the National Wildlife Refuge; we’re accustomed to seeing them as professionals in the conservation field, but here they were lively pretty girls, drawing looks from all the non-birding guys in the bar. Several fun couples from the birding scene were here: Bob and Blake (the Killer Bs), he looking studly, she looking glamorous; likewise Tim and Dana, and Hugh and Judy, still amazingly energetic after all the work they’d been doing at the bird observatory. Another bird observatory mainstay, the amazing Karen, was there, a total live wire as always. Tough guy Henry and his cute daughter Olivia had been out birding all day at Magee Marsh but they came to listen to the music for half the night. Iain, Josh, and Sam, professional tour leaders from Tropical Birding, tanned and rugged and lean, probably danced with every lady in the place, and Michael and Matt may have done the same. But the dance floor was filled with birders practically the whole night.
The month of May has been a high-energy time at Black Swamp Bird Observatory, with crazy numbers of birds and birders in the area. Kim and I are both pretty well fried by now, and it felt good to just get up there on stage and rock out. No one has worked harder than Kim, and she should be absolutely exhausted by now, but she was so wound up and so full of life that no one would have guessed. With her beautiful voice and powerful delivery, she knocked everyone out as always. When we launched into a Joe Walsh tune, instead of "Spent the last year the Rocky Mountain way," Kim sang, "Spent the weekend birding at Magee," and everyone went crazy. At least, all the cool people did -- all the birders.
My beautiful Kim rocking out on stage
That's me on bass, adding to the driving foundation of the songs. Photo courtesy of Kevin Loughlin at Wildside Nature Tours.