Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Tour 350: Now it gets tough

From a cozy B and B in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Kimberly Writes: It was with a bit of reluctance that we left our lovely room at the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan, Connecticut, and headed for South Hadley.  We had such a fabulous time during our two night stay in New Canaan and we both wished we could stay a little longer.  We gave a presentation at the New Canaan Public Library yesterday and it was just wonderful.  A great turn-out, a diverse audience, and the local book store sold out every copy of the New England field guide they had and took several orders! 

Almost directly across from the Inn was a wonderful nature preserve and we walked some of the trails there a few times during our stay. We found several new things to add to our 350 species list, but even if we hadn't, the wooded trails were incredibly beautiful and we really enjoyed our time there. 



The species list keeps growing, but now that we've sort of knocked off the "low hanging fruit" we expect it get more challenging from here on out.  We're going out in the field tomorrow morning with some friends of ours who are local experts and we hope they can help us find some cool stuff to add.  

We surpassed the 280 mark today when we added Spotted Wintergreen, Hermit Thrush, Northern Lady Fern, Black Walnut, and a millipede lurking under a rotten log.  Returning back to our B&B after tonight's presentation, we added a Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth that we found under the porch light.  

Speaking of tonight's presentation...
We were honored to speak tonight at the fabulous Odyssey Bookshop here in South Hadley.  It's an independent book store about to celebrate its 49th anniversary!  The current owner/operator, Joan Grenier, inherited the store from her father, Romeo Grenier, a French-Canadian immigrant who arrived in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1923 at the age of thirteen.  Read more about Odyssey Bookshop HERE.   

Tonight was really fun and it was great to see so many old and new friends. I nearly fainted when Donald Kroodsma, author of the wonderful book, The Singing Life of Birds (and other awesome publications!) came up and introduced himself. It was such an honor that he came to hear our talk and he bought several copies of our book, too! Geoff LeBaron, longtime Director of the Christmas Bird Count at National Audubon came, too, along with several local naturalists and friends! 
Great friends, our book well received at a wonderful independent book store, and some time outdoors with friends ... life is good!

Can you tell that I'm having fun?!?!  :-)  Yes indeed, I'm enjoying the book tour immensely, and Kenn and I are both very grateful to the amazing team at Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt for arranging such a dynamic (and fun!) schedule! 

Here, in totally random order, are some highlights of the tour, so far! 

European Mantis
Separated from Chinese Mantis by the black and white "bull's-eye" on the inside
of the front leg of the European Mantis
While we were in the Cape Cod area we stopped to sign books
at the aMAZing Bird Watcher's General Store!
We even got to go birding with Mike O'Connor, the owner of the
 store and a super awesome guy!  

While we were in the Boston area we gave a presentation to several classes of 6th and 7th graders,
 and even got to take one class outside to do some nature studies using the new field guide.
Here's Kenn with part of his group of students

I call this photo "Wood Sandpiper Feet."
Obviously not the feet of the actual bird, but the feet of unprepared birders (me and Kenn!)  who were  really
determined to see this rare bird and willing to slog through the marsh in street shoes to get to it!


We've already had some wonderful experiences on the tour and we still have more than a week to go!  


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