A Pretty Cool Day...Literally and Figuratively!

From "Home Base", Kim writes: After attending the 75th annual banquet of the Toledo Naturalists’ Association (TNA) last night, this morning I loaded up 12 lucky TNA members (chosen from a lottery) and, along with Kenn and guest star Pete Dunne, I took them all birding to some of our favorite spots, i.e., Magee Marsh and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Believe it or not, this was Mr. Dunne’s first visit to our area. I took a photo just to prove he was actually here.
He teasingly told me that he was going back to New Jersey and telling everyone that he hadn’t seen a single warbler, and that the place had been seriously overrated. I told him he had to come back in May. He told me he’d have to retire first.

At some point during the trip I had this sort of weird experience where time and space were passing by in snapshot moments. I realized that I was driving this awesome bus owned by the bird observatory where I am the director, and I was chauffeuring two of the world’s most recognized and acclaimed birders and authors. It was a good day to be Kim!

We saw some great birds too. On the way into Magee, just past the visitors' center, I spotted a Great Horned Owl perched up high on a snag. It posed for several minutes allowing great looks for everyone. Cool! Lots of swans around, Trumpeter and Tundra, and we had a great time trying to separate the two species. Ducks were plentiful too, with great looks at Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, and Northern Pintails.

Back at the famous boardwalk I forced everyone to pose for photos, and after everyone ran away from me and my camera, I walked a few feet back on the boardwalk. Wow! What the change in seasons can do to a place. As I stood there all alone it was almost as if I could hear the echoed voices of spring---birders calling out to each other---“Burnie at 9:00." "Oh…Oh look here--Black-throated green right over my head." "Yeah, but check out this gorgeous Parula three feet from my face!"
It’s like that--here in this magical place. Even now, with winter crackling all around, the boardwalk looking like a tapestry, decorated with the molted leaves from trees now sporting their winter plumage, and nary a bird in sight--
save the occasional fly-over of Ring-billed Gulls--the place still has an energy that makes your heart beat a little bit faster. I love this place; and I think it loves me too!

After leaving Magee, we headed for Ottawa, and drove through the auto tour route -- opened especially for our trip. While the wind was howling and the wind chills freezing outside--we all stayed toasty inside the awesome BSBO Bird Bus. I have a lit'l rap song I do about "my" bus. I'll subject you all to it eventually!

Today was a big day--for sure--but it was just another chapter from a very crazy weekend. The festivities kicked off with our band’s first live performance in Port Clinton on Friday night! It was a benefit concert for the Port Clinton High School girl’s basketball team. We're sort of the "house band" for a place called Mango Mamas, which has a very large space, and the place was packed!! While we still need to add more songs to our arsenal, things went pretty well. The first set is a little more "subdued" but the second set is filled with high energy rock! It felt so good to be on stage singing my heart out! I’m really looking forward to the next gig on December 5th. Kenn was great on bass guitar, and was rewarded with a brand new “toy” at the end of the night, when a friend of ours delivered a Rickenbacker bass that he hauled back all the way from South Carolina. He made it clear that Kenn didn’t HAVE to take it--but, once we cracked open the case and saw this blond beauty--I knew she would be with us for a long time! Check it out….

I love our life!


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