Showing posts from May, 2009

Birders: Myth and Reality

From Port Clinton, Ohio, Kenn writes: As amazing as this might seem, there are still some people out there who are so totally uninformed that they think of birdwatchers as nerdy, dorky, or dull. (Of course, there are some people who think the earth is flat. When the real information is so readily available, at some point the ignorance becomes the fault of those who carry it.) For anyone who is so backward that they still cling to a belief in the "nerdy birder" stereotype, I wish I could have plunked them down in Mango Mama’s last night. 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 t

Warblers On The Brain

A Black-throated Green Warbler pauses in northwest Ohio, along with a few hundred thousand of his fellow warblers From Oak Harbler, Ohio, Kenn writes: See that typo? I’ve done that dozens of times recently. We’re actually located in Oak HARBOR. But for the last three weeks, whenever my fingers type the letters A - R - B, autopilot takes over and finishes the word with L - E - R. It’s that time of year. It’s warbler season. More than 50 species of warblers occur north of the Mexican border, and many of them are abundant, but most people never notice them at all. Because the warblers are tiny, hyperactive, and fond of hiding among dense foliage, they simply escape the attention of the uninitiated. For the average citizen, warblers exist only as the occasional flit of yellow between the treetops, not enough even to register on the conscious mind. But for those who have discovered birds, warblers are magical creatures, a dizzying galaxy of feathered delights. A male Bay-breasted Warbler,

Fabulous IMBD Weekend at Magee

Cape May Warbler: named for Cape May, NJ, but in spring it's far more numerous at Magee Marsh From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: For a few weeks every year, northwest Ohio -- and specifically the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, which is practically our back yard -- becomes one of the most popular birding sites in the world. Literally thousands of birders come here to witness the warblers and other migrants that concentrate in the woods along the Lake Erie shoreline at Magee and nearby sites. The action peaks on International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), the second Saturday in May. This year the timing worked out perfectly, with a huge arrival of birds obvious on the morning of Friday, May 8th. The variety of birds in the area was even better on Saturday, and continued to be outstanding through Sunday and Monday. I seriously doubt that any of the thousands of visiting birders went away disappointed. The Black Swamp Bird Observatory (BSBO) -- where Kim is Executive Director, and I’m a vol

Catch-up: The Hinden-Bird

From way behind on blogging, Kenn writes: Okay, to set the scene, this was Sunday, April 26, and we were in the town of Idabel, down in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma. It was late evening. Jeff Cox, Jim Arterburn, and I were sitting in the motel, glued to The Weather Channel. We were trying to gauge the likelihood that our Big Day attempt the following day would be pulverized by weather. Storms were rampaging across the plains, and the commentators were having a field day with discussions of tornadoes and floods and lightning strikes, but these updates were inserted as interruptions in the regular program. That regular program was one of TWC’s funky specials: "When Weather Changed History: The Hindenburg Disaster." So while we waited for the return of the "Local on the 8s" and the detailed radar picture of the storms crossing Oklahoma, we were watching, over and over, grainy newsreel footage of the giant German airship crashing and burning in New Jersey in 193