Friday, June 15, 2012

Coming up: Birds and Butterflies in West Texas

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes:  In a few weeks, we're going to be in very different surroundings: the rugged, beautiful, fascinating Trans-Pecos region of Texas.  Specifically, we'll be in Marathon, Texas, taking part in the first "Birds and Butterflies" event there, July 19-22, 2012. 

Here's a poster for the event that we grabbed off the internet ... it looks better at full size.

Our friends Heidi Trudell and Matt York, superb naturalists who are now based in the Marathon area, helped to get us involved.  They introduced us to the management of the historic Gage Hotel, which is hosting the event.  There will be field trips focusing on both birds and butterflies, social evening, hummingbird banding demonstrations with Kelly Bryan, the nature artwork of Gerald Sneed, and other attractions. I'll be giving a keynote talk on the 21st.

Kimberly and I are looking forward to some fabulous birding. That region of Texas has a fascinating mix of western and southern birds, including Swainson's Hawk, Scaled Quail, Wild Turkey, Cassin's Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Vermilion Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Pyrrhuloxia, Bronzed Cowbird, Cassin's Sparrow, and Painted Bunting ... to name a few!

Male Vermilion Flycatcher perched atop a mesquite
 There also should be some neat butterflies around, although it's a little harder to predict which ones.  They could include Mexican Yellows, Theona Checkerspots, Desert Checkered-Skippers, Empress Leilias ... even the names are cool!

Another attraction of Marathon is the Gage Hotel itself, with its rich history, and the beautiful Gage Gardens.  You can read more about them here: 

Of course, that region of western Texas also has remarkable plants, moths, reptiles, etc., and we're looking forward to seeing wonderful wildlife and to reconnecting with friends!  If you're looking for an intriguing new experience for July, we urge you to check this out; more information can be found at this link.  We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Like birds? Then you're sure to like this!
This fabulously fun video features people who really like birds!  The video was filmed during the Biggest Week in American Birding.  Directed by Birds & Blooms magazine and produced by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, it is sure to bring a smile to your face.  Enjoy!