Monday, May 04, 2009

Rainy Days of Birding

A weather front followed me on my latest birding adventure.

From Tuesday night through Sunday morning last week I was in West Virginia at The New River Birding and Nature Festival. As I left for the festival, crossing the Ohio, West Virginia border, a large weather front appeared in the West, darkening the previously blue, sunshine-drenched sky. Apparently this weather front was also attending the New River Birding and Nature Festival because we both arrived at the same time and stayed for the rest of the week.

But what's a little weather among avid bird watchers? We laugh in the face of a driving rainstorm, as long as we can get somewhere sheltered to dry off our lenses, preferably somewhere with hot chocolate.

Intrepid birders at the bobolink field.

The birds were showing well despite the weather—the only miss being the golden-winged warbler, which we figured must have not yet returned from the tropics. The bobolinks at the bobolink field were already in, but the males were flying around in bachelor groups singing and perching in trees. Two days later they had staked out territories and were at war with each other. What a difference between their migratory behavior and their on-territory/breeding season behavior!

Every trip I lead for this year's NRBNF netted some lifers for one or more of my group. On some trips we had new birders along, or bird watchers from the West (for whom many eastern birds were new), and we cleaned up on life birds! One festival attendee netted 70 life birds! That's nothing to sneeze at!
Cloudy skies did not diminish the nice views. At least when the fog blew away.

There are at least 50 reasons why you should go to the New River Birding & Nature Festival. Twenty-five to 30 of those reasons could be warblers, because that's how many North American warbler species are seen annually at this event.
A singing male Kentucky warbler photographed on another, sunnier day of birding.

More on my New River adventures tomorrow. If you are starved to read more about this wonderful event right this very minute, check out some of the posts from the Flock of Bloggers that attended this year's festival, which included:

Mary from Mary’s View
Nina from Nature Remains
Kathie from Sycamore Canyon
Kathleen from A Glorious Life
Barb from My Bird Tales
Lynne from Hasty Brook

I met most of these fine folks during my six days in Fayetteville, WV. Also posting mightily about the event are Jeff Gordon (from whom I copped the list above), Jim McCormac, and Julie Zickefoose.

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At 5:48 PM, Blogger Jeff Gyr said...

Hey Bill--

Great seeing you in WV, I'm just sad there wasn't a chance to lead a trip together.

Thanks for the cred on the blogger list, but I made a major omission--
Lynne from Hasty Brook!

I omitted her because I based my list on a list she posted that, duh, didn't include her. So I've gone back and added her.

Hope to see you again soon, bro!


At 5:53 PM, Blogger Bill of the Birds said...

Got it Jefe! Tim Ryan also corrected me. Thanks!

And I think Geoff and Dave know better than to let us lead a trip together....

At 8:44 PM, Blogger KatDoc said...

This post has been removed by the author.

At 8:45 PM, Blogger KatDoc said...

Hey, BT3 - thanks for the shout-out for blogging Flockers (the Flocking bloggers?) Only one correction: Life, Birding, Photos and Everything is written by Kathy with a "y", not an "ie."

We Kathy's understand the difficulty you non-Kathy's have with the sound of our names, but we can hear it. Maybe if you made a sonogram and slowed it to 1/3 speed, you could, too!


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Julie Zickefoose said...

Don't forget Jane from Wrennaissance Reflections!
Arggh, lists are such a pain!

At 7:47 AM, Blogger Erik said...

I've debated attending this festival for several years but chose to hit Magee and the Lake Erie marshes, Point Pelee, or opted to chase Kirtland's Warblers instead. I'll have to put this on the travel plans for 2010.

So many places to go, so little vacation time.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Mary said...

I'm always forgetting someone on a list and wonder how I can forget a person. It's easy...

I saw 38 life birds, Bill. Many were warblers and they were breathtaking! But I'M SO CONFUSED! Will I be able to post a few photos of them and correctly identify them? LOL.

Thank you for the great time, good music, and just being there. It was the best and I can't wait to go back.


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