Thursday, September 24, 2009

Highlights from the Midwest Birding Symposuim

It has taken me a few days to really gather all my thoughts from the Midwest Birding Symposium, and I am now finally ready to share them with you. This was by far the most fun birding event I have ever attended. It's hard to imagine, but there really were 750 people at the symposium that were as crazy about birds as I am. Not only were there some great birders from the Midwest in attendence, but some of the most famous individuals in birding were also there. Scott Weidensaul gave a fantastic presentation on his book, Of a Feather. Al Batt had everyone rolling with laughter, and Jim McCormac taught us all about the wonderful birding along the Great Lakes. I especially enjoyed meeting Kenn Kaufman. I have always loved his book Kingbird Highway, and it was amazing to listen to him tell the stories that he wrote about in his latest work, Flights Against the Sunset. I was also able to speak with Kenn and his wife Kim for about 20 minutes later in the weekend.

Me with Kenn Kaufman

Additionally, I had the pleasure of birding with a group from the Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University - Chris Wood, Jessie Berry, and Mary Guthrie. We birded the boardwalk at Magee Marsh and Ottawa NWR. We had a great day, and I hope to be able to visit the Lab soon.

Chad Williams, Me, Chris Wood, Jessie Berry, Mary Guthrie, Andy Johnson

While hanging out with all of these awesome birders was a wonderful experience, a certain bird did steal the show! After listening to Jim McCormac speak about birds along Lake Erie, Bill Thompson III announced that a Kirtland's Warbler had been found 5 minutes down the road. I have never seen an auditorium clear so quickly. We joined up with Dan Ross from Columbus, OH and hurried over to find this great rarity. After much searching, I was rewarded with beautiful looks of this life bird! Hundreds of people were able to see the Kirkland's Warbler, and it really made the weekend special for a large number of birders.

A shot of the Kirtland's Warbler by Chad Williams

It was a pleasure to meet so many leaders of the birding world this past weekend, and I spent time with several other wonderful people in addition to those mentioned above. I had a great time birding with Andy Johnson, a fantastic young birder from Ann Arbor, MI. While at the Kirtland's Warbler site, I met a long-time reader of my blog, Kelly Riccetti of Red and the Peanut, as well as Dave Lewis of Birds from Behind. I also had the chance to speak with BirdChick and Mike from 10000 Birds.

To everyone I met at the conference, I hope to see you again soon!

-Rob

1 comment:

Mary said...

Finally...the fabled Kirkland's Warbler! I've been reading Kelly's blog about missing it, so nice to finally see it :-) This must have been a really good weekend experience for everyone who was there from what I've read in the blogs.