Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Midwest Birding Symposium: Days 3 and 4

After another late night hangout out with people at Hotel Lakeside, we made it out the door at 6:30 and were on the boardwalk at Magee by 7. To avoid the massive group following the tour guides, I took our Indiana Audubon group in from the east entrance to the boardwalk. We found a couple of small flocks during the first hour with the highlights being a very cooperative Philadelphia Vireo and a variety of thrushes including Gray-checked and Veery.

We finally hit a large flock of warblers but they were moving very quickly and I am sure that we missed many species in the mix. We finished our birding on the board walk with 12 species of warblers and 4 vireo species and decided to head over to Ottawa NWR to drive around the auto tour.

There were not nearly as many birds as we had hoped for at Ottawa. Only one area along the whole drive contained shorebird habitat and there were not that many shorebirds in the area. The most interesting one was a Semipalmated Sandpiper that had its breast dyed pink as part of a shorebird study!

The real highlight of the auto tour was photographing the Trumpeter Swans!

We spent the rest of the day listening to awesome presentations including my favorite one of the the weekend by Michael O'Brien. He spoke about the flights calls of birds and how you can identify birds that are migrating overhead at night by their call notes! I will definitely be working on learning more of the flight calls after that presentation!

The evening keynotes were incredible! It started off with Julie Zickafoose telling us about her life as a bird rehaber in southeastern Ohio. Her stories are fantastic and you really must hear her speak sometime. The final keynote of the symposium was by Al Batt. Al is one of the funniest birders that I have ever meet and always has the crowd rolling with laughter.

We enjoyed one more evening sitting on the screened in porch chatting with friends. The next morning, Eric, my mom, and I decided to try out a new birding site, Meadowbrook Marsh. We found some nice flocks of warblers and saw our only Black-crowned Night-Heron of the trip. We also found a pretty cool dragonfly and a very interesting bird's nest.

Common Darner

Nest in a Broken Tree

The Midwest Birding Symposium is an amazing event and I highly recommend that everyone attend in two years back in Lakeside (this event is held every other year)!



Chad said...

It is indeed a great event! It was nice to visit with you and your family! Always great!

Amy K said...

How big was that nest? American Robins use mud and straw in that way - could it be a robin nest?

Rob Ripma said...

Chad - Luckily we all get to hang out again this weekend!

Amy - That is possible. It seemed big enough for a robin to me but I am terrible with nests!