Saturday, May 14, 2011

You Verklempt me.

More from the New River Birding and Nature Festival!!!

Remember the last scene in Jerry McGuire?
If you don't remember it, just think back to before Tom Cruise went bat-shit crazy permanently.
Well, it's a good segue into my post tonight.

Muddlety Magic:
So, Saturday of the festival was Muddlety, my absolute favorite trip of all.  For a refresher on my first day at Muddlety back in 2009, go here.  Seriously.  Go read that post.  You'll understand the title of this post better.

This time around, we got Julie as our guide (plus Rudy, who comes up in a later post) and Geoff Heeter. Click here for an interview with Geoff.

The weather was fantastic.  The group was fantastic.  The guides were fantastic.  The birds were fantastic.
I guess you can see a theme here, right?
Blah blah blah.
It's hard sometimes to really convey the wonderment of this place.  It's not only birdy, it's also full of butterflies and very cool flora, and if you're lucky you might get a bear.  Bear.  BEar.  BEAr.  BEAR!!

I was yet again verklempt.  Choked with emotion, holding back tears all day.  This special place just rips me apart on the inside, and as it goes through me, sews me up again into something new.
I warned Beth R. that I would be a mess, and she warned me that she would be a mess.
And she gave the quote of the day:  "YOU VERKLEMPT ME."

Let's run through some photos.  And you may notice a lack of bird photos.  Well, I'm still working on my new camera.  There are too many settings.  And the camera has a higher IQ than I do.

muddlety sky2
We couldn't have asked for a better day.

geoff's serious birder face
Geoff Heeter, our host with the most.
(This is his Serious Birder face.  I was so shocked to see him actually being serious, I had to get a photo of it)

rudy in the grass
Rudy, who is nearly 7 feet tall, avoids Warbler Neck all together by just laying down....

nina side of the roa
Nina, down alongside the road, as usual.  :)

Beth and Bus
Beth G., with a big bus and a big lens.

lichen muddlety
I like lichen.

azure I think
Can't remember which Azure this is....

muddlety rocks

jz beth listening for CEWA
Beth Russell has spent five years trying to get a look at a Cerulean Warbler.  Here, Julie is trying to call one in....
And finally, down the road.....we got it.

When we got back on the bus, I made Beth do the Life Bird Wiggle, which she did...with some extra "White Girl From Philly" Flare:

turkey nest photo shoot
We flushed a turkey from her nest along a hill side, so Doug and Julie hopped up the rocks to take photos of the thirteen eggs, well hidden in the brush.

lunch spot muddlety
Where lunch is served.

BS lichen and deer hair
British Soldier Lichen (and a bit of deer fur stuck to it)

kathi julie doug butterflies and scat
Everyone jumped out of the bus to take photos of this...a pile of coyote scat covered in butterflies.
If you don't know about why butterflies do this...the males need certain minerals to complete their reproduction cycles, and this is why you will find hordes of them at puddles of mud and piles of poop.

Slow motion video of the butterflies getting their tasty on:

The largest Tulip Popular tree in West Virginia:
Heeter and Big Tree
Geoff loves this tree.

Laura Big Tree
Laura loves this tree.

Me and The Big Tree
I love this tree.
We all love this tree.

I love this place.


Beth in NYC said...

So far, so good with the new camera! This was a great day, the golden-winged warbler being a lifer for me. I love how you got me leaning backward, burdened by all of my equipment. LOL

Elena said...

I've always loved Muddelty too. It was a great way to end the week - trying to get a last glimpse of the golden winged warbler and the chat while the bus horn was honking. I could have stayed all day.

Beth said...

This post definitely made me cry. Again. You, dear friend, verklempt me. Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with me. Great pictures by the way. The new camera is wonderful.

xoxoxoxo, Beth

Julie Zickefoose said...

Loverly post! For me, the crown jewel of that day was the singing golden-winged warbler, apparently thinking about staking out a little territory, just beyond the coyote scat/butterfly extravaganza. I think you were deep in Muddletymind at that point, contemplating the butterflies, but it was a lifer for a whole clutch of participants. Made my day! I love it when nature hands out prizes like that. All you have to do is show up, and she does the rest.

RuthieJ said...

WOW!! Looks like an awesome place. I can certainly understand how difficult it is to come back to regular life again.
I traveled through this area of WV back in the late 80's (before I was a hard-core birder). We had only a short stop at Hawk's Nest State Park and then back on the road again, but I can still remember what a beautiful area it was. Thanks for sharing these photos Susan.

Heather said...

Next year I will be sure to do Muddlety. But even without a Muddlety experience, the whole week verklempted me... heck, I get verklempt just thinking back on it. What a wonderful week. I hope to meet that big ol' Tulip tree next year. Thanks for sharing your memories, Susan.