Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Voice

I could have put a million images into this movie, but the song is only so long....

And I can never adequately express what this festival means to me.  Or what these people mean to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We interrupt these posts about New River, to bring you a dumb.

The other day, I was sitting in the park around the corner from RAPTOR.  Not a great day weather-wise, but a nice place to get my paperwork done before picking up the birds for a program.
There were plenty of birds to listen to....towhees, cardinals, a parula, and the high thin whistle of broad-winged hawks.  If you think you've never heard a BWHA, think again.  You might have just thought, "Oh, that's some songbird".  Their call is very un-hawk-like:

Have a listen.

So I'm enjoying the avian ambiance when I notice something on the roof of the shelter at the end of the parking lot.
Huh.  Too big to be a leaf.  Looks....sort of bird shaped.
Aw, hell.  Is that a hawk???
(For the record, it really and truly did look like a headless hawk)


I squinted hard.  And then my mind turned it into an injured broad-winged hawk.  A hawk that needed my help, by Gawd!

I took a few photos of it, then got out of the car to plan my next move, namely how to get on the roof.  
I was just about to try and drag a picnic table across the lawn when I stopped. didn't have feathers. It had a .....husk.

corn husk

Oh snap.  It's corn.
I was about to risk life and limb to climb onto a roof to rescue corn.

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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some birders should not botanize.

I'm starting my posts sort of in the middle.  I have to go with what moves me, and I've tried to write a post about ten times.  It's just ridiculous.

So I'm jumping in right on Thursday morning.  It was a good day, because all of the Flock had finally arrived.
Oh, I never did a list of the Flock this year, did I?
Here you go:
Dawn and Jeff 
Beth G.
Beth R.
Mary Ann

SEVENTEEN of us.  Scattered between the Farmhouse, the hotel, a  motor home and two separate cabin rental places.
Most of us were there all week, but we had some stragglers.
Beth R. and Doug came in Wednesday night, so Thursday morning found us Birding by Butt on the Opossum Creek property.  After getting my lifer Black-Billed Cuckoo:

bb cuckoo

(thank you, Julie!).....the three of us decided to go see this cool flower that Nina had found earlier in the day.
We hadn't even gotten to the top of the driveway before the shenanigans had started.
For the record, I wasn't really sure that Doug knew what he was getting into.  He's a friend of Mary's and has heard all about this festival for years, and while he's a grown man and can take care of himself, I still worried. I mean, the Flock can be pretty raunchy and off-color, if you know what I mean.
Turns out, I didn't have to worry at ALL.  He fits right in.  Beth was slinging jabs at him and he was batting them back at her like a pro.
They actually made me blush a few times, and we all know how impossible that is.

Oh, yeah.  The flower.

So there we are, trudging up the hill to find this tiny yellow flower.  A yellow lady's slipper, to be exact, a small, pretty, native orchid.
I've seen lady's slippers before, but I wasn't sure if Beth or Doug had.  So I tried to describe it.  And unfortunately, I compared it to a scrotum.  Well, you'd have thought the two of them were gonna die.

Now, look at this does look, well, sack-like, right?

yellow lady slipper

So yeah.  The fact that I said the word "scrotum" was enough to keep them going until we actually found the thing.
A very small, but gorgeous flower.
One of them (not sure who) said that the curly thingies on the sides looked like peyos (also peyotpayospayesspeyess) on a Hasidic Jew.
And then it began again.  They lumped it all together and came up with a combination that I am frankly afraid to type.

During the commotion, Beth decided to toss her camera down the hillside.  When we had all wiped our eyes and took some deep breaths, Doug did the chivalrous thing and went in after it.
I really don't remember what he was doing as I took this photo, but I remember laughing hysterically about it. Remember, this was mid-week already.  I was hung over and running on about 3 hours of sleep a night.

doug goes for beths camera

And as her camera was being retrieved, Beth got to hold Doug's big huge long lens.
Is it really necessary to add that this sent us around the bend once again?
holding dougs lens hehehe
Ooooh, two-handed hold there, Beth?  Wowsa.

Monday, May 02, 2011

New River 2011 People pix

So it's begun...the New River Bird and Nature Festival.  It's only day one, so we don't have a bounty of hilarious stories and photos yet.

It's been a long day, so for tonight I'm going to just show some people photos, so you all can see who's here:
(I don't have photos of everyone yet....and some of the ones I do will get me in trouble)





Nina and Lynne:
(I don't remember what was going on. But I bet it was hilarious)
funny faces

Sigh....Mary Ann and Debra.
mary ann debra

First night together....a toast to the Flock and to nature blogs!

More to come....much, much more.  We haven't even STARTED.......