Wednesday, May 20, 2009

NOT Birding By Boat

Our scheduled trip for Friday was called Birding By Boat. The group would ride in rafts, gently floating down the New River (I was assured it wouldn't be the white water section), taking in the lovely scenery along the way. We'd been having quite a bit of rain, mostly in the mornings and I wasn't enthused about sitting in a wet raft. I was OK with getting off the bus in the rain for birding but actually sitting on a wet seat? Mmmm...not for me. I had had a major "hit the wall" the evening before. I'm not complaing at all. I had heard and seen so many remarkable birds that day but I was feeling like a super-saturated solution. Dig back in your brains and find that chemistry term. Need help? This from Wikipedia:
The term supersaturation refers to a solution that contains more of the dissolved material than could be dissolved by the solvent under normal circumstances.
Small particles (seeds) can trigger the separation of the dissolved material from the solvent. In solid form these seeds can lead to the formation of crystallites or even large single crystals.
In simpler terms, if I tried to identify or photograph ONE MORE BIRD- My brain would turn to stone. I had run into Jeff Gordon that afternoon and he asked me if I'd had a good day. YEAH! Did you get any lifers? YEAH!
What did you see? Mmmm...can't remember.
Who were your trip leaders? Uhhhh...can't remember.
Where' did you go? Duhhhh...I don't know.
I was fried. Dinner was fun, a chance to chat and laugh and relax. Five minutes into the after-dinner program my eyes slammed shut. I didn't want to disrespect the speaker or embarrass myself so I quietly left the room and headed back out to my car. I passed Geoff Heeter on the way and told him that I really needed some down time and because the weather forecast was for heavy rain the next day, I would not be attending Birding By Boat. He asked me to rethink my decision and at least check the weather in the morning. OK.
Early the next morning, Mary tapped on my door for wake-up and she told me that the Birding By Boat had been cancelled! Heavy rains with possible lighting meant no river travel. Geoff Heeter and Jeff Gordon would instead lead a bus trip they quickly dubbed "Winging It". I had slept well and felt my brain had decompressed so I dressed to go.
On the bus, Jeff asked everyone if there was a particular bird that they wanted to see. Having been mocked by Carolina Wrens during my whole trip to Cape May last October, I mentioned that I'd REALLY like to see one. I know for a fact that a Carolina Wren would not be a lifer for anyone on that bus but me, but Jeff promised to get one for me. Our first stop was a golf course. Hardly off the bus, Jeff called out Northern Rough-winged Swallows. LIFER! Jeff's head perked up as he heard a Carolina Wren singing just up ahead. He played a little birdjam (Hi Jay!) and called that baby right in. HA! GOTCHA! LIFER! Jeff made sure I got a good long look at the Wren. My pictures are lousy, but I don't care. I travelled many, many miles to get that delicious bird.
Thank you Jeff.
Within minutes Geoff and Jeff had an Orchard Oriole in sight. LIFER! That's three lifers in about five minutes. Am I glad I went? Yes, yes, yes.
We started walking across the grass toward a stand of evergreens when suddenly one of the leaders (Jeff or Geoff) called out "Cape May Warbler." I stopped in my tracks with a lump in my throat. Way back when I bought my first field guide Birds of Eastern and Central North America by Roger Torey Peterson I thumbed through the book, looking at all the wonderful birds, making a mental list of the ones that really tugged at me- either for their beauty in form or flight or for the bit of natural history that told of their lives. The Cape May Warbler was on that list. And there it was.
Geoff quickly got it in the spotting scope and I could barely see it through the tears in my eyes. After everyone got a good look, Geoff cranked up the magnification and offered looks again. I was speechless.
Thank you Geoff.
I cannot tell you how many photos I took of this bird. I'm thankful for digital.

This Cape May Warbler made four life birds for me in about fifteen minutes.

Here's the Jeff/Geoff team looking like the professionals that they are. Awesome birders, generous and patient, and lots of fun. Thank you guys!

Later we stopped along the river and I got another lifer:
Warbling Vireo

It was a beautiful spot along the river.

We made a quick stop just to grab pictures of this lovely waterfall. Happily, no lives were lost crossing the wicked, steep, curved hill. We were told that road carried a lot of commuter traffic (at high speeds).

Another stop along the day was this park with clearly marked signs.

"Come on everybody! Let's go this way."

A sweet Yellow Warbler sang for us.

All together it was an EIGHT LIFER day for me!

Warbling Vireo
Purple Martin
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Carolina Wren
Cape May Warbler
Orchard Oriole
Yellow-throated Warbler

Our dinner that night was at the Cathedral Cafe. Jane, Kathleen and Mary brought "a few" bottles of wine to have with our dinner.

After a delicious dinner prepared by Dave Pollard and his family, Kathi read a poem she had written called "Birding With Bill." It was sweet and funny and very well crafted. Julie Zickefoose gave the talk later, sharing stories of some of the birds that have affected her life and the lives of her family. I was so touched that Julie included me in a section on Turkey Vultures and was delighted to know that she and I share strong feelings for this spectacular bird. She spoke of totems and their meanings and how important TUVU's have been to her at various times in her life. I am comforted to know that there is someone else out there who understands my depth of connection to this bird that most find less than attractive.
Thank you Julie.

I love this picture. I took it from what I'm guessing was the choir loft. I can see so many of the people that I got to know at the New River Birding and Nature Festival, people who shared their knowledge and mad birding skilz. People who shared their stories and laughter, smiles and hugs. Seriously folks, if you're thinking of attending next year- do it.

Beth brought her cement chicken to serve as the Flock Mascot. It weighed a TON but did a gooood job!


Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne, great blog; it's nice
to put faces to names and you
are doing that nicely! I really
like that Cape May Warbler. If
you need closeup photos of Purple
Martins, I can tell you of two
places nearby in Plymouth that
offers that possibility. Thanks
for all the sharing of your trip
to W.VA. with us.
Hap in New Hope

Mary said...

Oh, well, Linne. I'm about ready to post the same stuff! LOL! Only difference is that YOU have the birds.

Great post!

Shelley said...

It was nice to hear of all the lifers you got Lynn! Love all these photos - especially being able to put names w/ faces.

P.S. Every time I see a turkey vulture, I think of you! :-)

Marsha said...

Finally time for me to catch up on your trip - Wow, those are some lifers for one day. I would love to see a Cape May warbler but am more of a stay in the backyard person. I am lucky to host the orchard orioles though..don't you get them at your house?

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Every time I hear about your super saturated day, I remember your telling it in person--and get all giggly with what a sweet and fun one to be with you are!
I think we all had a case of it at one point that week--and it's fun to look back now--happy memories with you, Lynne!

NCmountainwoman said...

This may be one of the best New River Birding posts of all. I can so identify with the overload and need for some quiet time. Sometimes I want to say, "Wait! I want to get off for a minute."

Wonderful photographs of some of your lifers. With all the enthusiasm about this birding festival, they will need to have several sessions next year to accomodate everyone.

Tina said...

I REALLY enjoyed reading this have a very nice way of telling a good story...with lots of great bird and birding pictures, a few chuckles, several sighs, a dash of aaahs, and a lot of heart!
I am so glad everyone enjoyed this festival..and like everyone else I hope to put it on my 2010 calendar..and try again! :)

Beth said...

I'm glad you went on that trip after all and I'm really glad it turned out to be such a great day for you. Hooray for TUVUs! Every time I see one now I think of you, dear friend.


denapple said...

Lynne, you win the prize for best warbler photo by a blogger at the New River Festival and Deluge! I'm jealous, but I've sent my new camera back to the shop to be fixed or shot, so maybe things will improve for the next Blogger Flock migration.

Montanagirl said...

Lovely post - very interesting, and such wonderful photos! Good job.

Dawn Fine said...

OMGoodness! Cape May warbler and beautiful photos! Great post..I know what you are feeling..I am there right now..after birding cape may..
I am trying to come up with a term..birdaugsted or something like that...
Good thing you didn't take the had some great birds...
Your photos are great!
Thanks for the eye fave..and cape may i have never seen.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Wow! What a day.Congrats on the Lifers.

Kyle said...

I sure have enjoyed catching up on all the fun and excitement y'all had at New River, Lynne! And wow, what a day this was! Sounds like it was a blessing that the birding-by-boat trip was canceled. Congratulations on all the lifers! And you got some wonderful shots of Jeff and the warblers (sounds like a singing group).

Wish I could join the Flock for something like this. Oh well, maybe someday!

Linda in Erie said...

Hi, Lynne! We are still here in NC and seeing some of the birds you posted. I did get a great video of the Carolina Wren while we stopped at the gorge in West Virginia on the way. This loud little bird was singing away and we said, "What is that!" I took video and looked it up in the car and it was a Carolina Wren. We have since seen dozens of them. But we haven't seen a Cape May Warbler. I'm having a terrible time trying to photograph all the little warblers. The leaves are out now and they are in and out of view before I can press the button. This is bird heaven down here.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Sweet, sweet sweet you're so sweet

and this is a great post, perfectly capturing festival burnout. Your photos are stunning. I can't help it, when I look up at a TUVU I always grin. And think of you, too.


possumlady said...

Oh, I am still so jealous of all of you, but it was meant to be for me not to go but to stay home and take care of my cat Moochie. Such wonderful photos. It is definitely on my to-do list for next year.

I also SO understand how you felt. Being single, I'm used to lots of "alone" time and even when I'm with a wonderful group of people I get to a point where I tell everyone that I've gone beyond my "social saturation level" and need some quiet down time on my own.

Jay said...

Wow... What a great day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne, looks like you had a Ton of fun.

Carol said...

What a beautiful little bird that yellow warbler is.
Did anyone use the scope for photos?

FAB said...

I know I'm a bit late to the party but I was enthralled by your exciting day plus fabulous photos. Stunning Yellow Warbler & guess what 'Cape May Warbler' is still on my wanted list. Lol FAB

Leedra said...

I can see why the Cape May Warbler was on your wish list. Beautiful bird. I like Shelley, think of you when I see the Turkey Vultures. I love to watch them soar.

Leedra’s Photos For FunLeedra’s Greeting CardsPhotography By Leedra

Heidi said...

"uhmmm... i don't remember"

Yeah, that's me after just one day of birding, lol! Your brain must be in better condition to last longer than that :)

I'm so thrilled for you that you got all those lifers in one day, one place. And I love the way you're including everyone else in your story telling :) It's great to see a festival in action.

Barbie ♥ said...

It's actually fun reading these posts after I'm all done with mine - brings back lots of nice memories! Your Cape May warblers pictures are so GREAT!!!

KGMom said...

As someone who is an introvert by nature, I reach that supersaturation point rather easily. So I do understand.

Kelly said...

I loved this post. It's like I was there. So many beautiful photos and fun photos as well (the No Trespassing sign made me laugh...)!

RuthieJ said...

Carolina Wren would be a lifer for me too Lynne. I know that they're here in Minnesota--even been seen in Rochester, but I've never seen one. I'm glad the boating was canceled and you were still able to go "birding by land" on this particular day.

Kathie Brown said...

Lynne, wonderful, wonderful post! I miss you already and wish we could have spent more time together!!!!!!!! I was so exhauted this day and the next.

Kim said...

Lynne, I LOVE the Cape May Warbler pictures. Such a gorgeous bird. I saw one two weeks ago but not NEARLY as well as you did. Loved the photos and seeing all of my blogging friends having such a good time.

Vickie said...

Wonderful images, Lynne and story. Felt like I was right there with you. What fun!

troutbirder said...

Very impressive Lynn. Good job!

Larry said...

Stunning warbler photos Lynne! Congratulations on the lifers too.There's only so much I cna take of a good thing too. As much as I like to fish, I've been on Cod boats where I caught so many Cod that I had to stop.-It must be a nice problem to have though when you're overwhelmed by the birds you see.

Unknown said...

Wow! 8 lifers- sounds like the trip of a lifetime!

Kathleen said...

These memories and photos are awesome! While you were not birding by boat I was getting soaked at Cranberry Glades - and we all had an AMAZING good time. Amazing!

dguzman said...

I know how "supersaturation" can occur, especially at a festival. I think that's why I love birding with The Flock--it's hard to get overwhelmed when you're laughing so much of the time!

CAPE MAY WARBLER! Dangit! Amazing. I really missed out that weekend, but I had a good time in Cape May. Great photos! And Jeff is amazing!

King of New York Hacks said...

i would love to hang that sing up as you enter New York City....lots of snakes here, especially on Wall St.

Anonymous said...

I must say that you have some of the nicest bird photos I have seen in a long while. And the species leaves me speechless.

Speaking of wrens, both house and carolina, I have them aplenty here where I live in SW Ohio. They are very cute and feisty and sing all day long. I can hear one right now.

My Birds Blog.

Owlman said...

Lovely post Lynne. I always feel like I'm there with you.