Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Midwest Birding Symposium wrap-up

I had a great time at the 2011 Midwest Birding Symposium. The best part was meeting many of my online birder friends in person. Unlike went I went in '09, I was able to do a little more birding this time.

Here is the sunrise over Lake Erie Saturday morning from the shore at East Harbor.

Sunrise over Lake Erie

Maybe this is a good omen, but it seemed that almost all the birds that I encountered were white. Bonaparte's Gulls, Caspian Terns, Forster's Terns, Ring-billed Gulls, Great Egrets, Snowy Egret, Trumpeter Swans.

I always enjoy watching Great Egrets, they always look so pure and regal. Here, one was fishing close at East Harbor.

Great Egret catching fish

That's gotta hurt!

Great Egret

The best time I had was meeting for the first time fellow bird blogger Robert Mortensen from Birding is Fun! Since he is a Utah birder, he needed many eastern birds for his list so that he could hit that #400 mark.

While checking the internet for any good birds sighted close to Lakeside, I was approached by another fellow bird blogger and friend Kelly Riccetti from Red and the Peanut along with Rob. Rob informed me of some of the birds that he still needed for his life list and asked if I could help him find #400. I felt honored and challenged, so I quickly thought up a plan.

We headed to East Harbor State Park where I guided earlier in the morning. The first bird we happened to spot was one that he needed, a beautiful Chesnut-sided Warbler! Here is Rob texting the news of reaching #400.

Robert Mortensen texting on his reaching #400

And the victory dance, abbreviated.

Robert Mortensen on #400
Rob Mortensen on #400!

Later, Rob and I decided to try for a couple more lifers for him. He still needed Barred and Eastern Screech-owl. After hearing about a report of a Barred at Meadowbrook Marsh, we headed there after the evening programs on Saturday.

I used my owl calling ability to call for the screeches and barreds. We struck out on barreds, but we quickly had 3 Eastern Screech-owls respond to my calling. They even swooped above our heads. Had a wonderful time birding with Kelly and Rob! Looking forward to birding with them again in 2013!

On Sunday, I went on the auto tour at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for the first time ever. I saw more white birds.

Here is a Trumpeter Swan peeking over the impoundment wall.

Trumpeter Swan

Why do birds always stare me down?

Trumpeter Swan

Not really many shorebirds at Ottawa, as the water seemed a bit too high. Did see another white bird though, a nice looking immature Snowy Egret.

Immature Snowy Egret

Immature Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret (immature)

A special thanks to all the many wonderful people that make the Midwest Birding Symposium happen and those that attended and made it such an awesome event! Looking forward to 2013!



  1. Sounds like you had an awesome time Don. I know you made your friends day by helping to tick off number 400. I think I might need some owl calling lessons too having only seen one in the last two years. Cheers to you Sir!

  2. Awesome post Donald! Did you see my post today? I have a pic of you and Kelly. Thanks again for helping me find two awesome life birds! I was honored that you would show me around. Happy birding!

  3. Yes! I saw the post. I was honored to be a part of 2 lifers for you. Had a great time, hope you (and I) can make it back in 2013!

    Happy Birding to you too!

  4. A wonderful post to read.. nice one.

  5. Great shots of the white birds Donald! You certainly had a great time at the symposium. Plus you got to meet two of my favorite bird bloggers, Kelly and Robert! Congrats on helping Robert find his #400!

  6. I love the Trumpeter's stare!