Thursday, March 29, 2012

On the Road This Spring/Summer

Thursday, March 29, 2012
On my birding trips, everybody gets to do the Life Bird Wiggle.

After taking some time off between book projects I'll be back on the road this spring and summer hitting several new birding/nature events as well as some old favorites. I'm really ready to do some field birding. I really, truly enjoy guiding people and showing them birds.

Here's a list of where I'll be and what birds one might see at each event. I hope to see you out there with the birds!

Santee Birding & Nature Festival
Santee, South Carolina.
April 26-29, 2012

This will be my first time at this event deep in the heart of the range of the painted bunting (and Bachman's sparrow, red-cockaded woodpecker, Wilson's plover). Much of this event is held on and around the Santee National Wildlife Refuge. I'm leading a bird walk, giving the Friday keynote, and playing some music during the social hour on Saturday.

Male cerulean warbler at the New River Birding & Nature Festival.

New River Birding & Nature Festival
Fayetteville, West Virginia
April 30-May 5, 2012
This down-home bird fest is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, in the mountains along the New River in south-central West Virginia. It is famous for warblers, including golden-winged, cerulean, and Swainson's warbler, but the spectacular vistas, amazing wildflowers, and Mountaineer hospitality also contribute to bringing back many repeat attendees each year. I'm leading a different field trip each day and The Rain Crows are playing a show on the final night in The Meadows lodge at the charming Opossum Creek Retreat, where the event is centered.

Wine & Warblers
Grange Insurance Audubon Center, Columbus, Ohio
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
I originally thought this was a birding-by-ear event called Whining Warblers, but I was happily wrong. The title says it all: There will be wine. There will be warblers. The setting is the amazing "green" GIAC building in downtown Columbus and, given the early May date, there will be loads of warblers and other migrants streaming through the trees along the Scioto River. Did I mention there will be wine? Julie Zickefoose and I will be leading a bird walk or two, after the wine, which should be interesting.

Kenai Birding Festival
May 17-20, 2012
Kenai, Alaska
We're really looking forward to heading to Alaska in May for this relatively new birding event on the Kenai Peninsula. The bird life there is going to be refreshingly different from what we will have been seeing during spring migration in the Midwest—and I'm hoping for a couple of lifers (Aleutian tern and spruce grouse—a jinx bird for me!) We'll be doing bird walks (including a float trip!), evening talks, and some music. Best of all, this event is totally free and open to the public!

Canton Audubon 50th Anniversary Dinner

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Canton, Ohio
Julie Zickefoose is the keynote speaker for this celebratory event for one of Ohio's oldest Audubon chapters. But after she's done yakkin' we'll be playing some music for everyone.

A prairie pothole near Carrington, ND.

Potholes & Prairie Birding Festival
June 13-17, 2012
Carrington, North Dakota
Sooner or later you've got to go to the northern Great Plains to see some of the specialty sparrows that live there (Baird's, Nelson's, and LeConte's sparrows top the list). Why not do it this year during this charming, intimate event? The birds are enough to draw people to Carrington, ND for this event, but once you get there, the breathtaking prairie landscape and the small town hospitality will enthrall you. Highlights include the Pipits & Pie tours where we head out in the pre-dawn to find Spargue's pipit, then celebrate with lunch in a small-town cafe featuring homemade pie (I recommend the strawberry-rhubarb!). Oh and there will be music, too! Here's a photo gallery from last year's event.

Sunset at Hog Island.

Hog Island Audubon Camp "Joy of Birding"
June 24-29, 2012
Hog Island, Maine
Hog Island is legendary for many reasons: famed naturalists such as Roger Tory Peterson and Allan and Helen Cruickshank taught there for many years; and it's the home of Project Puffin, one of North America's most successful species reintroduction/preservation efforts (restoring the Atlantic puffin to its historic nesting sites off the Maine coast). Julie and I and the kids will be there the last full week of June immersing ourselves in the splendor of the Maine summer.