Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Good Birding, Good Friends

 Its been a whirlwind week, and a full schedule of birding and programs culminating with the Ohio Ornithological Conference in Mohican.   Winter birding and the love of owls gathered 175 hardy souls into the Mohican lodge for 2 days of festivities.

Bill Thompson III of Bird Watcher's Digest is a most entertaining emcee.
Bill's band The Rain Crows kicked off the weekend Friday night, while a few Saw-whet Owl fanatics endured the cold to net our first (in Mohican history) Saw-Whet Owl.

 A very special thank you to Tom Bartlett, Bob Scott Placier and Steve McKee for setting up their nets.

Saw-whet Owl, micro-mouse trap in feathered cuteness.
The reward was great, and thirty people were charmed by their very first up-close and personal Saw-whet.  What a life experience!

Gail Laux,  director of  Ohio Bird Sanctuary
Saturday morning,  our very own Gail Laux of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary gave a delightful program on the various owls at their Oweiler Rd facility.  If you have have not visited this Mohican area treasure, I suggest you remedy that right away!

Many other programs on owls were well received, especially the Keynote Denver Holt, of the Montana Owl Institute.

Field guide Gary Cowell, Jr. holds a sign to lure in hardy birders.
 Field trips- aways a popular event at our conferences and many of the guides were provided by Greater Mohican Audubon Society. We spanned the corners of Mohican and beyond to see Barn owls, Evening Grosbeaks, Common Redpolls and all of the regular winter time birds of Mohican.

The Big Year's Greg Miller and co-leader Kyle Carlsen,
photo provided by Kyle Carlsen 
 My buddies Greg Miller and Kyle lead the Barn Owl trip, and it was a great success!   The owl was seen by over fifty people!

Author and lecture Jim McCormac gathers our group.

I had the good fortune to pull guide duty with Jim McCormac (in brown jacket.).  He is a wealth of information, and I always learn something new on a walk with Jim.  You will find his excellent blog here.

Common Redpoll  and Pine Siskens at Feeder, photo by Anna Wittmer
Another highlight, and "life bird" for many was the Common Redpolls visiting a local feeder.  Mohican has it all!

Weather was a bit of a player, some roads were closed and the guides stepped up to lead trips to other interesting places, and get the maximum sightings of birds.  Our trip was scheduled for hemlock Falls at Mohican Outdoor school, but the trail was icy and dangerous.  We simply could not risk dragging the narrow, icy pass.

Ice formations at the Mohican Outdoor School, photo by Michael Godfrey.

 However, a few of us had scouted out the path and the ice formations were breath taking.  This is a winter wonderland of the highest order.  I have traveled all about our country, and can safely say- the beauty of Mohican is a treasure worth preserving.   We are truly blessed to be able to share these wonders with all of our birding friends.

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