Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adams County Birding- Amish style.

Adams County Ohio is known for quaint country roads, patch-work quilt barns and unique flora.

It is as far south as you can get without plunking into the Ohio River. It lies between Portsmouth and Dayton.  Generally it is about a month ahead -weather wise- from the rest of the state.  Some might say it is a decade or two behind, in other ways.

 Country roads are likely to wind along creek bottoms and gullies, until crossed by a bridge.  Likely as not, it may be a covered bridge. This scenic crossing is in Harshaville.

The Murphin Inn

 There is a country Inn on Murphin Ridge Road where hospitality is not a lost art form.  The food is excellent and the comfy rooms are well appointed.

Adams County also hosts a great birding event each year.  Folk art abounds and several vendors display their goods, from bird feeders to paintings and they offer a variety of  authors and educational exhibits.

Emcee- Jim McCormac and speaker- Cheryl Harner
Jim McCormac, well-known speaker, author and bird expert was our emcee for the Amish Birding Symposium.  He gave one of these beautiful hand-painted plaques to each of the speakers.  I was the first up, presenting a program on Birding by Habitat and Habitats for Birds.  We got a little conservation message in as well. 

The Nature Conservancy's Dave Mehlman
 Dave Mehlman gave a wonderful program on bird conservation with an emphasis on birds and migration.  Birds need protection on their breeding habitats and on their wintering grounds.

Amish Birding Symposium packs the house with about 300 folks each year.  It is a high tech event, run on a generator and a prayer. Folks don't seem to mind and are content to enjoy the rustic atmosphere.

Katie Fallon speaks on Cerulean Warblers.
 Katie Fallon joined us from West Virgina to speak on the topic of her book, Cerulean Blues.  She follows one of America's most beloved and declining warblers.  It is no secret mountain top removal coal mining has destroyed many of the mountains where Ceruleans were known to breed.

Dave FitzSimmons also gave an engaging program on photography and offered several books for sale.  My apologies to him for not getting my own shot during his program. I must have been too wrapped up in the program to think about it!

Thanks to the committee who works so hard to host this event, especially against the odds of this years difficult weather. The snow piled up, but it was not too big of a challenge for the men and women who shoveled snow, prepared the meals and set up endless chairs and tables for the crowd.

Killdeer in the snow covered fields.
There were plenty of jokes about not being able to bird at Adams Lake due to the iced over conditions.  No one seemed to be in a hurry to birdwatch in the cold, anyways.  The ten to twelve inches of snow which fell just days before the event had evenly coated the county in a magical blanket of white.

But spring is coming, as foretold by the Killdeer  working the fields as we pulled out of town on Sunday morning.  

It cannot be far away now that the rains have come to mid-Ohio and as much as I like the snow, it is time for it to be gone. After all, spring always follows the Amish Birding Symposium.

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