Just a quick post this evening. I am back from a 3 day trip to Lake Erie for the Ohio Ornithological Society's symposium on "Confusing Fall Warblers." (I am still confused.) I got lots of fun photos, even an occasional good one, but am too tired to sort through them all and write an organized post. Here are some highlights:
1) I bought my first "Duck Stamp!" (BirdChick will be so proud of me.) $15 for the stamp plus $2 for the plastic case, from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory. And 98 cents of every dollar for the stamp goes to provide habitat for birds. Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets and water fowl and warblers and rails and so many other fabulous birds benefit from the wetlands saved through the purchase of duck stamps. Buy yours today!
2) I am going to be guest hosting Bill of the Birds one day soon! I'll let you know when, so you can avoid his blog that day.
3) I got two Life Birds! One was a previously "heard only," the Black-billed Cuckoo, which I saw at the entrance to the Magee Marsh boardwalk. (Many thanks to the other birders who pointed it out to me.) The other was my long-time nemesis bird, the Sharp-shinned Hawk. No photos - I was in shock.
4) I met Kenn Kaufman! Kenn is a fantastic birder, a talented artist, a loving husband to his wife, Kim, and an all-around nice guy, but he has a dark side. I ran into him on the boardwalk at Magee, where I was watching an Ovenbird. (A warbler which is not confusing in the fall, at least, not any more than he is at any other time of the year. He is totally un-warbler-like since he is brown with a spotted breast, looks like a thrush, and runs around on the ground.) Kenn began to tell me about a recent change in the classification of Ovenbirds.
KK: "The Ovenbird has recently been split into two species."
Me: (mouth open) "Really?"
KK: "Yes, and they look very similar so it will be hard to tell them apart."
Me: (taking the bait) "Really? Did they use DNA to distinguish the two?"
KK: "No, the Ovenbird and the Stove-bird can only be separated by range."
Me: (hook set firmly in cheek) "Acck!"
Kenn Kaufman: Great birder, nice guy, and terrible punster. You have been warned.