You can't turn around at Cape May without running into an idol (or three.) I actually saw Pete Dunne in the Cape May Bird Observatory book store and didn't have my camera. I was afraid he would freak out if I asked to wait while I ran out to the car for it, so no pics of the Great Man himself. I did get some other Life Birders on film. (er, I mean "digital memory card.")
Jeff Gordon. A nicer guy you have never met, and a top-drawer birder. I had met him once before, at the New River festival in West Virginia in 2006, and I was pleasantly surprised to see he recognized me, too. Please note the sandals, despite the wind chill on the HawkWatch Tower. At least he had on long pants, although they are the kind that could convert to shorts with a moment's notice. Hi, Jeff! See you next spring.
Jay Davis, the technical guy behind birdJam, and quite the birder, I understand. Of course, I never actually saw Jay on a bird walk, only while eating and drinking, so I will have to take his word for it. Here he is giving directions to Delia, who was still lost. You know you are in trouble when you call your friends for directions and they hand you to the girl from Ohio, who has only navigated the route around Philly once in her life.
A major geek moment was meeting and birding with Michael O'Brien, author, artist, birder, and all-around naturalist. I'm sure he thought I was a stalker. He led the first bird walk I took at Cape May Point State Park at 7:30am Friday, then I attended his sparrow workshop Friday afternoon and the related field trip on Saturday morning. By coincidence, he was also a leader during my Sunday trip to Higbee Beach. In just two hours, he taught me much about bird calls, the other sounds birds make besides songs. It was because of his tutelage that I got my Life Winter Wren after the group broke up, while sitting by the side of the road, eating my lunch and waiting for a ride. Thanks, Michael. You will never know how sweet it was, finding that wren all by myself. (After you taught me what to listen for, that is.)
No bird festival is complete without a BirdChick sighting. Sharon is just as fun, and funny, in person as she is on her blog. She can have her serious moments, too, like when she was relating the story of a Cooper's Hawk killing an endangered Red Knot, right in front of Kevin Karlson's shorebirding group. How rude! Couldn't the hawk have taken a killdeer?
Lest you think that Cape May is all about birds, let me share with you my favorite celebrity photo.
Yes, it's true! Joe the Plumber is alive and well and working in Cape May, New Jersey. I guess his fame in Ohio was too much to bear.