Thursday, January 15, 2009

Am I Crazy?

Or just a birder? Ohio, along with most of the Midwest and eastern USA, is in the middle of cold snap, our coldest winter weather in years. Just how many years depends on which weather report you listen to; I have heard 2, 5 or 15 years. Today's high was 10. Tonight's low is predicted to be -4. That is actual temperature, folks, not including wind chill factor, which is supposed to make it feel like -20 or something.

What do I have planned for my weekend off? A trip to The Wilds of southeastern Ohio, for an OOS Winter Birding Field Trip. In conjunction with The Wilds staff, the Ohio Ornithological Society has been sponsoring this trip for the last three or four years. You see, not only do the thousands of
acres of wide open grassland support exotic animals, The Wilds property is also a mecca for winter raptors. A Golden Eagle is seen here nearly every year; in fact, one was reported earlier this week. Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers and Short-eared Owls are practically guaranteed. Merlin is a possibility. Two years ago, a Prairie Falcon, a western species, spent the winter at The Wilds.

Besides raptors, many great passerine species can be found at The Wilds: Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and Eastern Meadowlark, name just a few, are hoped for. One of my main target birds is the Northern Shrike which occurs sporadically. This would be a Lifer for me. If there is any open water, ducks like the Long-tailed may be found.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Wait for the bad news: Despite all this great birding potential, The Wilds is one of the windiest places in Ohio. On a good day, the temperature feels 20 degrees lower than wherever you have just come from. And this weekend, with the already bone-chilling, mind-numbing frigid weather, it is gonna be, in the words of the great Science Chimp - "Brutal."

Yeah, I'm a birder. And, I am crazy. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

Wish me luck!

9 comments:

Lynne said...

See Kathi? You're off your nut too! Good luck.
layers...
layers...
layers...
layers...

Shellmo said...

I do not think you're crazy - sounds like a perfectly good time to me! This morning it was -4 here and I was outside walking in the woods to snap photos of birds. Tomorrow it's going up to 0.

Susan Gets Native said...

Crazy birders? Isn't that redundant?

Call me when you've thawed out.

Mary said...

OH My God. I think "crazy" applies... Be careful, please!

Your current accu temp is 3! We expect 4 degrees this weekend. Heck all the pipes will freeze and our whole city will shut down.

Mary

NCmountainwoman said...

Good luck on so many fronts. Good luck with birding and good luck with staying warm.

Kyle said...

Crazy? Yes. And it sounds like a blast! I don't think my body would even know how to breath in temps like that, much less move around and try to SEE anything. And yet I find myself wishing I could come along.

Hope you have fun! And thaw out really quick afterwards. ;-)

bruss1510 said...

It's 9 degrees here in PA (the kitchen sink pipes have already frozen). Stay warm - hope you get good birds to make it worth it!

Beth

Mary C said...

Kathi - I'm looking forward to what you saw this weekend. I sure hope you saw at least one of your target birds.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I wanna hear about it! Were there any SEOW's? It was mighty quiet the last time we were up, but what we did see we enjoyed mightily--esp. the aerial scuffle between a northern harrier and a short-eared owl. The harrier wanted the owl's vole (for all we knew, the owl had taken it from him), so the owl ate the vole in flight!