Saturday, May 30, 2009

Watching a Birdwatcher Watch Birds

If you have never been bird-watching with Bill Thompson, III, editor of Birdwatcher's Digest, you have missed a great experience. Bill is generous to a fault, always being sure everybody on his field trip gets to see every bird he does, and bending over backwards to serve you up with Life Birds, target species, or just a grand buffet of birds.

As much fun as it is to be on a trip led by Bill, I found it was even more enjoyable to watch him bird for fun. Bill has been everywhere and seen birds you and I only dream about. Despite all his travels and the great birding he has done, I was surprised to find he had never been birding at Magee Marsh on a "good" day.

"I have been there before peak migration, after peak migration, or on a bad day during spring migration," Bill said, "but I have never had a good day birding Magee Marsh."

Sacrilege! For an Ohio birder, or a mid-west birder for that matter, to have missed out on the unique experience that is the Magee Marsh boardwalk in mid-May, when the treetops are filled with neotropical migrants and the branches are dripping with warblers, is a sin. So, I was glad to be a witness to Bill's Good Day during the OOS annual meeting.

Bill prepares to step onto the
boardwalk at Magee Marsh

Walking with Cheryl Harner,
Bill looks ready for anything.

Is Bill musing on what he has seen so far, or
searching for his first Ohio Connecticut Warbler?

The well-equipped birder - binoculars, spotting scope, camera (with the big lens), miscellaneous gear bags, and cell phone = Bill of the Birds in action.

For a sample of what Bill saw, click here.


Mary said...

Hey Kathi,

These are such kind words for Bill of the Birds - almost as good as your "Birding with Bill" tribute in West Virginia! All that equipment he carries is intimidating to a novice like me.

You have been fortunate to bird with Bill and Julie. I'm looking forward to it some time in the future :o) Ohio? North Dakota? New Mexico? West Virginie? What about North Carolina Coast? Chesapeake/Delaware Bay? North Carolina High Country? Alaska! Wouldn't that be cool? Tee-hee.

Bill of the Birds said...

KatDoc: You always have the right prescription to make me blush! What a kind soul you are. Thanks for sharing my "first good day" at Magee and thanks for being you!