I have to admit, I went into Birds and Beers last night with a little nervousness. I put up a notice on the blog and on the Minnesota listervs and I got a lot of emails from people saying that they want to come, but were either out of town or lived too far away. I wondered if anyone would show up?
But show up they did, and we had about 12 people! Merlin's Rest had promoted it, so some of their regulars also stopped by to see what it was all about. I didn't have much a of a theme planned, my ultimate goal was for people to connect, maybe learn about new places to watch birds, get bird questions answered, or even find a new bird watching partner.
I was really excited that the banders from Lowry Nature Center in Carver Park showed up--they offer banding that is open to the public every third Saturday of the month--as a matter of fact, they will be banding this Saturday. They're fun and knowledgeable guys. Frequent commenter on this blog, HellZiggy came with her hubby. He is not a birder, so Non Birding Bill even had someone to talk to. There were so many other people who showed up, and I fear I will not remember the names: I remember Pat, Bob, Katherine...I'll have to start assigning bird names--that I can remember.
It was a fun and easy going night, John Dingley the general manager, offered a peregrine falcon poster as a prize, local author Bill Watkins read about a wren being the king of the birds from one his books and we gave that away, and I gave away copies of the new Great River Birding Trail and Minnesota River Valley Birding Trail.
I'm going to do this again, probably the next one will be at Merlin's Rest, and as I travel, I will try and organize them on the road. I think Rochester, MN would be good--and Duluth, perhaps even at bird festivals. I also think I might have a theme night. I'm kicking around having people bring their favorite bird related book to the next one.
I had something else going on yesterday too--it was my birthday. When I had scheduled Birds and Beers with Dingley, we pretty much scheduled it as, "Hey, let's do it two weeks from Tuesday." NBB later pointed out, "That's your birthday." We didn't really have anything planned, and what better way for me to spend my birthday than with birders? When I told the group last night, Mark said, "What a wonderful way of having a surprise birthday party, turning the tables and surprising all your guests!"
NBB and I had a little party right before we left for Birds and Beers, and I am now happy to report that I am completely Bent! He got me the one book I am missing from my Arthur Cleveland Bent series, and I finally have a complete set! Whoot. He also had a gift specially crafted for me...
A custom made Birdwatcher Crayon Set. There are four colors: sepia, chestnut, brown, and beaver. I'm not sure how I feel about having a crayon called beaver, I never realized that was its own color.