Audubon Ohio Assembly 2008

FYI, things my get a little more PG-13 than usual later on in this entry, for parents reading with your kids, you might want to read alone first. Yeah, that's right, Jim, I'm goin' there!

Man, I ate a lot of pie this weekend. I think this was the most pie offerin' bird event I've been too. We had pie with lunch, pie for afternoon break, pie with dinner. Pie, pie, pie! And good pie too, not that pumpkin pie which the best piece you've ever had isn't much different than the worst piece of pumpkin pie you've ever had.

I came to Bellville, Oh for the Audubon State Assembly and gave a presentation on Blogging, The New Nature Journal. I had some geek out moments on this trip: Jim McCormac, Kenn & Kim Kaufman sat in on my workshop (people I very much admire). I also got to meet Greg Miller (if you read The Big Year, he was the guy that put it on credit card). A totally nice guy with a great sense of humor, wish I had more time to go birding with him.

On frosty Sunday morning, I went out birding with Jim to look for sparrows at Funk WMA. The trip was wonderful--a frost blazing in the sun, fall leaf colors, a good variety of birds, and Amish buggies clip-clopping in the background...periodically interrupted by trumpeting sandhill cranes.

Song sparrows (like the bird above) as were swamp sparrows. The target birds of the morning were Nelson's sharp-tailed sparrow or LeConte's sparrow. We did not get the LeConte's but with some good effort of both Jim and fellow trip leader Ethan Kistler our group got a pretty darned good look at a Nelson's. It sat long enough that everyone got a good look in the scope. I didn't get a chance to digiscope it, but another bird for another day.

We had a small flock of white-crowned sparrows around us to. Jim said that this was the handsomest sparrow. I argued that is was the Harris's sparrow and other sparrows like the Nelson's were included and the white-throated and well we all agreed this was in fact a great looking bird, but no consensus was reached as to what is the handsomest sparrow.

Funk was a glorious place for birding and the variety of birds was just right and we even had a little mini hawk migration with some Cooper's hawks and red-tails moving through.

We even found something a little curious while going down the path. I wasn't sure what this was exactly...I know what I think it looks like, but really have no idea what this is. I tried to digiscope it to see if that would give me an answer.

Not a serious answer. I really have no clue. Non Birding Bill thinks it has something to do with being a gas marker.

This was a bumper on one of the vehicles in the parking lot at Funk WMA--which reminds me, some Ohio birders told me this morning that I sound like Sarah Palin when I talk. I was asked to say "donut" and "Ohio" and "Oh no." Hmmmm. I'm sure it's my Minnesota accent and the fact that she sounds Minnesotan (at least in cadence). I always thought that my Minnesota accent was an improvement over my original Hoosier accent, but now I'm not so sure.

More coming soon, I have to read up on some downy woodpecker behavior first.