I've spent the last 48 finally catching up from all my travels: unpacking and cleaning my apartment. Regular blogging should resume soon, I still have a few more Texas entries coming.
It was a wild time at Birds and Beers tonight at Merlin's Rest. We had a good mix of people from regulars to at least one new face. I also brought a bunch of books I've been reading to share with the group.
Some of the excitement surrounded a white-breasted nuthatch foot that I brought along with me. On Saturday, I was filling Mr. Neil's feeders. I noticed the seed storage bin (old garbage can) had the smell of a dead mouse. When I took the seed out, I found a dead nuthatch in the bottom. I think the bird had flown into the garage, somehow made it over to the seed (the lid was off), got stuck against the inside wall of the bin which was too smooth for it to get any good traction and got stuck. I felt incredibly guilty and sad and wonder if we might look into some of the seed storage bins at Credit River?
The nuthatch was most likely banded by Mark and Roger (who periodically band birds at Mr. Neil's and also attend Birds and Beers), so I brought them the foot. I also turned the band number into the Bird Banding Lab website. Above, Roger is handing the foot to Merlin's Rest regular Bill Watkins.
The rest of the birders like Curt from National Camera (in Golden Valley, MN) were wowed by the incredibly tiny toes and insanely long claws of the nuthatch. We're not sure how long ago the nuthatch was banded, Mark and Roger weren't quite sure, but we'll find out soon enough.
The big excitement for the evening came when some of used the bathroom and noticed the sign on the door promoting a visit from Winston a rep for The Glenlivet. The sign mentioned that he would be in a kilt, so after my trip to the bathroom, I sought out a man in a kilt. I found him right away and told him that I periodically fill my Swarovski flask with their 18 year old single malt.
Winston came over to give our group a private tasting! It went from Birds and Beers to Birds and Scotch. We tried the 12, the 15, the Nadurra 16, and the 21. The 15 year old was my favorite, not too heavy and with good spicy taste.
Our group got our photo taken with with Winston of Glenlivet. Above from left to right is most of the Birds and Beers crowd: Gordon, Roger, Curt, me, Winston, Kirk, Adele, Michelle, Mark, Linda, and Diane.
Winston resumed his spot in the bar to continue his single malt scotch tasting, but I snuck back the bottle of 21 year old single malt for some photo shenanigans (no, I would not actually chug that). Nice: a Cape May Bird Observatory shirt and a bottle of scotch--see what birding can drive you to do?
This Birds and Beers lasted to almost 11pm! That's one of the longest. Kirk, Roger, Curt, and I stayed awhile discussing topics from movies, cool environmental education experiences, silly birding mistakes, kids, just the gamut. I've enjoyed all the Birds and Beers, but this one was really great!
Now, I just need to remember to sign up for a Christmas Bird Count.