Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Where to start?

What an amazing ten days we enjoyed at the Biggest Birding Festival in America.  We arrived May 3 on Lake Erie, a few miles east of Toledo and set up our site at Maumee Bay State Park.  I couldn't wait to register for the festival, learn the schedule, and get the directions to Magee Marsh
boardwalk, the focal point of the bird watching..
Our site during a clearing after a rain shower

Tent of welcome as one approaches the boardwalk east entrance

We were all set and ready for the first birding day on Saturday.  Never could I have imagined the intense grouping of birds in the area.  When birds are migrating many factors influence their success.  In this area, as the birds approach from the south they see the large expanse of Lake Erie - sixty miles across - and "drop" into this special seven-acre woods to rest and eat and strengthen for the next step in the journey.  Birders can walk along the boardwalk and see the amazing birds that are moving through the area.  One of the guides explained to me that the warblers seem to arrive in three major waves. We were there for two of the waves.

Small part of the thousands that visited during the week

The first day on the boardwalk was so exciting when I had sightings of five warblers I had never seen before.  Living near the woods in Maine had given me warbler experiences throughout the years but I had never seen the Bay-Breasted, the Cape May, the Cerulean, the Golden-Winged or the Mourning.
These are part of the thirty different warblers I got to see in that 10 day period.

Cape May Warbler

Bay Breasted Warbler

Cerulean Warbler

Golden-Winged Warbler

The above photos of the warblers came from the Internet but I captured a few of some of the other species also.

Resting Trumpeter Swan.  Neck is stained by iron in water.

American Woodcock

Baby Great Horned Owl peeking out of nest

Baltimore Oriole

Blackburnian Warbler

Black-Throated Green Warbler

Needless to say that after 108 species, 30 warblers, and 14 life birds (those I saw for the first time) in ten days I was filled with such joy and happiness and "birding" energy.  The gratitude I feel for my wonderful partner who encouraged me to take this trip and who accompanied me up and down the boardwalk, is without measure.  She also bought me new tee-shirts covered with birds and gave me cards each day celebrating this special time.  This area will always hold a special place in my heart reminding me of several things:  the great diversity and magic of nature, the joy of sharing our passions with the one we love, and the message in the song "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."

Spring is everywhere! Take time to smell the roses, and to listen to the bird songs around you!

Friday, May 3, 2013

From Florida to Ohio

This will be a quick catch-up since we have traveled from Mom's in Wildwood, Florida and now sit only fifty miles from Maumee Bay State Park, on Lake Erie in northern Ohio awaiting the start of the Warbler Festival.  This ten-day birding experience is my birthday present from Latona.  How did she know?

Getting here has been lots of fun, too.  We drove 200-250 miles each day and made it a goal to stop and visit a special place of interest along the way.   I had a "bird present" each day ( in addition to the cardinals and bluebirds) that included a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Brown Thrasher, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Western Kingbird, Prothonotary Warbler, Scarlet Tanager and yesterday, several Baltimore Orioles.

From Wildwood, we drove to a state park in southern Georgia, and spent three days there so we could visit Plains, the birthplace and hometown of Jimmy Carter, our 39th president.

Red-Headed Woodpecker

The sign to the historic site in the high school and note brother
Billy's gas station in the background. 
The small railroad depot that was his campaign headquarters.

We visited Plains on Sunday April 28, and learned a lot about Jimmy and Rosalynn although we missed seeing them after church that day.  He was in town and does visit with people who come to see him after he teaches Sunday School.  Our interest was also peaked to learn more about Amy, and read some internet articles about her past political endeavors.  How much we had forgotten!

We also ate peanuts, marveled at the red dirt, and observed the orchards/groves of orderly pecan trees.
The state parks in Georgia were beautiful, well-maintained, friendly and give a 20% discount for any senior.  All of this added to the joy of our time in Georgia.

Off to Tennessee for our next stay at the Bledsoe Creek State Park, and a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.  We hit the timing just right, and had a chance to see the Patsy Cline exhibit that will be replaced in early June.  Much of our focus was on another of Latona's favorites, Loretta Lynn.

Our site beside the stream. Park filled with deer... 

and three special friends.  We always saw them walking, feeding
or swimming in this order.

Our next adventure moving north was a stay in Kentucky and a drive through some of the famous horse country around Lexington,  We again stayed at a state park and visited Abraham Lincoln's birthplace.  It is situated on Sinking Spring Farm where the family first settled.  The land was beautiful and in addition to the historic site, it afforded us some good looks at May Apples (old friends from the Appalachian Trail) and at the Scarlet Tanager.

This little spot was where we ate a wonderful breakfast.
One of those places too good to pass up.  Sweet people to go with
the delicious food.

Steps to visit the cabin replica. Each one is to signify
a year of his life.

He was born on the hill where this sits and the model
is believed to represent the original.

Scarlet Tanager looking away.

Blooming May Apple

In a few hours, we will be setting up our site for ten days at the warbler festival and await the wonders of all the colors and songs of the birds.  Hopefully, we will have some pictures of these delightful creatures to share on the next blog.  (There really is so much to share and I'm sorry it is quick and sketchy.)

By the way, seventy years old isn't too bad!  Happy trails.  Love and hugs and good health to each of you from the Daicey Duo.