I realized that they had quite a surprise planned for me. We are not usually back in New England for my birthday so they planned quite a celebration. On party day, I was told to go out to the deck and start a fire in the campfire pit. Much was happening in the house but eventually I was led around the house and told to enter the front door. Jay's mother Jackie had arrived, so she and Latona and I entered the house and discovered a decorated kitchen.
The festivities had begun. The girls led me on a scavenger hunt that took me from spots upstairs, to downstairs, to the tree house, and the swing in the pine tree. The girls had made up clues to help me go from one spot to the next. Each destination had another gift! What fun!
The cards, the surf and turf meal, the decorations, the joy of the scavenger hunt, and the love of all my family made me feel very loved and grateful. It was a very special birthday!
Carrie, the girls, and Latona and I went for a hike looking for birds. This is my favorite sighting!
We also went to the horseback riding lesson for Sari and Lyla. We have watched them develop into fine Equestrians. They can post to the trot and now canter their horses. They can also groom their horse and put on their tack.
After the visit with the family in New Hampshire, it was time to start our trip to Ohio and the Warbler Festival. Latona had planned this trip for my special gift. The event takes place in Oregon, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie.
We stay at Maumee Bay State Park and spend most of the actual birdwatching at Magee Marsh walking along the boardwalk. Experts are available and any small group looking up usually suggests something special to see.
Our friend Joan went on the trip with us and we posed for a picture calling
ourselves "birding babes". 😉 We are wearing our gifts from official registration!
We had such a wonderful time looking at and for the over 33 species of warblers and the other birds
that are in mid-migration and stopping here to nourish and renew themselves for the next leg of the journey. I learned that the warblers travel at night, usually covering from 200-500 miles each night.
Some may go out over the Atlantic flying for 2-3 days without stopping. I have loved these little birds since meeting them for the first time at Baxter State Park in 1987.
Here are a few of the 29 species of warblers I saw during our seven days at the festival. These pictures were taken from the Internet.
In addition, we saw many Orioles, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Scarlet Tanagers and Summer Tanagers,
Cardinals, Thrushes, a Whippoorwill, White Pelicans, Eagles, and Vireos.
We also saw a nesting Kildeer...
... a Rufous Phase Screech Owl perched for all to see.
And a Canda Goose taking her babies out to eat!
I value the many lessons I learn from birds and birdwatching. I learn to keep my face looking up, to keep singing in my heart, to keep flying free, and to keep appreciating the rich diversity of Nature.
Finally, I have a very special appreciation for the birds who find their life partner and live their lives together.
As you know, I have found mine! As I pass another birthday, I can only say
Thank You for the "birds" and for all the gifts I receive each day.