It all started on November 14, 2009. We woke up in our hotel room after a late night's drive excited to attend the Ohio Young Birders Conference that was being held at the Ottawa NWR Visitors Center and hosted by the Ohio Young Birders Club. The conference was unique in that all presenters were actually young birders. From the first words of the first presenter, I was amazed at the enthusiasm for birds that these young birders possessed. Each spoke on a different topic - California Condors, Piping Plovers, and even a story of a Big Year by bicycle - a young birder and his parents birded more miles by bike in one year than I think I have travelled by car! All presentations were absolutely amazing!
Tundra Swans... Ottawa NWR. My day immediately started with a Lifer - Tundra Swan. As you can see there was not only a Swan but many gorgeous Swans decorating the wetland. I would estimate about 300 Swans visible throughout the property this particular day. There were also Mallards and Canada Geese in this picture.
The Young Birders... these four were the primary components of the conference. All were very cool kids and represented the club with class. I am still amazed!
Kim Kaufman... the Visionary behind the OYBC seen here giving away 1 of many prizes throughout the morning. This lady is nothing less than absolutely amazing - a true definition of genuine!
Kenn Kaufman... yeap, THE Kenn! Kenn was also on-site to support his wife and the OYBC. Here he was reviewing answers to the Bird Quiz that was part of the day. Members I.D.'d birds from pictures and then entered their answers for a chance to win a set of field guides based on their accuracy!
Snow Buntings... Ottawa NWR. Although it was sad for the conference to end, we were all very delighted when Kim announced that the Ottawa Auto-tour was being opened just for us. These Buntings were a few of the very cool birds we seen during the tour.
My son... as always having a great time outside. This time, rock skipping!
Me and one of my 5 birding buddies (I have 5 children) out doing a Pelagic Birding Trip on Lake Erie hosted by the Black Swamp Bird Observatory.
This Pelagic trip on the lake was on November 15 and was worth every penny paid to attend. Several awesome birders were on board including Kenn Kaufman. I picked up 4 lifers on the lake this day - Black Scoter, Pomarine Jaeger, and Peregrine Falcon.
My boy enjoying the Gulls!
Merlin... Cleveland, Ohio. Lifer #6. This particular bird was definitely a bonus since we found it in a spot we had never planned on coming upon. There was an issue with the mechanical bridge over the river our boat needed to pass under so we had to dock about a mile down the lake. In most cases, this would have angered most people but not us birders - especially when we were welcomed by this Merlin.
The weekend takes my World List to #424 and ABA to 229!
The best part of the trip was that I was able to spend some quality time with my son!