Monday, March 30, 2009

Shreve Migration Sensation

Saturday, March 28 marked the ninth annual Shreve Migration Sensation. This event is a doozy – perhaps the largest single-day birding festival in Ohio. This year, a jaw-dropping 915 attendees showed! The epicenter is the little Wayne County, Ohio burg of Shreve, which welcomes birders with open arms. The above photo shows evidence of this – one of many signs placed throughout town. The welcomed birders in the backdrop are, L to R: Marc Nolls, Cheryl Harner, Jimmy Sloan, and Jason "Grapefern" Larson.

A huge doff of the hat to all of the organizers of this great event: Kevin Higgins, Joe Edinger, Bill Fought and all of the rest who organize and run the show. Kudos too to the ODNR Division of Wildlife; Friends of the Killbuck Marsh, Inc.; The Wilderness Center; Greater Mohican Audubon Society; Triway Local Schools; Shreve Library and Shreve Business & Community Association for their support and sponsorship.

Every light pole on Shreve’s main drag is festooned with banners proclaiming the Migration Sensation. Your blogger/ecotourist leans against a post, just after spending dollars at the Des Dutch Essenhaus – some of the best Amish cooking you’ll find. And yep, those are freshly baked cookies in that bag! There are about 1,500 residents of Shreve – my mother hails from here! – and thus the impact of over 900 birders descending on this place has significant economic ramifications. I would love to know how much money was spent here this day.

I know what I spent: about $120.00 in Shreve and Wayne County as a result of attending. That includes gas, lodging, food. If only half of the attendees – 450 – spent half that amount on average, it would still total $27,000. Not a bad one-day infusion, but I bet the total is a lot higher than that.

One of the first things that attendees saw upon arrival at the Shreve Elementary School, where the talks are occur and vendors are housed, was this beast. A gorgeous Snowy Owl, just like Hedwig of Harry Potter fame, courtesy the Medina Raptor Center.

Needless to say, this white Arctic-dwelling beast was a hit, and the subject of many photos. Unknown to me at the time, Ernie Cornelius was lurking in the background and snapped this pic of me snapping a pic of the owl.

Six speakers gave programs on a variety of topics, and I was fortunate to be invited back for, I think, the fourth time. My program featured some of the best remaining wild lands of Ohio, based on a soon to be released book. Dave Lewis snapped this shot of my first slide – the famous 1969 episode where the Cuyahoga River went aflame. Unfortunately that incident still sticks in many people’s minds, although much of the Cuyahoga River should be considered one of the most pristine tributaries of Lake Erie. Preceding my presentation were great programs by Chuck Jakubchak (Birds of Shreve); Kevin Higgins (25 Years of Change in the Killbuck Valley); Miles Reed (Africa to Killbuck Valley Marsh); and Chad and Chris Saladin (Peregrine Falcons).

The always popular Kenn Kaufman made his first appearance in Shreve, and gave a wonderful program on bird migration, supplemented with great information about the importance of shade-grown coffee. Here, Kenn is besieged by autograph-seekers following his talk. Thanks to Dave Lewis for this shot.

One great thing about the Shreve Migration Sensation is that they encourage participants to get outside and go visit some of the fantastic wetlands of the Killbuck Valley. And scores of people do. All of the hotpsots have dozens of birders replete with binoculars and scopes, all day long. I suspect that nearly every resident of this area certainly must know what a birder is by now! Thanks again to Dave Lewis for sharing this photo with me.

And we saw lots of birds. The Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area sprawls over 6,000 acres, and there are lots of other wetlands elsewhere. This is the largest Ohio wetland complex away from western Lake Erie’s legendary marshes, and there is waterfowl aplenty during the sensation. These White-winged Scoters pleased the masses, and once again, the inimitable Dave Lewis provided the shot. The WW Scooters were the rarest of the ducks to turn up, but scads of more common species were about.

They’ll be putting this gig on again next year. You’ll want to make the scene.


dAwN said...

Glad you all had such a great must mean you have a very good program!
Which, I will have to attend some time.

Dave Lewis said...

Hi Jim,
Thanks for posting the photos! And thanks for the great program. I grew up in Cleveland and remember the Cuyahoga fire all too well.

Kimberly Kaufman said...

Hey Britany, : )

Great program on Saturday! And, thanks for the sneak peak at your fabulous new book! I can't wait to get one for the Kaufman library, and I also have a long list of friends and family that I'll be making it a gift for too.


Carrie Elvey said...

Thanks for the great post! Just a quick not for any who may be reading this: next year's Shreve Migration will be on March 27th, 2010.

Joe said...

The Shreve Migration Sensation is now a group and there is an event posted for the 10th Annual Migration Sensation on Facebook. Join our group and post your pictures and stories and watch for event details and information by January 2010.