Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Oak Openings Conference!

I want to make one more plug for the Ohio Ornithological Society's annual conference, to be held in the midst of that most pleasing of seasons: mid-May! May 16th to be exact, with plenty of birding/naturalizing field trip opportunities thrown in. See the complete skinny and register RIGHT HERE.

The Oak Openings, just west of Toledo, is one of the biological hotspots of the Great Lakes region. The area teems with rare plants and animals, and this conference will be a good way to get indoctrinated if you aren't familiar with the Oak Openings.

As for the indoor portions, fun is guaranteed with MC Bill of the Birds, aka Bill Thompson, at the helm. He'll be introducing Kim Kaufman of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, and Jim Berry, Director of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, both of whom will be speaking. That evening, I'll be giving an Oak Openings-specific program that delves into the many natural wonders of this enormous oak-speckled sand deposit. I'll have two new books out by then, here and here, both of which delve into this wonderful place. Some of us may even head afield that evening to look for Whip-poor-wills and other nocturnal beasts.

These old beach ridges of Lake Erie's former, much larger predecessor are a must-see, and Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Lark Sparrow can be seen from this spot. Last year, there was even a territorial Clay-colored Sparrow here!

Fun in the Oaks. Incredibly rich biodiversity means field trips are never dull, especially in mid-May.

Tread carefully - this is one of few regions in the state that supports our only native cactus, Prickly-pear, Opuntia humifusa.

Icon of the Oak Openings, the Lark Sparrow. This is the easternmost breeding population of this jumbo showy sparrow. Pretty much a guaranteed deal here.
Our base camp is the marvelous Holiday Inn-French Quarter in Perrysburg, where a special rate is available to conference attendees. Make a weekend of it. Magee Marsh and all of the western Lake Erie birding hotspots are but a long stone's throw away, so you'll not only have the Oak Openings at your fingertips, but also the Magee Bird Trail, Ottawa Refuge, and all of those other great places.


1 comment:

KatDoc said...

Ooooh - Lark Sparrow! Gotta luv 'em, the sweetest of the sweet if you are a sparrow-phile like me.

I'd like to add a plug for the un-official Friday night mixer. Cheryl Harner and some others, including moi, are trying to put together a "Shade-grown Coffee House," complete with poetry readings, music, joke-telling - bring whatever talents you have and join us!