Thursday, September 24, 2009

Midwest Birding Symposium people

I want to share a few more photos from the recent, fabulous Midwest Birding Symposium. Wish I had more, but I'm woefully inadequate in regards to photo-documenting these events. There is too much going on and I get to having too much fun talking to people and doing all of the stuff that needs done to spend much time with the camera.

The Ohio Ornithological Society, Bird Watcher's Digest, and the Lakeside Association joined forces to pull this 800+ person event off, and we'll be back and bigger than ever in 2011. One of the real positives was the $10,000 that we raised for conservation - $5000 from attendees, and a matching $5000 donated by the Ohio Ornithological Society. Go birders!

There were LOTS of people - a massive gathering of birders from something like 20 states and several countries. Wait - Canada is a country, isn't it...? The above photo is but one of the venues we used, Orchestra Hall, and there are nearly 200 people in there for this talk. Three other programs were going on elsewhere simultaneously. The keynotes in Hoover Auditorium had over 700 people at a time.

The ubiquitous Bill Thompson acknowledges a fan at the author's book signing. Bill was a driving force behind MBS; definitely the oil that greased our skids. Behind him is legendary birder and conservationist Paul Baicich.

That's one of the America's premier field ornithologists, Alvaro Jaramillo, in the red shirt. Not only is he the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, but Alvaro is a MAJOR expert on some of the trickiest groups of birds, such as gulls, flycatchers, and shorebirds. His book Birds of Chile is outstanding and he was good enough to sign my copy. That's me on Alvaro's left. Photo courtesy of Jeanette Weeks.

Even my parents, longtime active birders, made the show and had a great time. They were carting me around long before I had a driver's license to seek birds, and thanks to their willingness to act as chauffeurs, I was chasing rarities long before I could drive. They took me to see such major rarities - unlikely to be repeated in Ohio - as Bachman's Sparrow and Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Photo courtesy of Jeanette Weeks.

Jeff Gordon, front right, and Mike Bergin, front left. That's Bitte Ramirez-Portilla and her husband Renato in the background, two of our friends from Guatemala. Jeff is one of the best bird guides in the business, and gave a great program about incorporating technology into your birding. Mike is a driving force behind spreading the word of birds, birding, and conservation via the blogosphere.

The ever-present Bill Thompson points at the one and only Hugo Haroldo Enríquez Toledo. We call him Hugo, thus slicing nine syllables off the nomenclature. Hugo hails from Guatemala City, and it was fantastic to have him and our other friends from Guatemala in the house. If you want a great birding trip, consider this country. I was there in 2008, and will be back down in March, 2010 and can't wait. Hugo will be with us and we'll see lots of great birds as a result.

Here's a candid shot of Hugo. Oh wait - that's Jimi Hendrix! Sorry, my bad...

Dr. Amanda Rodewald of THE Ohio State University delivered a wonderful presentation on Cerulean Warblers to a packed house. Amanda is rather unique in that she and her students study ceruleans both on the wintering grounds in Venezuela and here in Ohio, where they breed.

Jim Berry, president of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, gave a marvelous program on Roger and his namesake institution on Sunday morning.

Al Batt. The one, the only, the funniest man bar none in the birdosphere. Al spoke Saturday night and had the whole of Hoover Auditorium rolling in the aisles. I'm not kidding - ask anyone who was there. This guy is beyond funny - there are many professional comedians who can't hold a candle to him. His story about his battle with a particularly wily squirrel was beyond funny. If you've heard Al, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't heard Al, DO NOT miss the opportunity the next time it arises.

I leave you with this short video of Al, letting us know that he's just signed a contract with HBO. Think he said it was only $15 a month...


Dave Lewis said...

I think Hugo looks more like a young Santana...
We had a great time! See you soon...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dave’s remark - I’d go with the young Santana. ( ^ ;
Al Batt was hilarious. His delivery is perfect. I wish I could laugh often like that, with tears running down my face. The entire event seemed so uplifting. (Except when the hallways inside Hotel Lakeside reminded me of The Shining…)

Cool symposium, Thanks!
Mephitis bucca

Mike said...

It was great seeing you again, Jim. And I love that second photo of Hugo.

Jim McCormac said...

Santana, Hendrix - any way you slice it, Hugo has the guitar god thing going on!

The Shining! I love it! I too stayed in the Hotel Lakeside and that's exactly the look! And there are plenty of stories of hauntings in there, I'll tell you...