Last Saturday marked the fifth annual Ohio Ornithological Society's "Winter Raptor Extravaganza". I'm not sure how the event evolved that name, but we'll go with it. As with all four prior WRP's, this one was a great time, and I've got enough material that I'm going to toss it up in two posts.
Early morning at the rendezvous point. Last year, it was 12 BELOW ZERO when we met. This year proved to be much balmier, with a high of 52. That's a temperature differential of 64 degrees from last year to this! That's Ohio weather for ya!
We had 150 in attendance this year; the ceiling for what we can accommodate. There were 199 requests, and we wish we could fit everyone in, but lunchtime meeting space and field trip logistics won't allow for any more. And speaking of logistics, major props to Marc Nolls, the OOS board member who spearheads this whole thing. Everything always works like a well-oiled machine, and that's because of Marc. We're also indebted to the numerous expert birders who graciously donate their time to lead the eight separate convoys, and the staff of the Wilds for hosting us and providing support.
A superficially bleak landscape, but the birding is always interesting at any season. The Wilds is sited on some 10,000 acres of reclaimed strip mine lands, and is adjoined by many thousands of additional acreage owned by American Electric Power. That's a lot of land to roam, and it's an Arctic-like setting that no doubt makes the Rough-legged Hawks feel right at home.
Because wild White-tailed Deer are savvy critters, they've learned that the fenced confines of the Wilds is a safe haven, and it's not uncommon to have 30 or 40 in view at once.
"Why?", I'm sure you are asking. Because, the cows can't get a square meal.
Next up: photos of the cutest/ugliest little beast imaginable; a special behind-the-scenes highlight of this year's extravaganza.