Skip to main content

Midwest Birding Symposium approaches!

If you've attended any of the past Midwest Birding Symposiums, you'll recall what a blast they were. Ohio played host to the past three MBS's, at picturesque Lakeside on the shores of Lake Erie. It's time for this biennial event to pull up roots and shift to another state, but it's not going far. Bay City, Michigan, has hosting honors this year, and MBS takes place from September 10-13. Come for some, or all. The complete conference scoop is RIGHT HERE.

Your narrator (R) with Doug Tallamy in what is certainly Michigan's most iconic bird habitat, the elfin Jack Pine forests of the northern Lower Peninsula. Doug is the Saturday evening keynote, and I could not think of anyone better for the role. While renowned as an entomologist and leading advocate of using native plants to foster animal biodiversity, Doug is huge into birds. That's why we were in the jacks last May, and why Doug was armed with his massive black Nikon bird rig.

Not long before the previous photo was taken, we had shot images of the "Jack Pine Warbler", more precisely known as the Kirtland's Warbler, Setophaga kirtlandii. In three days of exploration, we saw scads of other bird species that inhabit northern Michigan, and I won't be surprised if Doug works some of them into his talk.

MBS also attracts a who's who of birders from around North America and beyond, and attendees will be hearing from many of them. Get the complete agenda RIGHT HERE. It promises to be a great time, with lots of interesting presentations and field trip opportunities. Hope to see you there, and again, GO HERE for the details.


Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.

So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…