I spent all last week near Fayetteville, in southern West Virginia, participating in the New River Birding & Nature Festival. This, I think, was my 14th year of leading trips and giving talks at this event, which celebrated its 16th year with this go-round. It is one of my favorite events, because of the people, the excellent organization of the event, and of course the outstanding biodiversity.
Thanks to Rachel Davis, Geoff Heeter, Keith Richardson, Paul Shaw and everyone else involved in planning and executing the NRBNF. Next year's dates are April 29 through May 4. You can come for part of it, or the whole thing. We'd love to have you. Festival details are RIGHT HERE.
I take very few photos during the event. Leading groups each day doesn't allow for much photography, as it's more important to find COOL THINGS and help everyone else see them. I usually stay for a day following the festival, and create images of things that I saw during the week. Following is a hodge-podge of imagery from this year's festival.
One of them was the green salamander, which is a bit of a Holy Grail to amphibian seekers. Green salamanders spend their days hiding in crevices of cliff faces and are tough to see. I returned to a cliff where Pauley's group had found a few green salamanders along with Paul Shaw, Suleka Deevi, and warbler expert Tom Stephenson. We went at night, when the salamanders emerge from hiding and hunt small invertebrate prey on the cliff faces. In this photo, a green salamander has just emerged from hiding.
I don't know what the final tally of birds was, but it was probably in the 150 species range. More important than racking up a big list is the chance to see well and study interesting species. We had those opportunities in spades.
Hope you can make the New River Birding & Nature Festival 2019!