Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring and one's fancy turns to ... The Biggest Week

Today (Pi day - i.e., 3.14) was sunny and hit over 50 degrees! The icicle-laden ice dam on our roof melted and dropped. Our front porch lost the dangerous sheet of ice that salt would not faze and one that we and our neighbors would not cross (thank goodness for the garage door!). Grass appeared out of the white back yard and also replaced some of the muck along the roadways.

We saw about 20 Robins feeding on the grass. Several Robins have over-wintered here, but at least now they have a chance finding something. Our first-of-year (FOY) Grackle fed from the deck. We saw our FOY Turkey Vulture circle overhead. The Red-winged Blackbirds who arrived about a week ago no longer need to figure out what to do with the seven inches of new snow we received only a couple of days ago. Oh, those silly  "early birds" got the snow ... now they are singing happily! Sing it out guys; your gals are coming soon.

Spring, finally! I no longer see temps in the single digits in the forecast! We got out a couple of times this winter when the temps hit the "warm" 40's For example to see an astounding scene with Long-tailed Ducks, but oh, those teens and especially pre-teens, have been merciless this winter! We just "hunkered down".

My winter SAD is being replaced with my usual joy on anticipating the marvels of spring. The earth will again be re-born and replenished. Life will spring forth anew. It happens every year. It is really miraculous! Spring is my favorite season! No wonder why spring and religion provided us with so many upbeat melodies from the great composers! Rebirth! Hope springs eternal! A yearly reminder: Life is Good!

And ... the marvelous feathered beings will again return here from the far off places to which they flew to avoid such a winter. Just imagine the accumulated air miles for these avian frequent fliers!!!

And speaking of spring migration, have you made your reservations yet for The Biggest Week in American Birding? (Hey! Click that URL! Then use the pull-down tabs at the top for info ...) Registration has been open awhile, and many talks and field trips are going fast! I let my Facebook friends know about this as soon as registration opened (FB is a rapid way to fire off tidbits whereas a blog post suggest a longer "ramble" to me), but have not yet blogged about it ... sorry about that!

I drop a few pics here to get your attention, and refer you to some of my past blog posts to further pique your interest and offer ways to enjoy the Biggest Week. And, no, you do not have to officially register to enjoy it! But, I suggest this is the best way to do it. The birds will be all around the area, but you might also want to partake of the many other happenings that registration brings. And ... it benefits great birdie causes!

Every year we add another night to the time we stay overnight in the area.  I wish we could afford to spend the entire span there, but like most of y'all, money and commitments dictate otherwise. Oh ... that reminds me ... besides registration for Biggest Week events, you might think about getting lodging reservations now (not linked, just emphasized ...)! Every year, this festival grows larger, and some lodging may already be drying up!!! And, be sure to tell them when you register that you are coming to see the birds! Many places may have special rates for birders. Even if not, it is important to let hem know that birding is the main reason that draws your hard-earned dollars into the local economy! In turn, many (most?) of them support local birding causes. Win-win!

We will always remember driving into Oregon, Ohio and seeing signs along the major streets proclaiming "Welcome Birders"! And then at our motel, we found a stack of free Guides to the Biggest Week. Welcomed indeed! We left our home to "come home"!

Here are URLs to some of my previous posts. Just "click and go". Note that these are from previous years and some things like road conditions are ancient, but they are provided as background and include links to other sites (many of which are still pertinent ...). As the Biggest Week approaches, I will drop a post with this year's updated info site URLs.(But, note that if you start by clicking on the Biggest Week link I provided at the onset, you can probably get to the best available ones now anyway ...)

And for historical info, here is a link to my first Biggest Week blog. It more emphasizes just "being there". We avoided the crowds.  As new birders, someone told us about the Biggest Week, and also that it could be crowded. We usually hate crowds! But, interestingly, we have learned that the more eyes - especially experienced eyes -  in the area, the more we learn! Birders are a great group and willing share info - especially at the Biggest Week! We see so many things that we would miss on our own!!! And, with few exceptions, everyone is far more courteous than we experience in our daily lives! They see the bird, then bring us forward and point it out. They not only tell us what we are seeing and where to look, but also the special characteristics by which the bird is identified. Oh, how we have grown!!!

We hope to see you there!!! Please introduce yourselves to us! A wonderful part of our experience is meeting new birding friends!!!

- "Dr. Bob" and Judy

BTW, you can also "Like" and "Follow" the Biggest Week on Facebook to see all the updates!!! You will get current info and also links to posts by the amazing blog team as they are posted. Great stuff!!!

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