Well, the 4th Annual “Mad Birders Big Morning and Birder BBQ” is in the books.
And this one proved to be just as satisfying and surprising as its three cousins.
Today, 58 people from across Vermont (and a couple from Connecticut), spanning ages from 12 to 81 gathered to bird CrossHaven Farm in Moretown, and enjoy some mighty tasty breakfast and lunch fare.
The group split up into five groups with Jeannie Elias, Pat Folsom, Zac Cota-Weaver, Ali Wagner and Ken Copenhaver doing navigator duties around the property.
Sixty four species were tallied. A bit less than some years. But it was cold!!! — and as Ken said, “The bugs aren’t out, so the birds aren’t out”. Even so, the groups were treated to some good sightings. A Peregrine Falcon offered good views to one group. Several Parulas were present. Blackburnians were everywhere in the woods. Happily, Bob-o-links were found in the fields. Alder and Willow Flycatchers said hello. A Brown Thrasher provided singing accompaniment. And, Pat Sainsbury’s many Hummingbird feeders were humming. At one point there were eight at the feeders in the back yard, and, at the same time, a even more in the front yard! Everyone had close encounters of the pointy-nosed kind as the hummers went about their business jousting with each other at the feeders on the porch — with birders standing just inches under them.
But, the big surprise for this year was a magical appearance by a pair of Evening Grosbeaks! As we were drinking coffee and getting organized, the pair (male and female) flew in out of nowhere, landed on the tube feeder in the front yard, not more than a few feet away from 40 birders, and only 3’ off the ground. They sat and chatted with each other, enjoyed a little breakfast, and disappeared up over the house and out the back. Zac asked, “What do you do, pay for these birds to show up?” I checked ebird, and I have not recorded one on the property since 2011! It all happened so mysteriously, at such close range and with so many people completely spell-bound and silent that is was one of those moments that 10 minutes later you’re asking, “Did I really just see that?” Indeed we did. Really wonderful.
As always, we joined together to celebrate the birds and natural world we so appreciate. And, once again, everyone was generous with donations for the great programs at North Branch Nature Center and Vermont Center for Eco-studies. For the fourth time, we raised over $1,000 that will be divided between those organizations. Amy Butler and Larry Clarfeld were present from NBNC. Amy is Director of all Education Programs at the Center, and shared with us some delightful stories from the incredible ECO (Educating Children Outdoors) program that NBNC runs in seven Central Vermont schools. Thanks Amy!
Many, many thanks to everyone who came and shared their friendship and their generosity on a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend morning. It was a great day.
If you missed this year, hopefully you will join the Mad Birders next year for the 5th annual event!
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