I got several life birds on this tour including Black-Crowned Night Heron, Virginia Rail, Marbled Godwit, and Chestnut-Collared Longspur. We missed seeing Whooping Cranes by one day (they had been spotted out on the prairie the day before.)
When our bus arrived back at the festival headquarters (The Chieftain Conference Center), a bunch of us got to do the "Lifebird Wiggle" out in front of the giant Chieftain statue. I kind of got hidden in the back row, but the arrow should help you locate my head and left arm.
Before the evening's banquet, I prevailed upon Julie for a photo. She and Bill worked non-stop during this entire festival, which definitely helped make it such a wonderful experience for me and the other birders. Having "met" them through blogging, it was really neat to meet them in person and also their kids, Phoebe and Liam. Me, Julie Z, and Susie O'Quinn (who knew both of us through our blogs!)
Oh yeah, and one more thing, remember the shawl I knitted and donated for the silent auction at this festival? The last I saw it was draped around the shoulders of young Miss Phoebe Thompson as her dad Bill got the winning bid. It was nice for me to know this shawl was going to a good home!
I departed for home early Sunday morning and got to enjoy some fabulous sunrise views of birds and wildlife on the North Dakota prairie. For reasons unknown to me, the railroad tracks were very attractive to many of these early morning birds.
There were lots of deer out and about early this morning also.
And I was lucky enough to catch one more view of a lovely white-tail doe with her tiny little fawn trying to follow its mom through the tall grass.
I also got one more life bird for this trip: Short-Eared Owl hunting the roadside ditch. I was able to stop the car and get out for a closer look, but the owl preferred not to be photographed!
A few hundred miles later, I pulled into my driveway shortly before 4 PM, exhausted, but thankful for the amazing sights, sounds, and birding fellowship I had experienced for the last 4 days on the North Dakota prairie.
Oh yeah, and did I also mention that I got 30 life birds on this trip? As I keep saying over and over, it was an amazing trip.....