Friday, September 16th dawned clear and beautiful. Since we were still exhausted from our early morning departure and long drive of Thursday, we opted out of the 6:00 AM birding hike and slept in until 7:00. After getting ready and heading out the door, it was time to officially register for the Midwest Birding Symposium and check out our headquarters at the Den of Blogniquity.
The Den of Blogniquity was a pretty cool place. I also got the chance to finally meet some of my blogging friends face-to-face for the first time ever! In the back row is me (of course!) and Susan (Susan Gets Native). In the front row is Lynne (Hasty Brook), Kathi (KatDoc's World) and Nina (Nature Remains).
More candid shots from the Den of Blogniquity. It was a nice, quiet place away from the hustle & bustle of the symposium. I believe we were supposed to take time to sit down and compose blog posts from there, but honestly, I never got a chance, there was just too much other stuff going on that I wanted to participate in!
Susan and I having a photo duel. See the window peeker in the background? Participants at the symposium were invited to stop by and see what MBS Bloggers actually did. Unfortunately, I think we disappointed a lot of people because most of us weren't there very often.
Here's another look inside the Den of Blogniquity. I would like to take this opportunity to say "Thank You" to Bill Thompson, III for giving me the privilege of being an Official MBS Blogger at the Midwest Birding Symposium.
And before we knew it, it was time to head over to Hoover Auditorium for the opening ceremonies of the Midwest Birding Symposium.
While we were searching for the best seat, we ran into some blog fans. Here I am with Bill Ringer. Lynne told me Bill had e-mailed her prior to the Symposium and was looking forward to meeting here. When we saw him, he knew Lynne right away and then he looked at me (sitting next to Lynne) and said, "the middle-aged, tattooed, biker woman." I laughed out loud right there -- I had no idea Bill was one of my blog reading fans and it was really great to meet him!
Bill Thompson, III gave the opening/welcome message and since it was fairly certain that many of us would be seeing life birds during the symposium, he also gave us instructions on how to do the "Life Bird Dance."
Next was the keynote address from Kenn and Kimberly Kaufmann who talked to use about Birding Ohio's North Coast.
Kimberly did a great job with her talk. She's passionate about birds and birding and getting people of all ages involved in birding, which is a good thing as she's also the Executive Director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory!
Then it was Kenn's turn to speak. His "Field Guide to the Birds of North America" is my "go to" bird book, so I was really happy to hear him speak in person. And what a nice guy!
Kenn and Kimberly were both such wonderful speakers and just genuinely nice people. You could just imagine yourself sitting down with them somewhere for coffee and pie and visiting about all the cool birds and birding adventures they've been on and it would be like you'd known them forever.
They had a special promotion for Symposium participants who would be willing to go out and get some new people interested in birding. I believe it was quite successful because Lynne told me later that day that she had gotten one of the last cards available.
At the back of Hoover Auditorium was the vendor booth of one of my favorite authors and artists -- Julie Zickefoose. Julie has brought along some of the original paintings that are going to be featured in her new book coming out next spring, "The Bluebird Effect." Julie also brought along her famous canine companion, Chet Baker! If I didn't get the chance to see any life birds during this trip, that would have been OK, because I got the chance to meet Chet Baker and have my photo taken with him! I was missing my Sophie an awful lot and Chet could sense that I needed a little doggeh love. He's one special pup!
One of the fun things we got to do at the Symposium was have our photo taken in front of a "green screen" and choose a special background. I chose to be a Bird Watcher's Digest cover girl. I think it turned out pretty neat.
After a tasty lunch, we headed back to Hoover Auditorium for an afternoon presentation by Alvaro Jaramillo entitled "Birding Outside the Box -- Birding Identification Like a Pro!" Alvaro was a great speaker and his talk combined birding tips and humor, so we had fun learning new things.
Lynne was able to get a few extra birding tips from Alvaro after the presentation also. What a nice guy he was! I hope I get the chance to go on one of his birding trips someday.
Whew, this day is just flying by! After supper, we headed back to Hoover Auditorium for the evening speakers. But before the speakers, there was musical entertainment by The Rain Crows (featuring Bill Thompson, III and Julie Zickefoose).
Then it was time for our evening keynote speakers. Dr. Bridget Stutchbury spoke of her work as The Bird Detective: Investigating the Private Lives of Birds.
Our next speaker was Pete Dunne who read an essay entitled, "The Old Man and the Plover" from his newest book.
Here's a look at Pete Dunne on the Jumbotron in Hoover Auditorium.
And finally our first full day of the Midwest Birding Symposium was over. Time to head back to the motel and get some sleep so we would be ready to head out for tomorrow morning's early birding events.