Hello from Port Clinton, Ohio! This weekend is the annual meeting of the Inland Bird Banding Association and this year we're being hosted by Black Swamp Bird Observatory.
The morning was at the observatory banding migrants that are moving along the southern shore of Lake Erie. Being significantly south of my home means I can see some birds here that haven't been around home for a while. Turkey Vultures were soaring over head and the woods were full of White-throated Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers.
While staring down at the birds in hand we had a flock of 27 Snow Geese fly over along with a Peregrine Falcon and 3 Bald Eagles. The wind was pretty brisk but the numbers were consistent. The volunteers ended up banding 10 species while we watched.
To help us warm up, there was a bird aging and sexing quiz using museum specimens inside the observatory building. If you think birds in the hand can be tough you should try stiff, stuffed birds that have their labels covered.
It was great to have a chance to stand around and watch all these very experienced people teach each other the little hints on aging and sexing that only come with handling thousands of birds as a bander. One of the banders here has banded in excess of 250,000 birds! and I was excited when I passed 1000...
The afternoon was the paper session and with the breadth of the presentations I was kept busy taking notes. The research that is going on out there is really impressive.
Tomorrow morning is a trip out to the lake front to do some shorebird banding. Hopefully I'll have more cool photos tomorrow.