Sunday, April 26, 2009

North Coast Nature Festival...Update!

The gorgeous Rocky River Valley. What a great place to have a Nature Center!

The week started out with temps going down to the mid-thirties, rain, thunder and hail. My thoughts were mixed about the Nature Festival this weekend, but what a difference a few days make on the north coast! All three days of the festival were outstanding (though I was in standing!). The sun came out and shone on the crowds that came to visit this tremendous area of the Cleveland Metropark System! And the temperatures... close to ninety degrees, spring has definitely sprung here on the shores of Lake Erie.

Bob Hinkle, chief of Outdoor Education of the Metroparks, Bill Thompson III of Bird Watcher's Digest, and Kim Hinkle, wildlife rehabilitator and a Canon nature photographer.

Bill's singing made us want to get out and bird, I meant that in a nice way!

Friday evening started out with a bang! The infamous, ever popular, Bill Thompson III put on a variety show all by himself. He opened with a few words and segued into a song to relax the crowd. He then spoke to the group about "The Perils and Pitfalls of Birding," a truly insightful and humorous look into what birders go through to get the best optics (and clean them), travel across unimaginable distances to find a bird, with said optics (and at times misidentify it) and more of what he's learned over the years. He then finished up with a sing-a-long, "Momma Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Birders."

Bill performing Optics Inspection before the walk. If you don't pass muster, you'll be pulled out of line and made an example of!

Not only a great writer and birder, but an excellent optics cleaner! A full service guide! Please note, Dave Graskemper not paying attention to the cleaning demo and looking at birds, oooo, busted!

If you ever have the opportunity to bird with Bill, DO IT! He has a wealth of knowledge to pass on to anyone with a curious mind.

Bill signed books and arm wrestled afterwards. Saturday morning he lead a highly informative bird walk, after an optics inspection of course, with another talk in the afternoon, "No Child Left Inside: Birds as a Doorway into Nature." Saturday was also the time that the vendors and other displays opened up and more nature walks were offered.

Tom Bartlett, a master bander gave demonstrations on Sunday morning. What a treat to watch him work with the visitors, both feathered and unfeathered.

Tom banded a Yellow-throated Warbler Sunday. The last Yellow-throated Warbler he banded was 25 years ago!

Tom's special Yellow-throated Warbler with his new bracelet.

I had a great time meeting people from all over the northern Ohio area. Many people I haven't seen in a while stopped by to say "Hello." Laurie-Doodles went to most of the talks and seminars while I manned the display and talked about the birds and birding in our area. I even managed to sell a few photos in between talking too much.

Our very special friends, Kathy and Tim Krynak of the Las Gralarias Foundation.

Hugh Rose of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and our 'homies' Joanne and Terry Gorges of Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society.

Mona Rutger of 'Back to the Wild' rescue and rehab center with her little flying squirrel friend.

It was a great weekend to welcome spring back to our corner of the world. And the birds noticed the great weather also. While standing at my table and daydreaming out the window, I saw Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Palm, Black-throated Blue and Black-and-White Warblers flitting about in the trees. Tomorrow, I'll try to post some of the birds we saw when we were out enjoying the weather.

Yours truly trying to ignore the warblers outside the window.

I have the itch to call in sick and go birding to shoot a few Warblers! Hack-hack....sniffle...yep, I'm coming down with Warbleritis...ack...gotta go...


  1. ...loved the post. So much information. I think I would have been one to get in trouble for the condition of my optics. I'm going to go clean it right now! (The little banded warbler is very cute...)

  2. Hi Dave!

    I finally got a couple of hours to catch up.
    It must have been a very enjoyable event. And your table/prints look very impressive.
    You're an inspiration!

    Now I'll try to find the Hummingbirds and see all the posts that I have missed in the past two months.
    Best regards

  3. Wow what a series this is. You surely outdid yourself with so much information and so many people and birds in so little time. Wonderful to read. I hope wonderful to be there too. My birds are slow to arrive this year. Maybe I am just too anxious.

    The Hamlet of Gordon