Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Optics Fling!

 No, No, No! Not that kind of optics fling!
(*No optics were harmed in the filming of this blog.)
 THIS kind of Optics Fling!

This past weekend was the 3rd annual Optics Fling hosted by the wonderful Robert Hershberger and his Time & Optics store in Millersburg, Ohio. Robert's shop is located in beautiful Amish country and has the BEST selection of binoculars, scopes tripods and accessories you could hope to find. Along with the new and  lightly enjoyed optics he has a great selection of clocks and time pieces(and repairs too!)

Along with reps from all of the optics companies, there were bird outings to seldom visited areas for raptors, vultures, blue grosbeaks and a special visit to an old barn. Did I mention food? Robert is an amazing host and had the tastiest grilled sausages ever! You can see the smoke from the grill behind me above. I was having a hard time concentrating because my stomach was growling so loudly!

I will make sure to post early next year so you can put it on your schedule. Plan on the first weekend in June to make a trip to this lovely area...you won't regret it!
 I forgot to mention the lovely Kimmay and the also lovely Kenn Kaufman led a few of the bird tours...and signed books.
Kenn even signed a new field guide for my brother Phil.
(They may deny knowing me, you never know!)
 Local boy, Greg Miller, of "The Big Year"movie and book was also on hand to guide and sign books.

 As usual, I made an error parking the Birdmobile.

 There are lots of quiet country roads to explore and listen for birds.
As you can see the traffic is pretty light!

 No smog from cars...butt...watch where you step!

 There, that's better...
Finally! A proper shot of an American Goldfinch!
 There were plenty of fledgling American Robins.

 This Baltimore Orioles had a few new mouths to feed.
 The Cedar Waxwings were competing for all of the fruit on the trees.

 And the cows didn't care...as usual.
"Um, moo."

 Where's Waldo?
I don't know how The Doodles spotted it, but there's a Killdeer on its nest out there.

 I think this Llama may need a little dental work...

 Amish and English birders on the prowl for a Blue Grosbeak...
...which we didn't find.
But we sure found many other great birds and butterflies on this walk led by Kimm and Kenn.

No 500mm lens from Canon yet.

 Kenn pointed out this youngster Broad-winged Hawk soaring over our ever spinning heads.

 I found a Chipping Sparrow on the wire!
Hey guys! Lookit what I found! Guys?!
Never mind...no one listens to me.
I can't understand why...

 A lifer moth!(Most are lifers!)
It's a Common Spring Moth.
Not too common if you ask me.

 Someone managed to spot this nest that we think is from a Field Sparrow.
We could hear them calling close by.

 I chased this Grasshopper Sparrow back and forth around this thorny safe haven
He knows I wouldn't dare to get any closer!

 This is the typical view I have of most birds, ESPECIALLY Grasshopper Sparrows.

 A Great Spangled Fritillary being all spangly!

 Not a Blue Grosbeak hiding in the woods.
An Indigo Bunting...hiding in the woods.
They don't want to make it easy for me...

 Flowers don't fly away.
I will take their picture.
This is Bird's Foot Trefoil.
Almost a bird.

 Aawww...it's a Little Wood Satyr.
It's so little!

 And then there's the loud and ever present Red-winged Blackbird.

 Even the Northern Mockingbirds mock me!

 I like butterflies like this Silver-spotted Skipper.
They aren't rude or loud.

This Turkey Vulture is in need of some serious grooming!
Or maybe he's a punk rock vulture and this is the cool new look...or not.

 Is this not a great view to have while birding?
The freshest air and the nicest folks.
 And yet another Killdeer on a nest, trying her best to hide.

And then into an old barn we went...

 Yoiks! My turn and I DON'T LIKE HEIGHTS!
I think those two were jiggling the ladder!
What are we spying in there?

 A whole nest box packed with little nestling Barn Owls!
*Special thanks go to Kimmay Kaufman for taking this pic with my camera because I was too chicken to let go of the ladder to do it myself.

 That's all for now!
It's time for me to hop on out of here...

Until next time with a 
See ya!


  1. Wonderful, Dave, just wonderful! Love the expressions {all unique} on those little owl faces!

  2. Now if I digest all this and pass the test I should at least get a couple of credits. Great post. I had to look at things a second time.

  3. So many fantastic birds. The Baltimore Oriole stands out for me though.

    1. Gotta love those Orioles! We set up three feeders in our gardens just so we can watch them daily!

  4. Cool x 100. Great post. Beautiful owls.

    1. Oooo! Times 100! Now you know, that's bad for my ego!

  5. We'll the way you write narrative makes me laugh. Thanks. Anyway this was a wonderful day's birding you saw such a variety of birds, butterflies and moths but you left the best to last. All those faces looking down on you. amazing! Well worth getting up that ladder.

    1. I'm glad you had your daily chuckle Margaret! That's my goal!

  6. Great post! I love the owls! Enjoy your day!

  7. You really gave us the excitement of one of these bird festivals. And I had a lovely pair of encounters with Greg Miller at South Llano River State Park in the Agrita Blind. A friendly, knowledgeable fellow pointed out several birds coming into the blind, including the black-capped vireo. I found out he was checking out the area before leading a tour for a festival where he as the featured speaker. He as there again the next day with a group only minutes after I had gotten my look at the vireo. Birders live in a very small world.

    1. Thank you Marilyn. Greg is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet!

  8. As ever, a thoroughly delightful post! Love your narrative! And the photos are just marvelous. The Optics Fling looks like a great event. The birding yielded so many wonderful birds, flowers and butterflies! Just loved that you found the field sparrow nest and the nesting killdeer. The redwing and other birds (especially that gorgeous indigo bunting!) are just stunning!

    1. Thanks Marie! There's always a good time to be had when you're out in nature!

  9. I forgot to say, that barn owl photo is just wonderful!