Bird Watcher’s Digest hosts Reader Rendezvous around the country, a fun-filled weekend of birding, music and friends. Last week, they were in West Virginia at North Bend State Park, and took a side trip to visit us. Not to stay, but to look for birds. (Something we are always doing, even while writing blogs.
They brought 18 people from all over the USA, and as far away as the west coast, all hoping to see a Swainson’s Warbler. We showed them a whole lot more.
Meeting a group at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center is always a great kick-off. The NPS does an amazing job telling the story of our area. Plus, it has knockout views of the bridge and New River Gorge and Peregrine Falcon chicks. Mom and Dad did not show up.
They had been in the cars for 3 hours so once they stretched their legs, we headed out on some back roads along the Rhododendron-covered creek beds in search of the shy warbler.
Before the morning was over, all 18 guests and guides had seen the little bird. Many had long close-up looks, allowing them to study his subtleties in coloration and mannerisms. To say he is shy is an understatement. Many say he is skulky. He lives in the thickest of cover, and hates to peek his rather large beak out of it for any reason. The coolest thing about this bird is his song. Listen for it in the background of the video. Loud and clear, in part because of that honking beak he has.
We got really good looks and many birds we call “common,” and may not normally take a second glance at. But when you have a bunch of people who have never seen a Cardinal, well, it’s easy to get excited about the local birds all over again.
We ended up rewarding ourselves at with a wonderful lunch at Pies and Pints, along with spotting a few more birds while stuffing pizza in our faces.