This weekend a handful of students got up extra early on a Sunday morning. Willingly. On a rather cloudy, blustery day.
Yes, it’s true. It seemed that nature had stacked the odds against us that morning. But we were birders. There was something deeper, something far greater at hand. To trek out to Conserve School’s outer blue trail wasn’t mere leisure time… it was a quest.
After a couple miles of biking, we found it: a mixed flock of chickadees, warblers, wrens, nuthatches and woodpeckers in harmony with the start of fall migration. After becoming accustomed to the silence of the morning forest, stumbling across the mixed flock and its activity was like sheer chaos. Then, the sun came out! The morning late-summer sun provoked the insects into rising, which brought hundreds of birds out from the cover of the leaves to snatch ’em up in preparation for their long journey south (southern US, Central & South America).
And it was spectacular. Our group, composed of students of all different skill levels, worked together to make spottings, and passed the bird books around to get details for an IDs. Birds flitted all about, both the common finds (like the Nashville & Blackburnian Warblers) and surprise drop-ins (such as the Brown Creeper & Alder Flycatcher). The activity was at times hard to keep up with, but the thrill of observing and being open to the birds was indeed inspiring! While wrapping up the morning, we all inquired about the next time we could get out there while migration is still hopping. Something wonderful is happening here on campus.
–Nick Voss, Academic Coordinator Grad Fellow