Saturday, May 2, 2009

Birding Class #6: "Palm Wonderful!"

The following is a transcript from Jerry McWilliams, our birding instructor and guru of all things wing'd.
It was cool, but we had some sun, which made it comfortable birding. Another nice gathering of birders including, Bernhard & Janet, Kate, Philip, Toni, Julie, Michele, Joao, Julie Dell, Judy, Jean, and Linda.
Jerry's other half, Linda, Guru of All-Things-Greenand soon to be co-author of Presque isle, Naturally!

We started off with a beautiful pair of Baltimore Orioles at our meeting place then a stop at the banding station where they were just setting up, so we decided to stop back later and have another check. At the owls nest we found the adult bird sitting high on the nest, exposing its entire head and upper body. Apparently the young owl was nestled down and beneath the parent, since we didn't see it. The trails were quite slow this morning with only a handfull of warbler species, though we did see numerous Palm Warblers (See top photograph). We had great views of perched American kestrels and an immature Bald Eagle that circled over Pine Tree Trail.
Very distant shot of the kestrel. This immature bald eagle circled over Pine Tree Trail quite a few times.
At beach 11 we saw a distant flock of Common Terns and what looked like a Peregrine Falcon that put up all of the gulls. There were still some ducks hanging around off beach 11, but mostly scaup and Bufflehead. Even the banding station was slow with their best bird being a Grasshopper Sparrow. We did get some up close and personal looks at a House Wren and a Gray Catbird.
We recorded 55 species of birds today:
Canada Goose--several throughout
Mallard--a few at various sites
Redhead--one in Thompson Bay
Greater Scaup--three or four in Thompson Bay
Lesser Scaup--about a dozen in Thompson Bay
Bufflehead--about 20 off beach 11
Red-breasted Merganser--a couple along beach 11
Wild Turkey--a male on the sand mound at Beach 10 parking lot
Common Loon--one bird calling in Presque Isle Bay off the banding station
Double-crested Cormorant--four seen from Pine Tree Trail
Great Blue Heron--at least three flying over Thompson Bay
Great Egret--one over Pine Tree Trail
Bald Eagle--one first year bird over Pine Tree Trail
Sharp-shinned Hawk--one flew in front of the car near beach 11
American Kestrel--two or three along Pine Tree Trail
Peregrine Falcon--one possible bird over Gull Point
American Coot--several off beach 11
Killdeer-- a few heard and seen
Ring-billed Gull--a few at Gull Point
Herring Gull--several scattered around the park
Caspian Tern--a few flying over Gull Point
Common Tern--30 flying well off Gull Point
Mourning Dove--two or three along Pine Tree Trail
Great Horned Owl--one on the nest
Downy Woodpecker--territorial rapping at several sites
Northern Flicker--one along Pine Tree Trail
Blue Jay--several flying over Beach 11 and a few at Niagara Pond
American Crow--several scattered throughout
Tree Swallow--several overhead
Barn Swallow--several overhead
Black-capped Chickadee--at least a couple along Pine Tree Trail
White-breasted Nuthatch--one heard on Pine Tree Trail
House Wren--one heard on Pine Tree Trail and one at Fry's landing
Ruby-crowned Kinglet--a few along the trails
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher--single birds on each trail
Hermit Thrush--one on Pine Tree Trail
American Robin--several at various sites
Gray Catbird--two or three along the trails
Brown Thrasher--one on Dead Pond Trail
European Starling--several on the ground at various places
Nashville Warbler--one at Fry's landing
Yellow Warbler--fairly common everywhere, but most heard only
Black-thoated Blue Warbler--one at Fry's landing
Yellow-rumped Warbler--a few along the trails
Palm Warbler--fairly common everywhere and the most frequently seen warbler
Common Yellowthroat--one singing on Pine Tree Trail
Eastern Towhee--three or four heard singing along the trails
Song Sparrow--a couple on Dead Pond Trail
Swamp Sparrow--one or two along Niagara Pond
White-throated Sparrow--one heard along Pine Tree Trail
Red-winged Blackbird--several scattered throughout the park
Brown-headed Cowbird--several around the park
Baltimore Oriole--singles and pairs at several locations
Purple Finch--one immature male singing on Pine Tree Trail
American Goldfinch--one over beach 11 parking lot

The Black-Throated Blue: our obsession with this bird cost us a view of the Nashville Warbler. C'est la vie!
Toni and I have been extremely busy getting ready for the Festival of the Birds! It promises to be a very exciting event and last year was "Sold Out". I'm not sure how many tickets remain, but if anyone is interested in attending click here for details and registration information. Toni and I will be presenting a workshop on Nature Blogging. Also, some of our works, along with those of other local artists, will be on display during the festival and for the next six weeks. If you can't make it to the festival but want to see the largest variety of migrating birds around, you must visit Presque Isle State Park within the next three weeks!! Things are a hoppin'! If you do plan a trip and need a some directions or advice for hot spots, drop Toni and I an e-mail.

Monday, April 27, 2009

'Whispers Across the Pond' by Eugene Ware

What Inspires you? Perhaps it is the morning dew on a spider web or the scent of Pine trees in the early morning light. The sun rising above the waters edge and setting among a sea of purple, pink and yellow clouds that are mirrored across this Great Lake of ours. The inland trails whisper to you to come forth and experience all that nature has to give. Presque Isle has been inspiring artists, writers and musicians for decades.

Eugene Ware's new book of prose, poetry and personal reflections, 'Whispers Across the Pond' takes you on a visual journey through words, painting for you scenes that touch all your senses along with photographs to enhance the beauty of the words and draw you even closer to nature.

Here is an excerpt from the web site by Gene,
" Through my writing, I try to share with the reader my belief that in many ways the natural world gently shapes people’s beings, and thus their lives. Through the poetry, images and prose contained within these pages, I seek to tell personal stories and experiences relating to nature, and hope in some way to provide a means to help unravel personal dreams and anguishes. The goal of my writing is to transport you into the natural realm and let you walk beside me as I explore this special world. I hope you enjoy “Whispers Across the Pond”, and my attempt to paint the beauty and constantly changing face of nature with words and images."

An interview with Eugene Ware:

Toni: "How long have you been writing prose and poems?"

Gene: "I have been writing for about ten years. Poetry for six and prose ten. Poems started as fun and now are very important to me. I am working on writing two new potential books. One is a novel and the other is a history of Presque Isle."

Toni: "In your last prose of the book you mention your writing journal and nature notes, do you take your journal with you always along with your camera?"

Gene: "When I go anywhere I have a camera and for the last year I have a notebook. The journal is transferred to a loose-leaf notebook I try to keep by subject. Notice I said 'try'. I am not always successful with this. The nature journal is a beat-up notebook I keep when I am walking on P.I or anywhere else."

Toni: "What does it mean to you to be able to write your thoughts down?"

Gene: "Ideas, phrases, reflections and such come up at anytime and I try to keep track of them. I am always finding bits of paper I wrote an idea down on tucked away i9n my pockets, the car or on backs of magazines. I think it drives Nancy crazy."

Toni: "Does writing inspiration follow you throughout the day? If so do you write and take notes as thoughts and ideas come to you?"

Gene: "My feeling dictate my writing. Some days, I just can’t write other I may write 4,000 to 5,000 words. Ideas for poems at times just seem to write themselves. For example, Rat-a-Tat Tat was written in just 20 minutes one day I was totally bored at work."

Toni: "What would you like to your readers to experience as they read your work?"

Gene: "The readers of my work should experience what I did when I wrote the poem. I like to write so they can see, feel and hear what I did."

Toni: "Would you encourage others to write in a journal and if so any thoughts as to what to write or how?"

Gene: "A journal is a good idea for any writer. One thing writers should consider is doing what is called morning papers. These are writing just for yourself. You do this each day, I do it in the morning, and all you do is write three pages of anything that comes into your mind. It can and will sometimes be, I can’t think of anything to write, over and over. However, after a while you will find that your deepest thoughts will jump onto paper. Remember, this is for YOU ONLY, no one else should read it."

(For more information about Morning Pages read The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron)

Toni: "You have written two other books can you tell us about them?"

Gene: "Moods of Presque Isle is similar to Whispers in that it is prose and poetry with photographs of Presque Isle. It has been out for about 5 years and continues to sell well.
A walk on the Park - - Written two years ago outlines and describes 20 walks you can take on Presque Isle. It tells about the trails, animals, plants and history that are the Park. It was designed to take with you as you walk and explains what you see as you walk. It has sold well and again continues to sell very well."

Toni: "Any last minute thoughts you wish to share with our readers?"

Gene: "My thoughts on nature and Presque Isle are that all parents should begin to involve their children in nature and less in organized sporting activities. While sports are great, the child will get more out of nature in the long run than he or she will ever get out of sports. Over the years experiencing the outdoors and nature seems to have taken a back-seat to other activities. It is amazing when I hear children say they have NEVER taken a walk in the woods and they have no idea what wild animals live on Presque Isle.
It is my firm belief that we need to bring nature into the lives of our children as early and often as possible.

Toni: "Thank you Gene for the interview and for a wonderful book of prose and poetry. I felt every word and experienced your walks in every step."

You can purchase 'Whispers Across the Pond'
locally at:
the gift shop at the TREC
Presque Isle Gallery Coffeehouse

and online:
from Xlibris
and Amazon


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