Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bobolink in the Mist

As I write this, it’s raining. Misty, thick, humid, wet. A four-day weekend away from work would have been nicer under the sun. Been walking in the rain, planting garden flowers in the rain… Sort of feeling all dressed up with nowhere to go. Been cursing the rain gods at times but I always take it back quickly because living in severe drought conditions is a recent memory.

Today’s weather reminds me of the rain in West Virginia. While I wait for the skies to clear, I’ll share my final thoughts on the New River Birding and Nature Festival and the day I met a Bobolink.


Bobolink in the mist

The bird display was fabulous in the New River Gorge area. They were a far cry from what I’m seeing today. They were exciting, noteworthy birds that owned fabulous color and sound, unlike what I visited in the mist a few minutes ago – grackles, starlings, house sparrows, squirrels, squabbling mockingbirds, and a chiptymunk running for cover in my backyard. No matter what I say or how I say it, they’re mine, in a way… Noteworthy? Yes. They too have a story, and one I’ll continue to tell over time.

My last field trip of the week, High Country, began with a visit to see Bobolinks. The owner of the property kindly allowed us to visit their field that’s suitable for Bobolink’s young to fledge successfully. Nesting on the ground, they were perhaps the most intriguing birds I saw and heard during the entire week.


We had lunch here, at Babcock State Park. What was better than the view of rushing waterfalls? The view of flushing toilets inside the park building and sinks with running hot water.


Scenes like this cause me to dream of packing it up at the office and hitting the road for two or three days – just me and my camera. In the mountains of West Virginia, every season must offer something as spectacular as this.


Everyone I met during the trip was inspirational to me in their own way. I will not elaborate on each individual as it would take a month of Sundays to do so…


The Flock, our group leaders and organizers, and everyone I met were delightful. Generally, they are all compassionate, smart, hilarious, adventurous, and downright beautiful people.


I allowed myself a few minutes to break away from the High Country group and stalk a Bobolink. All week I had been fighting a strong urge to stalk…


Have you heard a Bobolink’s song? Those small, high-pitched electronic sounds it emits? If you are old enough to remember Star Wars' R2 D2, that’s it.


Getting closer, stepping softly, a few feet at a time…


And the bird vanished! All of that for another crappy bird photo!

There is a nerdy, geeky generalization made about folks who are passionate about birds and nature. Dispel that notion.


On our final night of the week together, the Swinging Orangutangs rocked the house with Julie Zickefoose, Bill Thompson III and the band. They were so generous to entertain.


Let’s not forget about the drummer!

We danced with our hands in the air like we didn’t care. Very cool.

Until next year, I'll hold these memories close.

Thanks to all.


Susan Gets Native said...

11 months until the next one....

Did you see the cute photo I got of you talking the bobolink? Mary in full "Bird Commando" mode...

Kathleen said...

You must have been a cat in a past life!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You all had such a good time. It is fun hearing about it and seeing all the beautiful places and wonderful birds. Wow... I love to hear Bobolinks sing. They have the most unusual song.

Cicero Sings said...

I know all about the wonders of flush toilets and running water ... after spending a few months in Africa. When I got home, I thought the bathroom the most important room in the house.

What a fine time with a fine bunch of people ... and so talented too. I'm so totally jealous.

Tina said...

I would love to HEAR a bobolink..and would drop over if I actually saw one..sooo many people have talked about this bird on their posts and on bird walks I have walked!! A very neat bird for sure! I guess that R2/D2 sound is what I am finding so interesting!!
Hopefully today you will see some sunshine peeking thru.
Hope so!
Enjoy the holiday.

Kathi said...


Love the rain drops on the grass during your stalking attempt. You got a terrific photo of the waterfalls at the grist mill. Why no pics of the flush toilets and hot and cold running water in the bathrooms, tho?


For a brief video (with sound) of the bobolinks singing, check out my blog post here:


Appalachian Lady said...

I have never seen a bobolink so your pictures are a delight. I am going to think seriously about going to that bird festival next year. And Babcock State Park looks like another place I would like to visit.

Heidi said...

I would love to hear a bobolink live - how cool!

You should go back there in the fall... check this out!

Glade Creek Grist Mill

Unknown said...

Those images of the boblinks are truly outstanding Mary. They surely will rate in your best collection. Congratulations

Barbie ♥ said...

Love the Bobolink in the mist! It was clear as a bell the day we were there and I STILL couldn't get any good shots! And I know what you mean about wanting to stalk - I wanted to stalk some warblers sooo badly at Cranberry Glades - I couldn't move or I'd be in the BOG!!! Great post, Mary!

Anonymous said...

Such good memories - the bobolinks were a highlight of the trip.

Wendy said...

It's fun to hear all about your adventures. Stalking a bobolink - I think you must have been a cat or a tiger or a lynx in another life.

Nice pics. I liked the waterfalls and lodge. And the people sounded wonderful. Hope your rain clears up soon.

Corey said...

I got my life Bobolink on my trip this Spring too. On a foggy, rainy morning. In the middle of a field. Good times.

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Hi Mary! It's raining here now. But I knew it would. You see I am on vacation. Generally when I take time off, it rains. I hope that the skies have clear for you now and the sun is shining.
That was a beautiful place that you went. Love the waterfall pictures. Lisa

Kyle said...

Out of all the wonderful posts and the wide assortment of bird photos I've seen from the Flock's visit to the New River festival, I think your two pictures of the grist mill and the waterfall are by far my most favorite images. What beautiful shots those are!

Loved the imagery of stalking the Bobolink, too! Frustrating, I'm sure, but what a memory!

Mary said...


Thank you so much!


Kathie Brown said...

Mary, you make me want to dance again! Love the misty pictures and I'm with you on the stalking thing! Here's to good weather and future sucess as a (bird) stalker!

JeanMac said...

Those first 2 pictures are really great.

jalynn01 said...

What a wonderful time we had and now it is tucked into memory..for now! Next year to be opened again I hope! I think your picture of the Gristmill was the very best of anyones. It looks like a beautiful painting. I didn't get one decent bobolink either and it was NOT raining when I was there. It is so interesting to see everyones persepective and photographs. All of your posts on NR were great!

Larry said...

Good descripton of the Bobolink song.That old wood building above the falls would be a perfect vacation spot for me-nice photo of it.