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Midwest Birding Symposium: Some Favorite Shots

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Billed as "The world's friendliest birding event," the Midwest Birding Symposium is exactly that. What a gas! So many incredibly nice people all gathered together to watch birds and learn from speakers, to laugh and eat and hang out together in the salubrious winy-rich fall days at beautiful Lakeside.

I have a grab-bag of photos from the event. Most of them have dog in them, because sitting at my booth was the only time I had a camera with me. I thought you'd enjoy seeing them, spontaneous and uncategorized as they are.

Here's my friend Jeff Reiter from Words on Birds makin' petties on Chet Baker. It was Chet's idea to take a running leap and land on the display table when Jeff appeared. After the second such display, with books and papers scattering everywhere, I suggested to The Bacon that he was to stay on the floor or in his super-pimped director's chair. Which he was happy to do. But a Boston does like to make the occasional splash.

We charged extra for Rain Crows tee's and hoodies that had been sat upon by such a famous cybercelebrity.

I was thrilled to see Kay and James Novak sporting the color-remarqued name badges I made for them at the 1999 symposium in Lakeside. I remember it well...Phoebe was three, and trundling around under my easel, and Liam was still being baked but rising fast, to be born less than two months later, and I was for some insane and probably hormonal  reason painting everyone's favorite bird on their nametag for $15 a pop. I will say it improved booth traffic; it was like having a hugely pregnant painting monkey at your booth, and what could be better than that?

But it sure made people happy!

You can see in the background that I have a mix of framed paintings and brand-new pieces from The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds. The new art is mounted very simply on matboard. I couldn't afford to frame it all, and there wasn't time anyway--I only just got it back from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. But it looked really pretty mixed in with the framed art.

We went to a reception for speakers and vendors on Thursday night at Rock of Ages, a gorgeous hold home in Marblehead. It was breezy and chilly, but everyone loved being out on the lawn
because the view looked like this 
and we were all together, hugging and laughing and having a little wine and great food, thanks to my sister-in-law Laura Fulton, who knows about such things. There's Publisher Elsa Thompson in front, taking in Bill's every word

as he gives credit where credit is due and welcomes everyone to the Symposium. I was blown away yet again, all weekend, by Bill's grace under fire and ability to attend to a thousand tiny details, put out hundreds of the usual event-related brush fires, then leap up the stairs to the podium and take an audience in the palm of his hand, making them feel appreciated and welcome and thoroughly entertained. He has every right to be comatose for the next week.
I really had the time of my life, hangin' with friends like master birder George Armistead of Field Guides Inc. and master digiscoper Bill Schmoker.
And I watched in amazement as my beautiful friend and bandmate Wendy Eller did everything from wrassle Internet providers to haul ice buckets to sing like a dang nightingale to keep everyone fed, entertained and satisfied.
Liz Gordon of ABA and The Cosmos, and Jan Pierson, also of Field Guides, Inc. So great to see my buds! Oh look! There's a lil' angel on Jan's shoulder!
 Back at the booth, Chet Baker was very busy giving sweet dog fixes to anyone who needed them. And there were a whole lot of people needing that special quiet connection with a good dog. John Moore came back several times, and Chet walked over, smiling, then planted himself next to John for a little nonverbal communication, a little communion.
Terry probably visited Chet the most. He's been the delighted owner of two Bostons, but that was awhile ago. I could feel him remembering all the love they'd given him, and Chet could, too. It was very sweet, and Chet Baker knew Terry needed some special attention. Plus, that man knew all the right places to scratch. Chet's wearing his special Official MBS Bandanna made by the amazing Jen Sauter.
Chet Baker never quite got the hang of riding in a golf cart. If he'd see a fox squirtle, he'd leap out and hit the pavement pretty hard, so you had to keep your arm around him tightly.
 Lakeside is like a giant fox squirtle-filled candy box for Baker. They're big and slow and kinda dumb compared to chipmunks, and oh, he wanted one so bad. But they aren't that dumb.

Shirley Stary was like a beneficent angel, bestowing multiplugs, adaptors, extension cords, beverages and great goodwill upon all the speakers, vendors, organizers and participants. And who was taking care of Shirley?

Chet Baker.

Shirley introduced him to a lot of her staff by saying, "I am not a dog person, and I've never been much for dogs. But this is Chet Baker and I am crazy about him."

We see a Boston in Shirley's future, oh yes, we do. Because that exact thing has happened before to someone who never thought she much wanted a dog in her life, and had to think about it for 13 years.


Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a good time was had by all. The people you thanked will appreciate your gratitude. Good job everyone!

This looks like just the thing that I need to go to!! The two festivals I would love to attend--the New River and Midwest, ALWAYS fall right before my association's board meetings when I'm the busiest and most stressed of the year--ARRGH!!

I know only too well all the little fires that you all have to put out to keep things running smoothly. Chet must be a godsend, not only to the attendees, but to his family as well.

The setting of this symposium looks breathtaking! Yes, one of these days.....

I have a list of favorite festivals and 2 that are right at the top are New River and MBS. They are sort of like Lay's Potato Chips, you can't have just one. Once you go, you'll want to keep going back.

OK then. New River next year, and MBS in '13. I was wondering how we'd do both in the same year.

Any word on whether you guys are coming to Space Coast?

Yeah Baby, CrackerFella! You and Shel would get a real kick out of both those events. And both have the common denominator of the whole Thompson/Zick family (all five of us) in the mix. Sounds like a winner.
Space Coast is so very well organized that we'd probably know we're coming a year in advance or more, so I have to say no for 2012. Reluctantly.

That was a great event, and sharing time with you & your art was a major highlight! Now we just need to get your clan out to Colorado...

Good friends, good food, good times! It sounds like a terrific event. Yep, I always say, once you go Boston, you'll never go back. Can't imagine life with out my Fred. Chet is a true Master of Ceremonies!


Hey Raymond! Wanna ride to WV in the back seat of a Hyundai Accent?

I don't even bird and I wish I was there. Sounds like such a lovely time.

I have two questions - neither bird related. What is a 'hold home'?

And is Chet a little bigger than the average BT? He looks like he's on the large end of BTs and I do not mean 'fat'!

Holly, I meant "old home!"
And yes, Chet is on the Big End at 26 pounds; he wouldn't be allowed in any show ring in the country. Top for the breed is 25 but what they're showing now is more like 13 pounds...a toy size in my estimation. You may be sure I will look for a big beefy boy when next I shop, which I hope will be a long, long time from now.

Well just dang. I was hoping to find out some architectural or historic trivia that I didn't know. I even did a search on 'hold homes' before I asked!

Don't blame you about the size. I'm not into tinkering with breeds for someone's (this year) ideal. That has led to so many problems and 'confirmation perfection' (witness today's show German Shepherds - their hindquarters look deformed IMO. CB is perfect.

....and that should be 'conformation'...

Very cool event! Hopefully, if you haven't been to it before, you can come back this way to Oak Harbor for the International Migratory Bird Day in the spring. I blog about Ohio Festivals and blogged about this event last year.

Hope you like it. In the meantime, I'll be making a note to myself to check out more Lakeside events!

ah what a wonderful naturalist you are and my commendations on your blog here well done, say hi to Chet for me won't you

Peace and love a fellow naturalist (chris henry) have a wonderful day love the Amanita's!! good job on the Owls stomach i never would of guesses Praying Mantis

Posted by Anonymous October 2, 2012 at 9:24 AM
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