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Midwest Birding Symposium-Come With Me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Midwest Birding Symposium is almost here! In 34 days, close to a thousand birdwatchers will flutter down upon Lakeside, an idyllic resort on the shore of Lake Erie. It's coming. People are signing up like crazy. I would like you to consider joining the flock. So I shall seduce you with flowers, beautiful architecture, scintillating talks, groovy field trips and a certain charismatic Boston terrier.

This is my favorite birding event aside from the Big Sit, and for many of the same reasons. Most of all, I love seeing so many wonderful people, greeting and yakking with them at my booth. Lakeside is like this big beautiful Victorian summer camp, and seeing groups of birders sauntering through its quaint streets makes me happy. They're going from talk to talk.

About those talks. I sat down to make a list of the speakers I wanted to hear. I got a piece of paper, went to the Speakers link on
and started writing. About halfway through, I started to chuckle, because I'd written every single one down as a can't-miss.

Last year I gave my talk in Orchestra Hall, with its lovely acoustics and intimate atmosphere. Perfect. But a tad small. We don't want to make anyone stand up.
This year, I'll face the cavernous expanse of historic Hoover Auditorium, along with a roster of wonderful speakers. I'm Al Batt's warmup act on Saturday night.

Imagine this place packed full of birders. Scary! Fun!  As it happens, Hoover's where I'll have my art booth. So I'll get to hear a bunch of awesome talks, and I'll get to see practically everybody as they come through. Yay! Come and say hi! Remember to blurt "BLOG!" if that's how we know each other. People won't look at you funny.

It's time to pack up the booth. I enjoy the challenge of using my Poor Man's Pickup, the cargo carrier I bought to haul Extra Stuff. Usually that means bales of straw or lots of bungeed garbage cans, but sometimes it means Fine Art.

 Many bungee cords, some strapdowns, some tarps and yes, some duct tape will be deployed.

Here's hoping for the same perfect winey-sweet September weather we enjoyed in 2009.

I'll have limited-edition prints and original paintings like this one from my upcoming book.
  It's called The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds with Common Birds.
It's due out in early spring 2012. 80,000 words and 320 brand-new color and pencil's been a thing. But it's done now and just about to go to press, and I cannot wait to hold it in my hands. 

I'll be taking the first pre-orders at this Symposium. If you pre-order The Bluebird Effect here, you'll get it before anyone else, and I'll be more than happy to sign it and personalize it as you request.

But enough of my yakkin'. Let me show you Lakeside as I know it and love it.

There's a lovely walking path that runs along Erie's shore, past gorgeous homes and luscious gardens.

 I walk and gaze and fantasize that Bill and I are sitting in those chairs, sharing a julep as we gaze out on the lake. But of course there would be many more dandelions in our lawn.

 There are almost no cars to worry about, just golf carts and bicycles, so you can walk anywhere. 

There are big green spaces with tantalizing squirtles.

We'll be bunking at the Hotel Lakeside, which I understand is full up right now. Liam is spooked by the ghosts that are said to walk its halls, but they're mostly just playing dressup with the sheets.

Both kids are hugely looking forward to it. Phoebe loves the architecture and the freedom of riding bikes anywhere she and Liam want to go.
Chet Baker loves the place, too. And he'll be with us, so this may be your chance to get your kiss from a very down-to-earth canine cyberstar.

As you can see, my Crazy Dog Lady priorities are in order. Chet first, kids second.

We'll all be signing our books, even Phoebe and Liam, who helped Daddy write and design the
Young Birder's Guide.
 2009's Authors' Event was really fun. Here's Lang Elliott, Sharon Stiteler, Paul Baicich, Bill Thompson III, Jim McCormac, Wayne Peterson, Lisa White and Jeff Gordon, all lined up to meet, greet and sign. I was sandwiched in next to Bill, because we both sign copies of several of his books that I've illustrated or helped on.
If all this sounds like fun, please consider attending. There's PLENTY of lodging space left, both on the Lakeside grounds and off, from humble dormitories to bed and breakfasts to cottages to hotels in nearby Port Clinton.

call: Lakeside's Steve Koenig at 
419-798-4461 x 230 or

What I'm trying to say is It's Not Too Late to Regiser and PLEASE COME SEE US! You'll be so glad you did. Birders are the friendliest people anywhere. And this is such a lovely, smoothly-run event in a lovely, smoothly-run place. It has a huge and an insanely great vendor mart, too, so if you're thinking of upgrading your optics or picking up the latest, hottest books, clothing, or birding accoutrements, this is IT.

Come ogle the many gorgeous homes and gardens.

Come hang out with people who love birds. Come hear terrific talks and watch the sun rise over Lake Erie.

  Come chase fall warblers with people who also think that's fun. Maybe the Kirtland's warbler who graced 2009's event will stop by again. You never know what will show up on migration along Lake Erie.

Hey! I'm a Cape May!

Visit for every detail. Check the toolbar across the site's top for links to everything you could want.
 The Thompson/Zickefoose/Baker family is anxious to see you there.

We'll be gassing up down at the Sibley Mart on the way up. Only seems fittin'.


I'm so excited I can hardly wait. I'm already packing a "cottage" bag in fact. Great post, Julie! Bring it on!

Oh, hey...are we going to break 2009 attendance?

Posted by Michelle from Ohio August 11, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Sounds like a little slice, no a big slice of heaven! Breathtaking pictures!

Wow! What a gorgeous place.
Who knew a sunrise over freshwater could be so pretty.

I get to meet Chet Baker too! What a bonus!!!

I am so jealous...I want to meet Chet as well! Gorgeous views of this place.

What a lovely place! This year is out, but it's going onto the bucket list, and a MWBS piggy bank is being started. Aching to go back to this place I've never seen before.

Few things could have kept me from attending my 2nd Symposium, but the opportunity for a 5-day trip to California's Channel Islands eclipsed my Ohio plan. I'll be back in '13. Advice to anyone "on the fence" - GO!!!

Can't wait!

I'll be there - my first time!

Posted by Ross Hawkins (hummerman) August 14, 2011 at 8:11 PM

It seems like the last MBS was just yesterday. And I wish this one was tomorrow! Can't wait, can't wait!!

See you there.

I'm very curious where the next MBS will be held in 2013.

Posted by Michelle from Ohio August 17, 2011 at 4:27 PM

After reading this post, I am so bummed that I didn't get Phoebe and Liam's autographs in my book, since they make an appearance in it! Darn, another chance missed to get a famous autograph!

Looking forward to meeting you and your artwork at the MBS.
Jose Soto, Birding Panama Gamboa.

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