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Canoe with Zick!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

After almost nine years of posts here, I trust you're used to having me go on and on about the places I love. I can't keep all this useless beauty to myself.

If there's one place that calms me down and makes me happy, it's North Bend State Park. Itching to get there this spring, but the deadlines keep coming. That's OK. I need deadlines, or I'd be out in the garden fondling little green tomatoes and peppers all day. Ooh look, it's beginning to color up. And good for you! You made one too! That kind of thing.

Bird Watcher's Digest is launching a new venture, whereby we invite our readers to come to a neat place, watch birds, and spend good, relaxed time with a contributor to the magazine. The very first Reader Rendezvous was with humor columnist Al Batt, and it was held in February at Sax-Zimm Bog in Minnesota. Believe it or don't, a bunch of readers traveled to Minnesota in February in an epic, flight-stopping snowstorm to get together with Al, Editor/Publisher Bill Thompson III, and awesome birding staffers Kyle Carlsen and Wendy Clark. They had a great time, and many ticked northern hawk-owl and great gray owl off their life lists! If that worked...

No snowstorms this time. How about kayaking/canoeing a glass-calm West Virginia lake in mid August with me?

There will be red-headed woodpeckers. Lots of them. That's almost the whole point of the trip. 

Some nests should still be active. And the smartly-barred, brown-headed juveniles from this year's nesting should be out and about, still begging from their flashy parents.

North Bend is a regular red-headed woodpecker factory. Being surrounded by the calls and colors of one of my favorite birds is pure heaven. Sharing it with you, even better. 

Bringing a camera with a telephoto lens is a good idea. The photo ops are many and varied, the birds pretty tolerant of quiet floating respectful people.

North Bend State Park's great meandering lake was created by damming the north fork of the Hughes River in Harrisville, WV, in 2003. Flooding killed the trees along the river, and this made a massive nursery for cavity-nesting birds, including great crested flycatcher

tree swallows, yellow-shafted flickers and the aforementioned red-headed woodpeckers. Eastern kingbirds also nest on and in the snags. Don't miss the babeh princebird begging from the nest...

The birds have high nesting success, because water keeps land-based predators like raccoons and snakes from accessing the cavities. Perfection!

The dragonfly watching is very nice, too. This is a Halloween Pennant.

It's sooo peaceful to float amidst the flooded forest, looking for everything.

I can't guarantee it, but we've timed this event for what I like to call the August Cooldown, which often means clear, cool, fabulous weather. Let's hope.  

We'll try to sneak up on a green heron.

The wood ducks will be growing up and beginning to get adult plumage. Here's a hen with her two babes, crossing a culvert at North Bend. I like this photo. :)

Deer forage right along the edge, and you can catch them if you're quiet and look sharp.

We'll stay at North Bend's nice lodge, and BWD will provide the kayaks and bicycles, unless you wish to bring your own. I'll be piloting Lois, my Wee Lassie decked canoe.

Bill Thompson III, Dawn Hewitt, Wendy Clark and Kyle Carlsen will be there, helping lead hikes and biking.  

I'll give a talk, we'll play some Rain Crows music, and we'll hang out around the campfire. It sounds like a fun weekend to me!

For more information, pricing and registration, as well as a groovy video of me yakkin' about North Bend whilst floating on smooth water, see the BWD Reader Rendezvous page!

Get your casual on at North Bend in Harrisville, WV, August 22-24 with Zick!


Just signed up - so excited!!

Posted by Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 6:32 AM

OMG!!! Jules!! I cannot wait to see you and bird with you. Just signed up too. *jumping up and down*

Posted by Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 7:07 AM

wow, what a compelling invitation!! sounds like a dream. xom

Posted by Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 7:27 AM

Sounds like a great weekend, but I need to correct a point of fact: the park existed before 2003; the flooded forest did not.

Thanks, Rebecca! Duly corrected.

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