We had a rockin’ good time in Cleveland on the Rock & Roll Reader Rendezvous as November turned into December. The weather was unseasonably mild but the birding was still completely awesome with snowy owl, common redpoll, pomarine jaeger, and northern shrike among our greatest hits! In fact, we saw either five or six snowy owls during the weekend, which most attendees agreed was a #1 with a bullet on the birding charts.
We spent our first two mornings birding at legendary Lake Erie hotspots including Wendy Park, Lakefront Nature Preserve, Burke Lakefront Airport, and Edgewater Park with Cleveland’s equally legendary birder Jen Brumfield. Jen knows the region and its birds better than almost anyone else and she kept producing birds everywhere we went. Our afternoons were spent indoors at two of Cleveland’s best museums: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Our Rock Hall guide was Buster Banish, a docent there since the HOF opened. Buster blew our minds with his insight and knowledge of the rock greats and their things in the museum’s collection. We all wished we’d had more time there to keep on rockin’ out. We ended the tour watching the International Space Station flying overhead, thanks to Clay Taylor of Swarovski Optik, who is always in-the-know about such things.
On Saturday afternoon, Dr. Andy Jones took us behind the scenes at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, sharing his favorite exhibits and stories, then showing us the collections of bird specimens in the museum’s basement. Looking at passenger pigeons, ivory-billed woodpeckers, Eskimo curlews, and a cackling goose collected by John James Audubon gave us all goose bumps. Andy’s knowledge of bird taxonomy and morphology filled our brains to bursting with fascinating information.
Sunday morning we finished things off with a sweet trip to the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, where we hand-fed birdseed to black-capped chickadees and looked at sparrows through Swarovski’s amazing new BTX spotting scope. At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, we found a rare northern shrike, which was species #269 for Jen’s Big Year in Cuyahoga County, Ohio!
What a weekend! Let’s do it again!
Check Out Our Gallery!
If you missed the Rendezvous, or if you want to recapture the spirit of those fun-filled days, you’ll want to check out pictures taken by the BWD staff and attendees.
Rock & Roll Rendezvous
November 30 - December 3, 2017
Hog Island, ME
During the event we saw a total of 72 species. Check out the official checklist, available in PDF format.