Friday, April 29, 2011

The New River Birding and Nature Festival

Last May I attended my first-ever New River Birding and Nature Festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia. I knew pretty much the instant I arrived that I would be back the next year. Stalking warblers and bobolinks in the company of some truly brilliant birders was at once exhilarating, humbling, and fantastically educational. Plus, I was honored to meet some of my favorite bloggers, such as Julie Zickefoose, Bill Thompson III, and Murr Brewster, as well as a slew of other birding greats (most of whom, at the time, I had no idea how lucky I was to meet!)

And the estimable Chet Baker, of course.

In addition to the breathtaking avifauna (which included a plethora of lifer species!), I got to experience some real West Virginia hospitality when my car broke down and I was stranded there for three days!! (It looked like a pothole but I think it might've actually been a mineshaft.) Geoff Heeter, the magnanimous owner of Opossum Creek Retreat, put me up until my car was fixed, and just about everyone else I met there helped me out in some way as well. I was floored by the kind-heartedness and tried to pay them back in a very small way with this piece. It's a Golden-Winged Warbler with the New River Gorge in the background (and a border of goldenrod, Solidago altissima.)

The birds are to die for, the people are wonderful (and patient with novices!), and the entertainment can't be beat. If you're looking for a great birding festival, this one is it! (Even more so if you stay at Opossum Creek!) Hoping to see more of these guys (people and birds!!) at this year's NRB&NF!


Catbird said...

Gorgeous piece! Sorry I have to miss the festival this year; I'm hoping to make it next time. May your trip be trouble-free and loaded with lifers!

CNemes said...

Thanks, Molly! Sorry to hear you won't be at this year's festival, but I hope you're getting some good birding done in your neck of the woods nonetheless :) Out of curiosity, did you end up keeping Fleagle after all?? I was hoping to ask you at the festival, ha!

Catbird said...

Having never had a dog before, I realized she needed a mother with a clue, so I decided to put her up for adoption. It was painful, but the right thing to do. They all found wonderful homes.