We met Eric and his wife MaryBeth on one of our bird walks at Keswick. We were immediately charmed by their enthusiasm (and the fact that their children joined us on a bird walk), so Warren and I were really looking forward to spending time with them and their friends at this picturesque mountaintop retreat.
Eric helped connect us with the Executive Director of The Wintergreen Nature Foundation, Doug Coleman. Doug is a renowned field botanist in the Mid-Atlantic Region. His work at the Foundation has helped protect and preserve over 6,000 acres of the 11,000 acres that encompass the Wintergreen Resort.
The Foundation's mission is to encourage the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural and cultural resources of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.
The Foundation's premier event, the Spring Wildflower Symposium, offers over 50 programs that include bird and bug watching, recognizing natural ecosystems, native landscaping, forest ecology and the geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
BirdCouple kind of stuff! We can't wait for this event next May!
We then hit some of Wintergreen's trails for some late afternoon birding before joining this lovely group of aspiring birders:
Brian, Jean, Kim, Eric, Phil, MaryBeth and Cute Husband.
Wine and birding.... a great Virginia combination!
This looks to be a Poplar Hawk Moth that was hanging out while we were owling off the deck.
Eric had already purchased a pair of Alpen Shasta Ridge binoculars, but we were eager to show off the Alpen Apex, which we love for its sharp image and light weight.
These bins were a big hit... even though the birds were playing hide and seek all weekend.
We had great looks at Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting and Goldfinch. We heard the sweet song of the Louisiana Waterthrush and had quick looks at American Redstart, but otherwise, the birds were just being shy.
Ah, the challenges of July birding on the East Coast....
We talked and laughed and shared experiences. We discussed golf, tennis, teaching and teenagers. We learned about horses, hay, valves and civil war history. We wondered about blue colored eggs, the proliferation of deer and Canada Geese and cooking for vegetarian children. We celebrated starting and selling businesses, the joys of traveling and Animal Planet story lines.
We ate like kings at the Copper Mine and laughed hysterically when we confused our waiter by telling him we were birders and he thought we said we were murderers....
So, all of this proves what Warren and I always say. Birders and those that appreciate birds are just really wonderful, imaginative fun people.
Thank you for sharing an unforgettable weekend with us!