Among other things, there was an official unveiling of a brand new Swarovski scope - the ATX/STX beast(s)... here's a lovely writeup from Hugh over at Round Robin. Our perk was getting the demo from Clay Taylor and both Kaufmans!
Photos pending; we're en route to Santa Fe, NM at the moment...
These notes via the Gage Hotel's facebook page for the event:
Wednesday, July 18
Matthew York - Bee brush (Aloysia gratissima) is blooming all over the area. Maravillas Ranch was alive with pollinators this morning. Check for Bee brush around the entire area for butterflies and other pollinators. You can see it. You can hear it. You can smell it.
Several acacia and mesquite still have blooms as well.
Clayton Taylor - After the drive from Corpus Christi, we have arrived in Marathon. Now having dinner at the Gage Restaurant, and a Question Mark just landed on my shoulder. First butterfly of the -- Patty Waits Beasley - I adore the Gage Hotel!
-- Carolyn Ohl - Awesome. Hope everyone has a super time!
Thursday, July 19
Matthew York - male Western Tanager flew through GGardens, and ~ 7 Yellow-headed Blackbirds landed on the near SW corner f grassland, just on other side of bridge.
Matthew York - The Taylor's are out in the gardens. Gerald Sneed is looking for the vocaling Bell's Vireos..
Matthew York - Good start! And we have rain!
Friday, July 20
Matthew York - Large group for the butterfly walk this afternoon. Thanks for the extra help from other folks, the number of participants was quite manageable.
I never thought I would say "the scope helped quite a bit with butterflies."
This, a scope that Clay Taylor brought that has a 7-foot close focus! Incredibly helpful to manage a large group for a butterfly walk.
Some highlights included West Coast Lady, Empress Leilia, and Desert Checkered-Skipper.
-- Matthew York - I meant to add, "glad to see so much interest!"
Matthew York - Photography workshop currently going on..
Edit: On Sunday, July 20, Carolyn Ohl made a note about the festival over at her blog.
Saturday, July 21
Matthew York - Maravillas Ranch was great! Excellent birds and bugs. We need to compile lists..
KKaufman talk was fantastic. It was wonderful to see Tony Gallucci sidle in for the Keynote address.
Good people all over the place this weekend.
-- Carolyn Ohl - I'm so glad to hear that. You and Heidi can pat yourselves on the back for me. What -- Matthew York - Thank you, Carolyn. Very kind words. I thank all the excellent trip and activity leaders. Not a one of this great cast hesitated to help out. That was an excellent crew.
Just off the top of my tired head, butterflies might have been the continuing Palmer's Metalmark sighting. A single adult was at a kidneywood. Also 2-3 Texas Roadside-Skipper during the entire hike was excellent.
Varied Bunting singing on one side while a Painted Bunting sang on another was very nice. Peregrine Falcon is always great. The Zone-tailed Hawks, one of which carried food (rabbit) to a nestling. ..
-- Carolyn Ohl - Awesome I'm so happy for you. Next year the festival will fill up fast!
-- Tony Gallucci - Congrats to everyone on a great first run!!! Hope it only builds from here on out!
Heidi Trudell - I think I know what's on my schedule again for next year!
-- Carolyn Ohl - Great! I think I know too.
Sunday, July 22
Madeline Averett - Heidi and Matt are such incredible gifts. I am so happy to have spent time getting to know them and to have met new friends this weekend.
The highlight for me was seeing the Zone tailed hawk nest complete with nestling, adult flying over with bunny in it's talons. WOW!! Birding with Steve Gross and Mark Flippo, Alice and Mary was fantastic!! Then to top it off I got to hang out with Heidi and Patt at breakfast. I had a great drive down Hwy 90. The Cenizo is blooming everywhere and is gorgeous.
-- Carolyn Ohl - I always love a happy beginning!
-- Heidi Trudell - Madeline, we may have to coax you to leave that on our guestbook post ;-)
-- Jan Allen - I'm so glad you went to the Festival Madeline!!! I sure wish I could have been there as well, but I can picture the energy. Matt and Heidi are super-great!
-- Carolyn Ohl - Ditto!
-- Heidi Trudell - Pencil it in for next year!
Madge Lindsay - Congratulations to the organizers, speakers, guides, sponsors and participants on a successful birding and butterfly festival. The hard work and planning by the organizers has launched what could become one of the state's most popular nature festivals. Kudos to all and keep it going!!
Friday, July 28 - via National Moth Week -
Kenn Kaufman - I saw a lot of neat things in Marathon. But the neatest thing was to observe how Heidi Trudell and Matthew York were getting people turned on to birds, butterflies, moths, and more. They're two experts who really know how to share the excitement of nature.