It was a chilly morning, in the mid 40s, but clear dusky morning skies quickly yielded to mist over the pond and blue sky when the sun rose.
As is always the case with these experiences, after only 24 hours here I feel as if I've been here for days and I've already learned and experienced so much.
We started with opening the mist nets, and then - after collecting the first round of birds - learned the bander's grip and how to pass birds from one hand to another, and then both photography grips. Next we learned to extract birds from mist nets and then moved on to some banding.
By my count I saw, and in many cases handled, at least 35 different species today - and I know I forgot to record some we saw. I also got to remove 5 birds from mist nets: a traill's flycatcher, yellow warbler, magnolia warbler, canada warbler, and philadelphia vireo. I also banded 4 or 5 birds, including a magnolia warbler and a tennessee warbler.
And I loved every second of it. Getting up at 4:30am to be outside on a chilly yet beautiful morning as the birds began their morning chatter. Getting to see, hear, and touch bird after beautiful bird. Being surrounded by quirky but interesting people who share a passion for birds and their beauty - and who are committed to caring for and protecting them. Not having to worry or care about anything but the birds and the outdoors and learning.
This is where I belong.