Photo courtesy of Voices of Central Pennsylvania-- yes, Kat is really that tall.The commitment ceremony was incredible; thank you so much for your good wishes! There must've been at least 500 people there, cheering us on.
Here's a list of links you can follow to read the local (and not-so-local) coverage of the event:
Local TV Channel 6 coverage
PSU's paper's coverage
Some other web site's coverage
Centre Daily Times coverage (State College's newspaper)
Altoona Mirror coverage
YouTube - Pride Commitment Ceremony at Penn State University -- these kids and their internets
The official site for the event -- contains stories about a lot of the pre-event publicity, both positive and not-so-positive
I'm supposed to get a bunch of photos from the million different photographers who were covering the event, so I'll post more photos when I get them!
The geographically closest Flock members Susan Gets Native and Laura H Somewhere in New Jersey were able to drive in for the event and we went birding on Sunday morning! They've both got coverage of our trip to the marsh as well, so be sure to check that out.
Unfortunately, I haven't even had a chance to download my photos from the camera, so I'll have pics later. For now, I'll tell you that the marsh really showed off for these Flock members! We saw
-wood ducks--at least 50 of them! of course, we were being bad birders and laughing and talking the whole time, so we only saw them as they flew up in terror!
-two sharp-shinned hawks, a male and a much larger female, trying to get it on in mid-air! The male was chasing the female, but only once did it look like they came close to a talon-lock; after that, the female played extremely hard-to-get.
-first-of-year tree swallows -- several pairs were arguing over the few nest boxes out there on the marsh. I'm thinking I need to make a couple of nest boxes tonight and mount them on the other side of the marsh, nearer the house
-Northern pintails -- from far away enough so we saw them on the water
-Great blue heron -- also fleeing in terror, but with those huge slow-motion elegant wingbeats
-mallards -- flying and honking at us for scaring them
-American coot -- in a driveby! We were on the boardwalk, and he half-flew/half-ran across a clearing in the loosestrife and cattails right in front of us
-red-tailed hawk soaring over the hill across from the marsh
-Carolina wren, calling a lot
-spring peepers, peeping even during the day
-muskrat -- a life mammal for Susan
-coyote poo, complete with little bones and fur in it--courtesy of Susan pulling it apart
I think that's everything we saw; an important development came when Susan and Laura informed me that you can call any bird that you can see from your backyard a "yard bird," which increases my yard bird number bigtime! I'll have to update my lists and see what I get.
We also discussed the possibility of having a birding festival right there on the marsh -- and you won't believe it, but Creeped-Out-by-Birds-Kat (COBBK?) came up with that idea! We could camp out in the backyard in tents and bird all over Penns Valley. Or who knows? Maybe I can swing something with the owners of the marsh and the very nice old bed-and-breakfast right next to it! This idea has definite possibilities, so stay in touch! We have a lot of great birding areas in this area, including a couple of hawk watches. Hmm...
Susan lobbied long and hard to make our next Flock gathering at Magee Marsh in May. Interesting--they have "garlic mustard pulling parties" there; perhaps we should have "purple loosestrife pulling parties" on the marsh. Believe me, now's the time; it's all dead and easy to grab, and then we could have margaritas in the backyard.