Friday, June 4, 2010

Seeing my regular birding spot through European eyes

Interesting birding experience this morning...

I'm walking on my usual birding stomping grounds (Indiana University cross country course) when a guy walks up to me and asks "Are you Bernie Sloan?". This in itself is not all that unusual. A woman asked me this same question two weeks ago, and others have done the same...because of my blog postings and reports on local and state e-mail lists, people who come here know that I am associated with this place.

But this time there was a little bit of a twist...this birder was from Belgium!! He was in town for a few days working on a research project at Indiana University, and he had read some of my postings about the cross country course and decided to check it out while he was here.

I spend a couple of hours at this location just about every day that I am in town here, and I've become used to the things I see on a regular basis. "Jaded" is probably too strong a word, but when you see meadowlarks every day, you tend to think "Oh, another meadowlark", and move on. But this guy was thrilled to see meadowlarks, and hear their songs. He was excited about a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers he had observed back in the woods. He enjoyed watching a singing Prairie Warbler through his scope. He was even happy to see the grackles and cowbirds! And a brief glimpse of a Wild Turkey in flight seemed like it made his day.

When I first ran into him, I asked if he'd seen anything interesting. He said something like: "When you're from another part of the world, everything is interesting." :-)

The Belgian birder had to head back to campus to meet with his research colleagues. I was only just beginning my morning at the cross country course. As I walked along, I viewed the place with fresh eyes. As a Pileated Woodpecker slowly flew across an open patch of ground I found myself thinking "yeah, I guess this is a pretty special place after all."


  1. What a delightful encounter! Very cool that you are a local birding celebrity, too. :)

  2. I know how that guy feels! I live in the UK and visit my daughter twice a year in Grayslake, Illinois. She lives right next door to Rollins Savanna and I LOVE birding there.