Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cape May Autumn Migration - It's All About the People

Me and Susan at the Hawk Watch Platform at the Cape May Lighthouse.

The Flock (part of it, anyway) at the Autumn Festival. From left to right, me, Susan, Laura and Delia

The 2010 Cape May, NJ Autumn Migration Festival on my birthday weekend (October 29-31) turned out to be a magical birding experience. A lot of it had to do with the birds - the largest migration fall-out since 1999 (according to the Cape May experts) and two wonderful life birds (lesser black backed gull and cave swallow).

But mostly, the weekend was about the people - my birding peeps. Birding experts and heroes (Pete Dunne, Bill Thompson III, Louise Zemaitis, Jeff Gordon, etc), founding members of the Blogger Flock (who embraced me as one of their own at this very Festival three years ago) and newly-found bird friends and all-around wonderful people.

New friends, Gareth and Rick, at the C-View Inn, relaxing with The Flock after a hard day's birding.

Jersey-licious Laura (on the right) and saucy Susan at the C-View Inn

After arriving Thursday evening from business in Harrisburg, I hit the early morning Friday field trip at The Beanery. My first friend sighting was Jeff Gordon, newly appointed president of the American Birding Association and his lovely first lady, Liz Gordon. Then other friends arrived: Laura, Susan, Delia and Delia's partner AB.

Lots of hugs, giggles and catching up, interspersed with some birding, ensued. Throughout the next three days, we traveled Cape May marveling at the birds and enjoying each other's company.

Susan, Bill Thompson and Delia doing some bird-gazing

Top left: Jeff and Liz Gordon leading a field trip at The Beanery

Top right: Delia getting ready to enjoy whipped cream with a side of blueberry pancakes at Uncle Bill's

Bottom left: Parts of the Flock representing in Cape May (from left: Laura, Susan, Delia and me). Photo courtesy of Laura Hardy

A recent study by a psychologist at Stanford University concluded that one of the best things a man can do for his health is to be married while one of the best things a woman can do for her health is nurture relationships with other women. The myriad ways we connect with our women friends, offering unconditional support in tough times, love and laughter in good times and sometimes just an easy quiet being is undoubtably good for our souls. Being able to share our feelings in a non-threatening atmosphere boosts levels of serotonin, helping combat depression and foster well-being.

I didn't need a study to tell me that these women (and men) are good for me and my soul. But it did reinforce for me that time with my friends is the greatest gift I can give myself. Combine that with a hobby that never ceases to instill in me a sense of wonder and awe in powers greater than myself, and it was definitely a magical weekend.

photo courtesy of Laura Hardy


dguzman said...


Great post, Beth--you nailed it. We have GOT to bird together more often, seeing as how we're ONLY a few hours apart!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

It IS all about the people!
I'm glad you had a good time and it sounds like lots of laughs.

Gareth said...

Beth - very nice sentiments expressed in your post. It was great to meet up with all you crazy ladies. Rick and I had a blast, especially the C-View Inn. Remember.........what happens in Cape May...............!
Hope to see you again soon to share some good birding!
Take Care.

Susan Gets Native said...

Hey, Gareth! "Rubberbooting"


Beth said...

Delia - you are sooooo right. Let's plan something soon.

Lynnie - we missed you like crazy, but every time we saw a vulture, we thought of you (and we mean that in the most loving way).

Gareth - you and Rick certainly enhanced our weekend. Loved birding with you and climbing that HUGE hill!

Susan - OMG - I had supressed the rubberbooting memory *shudder* :)

Cape May Wren said...

Definitely all about the people! Look at all those gorgeous inside-and-out gals and guys I got to meet.

Maybe next time we can actually go birding together. *lol*