Monday, January 19, 2009

Space Coast Birding Festival and Connie Toops

Connie Toops is, as we speak, leaving her home in North Carolina (hopefully ahead of the predicted ice storms), headed for the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. There she will lead field trips and present seminars, one of which focuses on her favorite bird - the bluebird. I asked Connie for information about herself and her Festival activities and got a particularly interesting email reply from her. This is obviously a talented woman who loves birding, photography, and sharing information with others - the perfect attributes for a presenter at the Festival!

Connie is the author and principal photographer of nine nature books, including Bluebirds Forever, and she tells us that the seminar she'll give at the Festival, Bluebird Trails Across America, is a fun-and-fact-packed primer for bringing bluebirds into your backyard or a nearby park. This program is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, January 23 and 24, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m., $5.

She goes on to note, The other subject I will be teaching is how to make backyard habitats friendly to all sorts of wildlife, and then how to make spectacular photographs of these creatures. This program - Attracting and Photographing Wildlife in Your Back Yard - is a combination of a classroom session and a field trip. The classroom sessions are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, January 21 and 22, 3:45 - 5:15, $35. The field trip are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, January 22, 23, and 24, 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m, $60. (The field trips are to the yards of two local backyard habitat hosts - one noted for its songbirds and one for their butterfly garden.) Connie wrote, I’m bringing several different types of photo blinds that field trip participants can try out. I’ll be showing field techniques such as identifying and arranging photogenic perches where birds will land near your camera, how to use flash to highlight good photos, and what types of foods and water features draw wildlife in front of your lens. I’ll also be available to answer general photography questions and advise participants on what specific plants and techniques may work best in their own yards.

Connie offers workshops on these topics at Lost Cove Farm, the 128-acre mountainside wildlife preserve she and her husband live on in western North Carolina (looks like heaven to me!). She admires what the Festival offers to residents and visitors - a unique opportunity to learn and try these techniques during the festival, at reduced prices and in a setting tailored for lots of hands-on experience. I’m very excited about the upcoming week of programs, and I look forward to meeting lots of folks who share the love of all wild creatures.

We certainly look forward to meeting Connie, and thank her for sharing her time, enthusiasm, and these photos of the Carolina Chickadee and her home in summer, landscaped to attract butterlifes and hummingbirds.


Caroline said...

Boy, would I love to be there for that seminar/field trip and the whole festival! Some day.
Field trip here this weekend is to Canyon Lake, Rapid City with the Northern Hills Bird Club folks. Fun time, but just not the same.
Caroline in the Black Hills

Cactus Jack Splash said...

My, it looks like this festival is going to be interesting. Have fun

Florida Beach Basics said...

Caroline - I've been to Canyon Lake many times "back in the day" - it was lovely.

Start planning for next year.

Cactus Jack - lots of information - I'll do postings, but if you have an interest in any particular topic (see program), let me know and I'll gather stuff to send you for your class.

Anonymous said...

Uh - another Florida Blog I have to add to my reading list. :)
Too few blogs out there take care of the "real Florida!"
Cheers, Klaus

Florida Beach Basics said...

Klaus - welcome, and thanks.

Readers - After I received his comment, I tracked down his blog - Klaus has a beautiful site

Great photography and a stunning site design. And he loves Florida!