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SHREVE -- An overnight snow, mixed with some rain and sleet, would keep most people indoors on a Saturday morning. But not birders.
Even an early-morning fog didn't keep them away, as the diehards were up and at it early over the weekend for the annual Shreve Spring Migration Sensation.
"I love it," said Mark Weaver of Mount Hope, who was among a group of Amish birders checking out the many species at Wright Marsh off of state Route 226, just north of Shreve.
Slushy snow and temperatures in the mid-30s didn't keep his group of bird watchers from the fun.
"It's the peak season, and this week's weather kept the birds here," said Weaver.
Weaver noted the overcast skies were perfect for spotting birds, of which there were thousands on the back waters at Wright.
"This is better viewing conditions. You can see the colors better, and when the sun's out, sometimes you get shimmer from heat waves," said Weaver. "So this is perfect."
Just then, an eagle flew over the birds and someone in the group said, "that'll scatter the ducks," and as on cue, they took flight.
But, plenty stayed around, and plenty flew in. There were pintails and buffleheads, ring necks, teal, mallards and redheads, as well as both tundra and mute swans. Maybe the best find of the day at Wright Marsh, though, at least before 9 a.m., was a Cackling goose in a group of Canada geese.
Weaver and his group were planning on spending the entire day looking for birds in and around Shreve, as well as driving to Pleasant Hill and Clear Fork Reservoirs.
Over at Shreve Lake, which now is better suited for bird watching than fishing because of the well-documented dam issues, spotter Rich Pendlebury said it was a good day with some great finds on the limited amount of water.
Along the shore, Pendlebury had his spotting scope zoomed in on a Wilson's snipe (turns out there were five of them), while four sand hill cranes, more teal and pintails and a blue heron were all working the shoreline. Earlier, a Northern Harrier was seen over Shreve Lake.
"I like to volunteer and help people see birds, maybe find them a lifer," said Pendlebury, of Fredericksburg.
Pendlebury was introduced to birding at a young age when his Amish neighbors, who used to baby sit him, would show him birds at their feeders.
"They'd point out the birds, and that's how I got started," said Pendlebury. "Now, I'm hooked."
So much so, that last week Pendlebury traveled to Flint, Mich., -- twice -- to get a look at the rare Ivory gull, a bird that almost never ventures below the artic ice caps, where it scavenges on polar bear kills and other carcasses.
There was no such bird Saturday at Shreve that causes bird watchers to drop what they're doing and drive for hours just for the chance to see a lifer, but Pendlebury pointed out that you never know unless you get out and look.
"A lot of people are wanting to see a Eurasian wigeon, it has been spotted here this year," he said. "It mixes in with our American wigeons. That's always the gem out here."
Saturday, the gem was just that, the day, complete with its slush and mud, fog and rain -- and birds.