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Answering the call: Birder keeps track of species as they arrive at reservoir

Birder keeps track of species as they arrive at reservoir

Staff writer

Bob Hoopes is a man of all seasons, but this time of year is a favorite.

Every day is different for a devoted birder, but spring is a season of change and renewal.

“There are new birds arriving every day,” he said, smiling. “You get to see species you didn’t see all winter.”

A retired banker, Hoopes is a member of an Audubon club that conducts bird counts every December, but says he really likes going out on his own.

“It’s just good to kind of have a little downtime and kind of be yourself,” he said.

He walks two or three miles every day and catalogs the species he sees in a notebook.

Baltimore Orioles and eastern kingbirds, solitary sandpipers, robins, and tree swallows have all put in an appearance along with 27 other species.

“We saw a Dicksissel which is the first one of the year,” he said smiling.

Not deterred by the gusty wind, he toyed with his Nikon binoculars and paused to gaze at the tree tops.

He was taking time to enjoy nature and observe species of birds.

“I’ve been doing it all my life,” he said. “I’m not obsessed with it I just like doing it.”

Birding is not his only outdoor pursuit.

He moved to Marion from Wichita because he loves to fish and has been an avid cyclist, booking 5,000-mile cross country trips. He once traveled from San Diego to Vancouver, Canada, and back to Wichita.

“Oh, that was a long time ago,” he said. “I am just a kind of recreational biker any more.”

These days, Hoopes enjoys canoe trips and just returned from one in eastern Missouri along the Black River.

“It had beautiful, clear water,” he said. “Nice place, a long ways off.”

But back at home, Hoopes says he enjoys a good walk and the chance to spot his favorites and watch the seasons change.

Most of the Bald Eagles at the reservoir have taken off, but he hears reports of lone nests from pairs who have decided to stay.

“I did see an Osprey yesterday,” he said. “But not today, I think they have pretty much vamoosed as well. They move on through here, they are here in the spring, they are here in the fall in their migration from south to north.”

Last modified May 5, 2021

 

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