The coolest, however, was standing out on Kevin's back porch, and hearing one of the few birds that practically anyone can ID by ear, even if they've never heard it before.
"Dude! Is that a whippoorwill?"
Call me crazy--or more likely, call me from the west--but I'd never actually heard one before. Kevin got the brief, hunted look which crosses the faces of all my friends before long--the "Oh god, any hope of a quiet evening is about to run afoul of an enthusiastic ornithology buff with no sense and no qualms about trespassing" look--but like so many of my friends (who are generally much better than I deserve) rose to the occasion and offered to take me searching for the elusive whippoorwill, although preferably at a time when I had boots.* Fortunately, birds can be listed based on call, so it's a lifer, and I didn't have to go tromping through the bracken after it (tempting though that might be.)
And now I need to work like a dozen dogs to get ready for the con...
*I have ruined a lot of pairs of nice shoes in pursuit of birds, and regretted none of them, but deer tick season is starting up around here