Note: This field trip was sponsored by the Marshlands Conservancy of the Westchester County Parks Conservation Division. Many thanks to Alison Beall (Curator) and Megan Aitchison (Assistant Curator) of the Marshlands Conservancy for allowing us to use their wonderful meeting facility and helping us with trail and birding information. Alison led the walk for us and gave us many interesting bits of background information along the way.
photo by Carena Pooth
FIELD TRIP REPORT
It was sunny and (relatively) warm--almost springlike--when we arrived at the Marshlands Conservancy. Various woodpeckers called nearby, while a flock of robins flitted through the woods. After our whole group assembled, we did brief introductions, and led by the Conservancy's Curator, Alison Beall, embarked on a trail loop.
Attempts to kick a chat or other interesting half-hardies out of some dense brush were unfruitful, so we continued down the field's edge towards the water. Along the way, we encountered a nice mixed flock of sparrows, including Field, White-throated, Tree, and Song. Just as we began moving on, someone pointed out a flock of turkeys farther back in the woods. We observed them for a while before continuing along the trail.
Assorted ducks, geese, and other water birds greeted us when we reached the water. Being an upstater, I was happy to see the flocks of Brant. Others found a Red-throated Loon, and scanning a flock of Mallards yielded a Gadwall. A large group of Greater Scaup was also nearby. Despite our best efforts to find a Clapper Rail in the marsh, none cooperated, so we headed back through the woods to the headquarters.
Special thanks go to Alison Beall for her excellent leadership on this walk. For the remainder of the day, we had a productive meeting in one of the Marshland Conservancy's buildings. And the Turkey Vultures and Brown Creeper during meeting breaks weren't bad either.....
ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
NYSYBC President Hope Batcheller gave a report on the club's first year. There were 9 field trips last year (one was cancelled due to weather) and 188 species were recorded on these trips. Hope said that all agreed that it was great to go to new places to bird with local experts. The club also sent a team to the World Series of Birding in May, where they came in third in the youth division and 10th overall.
We conducted a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for 2010. The following were the most popular: pelagic trip; Bicknell's Thrush trip; workshops/seminars on bird art & photography. In addition, we noted these possibilities: Montezuma Muckrace participation, Cornell Lab of Ornithology visit.
There was a discussion on ways to get the word out and increase membership. This remains one of our greatest challenges and we need all members to pitch in.
Youth Leadership Council roles and responsibilities were clarified and a new election process was established. Unlike last year, when we held elections at the January kickoff meeting, from now on elections will be conducted online after the kickoff meeting. This will allow all Youth Members in good standing to participate (run for office and/or vote). Elections for the three 2010 officers (President, Vice President, and Secretary) will be held in February. The new position of Records Chair was established and Brendan Fogarty, who is also our Photo Editor, volunteered to take this new responsibility. He will maintain a data base of all bird species seen or heard on NYSYBC field trips; this list will be published on the club's website.
A scholarship/sponsorship program will be pursued this year. We need to compile a list of opportunities for young birders for which NYSYBC could provide financial support. The scholarship/sponsorship program will require additional volunteer adult support. Please if you would like to help with this very important initiative! — Carena Pooth, NYSYBC Committee Chair, age 29+
List of Birds Seen on this Trip
by Hope Batcheller
American Black Duck
| Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
| American Robin
American Tree Sparrow
Species Total: 43