Trip Reports
Muscoot Farm, Westchester (Annual Kickoff) — January 19, 2014

Note: We are especially grateful to Paul Lewis of Muscoot Farm and the Bedford Audubon Society for leading our walk, and to everyone at Muscoot Farm for opening their "home" to us. Thanks also to Monica and Joel Smith, parents of club member Rachel Smith, for making all the arrangements for a wonderful meeting place along with food and beverages. Finally, a huge thank you to Sean Sime and Bill Stahl for donating many wonderful books for our Book Swap.

An invigorating walk at Muscoot Farm, photo by Silas Hernandez
An invigorating walk at Muscoot Farm, photo by Silas Hernandez

On January 19th, in this wonderful new year of 2014, we had our Annual NYSYBC kick-off meeting, this time hosted by the Muscoot Farm, and led by Paul Lewis of the Bedford Audubon Society, who also volunteers at the farm. We started our trip with a walk along the premises, with great views of Tufted Titmice, Hooded Mergansers, and an amazing flyover of Snow Buntings. All while walking in wonderful ankle-deep snow.

We then came back to the main room for the actual meeting. After introductions, we had a quick year in review. By this meeting we had 42 members, as well as some new alumni who are now adult members. Also during this year, we were able to gain five new lifers: Golden Eagle, Barn Owl, Eastern Screech-owl, Northern Shrike, and Orchard Oriole. We then had a discussion about listing. Most people have life list, and some have state and county lists. We also discussed some of our strange lists, such as skeletonizing list and dream list.

We then discussed leadership roles and membership. For the roles, including new ones added this meeting, visit this link: The membership conversation showed that the club is about 60 percent people under 15 years old. This gives the older members the role of mentors, which I feel is something everyone has to do. Teaching others helps not only those you are teaching but also allows you to solidify your knowledge and increases the knowledge of the birding community as a whole.

Jacob Drucker tells us about Peru, photo by Carena Pooth
Jacob Drucker tells us about Peru, photo by Carena Pooth

At this meeting, we had two amazing guest speakers. The first one was Jacob Drucker, recent NYSYBC alumni, on his recent trip to Peru. I could tell that his enthralling stories of his birds and adventures made everyone jealous. The other guest was Sean Murtha, father of NYSYBC member Brendan, on sketching birds in the field. His talk and presentation showed us the importance of drawing birds that you see. It brings out the minute details you may not catch at first, and it allows you to have a better connection to what you are seeing.

Thank you to Paul Lewis for leading the bird walk around the farms, to Michael McBrien for leading the discussions, to Jacob Drucker and Sean Murtha for their great presentations, to Carena Pooth, Herb Thompson and all the adult leaders for being the glue that holds this club together, and to all the past, present, and future members who allow us to have great years of fun and birds together, as we go, binoculars, cameras, and pencils up, to this new year.

                                           — Marc Katz, age 16

      View photo gallery

          List of Birds Seen on this Trip
          by Zach Smart, age 17

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
American Black Duck
Ring-necked Duck
Hooded Merganser
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Blue Jay

American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Snow Bunting
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow

Species Total: 27