November 2012 Meeting Minutes

President Linda Orkin welcomed everyone to the meeting on November 12 at 7:30 pm. When asked whether any newcomers would like to identify themselves, Ethan Kisler introduced himself as working on the Loon Watch program on Cayuga Lake. He reported that over 4,000 loons had been seen so far this fall. Other bird-worthy sightings for the past month were: the red-phase screech owl seen from inside Day Hall and the continuing Rufous Hummingbird which was reported to have been banded during the first weekend of November.

The next club meeting will be held on December 10 as Sandy Podulka shows slides and shares about her family’s vacation to Big Bend National Park and the Rio Frio Bat Cave near Concan, Texas. It was also noted that the “Birds of Paradise” documentary will be aired on the National Geographic channel at 10 p.m. on November 22.

Paul Anderson reported that there had been three field trips since the last meeting, as follows:

    • North along Cayuga Lake, led by Ann Mitchell

    • Stewart Park and points north, led by Susan Danskin

    • All day trip, led by Jay McGowan (with highlight of Thayer’s Gull)

Steve and Sue Fast will lead a trip to Fair Haven, Lake Ontario on Nov. 17, while Kevin McGowan heads up the annual trek to Niagara Falls to look for gulls on Dec. 1 (members only trip).

Gary Kohlenburg will be leading a trip to Summerhill on Dec. 8. Check the website for details.

The Conservation Committee will be having its initial meeting on November 21. Anyone interested may join Candace Cornell and Linda Orkin (details should be available on the calendar).

Dave Nutter, Jane Graves, and Linda Orkin have been active in the quest to make improvements at Stewart Park. It is hoped that the Cayuga Bird Club will explore the possibility of donating to various endeavors, including: signage (kiosk info booths); Renwick gateway and trails; and possibly native plantings. More information will be made available as plans continue.

Other points of business were made. Christmas Bird Count is coming up on January 1. Area leaders are being identified for New York’s 114th year. A reminder was given to all members to visit and sign up on the Club Facebook page - "Cayuga Bird Club." Also remember that newsletter contributions should be emailed to editors Cyndy and Richard Tkachuck at

Ton Schat pointed out that a broader study is being made of ANY birds exhibiting symptoms of Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, not just house finches. We are asked to report by calling the Ornithology Lab and asking for the appropriate people.

Carl Steckler read the Basin Checklist.

Our speaker, Dr. Scott Taylor, was self-introduced as holding a relatively new postdoctoral position at the Ornithology Lab (7 months), having completed studies at Guelph and Queens University in Canada. His presentation, entitled “Boobies, Upwellings, the Pacific Ocean and Mangoes: Thoughts from Adventures in Peru and Chile,” entertained us with humorous recountings of 14-hour sea jaunts, the isolation of the guano islands, and memorable viewing of the Southern Cross, but also informed us about the fascinating ecology of the Humboldt Current upwelling and the guano islands. He shared his experiences of traveling to four islands off the coast of Peru in 2007 (and actually living on the last for two weeks) as well as travels to two additional islands off Chile in 2009. He spoke of his daily activities which included taking blood samples, paint marking birds, and equipping them with GPS for logging diving depths. He spoke of the incredibly short food chain of these islands: photo- and zooplankton, fish, birds, decomposers and ectoparasites along with the man-made addition of certain lizards. Plus, we were introduced to a short course on the history of guano extraction from the “Guano Age” (1840-80) to the present “Fishmeal Age.”

Respectfully submitted,

Colleen Richards