September 2012 Meeting Minutes

Cayuga Bird Club president Linda Orkin brought the first meeting of 2012-13 to order at 7:36 p.m. and welcomed everyone to the new year. She briefly explained the signin sheets and name tags and mentioned that our next meeting will be Monday, October 8, when Mark Morris, visiting professor of architecture, will talk about his specialty, augury (“divination from the flight of birds”). She then took some time to discuss the new format for the club newsletter: an electronic document that will be posted on the club’s website, with a notice going out to members via email when each new edition is available. Editors Richard and Cyndy Tkachuck have done a wonderful job with the September edition, and welcome submissions from Club members.

Linda Orkin provided cookies for the meeting and solicited Marie Read and Bob and Joan Horn to do so for the October meeting.

Linda’s invitation to new members to introduce themselves was taken up by two people: Mark, here from Boston, is looking forward to helping out as a docent at the Lab and to leading weekend bird walks. Susan has recently returned to Ithaca from Canada.

Susan Danskin, treasurer and membership coordinator, mentioned that there are ten members for whom we do not have email addresses and asked that if any of them were present, they let her know so that she could be sure that they receive notice of the arrival of the newsletter. She also noted that we now have a Paypal account and that membership dues can be paid through it.

Bob McGuire gave a brief report on the 2012 Montezuma Muckrace, the 24-hour bird-a-thon just completed on September 7-8. The Plucky Mucksters, a club-sponsored team consisting of Ann Mitchell, Susan Danskin, Linda Orkin, Dave Nutter, Gary Kohlenberg, John Confer, and Bob, won the recreational category with a total of 104 species. Their best sighting was a pair of American Avocets at Puddler’s Marsh and their most memorable experience was picking through several flocks of woodland birds to tally Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, and seven species of warbler. Linda then read the report submitted by the second club-sponsored team, the Gallinagos (Chris Tessaglia-Hymes, Gerard Phillips, Kevin and Jay McGowan) which won the competitive division with a total of 135 birds. As Chris wrote, they were hampered by the strong south winds overnight and several downpours during the day. One of the highlights for them was a large flock of Wood Thrushes feeding on a dirt road in the predawn hours, illuminated only by the car’s headlights.

Paul Anderson read through the upcoming schedule of field trips and mentioned that we will begin to offer a number of short, 2-hour trips in an attempt to accommodate folks for whom even a half day is too much time. Linda noted that the October meeting will see the election of officers for the coming year and presented the slate: president - Linda Orkin, vice-president - Paul Anderson, treasurer - Susan Danskin, recording secretary - Becky Hanson, corresponding secretary - Colleen Richards, and director - Bob McGuire.

Linda mentioned that the club will be setting up a new standing committee: Conservation. It will be led by Candace Cornell and will focus on education. This initiative was prompted by the posting on the club website of a photo by Paul Anderson showing a Belted Kingfisher strangled by abandoned monofilament fishing line.

The NYSOA meeting will be a one-day affair, to be held in Owego on September 29th. Linda also mentioned that the CBC is considering hosting the 2014 NYSOA meeting. It will have been 10 years since the Club last hosted the meeting in Ithaca. More in the October newsletter.

Linda then read the Basin Checklist and introduced the evening’s speaker, Sahas Barve, a PhD candidate in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell. His talk was entitled “Birds of India: Biogeography, Hotspots, and Brief History of Ornithology in the Region.”

Sahas’s lively talk, illustrated with slides, sound, and video clips, led us through the various bioregions of India, from the Trans-Himalayas through the Ganges floodplain to the sky islands of the Western Ghats. India has an amazing variety of birds: 1313 species, 1000 breeding species, and 157 endemics. It is positioned in the middle of two major flyways and contains every conceivable type of habitat except tundra.

For each region he briefly described the main characteristics (terrain, vegetation) and then went on to show (numerous photos) examples of the diversity of birds and to play some of their songs and a few video clips of interesting behaviors. He concluded with his Fab Five (actually six!) list of favorite birding locations: Kntchch (largest breeding population of Lesser Flamingo), Western Ghats (cool raptors and the Oriental Bee Owl), Central India (Pench National Park, where Kipling wrote the Jungle Book), Corbett National Park (for its diversity), Ladakh (mountains and wetlands, and the Blacknecked Crane), and Northeast India (from 60 up to 4,000 meters above sea level — 400 species seen in 2 weeks).

Respectfully submitted

- Bob McGuire