Yesterday, Barbara Butler and I taught a class for
the Life Long Learning Institute at Bard College. I
began with an introduction which included two
questions for myself: 1) How did I get into birding and
2) why do I do it?
I’m indebted to my late father-in-law for introducing
me to birding. He gave me and my wife our first
binoculars, taught us some bird songs and took
us on walks, where he pointed out common birds. He
was a New York City boy but loved the outdoors. He
grew up at a time when watching birds was considered
strange and/or unmasculine. His job was in lower
Manhattan, by a park which often was visited by many
birds in migration. When co-workers asked why he
was carrying binoculars, his answer would be, “I’m
going to the track”. That was a safe answer then.
Now, with the immense popularity of birding, it’s no
longer necessary. I wish my father-in-law could have
lived to see all the changes.
Periodically, someone who knows I’m a birder will
ask me some variation on, “What’s so appealing about
watching birds?” I tend to give answers, like, “they
– something humanity has always envied – or “it’s
a treasure hunt”. When I thought about it some more,
for the class, I realized a lot of the appeal, especially in
recent years, it’s that I’m always learning something
Most of my adult learning has been focused on my
profession, psychology, from college to graduate school,
to licensing to continuing education. And much of it
has been done because I’ve had to do it to practice,
pass courses, etc. But I just do birding for myself and
learning about them has been like starting all over
again, and I’ve been delighted that I can still learn
something new. This stood out for me several years
ago, when I began to learn bird songs – it was like
learning a new foreign language again – I had to do
some memorization, learn mnemonics and practice.
While I’m not great, I’m good enough. And I, guess,
part of the answer to why I bird is that it continues to
make me feel young.
Last Sunday, Channel 13's Nature series had a
program entitled, "Crash, a Tale of Two Species". It
about the interdependence of the Horseshoe Crab and
the Red Knot, the former being over harvested in the
Delaware Bay and the latter, dependent on the crab,
being on the verge of extinction.
The Red Knot is a shorebird that migrates annually
between the Arctic tundra and the southernmost part of
South America. To perform this amazing feat, it depends
upon key food sources along the way, one of
which is eggs laid by the Horseshoe Crab on the shores
of Delaware Bay. With less Horseshoe Crabs, less
Knots. It's a sad example about how some of our most
interesting and specialized birds (as well as other
creatures) can be made extinct by human activities. I,
myself, had the good fortune to see these shore birds
massed along a beach on the Cape May peninsula
several years ago. It would be a shame if future
generations will have to miss out on this.
Coincidentally, the following day, I heard a news
report that a ban was being considered on all harvesting
of Horseshoe Crabs for an indefinite period, pending a
vote by a fisheries association. I don't know the
outcome, but if it's positive, I hope it's not too late.
I am Maury Lacher and am the new President of our
bird club. I am honored to be your President,
especially for the upcoming year, which will be the
50th anniversary of the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club.
I've always been impressed with our organization for
the responsibility and energy of its members,
willingness to help newcomers and dedication to the
birding and environmental concerns. I look forward to
a good year.
Because it's going to be our 50th anniversary, the
Board is considering several projects to commemorate
the event. Projects we have begun could use
additional help, and anyone who is interested in
volunteering or who would like to offer additional ideas,
Normally, the weekend before the World Series, I find myself in
New Jersey and seem to miss out on the big push of migrants returning
to or passing through Dutchess County. Yesterday, May 5th, was
the exception. There was a huge flight the night before and with
this year’s compressed migration it was some morning. After
a two-hour walk from our place on Hilltop Road I had counted 66
species in the surrounding area! That included six first-of- season
records. Highlights included 13 warbler species, 6 sparrow species,
4 flycatcher species and others. It was one of the best two hours
of birding I ever had in the Northeast! What a morning it was. Hopefully,
it was that way everywhere in the county yesterday.
Okay, time to get back to New Jersey now and nail down some breeders
for the big event next week. It will be nice to see some friends
that I only see this week of the year. After the cold front came
through last night it promises to be another good day. Have fun
all and enjoy what is turning out to be a great early May migration.
It is that time of the year once again where half my birder brain
(not to be confused with bird brain) has a tendency to fly south
to New Jersey. Nearly a year after our best finish as a World Series
of Birding team, the “Diving Dabblers” are setting
new goals and planning new strategies to improve upon last year.
202 bird species in 24 hours sounds impressive enough and we were
happy to finally break 200 as a team. Even so, when I analyze our
checklist I mainly notice the ones we missed and how a few more
would have enabled us to beat a couple other teams. Example: Adding
both Kinglets and the two Thrush species we missed would equal
206. Then we could say, “We beat Team Zeiss…you know,
Pete Dunne’s team!” It’s scenarios like
this and many others that drive us to a competitive frenzy that
will peak on May 12th in New Jersey. Our
goal this year will be 210 species. That is a lofty goal, but when I see the
30-35 birds from the list that we shoulda-coulda-woulda got, we feel obligated
to set the bar higher! We are without Jake Mohlmann this year, as he will be
leading trips in Alaska during the event. We fully understand the opportunity
to guide trips in Alaska trumps the World Series. Well, at least one year anyway!
Our newest team member will be Brandon
“Cheech” Miller who has 3 years prior experience
with other teams. He hails from the great state of West Virginia
and is a student at West Virginia University. I have birded with
Cheech a few times and his youth and enthusiasm will be a great
asset. Besides Cheech, the rest of the team consists of Mark Boyd,
Adam Sabatine and myself. Our official team name will be
Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club “Diving Dabblers”. We will
be raising money via pledges for The Friends of Stissing Landmarks,
Friends of Great Swamp (FrOGS) and our club’s outreach program. We
appreciate all the support last year and hope you will be able
to make a pledge this year as well.
While the team and I are navigating the 600 miles in New Jersey
that comprise our Big Day, I hope you all can get out that same
day and do a local version of “Big Day” here at home.
The May census will be taking place that same day here in Dutchess
County as well as countless other areas in North America and beyond.
Please contact Bill Case as soon as possible to see how you can
We have had three great programs and many bird filled walks so
far this year and we are only in early April! I encourage everyone
to get out on our walks this spring and enjoy the birds before
the leaves make them harder to view. As I write this I can
almost visualize all the migrants that are south of here. Migration
is in a holding pattern right now thanks to a stubborn polar jet
stream that just doesn’t seem to want to leave! Even so,
it is only a matter of time before we see those old friends we
look forward to every spring. Good birding all!
It’s funny the difference a year can sometimes make in an
area such as the one we reside. Last year this time I think my
exact words were, “Spring, Sprang, Sprung”! This year
the cliché “in like a lion” is much more appropriate!
For a while there I didn’t think we would even have any kind
of winter at all. But, as I often remind people when they talk
about the weird weather, the weather has a way of “evening
itself out” over time. It seems that now we are paying for
the weakest winter we have seen in some time. Fortunately, like
a long distance runner we know the end is near. Not just because
the weatherman or calendar says so, but because of what birds have
recently come back into the area.
It’s funny that the Valentine’s Day snowstorm
sent droves of Canada Geese south (2100 over my yard on the Great
Backyard Bird Count weekend) and then only two weeks later, after
the first rain in months, the same (?) Canada Geese were heading
north again. The Red-winged Blackbirds that followed were the true
sign winter is about over. Even so, these messengers of spring
must be a little grumpy at the mid-winter conditions they have
come back to. If nothing else it is a great example of hormones
and cyclic rhythms overcoming less than desirable conditions. Plus,
it displays their better understanding of what’s around the
corner weather wise then any talking head weather dork.
I am very
excited as another birding year starts no matter what the thermometer
says. Personally, I am excited for another great year for the Waterman
Bird Club. Whether it’s our great trips, programs or just
the good people involved in something I never imagined would become
the well-known pastime of Birding, I am filled with excitement
for the year ahead. So please join me in this excitement and get
out there and join in the fun in any way you can! See you out there
and good birding!
Happy New year all! It seems like not too long ago we were talking
about fall migration and the annual dinner. Now here we are in
January and up until a few days ago it still felt like fall! But
fret not snow hounds, we will get our share of the white stuff
soon enough. I hope. While the annual dinner is on my mind I would
like to thank all that make it happen, especially Bill Case for
the excellent program and Binnie Chase for making sure pretty much
everything else runs smoothly. Well Done!
A lot of events over the last year stand out in my mind
regarding the club. The biggest highlight would have to be the release of The
Birds of Dutchess County by Barbara Butler and Stan DeOrsey.
What a great piece of work! One highlight that exhibits some
egocentrism would have to be the “Diving Dabblers” finishing in the top ten of the World Series
of Birding with 202 species. The Pena’s and their wonderful Raptors at
Stony Kill. And on and on I could go.
As we enter 2007 I expect another great year ahead with many exciting
events. I would like to thank everyone involved with making this
happen. And maybe I should plant a little seed right now and remind
all that 2008 will be the 50th anniversary of the club! So we need
to think of something really, really big to celebrate it. So feel
free to start brainstorming! Look forward to seeing you all at
the January 22 meeting and good birding (or herping!) until then.
Welcome to October and all the wonderful colors
associated with this time of the year. The birds might not be as
striking to the eye but what color some of the birds lack, the
trees make up for it. A lot of Warblers that recently passed through
we will not see again until April or May 2007. This holds true
for many other neo-tropical migrants. Even so, this is the best
time to get those Little Brown Jobs. AKA Sparrows. Just this morning
I had 3 Lincoln’s right
in my yard. Along with good numbers of White-throats, Song, Chipping,
Juncos and a lone Swamp Sparrow. This is also a great time of the
year to listen for Owls just before dawn or just after dusk.On
another note, we have an upcoming election for our slate of officers
at the October meeting. I would like to thank all those incumbents
for coming back and Maury Lacher for stepping up to the plate to
be our next VP. Speaking of the October meeting I am very excited
for part two of the Birds of Dutchess County. All of us in the
club are very proud of the work Stan and Barbara did in producing
such a gem of a guide. What a great crowd at September’s meeting
for the book signing and I anticipate October will be the same.
After part one I made a self-commitment to better record keeping
because it really doesn’t matter how many birds we see when
we get out if we never record it anywhere where it can become part
of history. So please do the same and I will see you at the October
meeting. One more reminder, the Annual Dinner is on November 6.
Please make your reservation ASAP if you haven’t already.
Good birding all!
Okay, can someone please tell me where summer went?
I guess it’s
true what they say: The more active you are, the faster time passes.
Next life I want to be a Two-Toed Sloth…. Or maybe a Galapagos
Tortoise? Anyway, I hope you all had a good summer with lots of
wonderful discoveries and experiences. One summer event recently
was our picnic at Stony Kill. Thanks to everyone who brought all
that great food for us to share! Maybe next year we should just
call it the Waterman Bird Club salad sampler extravaganza! Also,
I would like to send a special thanks to Steve Golladay, Carena
Pooth and Bill Case for contributing to the very enjoyable slideshow
after all that great food. Lucky for us we live in an area of the
world where one season’s
passing means another one comes with change. Migration is here
again. The harder one that is! Yes, it’s time to brush-up
on those pesky fall plumages. But on a good note, you can feel
free to not worry about any bird songs for a while! The best thing
to do for help with this is join our club walks whenever you can.
We have many capable leaders and there is always strength in numbers
while birding. Please come join us in the months to come for whatever
events fit into your schedule. I personally do not get to lead
many trips for the club so I especially look forward to my Burger
Hill Hawk Watching trip on Saturday September 23. Even as I attempt
to finish writing this I just saw a young Cooper’s hawk fly
over the parking garage outside my office window here at One Civic
Center Plaza in Poughkeepsie. Yes, summer is about over.
It’s that time of the year again and as usual summer had
a way of sneaking up on us. Between spring migration and big day
activities in May, time has a way of speeding up it seems. Even
so, now that it is here it’s time to enjoy the beauty of
the Hudson Valley in all of its green glory! One way to begin the
summer season is to join us at Stony Kill Environmental Center
on June 26th for our special members picnic that will be extra
special this year! Please see our calendar of events for more details.
I am very proud to announce that our World Series of Birding team
had our best year ever! We pounded out 202 birds on a day that
was memorable in many ways. The silver sky just before sunrise
when a Saw-whet Owl responded to Adam's call was maybe one of the
best moments our team has ever had during this event. I would like
to thank all of you who supported the team and let you know your
pledges are much needed and very appreciated! If you still need
to send in your pledges and don’t know what to do please
call me. Speaking of Big Days, I would also like to thank everyone
that participated that same day in Dutchess county on the RTWBC
May census. There is very important data collected on this day
and I especially want to thank all the team leaders and Bill Case
for his and their time spent in the field and compiling the data.
It has been a great year with lots of trips and top-notch programs.
We have a great website with lots of professional quality photos.
We are lucky in many ways to have such a strong foundation that
was laid down by some of the areas best birders….both past
and present. I just want to personally thank everyone involved
that makes this the best bird club in New York and beyond! We
are blessed with a very hard working board and without them most
of our events would never happen. And of course to all our members
that take time to appreciate the feathered friends around us! Everyone
have a safe and happy summer!! Rodney
I hate to admit that as “Big Day” approaches
my brain plays out every possible scenario of what can go
right on that day. Of course the flip side of that is that
I also play out every scenario of what can go wrong! Birding
in the World Series of Birding can have a tremendous amount
of pressure on its participants. Pressure placed by this Captain
on his team. Or pressure from the team on this captain. The
pressure of placing higher in the final standings then the
prior year. Another big goal for our team is that magic number
200 we always strive to achieve. Hotels, rental car, scouting,
gas prices, routes, raptor nests, nocturnal flight calls,
chip notes and the ability of the four of us to imitate (or
at least agitate) about 225 birds. All these add up to what
runs around my head from now until May 13th.
Why all this self-inflicted pressure when all it is is a
bird-a-thon really? Well, as you know every species counted
equates to more money raised for conservation causes, which
we are doing of course. So the more birds we get the more
money we raise. But really it comes down to a competitive
sprit by four teammates who are constantly trying to improve
their personal best for the good of “The Team”.
We all played sports at some level and were very competitive
in that arena. In this arena (state of NJ) we are just as
competitive and maybe even more so. So if I seem preoccupied
this time of year you now have a better idea why.
The Ralph T. Waterman
Bird Club/Hudson Valley Raptor Center Diving
Dabblers team consists of Myself, Jake Mohlman,
Adam Sabatine and Mark Boyd. You all pretty much know me to
some extent so let me introduce the rest of the team.
Jake Mohlmann is a graduate of Penn State where he started
the Penn State student bird club. He spent his first summer
at PSU searching for nesting birds in Southwest Pa. The following
summer he worked on the Pa. Breeding Bird Atlas crew. He also
worked a summer in Tucson, Arizona to mist net birds for an
upcoming photographic guide to identify birds in hand. After
graduation he ended up going back to University of Arizona
where he now works. He also has started his own tour company
there. This is his fourth year competing in the event.
Rodney Johnson, Jake Mohlmann, Adam
Sabatine, Mark Boyd
Adam Sabatine will be a senior this coming fall at California
University of Pennsylvania after spending his first three
years as a West Virginia Mountaineer. Adam has spent a summer
volunteering at the Southwest Research station in Arizona.
Next he worked for the USGS studying nesting grassland birds
in North Dakota. Then he studied the nesting habits of N.
Bobwhite in North Carolina. This summer he will be studying
life history and nesting habits of Cerulean Warbler in West
Virginia. This is Adams fifth year competing in the event.
Mark Boyd began his birding career volunteering at Pa. Raptor
and Wildlife Association where he learned about Raptors in
an up close and personal kind of way. Next he joined the Golden
Eagle Bird Club where I was director of guides and soon we
became friends and birding buddies. Since those days Mark
has learned much and is regarded as one of the best “Accipiter
Separators” anywhere. Mark has been a guide three years
now for various groups and is currently on the board of the
Lehigh Valley Audubon Society where he is also the Allentown,
PA. CBC compiler. Mark and I will be doing breeding bird atlas
work the next few summers on the Pocono Plateau in Pennsylvania.
This is his fifth World Series of Birding.
Spring, Sprang, Sprung. If Dr. Seuss were a birder, which
I suspect he was, that would be his synopsis for the second week
of March in our area. Some people mark the passing of the seasons
with a calendar or by particular dates. Us birder/naturalist types
seem to mark them by other means not usually denoted on any calendar.
Only a month ago we were covered in a white winter blanket. Since
then however, we have subtly entertained the observance of spring.
Instead of dates on some calendar, my marking of the seasons is more
a matter what I hear or see. The sight and fluster of numerous Wood
Ducks on the water as the ice recedes. Red-winged Blackbirds staking
out their territory for the breeding season. A Phoebe hawking insects
in the back yard. Red-tailed Hawks and the flying dance that seals
the bond. Turkey Vultures here to clean up winter’s
causalities. Chipmunks running that endless rock-wall maze. Bluebird’s
real estate shopping looking for that dream house. Squinty eyed
groundhogs tasting those young greens for the first time of the
year. Wood frogs chorusing where I walked on ice a week ago. Iridescent
sheen from an army of blackbirds cleaning the yard. Woodcocks going
through the yearly act of aerial madness. Don’t be fooled, we could very well see another white winter
blanket, but it is nice to know what is coming around the corner.
And then we can again say, “Spring, Sprang, Sprung.”
Just as we ended the warmest January on record it
looks like old man winter has returned from a brief vacation. Most
of us, being
“upstaters,” don’t mind the return and actually
enjoy the beauty a fresh snowfall brings to the drab landscape.
On the other hand, our feathered friends can always use the help,
as much of their natural food supply is low or completely covered
up at this point! So keep those feeders full and watch your yard
become bird central in whatever neighborhood you may reside in.
Also, don’t forget the Great Backyard Bird Count is February
17th through the 20th. If you have any questions about this event
call me or visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. Thanks
to everyone who braved the brutal conditions last month during
the state waterfowl count. I was unable due to a two-day power
outage here in Rhinebeck….but that’s another story!
Also, I would like to send belated thanks for all that participated
in the Dutchess CBC. Especially Chet Vincent for hosting the “post-game”
activities and Bill Case for the fun task of compiling the data.
Last but not least we must thank Carena for getting the data online
for the entire world to enjoy! As spring approaches we have many
exciting programs and trips on a monthly basis. We on the board hope
our members (you) can find a way to participate in a way that fits
your schedule. This is one of the most active clubs of any kind I
have had the pleasure and honor of being a part of and look forward
to that being the case this upcoming year. Enjoy the winter wonderland
and good birding!
to start! I guess I will start with those responsible for a wonderful
annual dinner. Lynn Jordan did it again, even as we changed the “feeding” location
this year. She never missed a beat. Well done! Secondly, thanks
go out to Binne Chase for the always anticipated raffle that seems
to get better every year! Also, thanks to al those who donated
an item, which makes the raffle possible. Our speaker for the
evening was Dr. Stephen Kress and he gave an exceptional account
of his work involving sea birds. Namely, his work on the restoration
of the Puffins and Terns to some historical breeding locations.
It was both entertaining and informative. Later we were treated
to a book signing with Dr. Kress and his colleague, Peter Salmansohn.
Last, but not least, thanks to all the board members whose cumulative
efforts make all the RTWBC events go so smooth! And especially
those given awards of appreciation at the dinner. I am very happy
to be the next president of the RTWBC. Thank you for the honor
and privilege. It seems like just yesterday that Alicia and I moved
to Rhinebeck. Three years and 198 Rhinebeck species later, I look
forward to the many things ahead (a fly over Sandhill Crane comes
to mind…). Again, thank you. It is that special time of the
year again. The days get shorter, nights get colder, store sales
abound, festival lights dazzle our eyes and thoughts of a New Year
run through our head. Yes, it’s
Christmas Bird Count time! Please contact Bill Case if you plan
on participating. I know this birder will be and for the first
time I will be participating while in Georgia for the holidays!
Enjoy the season and see you all in January 2006!
2005 - A Last One from Art Jones
It hardly seems that
four years have come and gone so fast.
As some of you know, I’ll be stepping down as president as
of November, and will be serving as vice president for the next
term. It’s been a truly unique experience to work
with a group of people such as we have in this club. After
having served in other similar clubs—those that rely on
volunteers to make things work—I realize that ours is a
jewel, and it is because of the generous and giving nature of
the people who make up the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club. I
would like to thank you all for the support and time you’ve
given me and our club for the past few years. I think it’s
our love of birds and nature that keeps us going and our fellowship
that keeps us together. I wish Rodney Johnson all the best
in his presidency and I know he will have the same support I
did. My heartfelt
thanks to you all. Good birding.
It seems that summer has passed us by for another year.
The fall migration has started, and its time to try to identify
all those fall warblers. The shore birds are also on their way
south, and there is nothing better than being on the beach watching
the huge flocks come down the coast. Birding is at is fall peak,
so get out there. A few reminders: To those with bluebird trails,
to send in your reports and clean the houses for the season. Also,
please send in your November dinner reservations early, as it
will be open to other clubs this year and could fill up quickly.
want any of our members to miss out if they plan to attend. Please
keep the hummingbird feeders full, as some are still here and there
is always a late one coming through. Good birding.
I would like to start by thanking everyone involved
in our May census. Although I don’t have the final figures,
I know of groups who had counts of over 100 species. While this
is great, I wish more of our membership could make it out into
the field for these activities. I know that some people think that
they must be expert birders to participate in these counts; however,
nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a great way
to learn from others who are happy to share their knowledge. Remember,
no one ever started anything as an expert! Also, the more eyes
in the field, the better; even an expert can’t see everything.
On another note, I would like to thank Ken and Carol Fredericks
for stepping forward to fill two spots on the Board for next year.
With the approval of the membership, Ken will be our new Treasurer
and Carol will organize our walks and
field trips. This is the type of giving spirit that makes this
club work so well. We now have only the Vice President’s
spot open. Anyone interested, please call me at 845-868-7432 or
email me via our website. I will be most happy to fill you in on
the duties involved. To all those who made pledges to Rodney Johnson
for the World Series of Birding, thank you! Please remember to
send your pledges in or call Rodney for further information. I
would also like to remind you that the Lillian Stoner Scholarship
Award is available again this year. This is in the amount of $350.00
to a high school student. For more details contact me at 845-868-7432
or via e-mail.
Finally, with the onset of this hot weather, it’s most important
to keep our birdbaths and hummingbird feeders full and clean.
After the cancellation of our last meeting, it came
to my attention that some of you may not be up to date with the
radio stations we use to announce this information. The following
is a list of these stations: WHUD 100.7 FM, WSPK 104.7FM, WBNR1260AM,
WLNA 1420AM, WEOK 1344/1390AM, and WPDH 101.5FM, WCZX 97.7/97.3FM,
WHVW 950AM. We also try to do an e-mail blast, so check
your mail if it is snowing. We also try to call those without
e-mail, but we may
miss some of you, so the best bet is your radio. I would
advise listening in the morning, as some stations are rather lax
in the afternoon. On another subject, those of you who missed Steve
walk at Stissing Mt. missed quite a show. We had three Golden Eagles
(one immature) and two Bald Eagles. We watched the balds
doing their courtship flight, spinning in the air with locked talons. We
also saw a pair of red-tailed hawks stooping
on the immature Golden Eagle as he flew north up the ridge. On
the way in, we saw the Ravens at their nest site; this is easily
seen from the Thompson Pond
causeway. We also looked for the Saw-whet Owls; however,
I guess they are not to be this year. Last, the club would like
to thank Les Line for his generosity in letting our club members
invade his home to see the Orange-crowned Warbler. Also
Bill Case, Carena Pooth, and Les for the great photos on the web
site. Keep the feeders full. Art
I hope you’re all having a good winter. These early weeks
of February seem more like spring. I was ice fishing recently on Stissing
Lake and found
it most interesting to watch the crows. They would do low
flyovers to check around unused holes in the ice for discarded
minnows and grubs. As
and the fishermen left the ice, they would land and more closely
inspect each area that had been used. As I write this, the
ice is about 18 inches thick, so it’s great just to walk
about the lake on a nice day and look for eagles and hawks. Thanks
to all who took part in our annual Waterfowl Count. There was a
lot of frozen water this year and most of the streams were flooded
and fast. The weather, however, was clear and not too cold, so
it was good to be out. Last but not least, the club would like
to thank Carena Pooth for making sure we got such a great PowerPoint
projection system. We finally put it through its paces at our last
meeting. Steve Golladay used it to its full potential, as he showed
us his stunning digital pictures of the birds in Bhutan. As if
this were not enough, we could also hear their calls and see actual
video of some of them in flight. I think the club is truly fortunate
to have such knowledgeable members
in our midst. See you on the ice.
It looks like winter is here at last, and just in time
for our waterfowl count. Maybe we'll be lucky and find some
unusual species, as in past years.With
another year gone by, it's time to look back and say thank you
to all the people who keep this club going. To all those
involved in our annual November dinner, from Lynn Jordan to Binnie
Chase and her crew, thank you all.
also like to thank all the Christmas Bird Count leaders for making
sure all the areas are covered. There are too many to list,
but you know who they are.
thanks to Bill Case for putting together all the info and numbers
at the end of the day.As you all know, we hold our annual dinner
at Cappucino by Cuppola's and although they do a good job, attendance
has been going down each year. After
with Lynn Jordan, we think it may be time to find a new venue. It
may be possible to move to the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park. However,
is just one idea;
it will be discussed at our board meetings. It would be nice
to hear from you with ideas.
a personal note, I would like to thank all the board members for
making this club work so well. I am most grateful for all
your hard work. Keep the feeders
It seems that another summer has come and gone;
nesting season is over and migration has begun. Now
we can look forward to trying to identify those autumn
warblers and all the fall ducks passing through.We have also come to the end
of four years of field work for the Breeding Bird Atlas. For me, this was a
great reason to go birding and neglect household
chores. My thanks to Barb Butler for taking on the
organization of this work in our area. It seemed she
was always there to help identify a bird, find new
atlasers an area to cover, and give general encouragement to all involved.
On another note, please send your bluebird trail reports to Dorcas Brower. I have heard that some with
boxes do not always submit data if they've had a
less-than-great year. Even during a bad year, the
information must be recorded or there is no way of
knowing the birds are in trouble. Birds don't have
the luxury of throwing in the towel on a bad year, and
if we are to be of any help to them, we must complete
our work. Please send your data to Dorcas! I'm looking forward to another
season of great speakers for our Monday meetings. I hope even larger
numbers of the membership can attend this year and
share in this learning experience. My thanks to
Binnie Chase for finding our speakers. We have a
committee for this, but Binnie has shouldered the bulk
of the responsibility. As we all know, it's not as easy as
John Winkler made it look. See you in the field.
I'm proud to announce that the Waterman Bird Club has
entered the 21st century. Through the efforts of the board, and especially the work of
Carena Pooth we are now the owners of a new laptop computer and digital projector.
This will allow us to do programs with
super clear photos, text and sound all in one unit.
Our slide projector has served us well, but it cannot
compare to the quality of this new unit. Now the club
can see the photography work of many of our members as never before. I
would like to thank the board and
Carena for their work and cooperation on this project.
I would also like to thank all those who made donations to
FOSL,TNC, or the Raptor Center through the efforts of
Rodney Johnson in the world series of birding. Last and not least it was
a privilege to be part of Mary Key's birthday party at our last meeting. As you
know she is a charter member, and we are grateful she
decided to celebrate with us. Peggy Rudis made a
beautiful cake for the occasion, which was enjoyed by
the entire group. The warmth and caring of this club
is a wonderful thing to be a part of! As you read this the May census
will be over, and I hope all those who went had a good day and found a new
bird, or at least an old friend. Good birding!
Spring is here, and as birders, it’s time to get busy. Those
of us with bluebird boxes need to clean them and make repairs. Atlasers
in the field already, as you know it is the final year. If you do not
have boxes or atlas work, please do not feel left out! Contact Binnie
Chase to be
part of the Great River Sweep. We will be cleaning Madam Brett Park
on the 23rd of April. Details are on the website and in this newsletter.
to Binnie for taking this on for another year. It’s also time to plan on a day in the field helping with our annual
May census on the 15th. It is a chance for beginners to learn bird identification
from more experienced members, and maybe add a bird or two to your list. To
join a group, contact Bill Case at (845) 831-4887. My thanks
to Bill for taking charge
of this and making sure all our areas are covered. See you in
We are almost halfway through winter and now I think
is when the birds need us the most. After these recent ice storms, it’s not easy for some
such as turkeys to dig under the snow for food. Most of the wild berries
and dried fruit like rose hips and crabapples are also gone by now. So
please keep the feeders full. I hope many of you are able to take part once
more in the Great Backyard Bird Count. While it is hard for some to get out to bird at this time
of year, it’s much easier to do so from the warmth of the house and still
supply the Cornell Lab of Ornithology with valuable population information.
As you can see, my message this month is about helping the birds. This
point was driven home for me by a recent trip to Florida. The trip was
great, and I was lucky enough to add five lifers to my list. However,
one of those birds was a Scrub Jay. I saw him in a small patch of brush
of not more than an eighth of an acre, and all around him were houses going
up, the ocean only fifty yards away. I thought, what a sad sight; where
will he go now? So let’s all do what we can here at
Happy New Year! I heard many members this past year
comment on what a great club we have.
This could not be more true. I can't begin to name everyone who deserves
you for making the club run smoothly. For those who missed it, we had an
outstanding Christmas luncheon this year, with mountains of food and every
type of dessert imaginable. We
were finally able to catch up with Dorcas Brower and give her an award of appreciation
for all her work on the bluebird trail. We were also treated to Chet
Vincent's Alaskan salmon which he so generously shared with us. A
great time was
by all. The club would like to thank the group leaders of the Christmas
bird count and Elaine Andersen for opening her home for the dinner afterward. It
is this type
of generosity and outgoing spirit that makes the club what it is! My hope
for this year is that more of our members are able to come out for our
activities. I realize it's hard for those who work to make
However, there are many Saturday and evening activities. The
club is also a place to share our knowledge of birds; so the more participants,
from each other. I am looking forward to another excellent year, and
to seeing more members.
I would like to thank all those responsible for providing
the club with a wonderful annual dinner on November 4. The evening started with an excellent
dinner arranged by Lynn Jordan. The club owes her a large debt of gratitude
as this was her third year of handling all the arrangements. As always,
Binnie Chase outdid herself on the raffle, not only with the quality and number
of items but at the speed at which she found new owners for said items. I
don't know how we would have a raffle without her. Our speaker was Mr.
Rich Guthrie, who presented an interesting program about birds common to our
area. We also found out he is quite good at birdcalls. I am most
grateful that he came out to be with us as he had to go out of his way to deal
with transportation problems. The night was concluded with a silent auction
where members bid on many beautiful items. The club thanks all those
who donated for their generosity. We had a great evening of food, fun,
and camaraderie and I only wish more members could attend. On a personal note,
I wish to thank the membership for allowing me to be president for the upcoming
year. It is a privilege to work with such
a great board of directors. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season
and look forward to seeing a large part of our membership at the bird counts. Good
Another summer has passed, and I hope you all had a
The warblers are flying south and now we look forward to
our feeder friends, holidays, and Christmas bird counts. I am most
happy to announce that this year we have a full slate of officers. Rodney Johnson has agreed to be
VP and the club is most grateful to fill this
post. Sue Infante will be our new Recording Secretary, and Barry Haydasz
our new Member at Large. We wish to give a special thank you to Elaine
Andersen, our outgoing Recording Secretary, for her hard work and always cheerful
Elaine, we will miss you at Board meetings.
As some of you may know from our last meeting, our library is
missing some books and tapes that have not been returned. Please
look under your beds and return
them for others to enjoy. I would also like to remind
everyone who has not done so yet to send in your bluebird and atlas
reports, your Annual Banquet reservations (by October
23rd), and your membership dues as soon as possible.
Good birding to all.
Spring is officially here! My hummingbirds returned
on the 3rd. I think about their long trip every year and find
it's nothing short of a miracle. The bluebirds are also on their
nests, although they seem fewer than last year. I hope other
trailwatchers are having better luck. I would like to thank Binnie
Chase and her crew for handling the River Sweep practically alone.
Due to a forecast of rain on cleanup day, they decided to do
it on Friday evening. I know from past cleanups that this was
no small task and we greatly appreciate their hard work. I hope
you can all make it to at least one of the many events that are
planned for this month. Check our calendar for
updates and times. Some of you may notice that this message is
a little brief. This is because I'd rather be watching birds than
writing about them. Good birding.
It is with regret that I had to accept the resignations
of our conservation chairs, Bill and Donna Lenhart. I understand
this was due to time constraints and Bill's and Donna's need
to be more proactive in environmental issues. We thank them for
all their work on behalf of the club and wish them well in their
future environmental efforts. Chet Vincent has graciously agreed
to accept this post at the start of the next term. Until then,
the board will handle these duties. Now with spring here, we
need to think about River
Sweep and our spring bird census.
River Sweep is a good way to give something back to the land and
to feel a good sense of accomplishment. The bird count is a fun
day and a great way to possibly add a new bird to your list, four
to twelve sets of eyes are always better than one. This is also
an excellent way to learn from some of our older, more experienced
members; they are some of our most valuable assets. So plan on
coming out with your fellow members to help us count, and to clean
up the birds' habitat. Dates are on our calendar page
as well as in our newsletter. Lastly, the club owes a big thank
you to Bud and Bonnie Fair. They are there every month with refreshments
that are readily devoured by us all. We are most fortunate that
they are willing to do this and I feel we don't say thank you enough.
Spring is on the way, after this long, cold winter,
which I hope is finally nearing its end. I am hearing reports of fox sparrows
and redwing blackbirds around, and bluebirds starting to check
boxes. It’s a good time to clean nest boxes, for all
of us who have bluebird trails to tend. If you need a new
box, you can
call Dorcas Brower, who has a limited supply, but more on the way.
The club is planning to do River Sweep again this year on April
26. Details will
be on our website and in the April newsletter. At our March board
meeting we put together a nominating committee chaired by Binnie
Chase. While most of our officers agreed to keep their current
chairs, we are looking for a vice president. We decided the position will no longer
include the job of program chairman. These duties will be taken over by
Alan Peterson, Binnie Chase, and myself, with the help of board members. The
vice president will fill in for the president when needed and will have time
to learn about the work of the board. It would be hoped that with the agreement
of the members, this person would take over the president’s seat at some
point. This would also give members time to become acquainted with their
future president. If any of you have any thoughts about this,
please call or
If you wish to fill the VP’s spot for the upcoming term, please call me
or Binnie Chase. I am sure that this year, someone will step forward! I
am happy to announce that the board, on the recommendation of Millie Sturcken,
is going to purchase a copy of David Attenborough’s
video series on birds (The Life of Birds) as seen on PBS. This
will be a great addition to our library. Thanks to Millie for bringing
our attention. Good birding! Art
First, let me say how glad we are that our Panama
travelers have returned safely to us. Binnie Chase said she
thinks they have at least two programs worth of pictures, and
I intend to hold them to it. Speaking of programs, I would
like to thank Janet Allison for arranging to do our next two
programs. Her husband, Gary Lovett, will speak to us on the
effects of invasive species on forests in February, and then
Janet, along with Laurie Fortin of Sharon Audubon, will speak
on bird banding in March. This is above and beyond the call,
and we thank them very much. I hope all our members take part
in the Cornell Backyard Bird Count. It’s a great
way to bird, help Cornell, and stay warm at the same time. Just
sit back with a hot coffee and look out the window. We would like
to thank all those who led and took part in the waterfowl count.
This is no easy task, when most of the water’s
frozen. Finally, thanks to Alan Michelin for taking the February
meeting for me, as I’ll be in Florida to do a little birding.Keep
the feeders full!
Happy New Year to you all. I would like
to thank all the group leaders of the Christmas Bird Count. Our
thanks also to Elaine Andersen for opening her home
to us for a wonderful
pot luck dinner after the count. Our Christmas lunch was also a
success, and great fun. I had no idea we had so many great cooks
and pastry chefs in our group! The number of dishes and sweets
was something to behold. We would like to welcome our new Members-at-Large,
Suzanne Infante and Chet Vincent. My special thanks to our past
Members-at-Large, Binnie Chase and Carena Pooth
for all their hard work. Carena has agreed to stay on as our "Web Hen," which
is a good thing, as most of us have no idea how she does her computer
magic. I'm sure Binnie will also be there when we need help. I
regret at this time to say we still have no Vice President. However,
through the hard work and connections of the Board,
we will have speakers for the monthly meetings. My
thanks to the Board for keeping the club on track. Well, it
seems we finally have a real winter, so please keep the feeders
full and yourselves warm!
What a great club! Our November dinner was a total
success. We started with a wonderful meal, arranged for us by Lynn
Jordan. The board and I are most grateful she has taken this on
for the past three years. We then were treated to a talk by Dr.
Kevin McGowan on digital photography, as it is related to birding.
His photos and knowledge of this were outstanding. This was made
possible by John Winkler, who was going to receive this year’s
Award of Appreciation for all the work he has done on behalf
of the club. He had to leave, however, before I could announce
this. So, John, we'll catch up with you at the Christmas lunch.
Then it was on to the raffle. What can I say? Binnie and her
crew outdid themselves once again! However, if Binnie gets any
better at this we may need a second room to handle it all. I
hope you all have had a chance to see the Hudsonian Godwit in
Rhinebeck. I had the privilege of viewing it with Carena on Tuesday
morning the 12th. We watched for an hour as it ate worms, slept
and preened. Then finally, it raised its wing to show us the
dark underside. It was a beautiful bird, and as I understand
a first for Dutchess County. Thank you, Carena, for a good sighting,
and great company. In closing, I thank you all for letting me
be club president for a second term and making the first so easy.
If anyone is interested in being Vice President, it is still
not too late. Wishing you all a great holiday season and good
I hope you all had a good summer, and added
at least one new bird to your list.As some of you may
know, our Vice President, John Winkler, has decided to
step down at the end of this term. His shoes will be
hard to fill! No one has yet come forward to fill this
vital seat. At its meeting of September 9th, the board
decided that if we must, we will create a committee to serve in
the Vice President's capacity. We all agreed, however, that a single
Vice President who would share his or her talents and fresh ideas
would be most effective. When I took over as president, I had some
misgivings about whether I could take over from Roger Cohn without
prior involvement in the club. However, I found that I could not
have had a more supportive and helpful Board of Directors to work
with. Many of these people have worked hard at these positions
for a number of years, and as there are additional board seats
to fill, it is time for some new faces to step forward and help
run our club. I know that the experienced board members will be
more than glad to share their knowledge of the job to make new
members' roles easier. The board and
I will welcome you with open arms and assist you in any way possible.
If you are moved by this plea, please call me or Binnie Chase to
discuss it further.Please remember to send in your bluebird reports
and atlas data and keep those birdbaths full.
What a great group! The River Sweep was a total success.
We cleaned up a huge amount, not to mention variety, of trash.
It is rather sad to see the way some people treat the home of our
winged friends. However, it is gratifying that there are people
who still care enough to do something about it. I would like to
express a big thank you to all those who came out to help, including
Binne Chase, our director and taskmaster, Allan Michelin for finding
us a dumpster, and Royal Carting for donating the dumpster.Thanks
also to John Winkler for taking charge of the April meeting. No
club ever had a better vice president.As many of you no doubt know,
the hummingbirds are back. Ours arrived on May 5th as did those
of a close friend. For me, they mark a high point of the season.As
I write this, I've just received a card from Scenic Hudson notifying
us that the state legislature is trying to move the $200 million
Environmental Protection Fund to the general fund to cover economic
recovery efforts. While the economy is certainly important, must
we gut the entire EPF? Call Governor Pataki and let him know your
feelings: (518) 474-8350.Thank you, and good birding.
Let me start by saying thank you to a few people. Under
the who was that Masked Man department, the club would like to
thank Jay Wilmarth for the donation of a new slide carousel. I
am in hopes this will make us look a little more organized. Jay,
thanks for riding to our aid! I would also like to thank John Winkler
for handling the club insurance issue and for leading the trips
to NYC.It has been brought to my attention that some of our monthly
speakers can not be heard clearly. From this point on we will use
the sound system. If there is still a problem, PLEASE let me know.
The club is also doing River Sweep, time and place are in the newsletter
and on the calendar page on the website. We could use any strong
people who are willing to help clean up our part of the river.I
would like to remind all with Blue Bird boxes to start cleaning
them. The Red-winged Blackbirds are singing, as are the Peepers
and Spring is upon us!
As I start my presidency, it occurs to me that many
of you have no idea who I am or how I came to be in this position.
I grew up with the Buttercup Sanctuary as my back yard. I have
been birding for the past 25 years, and under the guidance of Dorcas
Brower, have done a
bluebird trail for the past three years. I was asked to fill the
president's position after having met Binnie Chase on a Saturday
walk. As she was most persuasive, I could hardly say no.
I would like to thank Binnie and Roger Cohn for all of their confidence
and help, and am looking forward to working with them and the board
in the year to come. The club and myself would also like to thank
Karen Jaquith for her hard work and time as our past Member at
Large: Karen, thank you! I also look forward to birding with all
of you (particularly the sparrow experts, as sparrows give me fits!).Happy
Thanksgiving to you all.
In preparing my next newspaper column dealing with quality
and quantity, I took a walk at the Whitlock Preserve in the Town
of Stanford. I enjoyed the habitat variety and the peaceful ambiance
as I followed one of two loop trails there. At just 26 acres, the
Whitlock Preserve hardly compares to so many other larger protected
areas. But size isn't everything. The bird club is keen on finding
birds--and other signs of life--wherever they occur and where we
can observe them safely, whether at a big place or little. Organizations
come in all different sizes, too. The Waterman Bird Club membership
roll is not extensive compared to many other bird clubs, much less
other outdoor and environmental groups. But size doesn't guarantee
quality. We may be a relatively small group, but boy have we got
As this is my final president's message, I want to express my thanks
to members for letting me serve the club for the past two years
(for better or worse, I now hold the record for presidential terms,
having also served three consecutive ones in the 1990s). I especially
want to thank my fellow executive committee members, without whom
this club just doesn't work, period. We've dealt with a few thorny
issues over the past few years, but I'm happy to report that the
club remains strong and purposeful. I wish my successor, Art Jones,
much luck, even though he won't need much, knowing the crew he'll
be working with.
Excuse me, but did anyone see where the summer went?
It was here a minute ago. The passing of summer may be a bit
sad for you warm weather lovers out there, but when we put
on our birding caps, it heralds the onset of another rewarding
and challenging season. Birds are congregating on wires; birds
of prey will be heading south. Before we know it, fall migration
will be in full swing. I encourage club members to migrate
back to the Freedom Plains Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall,
as we begin a new cycle of evening programs. I always look
forward to this, as I don't get out on walks much. Familiarand newfaces
are a welcome sight for me, and I usually learn a thing or two
from our featured speakers. This month's meeting is on Monday
the 24th. See you there.
In my April message, I mentioned
recent bird club transitions. I left one out, though.
That's OK, because I can take more space now with
this one to give it the attention it deserves.
You will notice in this issue that Bill Case has
assumed the responsibilities of compiling the May Census data.
He will be doing the same for our Christmas count. He's taking
over from some guy named Otis Waterman, who is retiring from
these positions after a mere stint of several decades. "Oat" continued
with these jobs even as he and wife Ginny spent part of the
year in Florida. I guess he's due to have some time off for
good behavior. Bill Case has some big shoes to fill here. But
it always seems that some club member is out there, ready to
step into big shoes when the bird club needs a job done. Thanks,
Bill. And thank you, Otis. Roger
Spring has finally sprung, and the bird club is springing forward.
We have had a bit of rearranging and new additions to our executive
committee. Alan Peterson has shifted gears (only slightly) and assumed
the chair of our education committee. He's off to a flying start
with coordinating programs at Wilderstein and Stony Kill. Next,
Donna and Bill Lenhart are our new co-chairs of conservation. How
'bout that. We get two for the price of one.
And talk about springing forward--like into the 21st century. Carena
Pooth has built a Web site for the club with help and feedback from
Barbara Butler and Stan DeOrsey. Read Carena's article in this issue
of Wings Over Dutchess for more information on what I hope
will be a great new medium for communication, education, and outreach.
I hear red-winged blackbirds are back in the neighborhood, singing
(singing?) their little hearts out. Skunk cabbage is up and will
be followed by other early spring wildflowers. I know it's muddy
out there, or perhaps still snow covered in places, but spring is
coming. If this winter made you blue, rejoice. If there's any time
that should make a bird club member's heart sing, it's this time.
Make sure you get out and let nature's renewal refresh your weary
mind, body, and soul, with sweet birdsong and brilliant colors. Roger Cohn
At its February 12 meeting, the club's executive committee
adopted a resolution in support of the Environmental Protection
Agency's reassessment of PCBs in the Hudson River. This is the
resolution presented to the club by Scenic Hudson's Ned Sullivan
and Rich Schiafo, who spoke at our January club meeting. In a nutshell,
the resolution expresses the club's support for the findings of
EPA's proposed remediation plan to address PCB contamination of
the river. The resolution urges the EPA to complete its reassesment,
issue a Record of Decision without delay, and implement remedial
actions.This plan is contentious, and this resolution sets a precedent
for the bird club that members may not agree with. Let me reassure
members that the club remains primarily interested in facilitating
the enjoyment of birding as a hobby. We are not ready to become
a clone of Scenic Hudson or any other activist group. But the truth
is, by its actions, educational outreach, and mere presence over
the past 43 years, our club has been a resounding voice for environmental
protection. And we are not about to stop now.Upon request, I will
gladly zap a copy of the resolution to any member who has e-mail.
A copy will also be available for review at our meetings and walks.