Bimonthly Membership Meeting
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
7:30 PM — 10:00 PM
Phipps Garden Center, Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA


Sixty-nine individuals attended 3RBC's August meeting, which featured a slideshow by Wayne Laubscher, who presented "Winter Birrrding in Ontario." None of the attendees identified themselves as first timers.

President Bob VanNewkirk called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. He asked if anyone had announcements to make to the group, and the following individuals responded:

• Jack Solomon updated the attendees on the progress of the creation of a young birders club. The Frick Environmental Center will host a November 11 kick-off event for the prospective club. The event will feature a bird walk and refreshments. Mr. Solomon advised the group that he would probably be asking 3RBC for a $100-$200 contribution to offset the costs of refreshments, etc. More details will appear in upcoming issues of The Peregrine. As before, Mr. Solomon promised further updates as they develop.

• Ryan Tomazin once again noted that the Brooks Bird Club will celebrate its 85th anniversary on October 20-22 at Oglebay Park in Wheeling, West Virginia. Speakers will include Bill Thompson III and Lang Elliot. The event will feature bird and nature related outings, nationally known keynote speakers and more. For more info, or to register for the event please visit the Brooks Bird Club website .

President VanNewkirk then turned the meeting over to Vice President Sheree Daugherty, who conducted the business portion of the meeting. She called for reports.

• Paul Hess, editor of The Peregrine, announced that the upcoming issue will contain several informative and interesting articles. He especially called to attention articles by Tom Moeller and Bob VanNewkirk. Mr. Hess also expressed his interest in publishing articles written by young birders; he asked the attendees to pass the word to any young birders that they might know.

• Vice President Daugherty reminded everyone that there is still time to sign up for the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology's (PSO) annual meeting, to be held in Carlisle, PA, this September 15-17. She reminded everyone that the PSO is the state's most important ornithological organization and contributes significantly to avian scientific work. The banquet program of this year's meeting features Pittsburgh native Ted Floyd, now living in Colorado, who edits the American Birding Association's prestigious Birding magazine. She asked members to support the PSO's work by joining and/or attending. Visit the PSO website for more information.

• Steve Thomas, the club's outings coordinator, reported that the club will offer many fall outings this year, visiting the usual birding hotspots - Pymatuning, Presque Isle, Sewickley Heights, Harrison Hills, etc. The club will also offer new outings: one at Deer Lakes Regional Park on September 16, and another at Deadman's Hollow on October 7. He also invited everyone to attend the 3RBC annual picnic and bird walk, to be held on October 22 at Moraine State Park. Mr. Thomas reminded attendees to check the club's website for a complete outings list, including dates, times, and driving directions.

• Mike Fialkovich presented the recent bird sightings report for Allegheny County. He noted that this is a traditionally slow time for birding, so sightings were few. Since his last report, new bird sighting highlights include: a Common Merganser at Dashields Dam; a southbound Least Sandpiper at North Park; 32 Herring Gulls at Emsworth Dam, two of which were downy chicks (evidence of breeding here); Common Nighthawks in Greenfield, Oakland and Lawrenceville; an occupied Chimney Swift tower in Harrison Hills Park; recordings of nocturnal flight calls of Swainson's Thrushes, made on June 1-3 as they flew over Moon Township (late northbound migrants, but not unheard of); a leucistic European Starling near Dashields Dam; Northern Bobwhites in Natrona Heights and Hays; a Virginia Rail at Wingfield Pines; a Red-headed Woodpecker at Hampton Township; 46 pairs of Purple Martins in the colony at Harrison Hills Park; and a Bank Swallow at Dashields Dam. Though not in Allegheny County, two nests of Piping Plovers have been confirmed on Presque Isle (the first such occurrence since the early 1950's).

• Vice President Daugherty announced October 4, 2017, as the club's next meeting date. The featured speaker will be Noah Strycker. Beginning January 1 and ending December 31, 2015, he set a record for a worldwide Big Year of birding, seeing 6,042 of the world's estimated 10,400 bird species in a continuous journey spanning all seven continents. The trip took him to 42 countries and was done entirely with a backpack. His exploits will be detailed in a soon-to-be published book Birding Without Borders. Ms. Daugherty said she expects a large crowd and advised attendees to arrive early to be sure of a seat.

Mike Fialkovich next introduced the evening's speaker, Wayne Laubscher, who presented "Winter Birrrding in Ontario."

Wayne Laubscher is the Clinton County compiler for the PSO's Pennsylvania Birds publication and a member of the Lycoming Audubon Society board as well as the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy Technical Committee. He is a native of the Lock Haven area in Clinton County, residing in Swissdale. He has recently worked as a bio aide for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He currently is employed as a quality assurance technician for First Quality Water and Beverage in Lock Haven and bands owls and hummingbirds in his spare time.

This intrepid - and warmly dressed! - birder outlined the joys of going north in the winter for birdwatching. Consisting of more than 400 slides, his program highlighted various far northern specialty bird species that appear in Ontario and the northeastern United States during cold weather. Mr. Laubscher provided many excellent views of irruptive species of raptors and finches, wintering northern species of waterfowl and gulls, and the occasional western vagrants. He also discussed where and when to find them and reasons why they show up so far south of their normal range. The program emphasized areas of southern and eastern Ontario and also a few nearby areas in Quebec.

Following the presentation, President VanNewkirk adjourned the meeting .

— prepared by Frank Moone on 8-12-2017

Image Gallery

Mission of 3RBC

To gather in friendship, to enjoy the wonders of nature and to share our passion for birds!

© Photo Credits:
Sherron Lynch, Brian Shema, Chuck Tague