Bimonthly Membership Meeting
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
7:30 PM — 10:00 PM
Phipps Garden Center, Shady Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA


One hundred-twenty individuals attended 3RBC's October meeting, which featured an exciting and highly entertaining presentation by bird author and world traveller, Noah Strycker. Four individuals identified themselves as first time attendees.

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:

• Felicity Moffett informed all that the Fern Hollow Nature Center (FHNC) is in the process of updating its publication, Field Manual of Little Sewickley Creek Nature Trail. FHNC is seeking input from birders familiar with the area. In particular the Nature Center is seeking lists and descriptions of common birds of the Sewickley area and photos of the same. If you can help in any way, please contact FHNC at Susie.fhnc@gmail.com.

• Bob Mulvihill announced that he is resuming his Saw-whet Owl banding project in Sewickley Heights Borough Park, beginning Friday night, October 6, and continuing every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evening, weather permitting, though October and November, concluding on December 2. Plan to arrive about a half an hour before dark for each session. In addition to netting Saw-whets, he will attempt to net Long-eared Owls as well. Last year the project captured, banded, and released approximately 30 Saw-whet Owls. All are welcome!

• President VanNewkirk relayed updated information about a popular birding hotspot — the Miller Ponds on Swamp Road at Pymatuning. Regular visitors to this site will have noticed that the smaller pond has been drained. Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) employees stated that this was done for water control, but due to an unusually rain-free September, the small pond is still dry. When the rains come, the pond will refill, and the birds that frequent this site will return. Also along Swamp Road, PGC is creating a new, 20-acre marsh area designed to attract shore birds and waterfowl. Though foot traffic through propagation areas like this one is strictly prohibited, birders will be able to observe from the road. Even better — PGC is contemplating the construction of a viewing platform as part of the new project.

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

• Treasurer Tom Moeller gave a financial report, announcing that he club's 2016-2017 fiscal year had just ended, and that the club is very solvent. More so, the club is in a better position than the previous year, continuing a trend. 3RBC ended the fiscal year with 276 memberships. Since many of these are couples and families, the person tally is estimated at 375. Subsequent to the fiscal year's ending on September 30, the club gained an additional 5 memberships, bringing the total to 281. He also acknowledged a gift to the club of $100 from the estate of Gerrie and Bob Settelmaier. Bob died in 2013, and Gerrie passed away in April 2016. Both were founding members. Mr. Moeller read an emotional note from Gerrie's son James, recalling how much she and her husband had enjoyed club outings. James's note said that the Settelmaiers wanted to give something back to the organization that had been the source of so much pleasure to them.

• Sue Solomon regretfully announced the passing of long-time member Tony Schryer, who died September 20. Tony was an avid birder, an active, popular club member, and a great conversationalist who enjoyed life immensely. His memorial service was poignantly marked by his copy of Sibley and his binoculars. He will be missed by his many friends.

• Steve Thomas, the club's outings coordinator, reported that the club has several outings coming up: October 7 at Dead Man's Hollow, led by David Yeany; October 8 at Frick Park, led by Jack and Sue Solomon; October 8 at Pymatuning, led by Bob VanNewkirk; November 4 at Yellow Creek, a joint outing of 3RBC and the Todd Bird Club; and November 19 at Moraine State Park, a leaderless outing. The club's annual picnic will be held on Sunday, October 22 at Moraine State Park. Meet in the park day use area (south shore) in the first parking lot on the right at 8:30 am. After the morning outing, enjoy a pot-luck picnic at one of the park pavilions near the McDanel's boat launch. Please bring a dish that will serve 4-6 people to share. Mr. Thomas reminded attendees to check the club's website for a complete outings list, including dates, times, and driving directions.

• Mike Fialkovich reported on the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology's (PSO) annual meeting, held in Carlisle, Cumberland County, September 15-17. The meeting attracted more than 110 attendees and featured birding seminars and presentations pleasantly interrupted by several outings that took birders to some of the county's finest birding areas. Accomplished birders, bird scientists, and bird enthusiasts from many locations gathered to "talk shop" and listen to a wide range of fascinating speakers. Gettysburg College's Andy Wilson spoke about the use of drones in bird research; Art McMorris gave a talk on the restoration of the Peregrine Falcon in Pennsylvania; PSO Secretary and Carlisle-area resident Ian Gardner spoke on fall warbler identification. After dinner the meeting came to a close over coffee and a beautifully decorated Sherron Lynch cake. Keynote speaker, former Pittsburgher Ted Floyd, entertained and charmed the audience, as he humorously described the rapid technology-based changes that have come to birding since the advent of the smart phone and, in a more serious vein, their implications to birding and ornithology. Visit the PSO website for more information.

• Mike Fialkovich then presented the recent bird sightings report for Allegheny County. Since his last report, new bird sighting highlights include 10 Broad-winged Hawks migrating over North Park; Semipalmated Plover at Imperial; Solitary and Least Sandpipers at Fox Chapel; high counts of Common Nighthawks at Aspinwall, Boyce-Mayview Park, Gibsonia, and Tarentum; Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Winter Wrens and White-throated Sparrows have started arriving but no Juncos yet; Lincoln Sparrows at North Park and Boyce-Mayview Park; Great Egret at Boyce-Mayview Park; adult Black-crowned Night-Heron at North Park; Common Tern at Dashields Dam; Yellow-bellied and Olive-sided Flycatchers at many locations; Marsh Wren at Wingfield Pines. So far 31 species of warblers have been reported — highlights include Worm-eating, Golden-winged, Mourning, Cape May, Cerulean, Northern Parula, Prairie, Canada, Orange-crowned, and Connecticut.

• Vice President Daugherty announced December 6, 2017, as the club's next meeting date. The December meeting is a "slide-slam," featuring photos taken by club members. Since this is a popular event and time is limited, potential presenters are asked to visit the Home page of this website and view the protocols that must be followed by all presenters.

Mike Fialkovich next introduced the evening's speaker, Noah Strycker, who proceeded to wow the audience with fast-paced, humorous stories and a visually fascinating array of images of birds, people, and places. Setting the stage, he described how, in 2015, he set himself a lofty goal: to become the first person to see half the world's birds in one year. His talk took us with him behind the scenes as he travelled for 365 days, with a backpack, binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets across forty-one countries and all seven continents, eventually spotting 6,042 species — by far the biggest birding year on record at the time. He ventured deep into a world of blood-sucking leeches, chronic sleep deprivation, airline snafus, mechanical breakdowns, mud-slides, floods, war zones, ecologic devastation, conservation triumphs, common and iconic species, and scores of passionate bird lovers around the globe. By pursuing the freest creatures on the planet, he gained a unique perspective on the world they share with us — and offered a hopeful message that even as many birds face an uncertain future, more people than ever are working to protect them.

Following the presentation, President VanNewkirk adjourned the meeting .

— prepared by Frank Moone on 10-11-2017

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