April 12, 2017 – ABC’s new best friend – Noah Strycker!

BIRDING WITHOUT BIRDERS: ABC welcomes Noah Strycker

Noah's Arc led him to 41 countries and 6042 birds.

4-12-17 – Noah made one long trip to get his 6042 birds in 41 countries.

Noah Strycker struck gold on April 12, 2017, when he visited Tacoma and was treated by ABC like the VIP he has become.  Getting Noah for ABC was a dream come true for Kay Pullen who had been plotting ever since she got ABC to read Noah Strycker’s book, The Thing with Feathers, a couple of years ago.  The event mushroomed into the biggest event ABC has held to this date, necessitating a change in venue to the Rotunda at UPS, finagled by Peter Wimberger, director of the Slater Museum, and Kay’s fellow conspirator for this event.  Fellow sponsor, Tahoma Audubon, managed collection of fees and checked people in. There were over 150 people in the rotunda when Noah arrived after meeting earlier with UPS students and ABC principals.

Noah Strycker’s appearance filled the UPS Rotunda

4-12-17 – Tahoma Audubon & UPS/Slater Museum selling souvenirs & Noah’s books

We already knew Noah had a talent for birding and a talent for writing, but tonight we found that he has a talent for holding a large audience in the palm of his hand! With his expertly-curated collection of photos, the Power-Point presentation hummed along in harmony with Noah’s story, which started before he was even born and proceeded into his unknown, but brilliant, future. After shattering the previous record by approximately 1500 species, Noah finished 2015 with 6042 birds!! He wore the crown for a year, but challenger Arjan Dwarshuis of the Netherlands broke it in 2016, and the two have become friends with many stories to compare.

4-12-17 – Kay Pullen & Peter Wimberger introduce Noah Strycker

4-12-17 – Noah Strycker has our attention!

Noah wrote a daily blog during his Year, which many of us followed, and which is being expanded into his upcoming book, Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World, due this fall. While you’re waiting for the book, you can still read his blog: http://www.audubon.org/features/birding-without-borders

4-12-17 – Noah is mobbed after his talk (photo/Art Wang)

4-12-17 – The people who made it happen: Kay Pullen, Ken Brown, Our star – Noah Strycker, & Ed Pullen

4-12-17 – Jody Hess, Kay Pullen, Laurel Parshall below, Noah Strycker, Diane Yorgason-Quinn, Vera Cragin, Faye McAdams Hands

Noah made it clear that he couldn’t have done this year alone.  He used native guides as much as possible and as a result had as many people stories as he did bird stories.  We predict much to come from this young man and are very happy to have become some of his people.

June 6: Joe and Maggie Tieger present: “South Georgia Island, Seabird Paradise”

Join the Advanced Birding Club (ABC) of Tahoma Audubon as our own ABCers Joe Tieger, retired from the US. Fish and Wildlife Service and Super Fund Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and his wife Maggie, also retired from working on the international endangered species program at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, discuss their recent adventure to South Georgia Island. Experience this remote island with its wild, spectacular landscapes and special wildlife (penguin, seal and seabird colonies) in the vibrant spring.  The island’s snow-covered mountains rise almost straight out of the sea and provide a backdrop for wildlife behaviors seldom seen elsewhere.  See vast colonies of King Penguins with their offspring “Oakum Boys”, Southern Elephant Seals nursing young, and bulls starting to fight for breeding rights, and awkward Wandering Albatross young on their nesting grounds.

 

Lecture Location:

Wednesday, June  6, 2017:  6:45 to 8:45pm

University Place Library Meeting Room

3609 Market Place W, Suite 100

University Place, WA 98466

Price: Free

Maggie Tieger, Tahoma Audubon director Emily Kalnicky, & Joe Tieger

Dr. Sievert Rohwer back for May Day 2017!

Sievert Rohwer presents “Molt Migration in Western Passerines”
Monday, May 1, 2017, $10 (details below)
Join the Advanced Birding Club (ABC) of Tahoma Audubon and the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound in presenting curator and Professor Emeritus of the University of Washington Burke Museum, Dr. Sievert Rohwer, who will discuss his inside view of molt and what we don’t know about it.  He will review his work that feather regrowth can’t be hurried, with the main differences between molt strategies having to do with how many feathers are molted at the same time: Simple (one at a time), Complex (various strategies including stepwise), and Simultaneous, with most feathers molted together.  He will start with an addendum to the earlier talk in December 2015 by reviewing new data for Golden Eagles showing that rectrices are replaced by need, rather than in a set sequence.  He’ll be talking generally about many years of work by Burke staff and students on molt migration that took us on surveys to great places in the SW and, finally, to coastal NW Mexico, where they discovered huge numbers of molt migrants.  This molt migration talk will review this issue in western passerines, and consider possible effects of habitat changes due to irrigated agriculture on the decline of some western breeders. 

Lecture Location: 

University of Puget Sound

1565 N Union Ave

Tacoma WA 98416

Building: Thompson Hall, Room 175

Price: $10, payable online through Tahoma Audubon at https://tahoma.z2systems.com/np/clients/tahoma/event.jsp?event=28380

 

Brief Bio:

Ph.D.  University of Kansas. 1971.

Curator of Birds and Professor of Biology, University of Washington 1972.

 

Dr. Rohwer studies “evolutionary ecology and behavior, mostly of birds, with interests in avian coloration, adoption of unrelated offspring by replacement mates, avian hybrid zones, brood parasitism, phylogeography, and life history implications of feather renewal.  Under my curatorship the ornithology collections at the Burke Museum became internationally distinguished, with the largest collection of extended wings in the world and the second largest collection of avian tissues in the world.”

 

Honors: 

  1. AOU Elliott Coues award recognizing “extraordinary contributions to ornithological research.”
  2. Cooper Society Katma Award for “formulation of new ideas that could change the course of thinking about avian biology.”
Review a short report on his earlier talk for ABC in December 2015 on molt here: http://abcbirding.com/abc-event-dec-2-dr-sievert-rohwer-on-molt/

ABC LEARNS EBIRDING IN THE FIELD, March 11, 2017

March 11, 2017 – eBirding in the field with Wendy Connally!

Wendy at Luhr Beach in the rain

Wendy Connally of WDFW took us in the field on a very rainy morning to try out our new eBird cell phone app abilities after we heard her and Bill Tweit on Tuesday evening tell us just how to do it.

First to Luhr Beach where, except for one crazy Red-breasted Merganser, the waterfowl stayed well out there.

eBirding as a group activity

Then to Mounts Road and then birding our way home, where we did a “traveling” list in our car which added a California Scrub-jay and more of those nasty Eagles.  It wasn’t a Big Day for birds, but the small numbers were probably good for learners.

eBirders with Wendy front & center

More photos on FLICKR plus Wendy’s “Cheat Sheets.” https://www.flickr.com/photos/76552838@N03/albums/72157681252825816

Don’t forget to read Ed’s careful notes on HOW TO:

How to Use the Mobile eBird App ABC Meeting Summary

And the MOVIE!!!  Very good:

http://abcbirding.com/basic-video-on-how-to-create-a-checklist-using-ebird-mobile-app/

Thanks, Wendy! We’re better birders now, at least some of us.

 

Noah Strycker presents “Birding Without Borders: An Epic World Big Year” — April 12, 2017

Noah Strycker visits ABC!  Wednesday, April 12, 2017 6:45-8:30 pm, UPS, Wheelock Student Center Rotunda, $10.  See below for sign-up info and directions.

The Advanced Birding Club (ABC) of the Tahoma Audubon Society and the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound will present writer, author and bird nerd Noah Strycker of Oregon, who became the first human to see more than half of the planet’s bird species in a single, year-long, round-the-world birding trip.

Noah Strycker will tell us his secrets to cracking Planet Earth’s bird list on April 12th

Anything could have happened, and a lot did. He was scourged by blood-sucking leeches, suffered fevers and sleep deprivation, survived airline snafus and car breakdowns and mudslides and torrential floods, skirted war zones, and had the time of his life. Birding on seven continents and carrying only a pack on his back, Strycker enlisted the enthusiastic support of local birders to tick more than 6,000 species, including Adelie Penguins in Antarctica, a Harpy Eagle in Brazil, a Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Thailand, and a Green-breasted Pitta in Uganda. He shared the adventure in real time on his daily blog (audubon.org/noah) in 2015, and now he reveals the inside story. This humorous and inspiring presentation about Strycker’s epic World Big Year will leave you with a new appreciation for the birds and birders of the world.

Noah Strycker, 31, is Associate Editor of Birding magazine, the author of two well-regarded books about birds, and a regular contributor of photography and articles to all major bird magazines as well as other media; he blogs regularly for the American Birding Association. Strycker set a world Big Year record in 2015, and his book about the experience will be released in November 2017. Strycker has studied birds on six continents with field seasons in Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Australia, Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, and the Farallon Islands. He also works as a naturalist guide on expedition cruises to Antarctica and Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, literally spreading the inspiration of birds from pole to pole. His first book, Among Penguins, chronicles a field season working with Adélie Penguins in Antarctica (Oregon State University Press, 2011) and his second, The Thing with Feathers, celebrates the fascinating behaviors of birds and human parallels (Riverhead Books, 2014). Strycker is also a competitive tennis player, has run five marathons, and hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. He is based in Oregon, where his backyard has hosted more than 100 species of birds. Visit his website at: www.noahstrycker.com

Lecture Location:  University of Puget Sound, 1565 N Union Ave., Tacoma WA 98416

Building: Wheelock Student Center Rotunda, University of Puget Sound.   Directions: Going north on N Alder St, turn left onto N 15th Street. Parking is at N 15th St and N Lawrence, to your north as you come in on 15th. The Wheelock Student Center is south of 15th. Within the Wheelock Student Center, go to the Rotunda Room. For more information, see University of Puget Sound’s online maps.

Tickets:  Seating is limited. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at Tahoma Audubon’s sign-up sheet.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit Tahoma Audubon.  Access the sign-up sheet online:  http://bit.ly/StryckerInTacoma.

 See you there!

How to Use the Mobile eBird App ABC Meeting Summary

Tuesday March 7th the ABC meeting at the UP Library featured a program by Wendy Connolly of the WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife, who presented on how to use the eBird mobile app to best benefit both us as birders and the eBird data base to help conservationists and biologists do their work.
Bill Tweit, one of our WOS members, a Westport Seabirds leader, and superb birder as well as being an eBird guru was also in attendance to add a birder’s expertise and point of view. Bill talked of how by using the mobile app instead of going home and transcribing field notes into the online eBird interface saves time, improves accuracy, and maybe most important is a positive factor in relationships with non-birding partners. Now when he gets home instead of an hour on the computer entering data, he has a glass of wine with his wife.

Bill Tweit (Android) & Wendy Connally (iPhone) offer eBird help, with a bit of a flame war

An important feature of the app is that there is always a way to fix, or change choices made along the way. You can usually make these changes within the app, and if not you can make changes later using the eBird online interface. Don’t worry about making mistakes, you can fix them later.

Here is a summary of the “How to use the eBird mobile app presentation.

Download the Free eBird App:
You’ll want to have the eBird mobile app on your smart phone. You can download the eBird app from either the Apple or Google app store. It’s free, and has ongoing free upgrades and support. It looks like this on the Apple store:

After you download the app, the first time you use the app it will ask for your eBird user name and password, so that it can upload data from your mobile app into your eBird account.

Once downloaded and registered you are ready to start.

On opening the app you’ll see a screen with a big green “Start NEW CHECKLIST” icon, and several other smaller options below this.

Opening Screen:

-The “My Checklists” option brings up a reverse chronological list of checklists entered using the app.
-The “Trip Summary” brings up a summary of the sightings noted today, over a period of time you can choose, or all time.
-The little “?” icon at the left bottom is the help section of the app. Wendy says it will be your new best friend. It has FAQ options, a tutorial likely better than this one, an area to send feedback to the eBird team.
The little gear symbol at the bottom right brings you to your personal settings area.

Start New Checklist
First just click on the eBird app icon on your phone, and tap on the “Start NEW CHECKLIST green button on the screen. This brings you to an area to select your location. This can be one of the most confusing areas for beginners. Don’t let it be a roadblock.

Select Location and Starting Time:

There are seven options as to how to select your location. Wendy stressed that the default option should be the second from the top, “Choose a Location From Map.” This brings up a screen of the area you are currently located denoted by a yellow teardrop shaped marker. It may also show red markers (eBird Hotspots) and Blue Markers (Your personal locations). (note that these markers are also labeled at the bottom of the screen view)


If a Red Hotspot marker is on the screen and it appropriately describes your location you should use the hotspot location. To use a location just tap on or touch the marker you choose. Using a Hotspot marker if appropriate allows the best compilation of data. If you have birded in this location previously you will see Blue markers. If there is no hotspot you should use your previous location so that data from the location will be compiled as one location, not many separate but nearly identical locations. If neither a hotspot or a previous personal spot marker are appropriate you should use the default yellow marker. This is where you are currently located as determined by the GPS function of your phone. If you don’t choose another location, the yellow current location marker will be the default place chosen by the app.

If you use a Hotspot or Previous location the checklist for that location will load when you click next at the top right to move to the next step. If you choose a new personal location you will have a two more things to do.

Before you accept your current location you probably will want to name the location something more descriptive than the street address and longitude-latitude coordinates. This is especially helpful if no street address is shown. To do this just “long press” on the location shown, once it becomes highlighted just type in a description, for example “Dad’s Backyard” to make a personal location you can use repeatedly or at least know where the list is from. Then tap on “next” in the top R corner of the screen.

This will bring you to a screen to start a checklist.

Best practice is to do all of this right when you arrive at a new location. If you do it then the current time will be correct and you can just click on the bar at the bottom to “Start Checklist.” If you need to adjust the time you can do it by adjusting a few minutes using the + or – “Adjust Minutes” circles, you can “Reset to Now” by clicking on that option in green typeface, or you can tap on the time itself and a scroll screen will appear allowing you to change the hour and minute and even date you started birding. When the time is correct you click on the “Start Checklist” green bar at the bottom.

Sometimes it saves time to use one of the other options for selecting a location, rather than using “Choose a Location From Map.” Here is a brief discussion on when to choose a different option: (note that this information is from me, not from Wendy’s talk, so if mistakes it’s all on me.)

Choose a Recent Location: This is a descriptive label. If you birded the same location recently click this, and your most recent checklist locations will appear in reverse chronologic order. If you are at a place you birded in the last 5-10 checklist entries this may be a good option.

Create an Offline Checklist: This is for use when you don’t have a cell connection. When you choose this it will mark your location using the GPS feature of your phone, and you will need to confirm your location prior to submission of your list later when you have internet connectivity. More on this later.

Create a New Personal Location:
This should be a rarely used feature. Use the Choose a Location From Map instead so you don’t miss a nearby hotspot, or previous personal location.

Choose a Nearby Hotspot: This brings up a list of nearby hotspots instead of a map showing nearby hotspots. It may be easier if you know where you are and know it is a hotspot and you know the hotspot name.

Search Hotspots by City: Almost always a better choice to use other location options. This may be useful as a way to look for local hotspot names in a distant city, but not for actual real-time location choices.

Choose a Nearby Personal Location:
This can be useful if you know you have birded in this location previously and entered a list using your phone app. It will bring up a list of nearby personal locations. Duh?

Enter Species Sightings.
Once you choose the location a checklist of species of birds likely in that location is downloaded you are ready to enter species you encounter while birding. The best practice for data entry is to enter birds as you see them. This is practical when birding is slow, or you just seeing birds occasionally, but not really practical when birding is faster paced. IF you cannot enter birds as you encounter them try to do it as frequently as is reasonable. Waiting several hours to enter species on a longer stop lends more room for forgetting species, or for mis-estimation of numbers of birds seen. .

No “X’ Lists Rule:
At any rate however you enter data, ALWAYS try to make your best reasonable estimate of the actual number of species seen, and avoid using the “X” feature denoting you saw the species but are not saying how many A best estimate is much more useful than an “X” for data analysis by biologists and researchers.

We did learn some cool tricks for entering species information. At the top of the species lists are three options of what view to see. The default on opening is the “Likely” screen in the middle of the menu bar at the top of the screen. It lists all species deemed “usual” from the eBird database for the location you are birding. The option on the right is the “Checked” view. This shows you species and numbers already entered. On the left is an “All” option. It is for use when you need to add a species not expected in your location. It brings up a list of all 10,000+ world species, so it is no useful as a scroll through list for finding a species, but if you cannot find a species you identify in the “likely” screen, it will be in the “all” screen.

You can find a species by scrolling down through the likely species list. This is useful when entering birds after a bit of time birding. Once you find the species you want, you can enter the number seen by tapping on the + symbol at the left of the species. Each tap will add 1 to the number seen. This is fine when only a few are seen. If you see a large number tap on the species name and a screen to enter the number seen will occur. You could for example enter an estimated 500 Dunlin in a flock this way. After entering the count, just click on the “Done” button at the top of the screen.

If you are entering a species when you see it, or adding one or a few species to a list, it may be easier to use the # species name/code entry space at the top of the list. In this space you can enter the number of birds seen and the species name or 4 letter code. On iPhones you will need to put a space between the number and the species name or code. On android phones don’t use a space.

For example on my iPhone if I want to enter a sighting of 4 American Robins, I can type in the dialogue box “4 amro” which will bring a screen with American Robin as an option to select. If I tap on American Robin, the app will enter 4 next to the species American Robin. Later if I see an additional 35 robins, I could tap the number area 35 time, I could add in my head 4 + 35 and tap on American Robin to go to the species area and change 4 to 35, or I could just type in the dialogue box “35 amro” and tap on the American Robin species and the app will add 35 to the 4 and now show 39 American Robins seen. Don’t be intimidated by the 4 letter codes. The app is smart, and using a few letters of either the first or last name usually gets you to just a few species to pick from. Hint: Choose the more unique name, i.e. choose “Bay-breasted” rather than “warbler” to get a shorter list.

Review and Submit Your List:

Once you have a list complete you will want to Review and Submit the list. If you selected a location to start once you click on “Review and Submit” on the bottom of the screen a screen asking for information about your visit will occur.

Yes or No to the complete list question?:

At the top is the choice asking, “Are you submitting a complete checklist of the birds you were able to identify.” The best practice is to be able to check yes here. Remember it is YOUR LIST. You enter information for your level of expertise. Don’t worry that you missed some sightings. Use this option if you are trying to enter all the birds you were able to identify. If you were on a hike and are only entering one or two of the species you saw and making no effort to enter others you saw and could identify, then select “No.” In general try to be in a position where you can JUST SAY YES!

Choose an Observation Type:

-Traveling: This is for when you are traveling by foot or vehicle over more than a fairly limited location. If you wander up to 30 meters or so, choose a Stationary location. If travelling enter the estimated “one way” distance. On out and back hikes use just one direction to describe the actual distance of terrain covered.

-Stationary: This is for use when a location is fairly limited, i.e. up to 30 meters of so of moving about to see birds.

-Incidental: This is best for entey of a species of interest you want to document, but when you are not trying to enter all the species seen. An example is seeing a Peregrine Falcon fly in front of your vehicle while traveling, or seeing a flock of common murre fly past a ferry when you are not primarily birding.

Other: for specialized birding activities.

Number of Observers: Self explanatory, enter the number of people birding with you. Don’t worry if they are entering their own lists. You can share a list or each enter your own, if in a group describe the number of birders.

Duration: If you started the checklist when you start, and submit or end when you finish, just use the “Calculate” feature and the clock in your phone will fill in the number of minutes. If not enter the duration of your birding in minutes

If a green checkbox shows up beside any of your sightings something is unusual about the sighting, and it falls outside the eBird “filter.” First double check to be sure you have not made a data entry error. This happens often using a small screen like a phone. If it is an error you can delete the sighting by swiping from the Right on iPhones or long-tapping the sighting on androids. You can then enter the correct species if needed by clicking on the “add species” option. If you really saw what you entered, you will need to enter information in the comments section of the species. To do this tap on the species and a dialogue box will show up where you should describe the sighting, how you made the ID, what optics were used, etc. Don’t be intimidated by this, it helps the eBird reviewers assess the sighting validity and helps keep the eBird data base more valid. Then check the green box prior to submitting the checklist.

Submit the Checklist:

Once you have reviewed the list click “Submit” on the bottom of the screen and your list will be submitted to eBird and will be added to your personal account.

Offline Checklists:

When you are birding in areas where you do not have a cell connection good enough for internet data, you will not be able to select a location from a map, or using internet connectivity. In those cases you may need to enter an “Offline” checklist. Other options may be “Choose a Recent Location” if you have birded here recently. When you use the enter an offline checklist option the first option is whether to use a “Recent Checklist” or the “Full Taxonomy” option. It is almost always better to choose a “Recent Checklist” The likely species may not be perfect, but it is likely it will better facilitate species data entry that the full world taxonomy checklist .

Wendy taught us a handy way to prepare to go birding in a place where you know you’ll be offline and where none of your recent checklists will be appropriate. This is great for international travel, or for just a first trip to a place with a very different avifauna than on any of your recent checklists. In this case just start a checklist before you leave for the Hotspot you are going to visit, or for a nearby hotspot. Then leave the checklist unsubmitted, and when you get to the place, and start an offline checklist, you can use the “Recent Checklist” option to select an appropriate likely list for where you are birding. Pretty cool, like a Boy Scout, you an “Be Prepared.”

After you select a recent checklist the phone will use the GPS feature to find your location, usually within 5-10 meters. Once the location is reasonably close, click on OK and you will proceed on the same process as for every checklist.

Later, after you complete your sightings checklist, once you have internet connectivity you will just confirm the location prior to submitting. When you check “Submit” you will be forced to confirm the location in order to be able to submit the list. Just follow directions to do this.

Wendy finally gets us to the Submit page! Tah-Dah!

This is just the basic stuff, but with a little practice you’ll be entering eBird data in the field like a pro. Many thanks to Wendy and the Department of Fish and Wildlife for their continued support and teaching.

Anderson Island – Field trip April 9

Hiking and Birds on Anderson Island

Anderson Island ferry

Anderson Island ferry landing (exploreandersonisland.com)

Jerry Broadus and Clarice Clark will be leading a birding trip to Anderson Island on April 9, featuring coastal forest and seashore habitat, and involving some easy to moderate hiking. We will visit Andy’s Marine Park, walking on a well maintained 0.7 mile (each way) nature trail to a short descent to a lovely tidal lagoon and barrier beach on the west side of the island. http://andersonislandparks.org/Andy_s_Marine_Park.html This is a site for the Seattle Audubon Puget Sound Seabird Survey.

After returning to our cars, we will drive for about 10 minutes to the trailhead for Jacob’s Point, a protected natural area where we will walk about 1.2 miles (each way) on a flat trail to a short stairway to a beach. http://andersonislandparks.org/Jacobs_Point_Park.html We will be timing this to arrive at the beach at low tide. Jacob’s Point is a recently acquired protected area with interpretive signs, the remains of an historic homestead, a bridge over wetlands, and overlooks to Oro Bay on the south side of the island. Dogs are prohibited at both sites.

We plan on going no matter the weather. We recommend comfortable hiking boots, especially at Jacob’s Point which can have a lot of substantial water puddles on the trail, if it has recently rained. Probably best to bring a change of dry socks and shoes for the drive back home. Leaders will bring and share scopes.

Jerry and Clarice will plan on getting in line for the 56 car Anderson Island Ferry at the Steilacoom dock by 8:30 for the 9:00 crossing (about 20 minutes, with views of South Sound seabirds along the way). Vehicle fare including driver is $18.35 ($15.25 Senior) round trip. Passengers fare is $5.45 ($2.70 Senior). You have to park in the ferry line and walk down to the ticket office before boarding. They take cash and Visa/Mastercard, and they check ID for the senior rates. There is a pay parking lot beside the ferry line which charges $8.00 and must be paid in cash or check, (stuffing bills in one of those tight little slots–so no change given). Because of all of this, we suggest that you consider arranging car pools and get there at least 30 minutes early. For pre-arranged car pools the Sound Transit I-5/SR 512 park and ride, at 10617 So. Tacoma Way, (beside the McDonalds) is 20 minutes from the ferry dock, which is at 56 Union Avenue in Steilacoom.

After leaving the ferry on the island we will caravan to the parking lot at Andy’s Marine Park (there are signs you can follow to get there), and will hike from there. Both this park and Jacob’s Point have good off-street parking for 10 or so cars, depending on how close together you get. There are Porta-Potties at each parking area, and Jacobs Point has a composting toilet near the stairs to the beach. There is a good general store and a cafe that closes at 3:00 in the middle of the Island (we will drive by them both). For the return to Steilacoom you can catch a ferry at 2:50, 3:50, 4:50, and other times. It takes about about 15 minutes to drive from Jacob’s Point back to the ferry dock.

Mostly to keep down the number of cars at the parking areas we want to limit the trip to 20 people, hopefully riding together as much as possible. Please register for this trip with Tahoma Audubon. You can contact us at jbroadus@seanet.com with questions.

(Jerry Broadus is the current President of Tahoma Audubon Society)

February 21, 2017 – Svalbard with Eric Dudley

On February 21, 2017, ABC welcomed Eric Dudley, assisted by Mary Kay Elfman, to get his report on the Svalbard archipelago.

Birding Svalbard.  ABC’ers in screen reflection.

Eric Dudley, Mary Kay Elfman

Eric reports on his arctic cruise, assisted by Mary Kay

Svalbard archipelago location

What is the Svalbard archipelago near? Nothing!

Helpful directions

In case you want to leave anytime soon…

Eric Dudley took a cruise through the Svalbard archipelago last summer, way above the Arctic Circle, to see some of the rarest sights on the planet.

Birds included Jaegers, Red Phalaropes, Ivory and Glaucous Gulls as well as Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns, Common Eiders, and thrilling colonies of Thick-billed Murres.

Common Eider females

Common Eider females, of much interest to us in Puget Sound at the moment

Ivory Gull

Ivory Gull at 81 degrees latitude

Barnacle Goose Family

Barnacle Goose family

Arctic Tern warnings

Arctic Tern warnings

Arctic Tern attack

Trying to follow those instructions on Arctic Terns!

Eric’s presentation included short movies of the ship moving through the Murres’ cliffs as well as Kittiwakes and terns hunting among the ice floes alongside the ship.

Thick-billed Murres in their guano-striped cliff colony.

Mammals were thrilling as well, with this being one of the last best places to see Polar Bears, although no history of human/bear trauma, as well as Walruses, Arctic Foxes, and Reindeer. With plant life being rather sparse, the assortment of fauna was amazing.

Rafting up to a Polar Bear

Keeping a distance from the Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Polar Bear on floe near ship

Walruses

Reindeer

Reindeer

The scenery itself with glacier after glacier surrounded by icebergs was stunning. Eric also provided a history of human settlement of these most northernmost towns on earth.

Glacier to left


Many ABC’ers asked questions that seemed to have to do with making plans to go there! Only Melissa and Dennis Sherwood had been there previously, and they also recommended it as a trip to remember.

Great photos, Eric!!

ABC has Big Party for Big Year (2016)

ABC held its annual celebration party on January 24, 2017, celebrating our uber-birders for 2016. Plus we had a neverending spread of goodies and much good cheer! Thanks to those who brought goodies!

Big Year group snacks before presentation (Laurel, Brian, Blair, Jerry, Ken, Mike, etc)

Those who told about their Big Years included guest star Blair Bernson from Edmonds (#2 in the state), our own Brian Pendleton who was NUMBER ONE in the state, Ed Pullen who was the only one of us to show up on the NATIONAL LIST (as well as high on the Pierce and Kitsap lists), Bruce LaBar (NUMBER ONE in PIERCE, #4 in the STATE), Mike Charest who blew the competition out of the water in 2014 for Pierce and helped start this ABC tradition before anyone knew who he was (but we sure know now!), Heather Voboril who once she realized her year was going to be big went REALLY BIG in Pierce (#2) and Kitsap (#4), Ken Brown who continued on his quest to own Kitsap County (#3) and break 200 in that county (203!), and John Riegsecker, the Mason County specialist who wants to do away with the concept that Mason County is a birding desert.

Brian, #1 in Washington, shows slides of his 2016 catches.

Heather Voboril managed to take photos of her Big Year birds!

After catching our breath from those reports on ambitious birding, we started to roll through everyone’s 5 best photos from 2016, but there were so many we ran out of time. Yes, we have THAT many great birders and great photographers!

Big Year presentations to ABC on January 24, 2017, with Brian Pendleton shown here.

Eric Dudley volunteered a little time from his presentation next Month (Feb 21, same time & place) to finish showing the 5 best photos that we didn’t get to, knowing what a hit they are with the group. Eric’s presentation will be on his trip to the Svalbard Archipelago. Dress warmly!! Read more: http://abcbirding.com/svalbard-archipelago-feb-21-2016/