Tuesday, September 21, 2010

OOS Annual Conference

The Ohio Ornithological Society's annual conference approaches: October 8 - 10, in Eastlake, Ohio, hard on the shores of Lake Erie. If you are a newer birder, or don't know us well, don't be put off by the O word. Ornithological is synonymous with birding and fun to us, and we have a great time at these affairs. In fact, we want and encourage ALL levels of skills and knowledge to become involved with us.

A fabulous slate of speakers will wow the crowd: Larry Rosche with an overview of the birdlife of northeast Ohio, one of the richest spots for avifauna in the Great Lakes. John Pogacnik on sparrows, one of our most interesting yet underappreciated groups of songbirds. Andy Jones on migration and how birds make the fantastic journeys that they do. Harvey Webster on the dangers of illuminated skyscapers and other structures to migrant birds and what we can do about it.

Finally, Drew Wheelan, point-person for the American Birding Association for the Gulf BP oil gusher, provides the keynote. Drew was - and is - on the front lines and has possibly seen more of this tragedy firsthand than anyone else who has reported on the catastrophe. His program will be a provocative eye-opener. For an interesting read about Drew, visit Ted Eubank's BLOG.

OOS events always feature great field trips, which add tremendously to the logistical headaches for planners but is totally in keeping with our mission of getting people out to see great birds and learn about them. The triangular wedge above is legendary Dike 14, jutting into Lake Erie from the Cleveland shoreline. I took this photo last winter; it'll not be white and cold like this for our conference. Craig Caldwell and I are leading one of the conference field trips here, and we expect scads of sparrows and many other species.

Perhaps the most famous "sea watch" site on the Ohio shore of Lake Erie, the breakwall at Mentor Headlands. We'll be sending a trip there, and who knows that they'll find. The list of species found here is staggering and includes reams of rarities.

The beautiful if not rather squeaky little Bonaparte's Gulls will be starting to mass, and this part of Lake Erie pulls them in by the thousands. They're fun to watch in their own right, but seasoned birders know to pick through the Bonies for goodies such as Little and Black-headed gulls.

The ochre waves of beach grasses at Headlands can be great for sparrow-seeking, and two species of little buff-colored beauts are the main target: Le Conte's and Nelson's sparrows. A few of the OOS excursions will be hitting some of the best places to find these little skulkers anywhere in the state.

I hope that you can make the conference, and if so, I'll look forward to seeing you there. The complete scoop and registration info is RIGHT HERE.


Jason Kessler said...

I made my first trip to Ohio two years ago for The Midwest Birding Symposium, and it was a real eye-opener. There's some amazing birding there, in a place that was just not on my map. And I was privileged to meet a lot of wonderful folk, including one (1) Mr. James McCormac.

Jim, along with Bill Thompson III, and Kenn & Kim Kaufman, have been working hard to put Ohio in the forefront of us birdbrains, and I got to see why first hand. ALWAYS worth a trip, and with the line-up promised for the OOS's annual conference, a no-brainer for anyone who can make it.

Jim McCormac said...

Thank you for the nice comments, Jason, and it was OUR pleasure to host you! For those of you who don't know, this commentor is Jason Kessler, who made the wonderful movie Opposable Chums: http://www.opposablechums.com/about_the_film.html

This quote says it all about Jason's film:

“...the first film that really gets birding.”

-Scott Weidensaul, Pulitzer-nominated nature writer

Jason was good enough to screen his movie to full houses at last year's Midwest Birding Symposium and it was a hit! We can't wait to have him back, and see his next venture!


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