|Go To indianaaudubon.org to find out more about where to bird, what's being seen and how to renew your membership.
Indiana Audubon Loses Two Long-time Members
Dr. Charles D. Wise passed away on July 31, 2009 at the Emogene Dolin Jones Hospice House in Huntington, West Virginia. He was 83. Dr. Wise served as President of IAS and was a recipient of a Earl Brooks Award.
Robert (Bob) G. Miller, 92, passed away at home Monday, August 17, 2009 of head injuries from a fall. He served the Indiana Audubon Society for many years as treasurer and was a recipient of the James H. Mason Service Award.
Both Charles and Bob will be sadly missed.
The Trip is On!
IAS Cuba Bird Survey Update
Chuck Mills announced today that pending the approval of the license by the Department of the Treasury, the Cuban trip is now a go! He said that he should hear something about the license within a few weeks. Chuck mentioned that there's still room for a few more people. As you know the more skilled eyes present the more birds that we will all get to see. I hope that you will be able to encourage others to go along. Several people have expressed interest and he thinks that some of them will be signing up.
If you have birding pals who might be interested be sure to contact them. This will be one great experience. See www.Indianaaudubon.org for more information. Go to Activities and then Field Trips.
There are only 8 spots still open. The dates of the trip are March 1 to March 12, 2010. You may opt to spend a full day in Havana on Feb.28.
The Fall Birding Festival is right around the corner. Be sure to make your reservations at indianaaudubon.org
|FALL 2009 BIRDING FESTIVAL|
Registration is online! Secure your spot today.
The Fall 2009 Birding Festival will be held at Indiana Dunes State Park the weekend of October 2-4. Well-known birders, Kenneth Brock, John Kendall, Ross Brittain, Lee Sterrenburg, and 16 year old Allison Vilag will join Brad Bumgardner (State Park Interpretive Naturalist and IAS Board Member) in regional ornithological study and appreciation.
Dr. Kenneth Brock, author of the Birds of the Indiana Dunes, will be the featured speaker on Saturday evening. This event doubles as a fundraiser to promote the Green Tower Project at the Dunes State Park. Additional activities of the weekend will include monitoring fall warblers and sparrows, youth programs, field trips, and a Saw-whet owl banding demonstration. Find out more or download the flyer.
|Nominations sought for IBRC|
by Brad Bumgardner
The Indiana Bird Records Committee (IBRC), a committee of Indiana Audubon Society, is seeking nominations for two members. Current IBRC members will choose the new members from those nominated during an election process that will take placed in mid-September 2009. The Board of Directors of Indiana Audubon Society must then ratify the nominations at their meeting to be held in October 2009. The purpose of the IBRC is to maintain the official Indiana bird checklist and to evaluate certain bird records. The IBRC is comprised of seven members elected to staggered three-year terms. Upon expiration of their term, a member is not allowed to serve on the IBRC for a period of at least one year. The chair serves a one-year term and can be re-elected for up to six consecutive years. All terms begin on January 1 and end December 31.
Nominations for the two member positions and for the chair should be sent to Brad Bumgardner, the current chair, by September 20, 2009. Persons being nominated must be skilled at bird identification, be familiar with bird distribution in Indiana, be willing to review bird records submitted by observers, and attend the annual IBRC meeting. While serving on the IBRC, the person must be a member of Indiana Audubon Society. Nominations for the members and chair positions should be sent by September 10, 2010 to Brad Bumgardner, 1600 N 25 E, Chesterton, IN 46304 or Bbumgardner@dnr.in.gov. Members continuing on the committee for 2010 are John Cassady, Roger Hedge, Don Gorney, Jim Hengeveld, and Larry Peavler.
|Agenda for IAS Fall Birding Festival 2009 |
Indiana Dunes State Park
October 2-4, 2009 in Chesterton, IN
Note: All times Eastern. Local time is on Central.
Friday, October 2, 2009
6:00-8:00pm Registration Open - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
6:00-7:30pm IAS Board Meeting - Hilton Garden Inn
8:00-9:00pm Birding the Big Year - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center Auditorium
Saturday, October 3, 2009
8:00-11:00am Field Birding - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center Parking Lot
8:00-11:00am Field Birding II - Interpretive Nature Center Parking Lot
10:30-11:00am Bird Feeding for the Kids - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
12:30-1:00pm IAS Membership Meeting - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
2:00-3:00pm Today's Youth and Birding - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
3:00-5:30pm Storm water Basins for Birds - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
6:00-8:30pm Fall Migration in the Dunes Region - Hilton Garden Inn
9:00-10:00pm Dunes Saw-whet Owl Banding - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
Sunday October 4, 2009
8:00-10:00am Bird Banding Demonstrations - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
8:00-11:00am Dunes Area Birding Tour - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center Parking Lot
10:00-10:45am Bird Feeding for the Kids - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
11:00-12:00pm The Birds of Goose Pond FWA - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
12:00-12:30pm Birding Cuba- An IAS Field Trip - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
12:30-1:30pm BIGBY Birding - IDSP Interpretive Nature Center
Birding the Big Year
In 2008, John Kendall broke the state record for most birds seen in one year in Indiana. John's adventures took him all over the state in all 12 months to finally end with 312 species. John will share his birds and experiences during this fast paced year.
Dunes National Lakeshore Warbler and Sparrow Tour
Join other birders for a morning search of warblers, sparrows, and other migrating birds along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Many sites will be visited during this car pool tour, including Indiana Dunes State Park, West Beach, and more.
Beverly Shores Birding Drive
Join other birders for a driving tour of one of the most productive fall birding sites along the dunes. In October, many lingering sparrows, warblers, flycatchers, and other songbirds can be found lurking along the swampy brushes in Beverly Shores. In addition, early winter finches can often be found.
Bird Feeding for the Kids
Bring the kids to the IDSP Nature Center for a look at the different seeds used to attract fall's birds. Kids can help fill the feeders, and then make their own recycled bird feeder to take home afterwards.
Today's Youth and Birding
Allison Vilag is a 16 year old from Berrien County, Michigan who began birding at a young age. Allison will highlight her experiences and what drew her into birding. This program will also explore what brings today's youth into bird watching and ways to better engage the future generation in bird conservation.
Stormwater Basins for Birds
The NIMBA project called McCool Basin represents a unique partnership to manage a stormwater runoff pond for migratory shorebird conservation. John and Brad will highlight the experiences with the project and lead a car pool tour to bird the site.
Fall Migration in the Dunes Region
Kenneth Brock has been following bird migration patterns in the dunes for over 30 years. In this keynote address, Ken will share some of the migration phenomenon that makes the dunes the rare bird mecca of Indiana and population trends throughout the state.
Dunes Saw Whet Owl Banding
The Indiana Dunes sits at a unique position between well known banding stations, such as Whitefish Point and the Hoosier National Forest. Together Ross Brittain and Brad Bumgardner will open the inaugural nets for what hopes to be a fascinating and informational owl banding station this fall.
The Birds of Goose Pond FWA: An unparalleled example of successful wetland restoration in Indiana.
Since its inception, Goose Pond FWA has hosted an assortment of wetland bird species. In 2009, these sightings continued, including the first ever Roseate Spoonbill for Indiana. Lee will highlight the work done on this new DNR property and how it has benefited both birds and birders.
Birding Cuba- An IAS Field Trip Preview
Chuck Mills will provide a preview for the upcoming IAS Field Trip to Cuba.
The Big Green Big Year (BIGBY) concept was originally developed to encourage birders to reduce their carbon footprint as they pursue their hobby. While participating in a BIGBY does make one think about the fossil fuel typically consumed while birding over the course of a year, it is more than that. The emphasis on local birding can lead to a deeper connection with the land. This heightened sense of place can lead one to be a better steward of his or her local environment.
|IAS Fall Festival Fundraiser |
For many years a large green tank provided water storage for Indiana Dunes State Park. This tank was located atop a high dune near the western margin of the park and a stairway gave access to a viewing platform on the tank's crown. The platform provided a spectacular view of the surrounding dunes, beach, lake, and forests. The tank's apex also provided a superb point for observing spring hawk flights and was an excellent vantage point for studying long shore bird flights (Kenneth Brock's current research project).
The list of birds observed at this location is most remarkable. Well over 200 bird species have been reported including an amazingly diverse list of rarities, which includes: Greater White-fronted Goose, Harlequin Duck, Red-throated Loon, Little Blue Heron, Northern Goshawk, Swainson's Hawk, Merlin, Willet, Upland Sandpiper, Little Gull, Iceland Gull, White-winged Dove, Short-eared Owl, Say's Phoebe, Western Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Cave Swallow, Townsend's Solitaire, Bohemian Waxwing, and Lark Sparrow.
During spring long shore flights the sky is often choked with birds. In addition to hordes of blackbirds peak daily counts of other species include 13,800 Cedar Waxwings, 3009 Blue Jays, 2570 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 2205 American Goldfinch, 1779 Lapland Longspurs, 600 Northern Flickers, 464 Baltimore Orioles, 418 Eastern Kingbirds, 282 Indigo Buntings, 20 Orchard Orioles, and 16 Pine Warblers. Clearly, the green tower site rests astride a major corridor for migrating birds.
In recent years the State Park converted to Chesterton water and in 2007 the green tank was disassembled and salvaged. The park administration is now committed to replacing the tank with an observation tower. Current plans are for a 30-foot high structure with a 30x30 foot viewing platform. It will be fully handicapped accessible. In addition to birding the new tower will provide an unprecedented view of the lake and dunes, which can be used for school field trips, sightseers, and park naturalists (for presentations).
We are currently raising funds for construction of the tower. Local birders have conducted a Birdathon, which raised more than $2000. The Potawatomi, Sassafras, and Stockbridge Audubon Societies have all made outright financial gifts. Additionally, The Flora Richardson Foundation, which supports natural science education, pledged $20,000 toward the construction. The Friends of the Indiana Dunes and the Northwest Indiana Migratory Bird Association has generously agreed to serve as a conduit to collect and forward funds to the State Park. To support this effort, the Indiana Audubon Society will be holding a silent auction and raffle at the IAS Fall Festival to further the fundraising for this amazing new bird observation deck. We invite you to bring your checkbook and peruse the diverse selection of items available from Saturday night.
|Birding Indiana Dunes State Park |
Indiana Dunes State Park occupies 2,182 acres in Northwest Indiana. It was established in 1925, as Indiana's 5th state park. The rare collection of habitats and associated plants and animals has long been recognized as one of the most biologically rich areas in the country.
Within the boundaries of Indiana Dunes State Park one can find lake, beach, foredunes, dune forests, dune swamps, prairie, and savanna habitat. This mixture helps support a vast variety of bird species, and supports many migrating birds as they funnel along the lakeshore during migration.
While any trail can find a good variety of birds, trails 2 and 10 are by far the most popular with birders. Trail 2 circles the Great Marsh and traverses it on a mile-long boardwalk. Trail 2 is a good spot for nesting woodland birds such as Hooded Warbler, Veery, and Red-shouldered Hawk. Kirtland's Warbler has also been found here. Trail 10 follows behind the high dunes, and comes back along the beach. A variety of forestland and savanna habitat is passed on this hike. Birding opportunities exist at the east end of the park where Trail 10 passes through the Pinery and Paradise Valley. Trails 7 and 8 crisscross the high dunes where migrant passerines can be found when the winds are calmer. Whippoorwills are also common on summer evenings in the high dunes. Trail 3 is a short unique trail that starts at the bird observation area (old green tower) and passes through open high dunes, savanna, and finally prairie habitat on the west end of the park. Trail 9 is also a good trail to visit the park's high dunes and blowout features. Summer Tanager and Prairie Warbler have been seen in recent years in the blowouts.
Along the lakeshore, the bird observation area (old green tower) located on a dune west of the West Beach Parking Lot offers birders a good vantage point for migrating waterfowl, passerines, and hawks. The former tower on this site is now gone, but plans are in the works on a new tower to replace it. Both Dunes area and state record high counts for individual birds have been recorded from the old green tower. Some species counts include: Eastern Kingbird (418; state record), Cliff Swallow (120; Dunes area record), Cape May Warbler (21; Dunes area record), and Scarlet Tanager (61; state record). Record counts have also been tallied for Northern Flicker (600; state record) and counts around 100 have been made of Baltimore Oriole.
Visitors should not pass up an opportunity to visit the park's Nature Center. Information on the park itself, and recent bird sightings can be found there. The bird feeder area often hosts winter finches before other areas of the state, and gives good glimpses at some of the more common species.
The area around the main beach is handicapped-accessible, with concrete pads offering good views of the lake. The park's Nature Center keeps an all-terrain wheelchair available for free use with a driver's license deposit. The park's wheelchair opens up most of the park for the disabled visitor.
Typical Time to Bird Site: 2-8 hours, though all-day vigils are conducted from the bird observation area.