January 12, 2009
This evening's meeting of the Augusta Bird Club was especially worthwhile, for a variety of reasons. There was discussion about the visiting Townsend's solitaire, a grayish Western-ranging bird that has been seen near the Massanutten resort lately. The featured program at the meeting was a presentation by Dr. Mercedes Foster about her study of the mating behavior and social systems of Manakins, a family of small, colorful, fruit-eating birds that are found in tropical rain forests. Dr. Foster is a Research Biologist who works at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. She described in detail the challenging conditions she and her co-workers had to endure at the Manu National Park in Peru, which happens to be one of my top hoped-for travel destinations. Some day!
But most important of all (perhaps), I announced some major enhancements to the www.augustabirdclub.org Web site. It now enables club members to post alert messages about rare bird sightings (such as the Townsend's solitaire), without having to go through the Web master (me). The club members were very appreciative, and it's a real pleasure for me to be able to apply my creative energies for such a worthy cause. Now if I can only find the time to lead a field trip...
Driving along Route 29 in Nelson County today, I saw three Red-tailed hawks, a Kestrel, and a Red-bellied woodpecker that flew across the road in front of me. With the arctic front coming through in the next couple days, I don't think I'll spend much time bird watching.