By Ruth Sullivan
From 26 to 29 September, I went to the WOS Annual Conference at Ocean Shores. The meeting was fun, with lots of chances to bird and talk with other members. It was also very well organized.
On Friday, I joined the field trip on the Grays Harbor Loop, with leaders Kevin Aanerud, Greg Toffic, and Steve Mlodinow. The highlights of our trip included a Scrub Jay in Tokeland and a Great Egret at the Raymond Airport. We also counted 10 Willets at Tokeland.
Other people went on a pelagic trip led by Terry Wahl, Bill Tweit, and Bruce LaBar. The featured birds included Short-tailed and Fleshfooted shearwaters, South Polar Skua, and Sabines Gull. Terry Wahl commented that numbers of alcids were very low, as they have been this year.
Saturday’s field trip participants at Lake Quinault were frustrated in their search for a Spotted Owl. Leaders scouted for a week and only turned up a Northern Pygmy-Owl, which wasn’t relocated on trip day.
The other Saturday trip, to Point Grenville, produced two Palm Warblers and a single-observer sighting of a Vesper Sparrow.
Paper presentations on Saturday afternoon were well attended. Speakers talked about seabirds and shorebirds, the conference theme. In the evening, we ate grilled salmon and fry bread before the program, then listened to Dennis Paulson give a talk with a fitting title: “Shorebirds are Cool.” The audience enjoyed his slides of shorebirds from around the world and learned a great deal about these popular bird families.
Daily field trips around Ocean Shores produced seven Red Knots at Damon Point, one Snowy Plover on the outer beach, at least 35 goldenplovers, two White-throated Sparrows, and a number of Lapland Longspurs.
Altogether, was members identified 163 species through the conference period, not bad for late in the fall migration. That brings me to the end of this summary. I thank all the members of the conference committee, especially the field trip leaders who worked so hard to find all the birds. I hope to see everyone again next May, when the conference will be at Kennewick. The conferences get better each year!
By Michael Carmody and Scott Richardson
The eighth annual conference, held the last weekend of September in Ocean Shores, attracted roughly 100 registered participants. With unregistered speakers, field trip leaders, and exhibitors, attendance was about 115. Members assembled at the conference received ballots to vote for officers and directors and to approve bylaw amendments. WOS President Michael Carmody reported the results at the annual WOS Board open forum. Thirty-seven ballots were received. All officers and board members ran unopposed, and there were no write-in candidates on ballots. Each officer and director received 37 votes. There was one abstention on the bylaws vote, which passed 36-0. A change in the bylaws will allow members not attending conferences to cast their votes in future elections.
The following topics were discussed at the forum: Andy Stepniewski has replaced Gene Hunn on the Washington Bird Records Committee, a standing committee ofWOS. Terry Wahl and Dennis Paulson have donated to the Society the publication rights for the popular book, A Guide to Birdfinding in Washington. The board earmarked profits from sales to establish a fund dedicated to supporting future publications about Washington birds. Participants asked: Is WOS a “growing” or a “maintaining” organization? The answer is both. Membership in 1995 and 1996 was approximately 550, an increase of 100 over previous years. However, no continued growth has been noted during the past 12 months. Participants expressed frustration with memberships expiring on the last day of the year, leading to lapsed memberships due to a lack of reminders. This problem should be resolved in part by the new membership calendar system. Targeting non-renewing members for outreach effort was recommended during the discussion.