WOS CONFERENCE RECAP
OCEAN SHORES, 2015
By Bruce LaBar
As this year’s conference was winding down, several people commented to me that they had a great time and were impressed by how smooth everything seemed to go. I also had sensed this feeling throughout the conference and believe the majority of the conference birders did as well.
This was very rewarding to hear because it was the first time I had helped to coordinate a WOS conference and I must say, it takes a lot of planning!
The help and guidance from people who’ve done this before was invaluable. Shep Thorp took on a major piece when he volunteered to do registration and help with motel setups, food selection and some other duties. We had 150 attendees.
One of the main parts of any conference is getting field trip leaders, speakers and workshops setup. It was wonderful how so many responded when asked to help out. Without their expertise and participation we wouldn’t have a conference. I thank all who participated for making this one of the best!
What did we see? LESSER SAND PLOVER, BAR-TAILED GODWIT, and both GOLDEN PLOVERS!
These early sightings, just before the conference, had all of us excited about the possibilities of seeing even more migrants.
However, that sand plover eluded all the field trips and only a few WOS members were able to observe it during this time. The Bar-tailed was a one day wonder, seen only by Jim Danzenbaker on the Wednesday before the conference. The American and Pacific Golden Plovers remained throughout and were viewed by many as well as other wonderful sightings.
The pelagic trips that Phil and Chris Anderson scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday were successful except for a shortened trip that had to be canceled, due to wind on Sunday.
The highlights from those trips include: Two Flesh-footed Shearwaters, five Short-tailed Shearwaters, one South Polar Skua and the first returning Arctic Terns. One Orca was seen on Sunday’s brief trip and Gray and Minke whale were seen
The evening programs were a huge success! The “Stump the Experts” or “chumps” was fun for all with Dennis Paulson’s great and difficult slides and with Shep acting as the moderator. Thanks to all the “experts” for participating.
Saturday’s banquet, awards, and Bill Tweit’s great program on the History of Westport Pelagic Birds and People was the highlight of the conference.
Peter Hodum, biology professor at the University of Puget Sound, presented an outstanding program Sunday evening, centered on his studies in Chile with Pink-footed Shearwaters. He also intertwined migration patterns of other birds and
animals and many other interesting facts.
Now that this conference is over, the planning for next year’s in Walla Walla has begun. I hope that you’ll put the first week of June on your calendars and participate, lead trips, or just attend and have a great time.
The final tally of species, according to the large chart that was at the conference and field trip checklists handed in, totaled 185! The complete list is in this newsletter.
Once again thanks to all for your participation in this year’s conference and see you next year at the Walla Walla gathering!