Hello! This is the first official update for the Sound Birders webpage!
First, I'll establish a large part of my current plans: the Bird Club at Lakeside School.
Our goal is to make a relaxed, discussion-based club surrounding birds where people can talk about their favorite birds, experiences, or facts, with semi-frequent bird outings to parks and trails around Washington. We hope to take on more as the year goes on, including fundraisers, hands-on activities like creating bird feeders, and garbage pickups on birding trips. We also aim to hold joint field trips with senior homes, and to create some outreach programs, such as going to middle and elementary schools to give introductions to bird-related topics.
Progress has been steady, and right now meetings are largely simple party games and socialization regarding birds. However, I am starting to branch out more, with more lesson-style meetings, and most recently a more art-oriented meeting where members painted wooden birdhouses for the upcoming nesting season. We plan to finish that mini-project within the next week, then move onto a feeder project. However, that may wait for a few weeks to space them apart, and if so I may want to come up with more engaging ideas as the art idea worked splendidly.
I'm the dork on the right that massively overprepared for it.
Our larger future plans are as follows:
Install an official nest camera, either in collaboration with Lakeside or on the side.
Hold more outings, in general. Plan for a larger one in April, May, or June. At least as far as Skagit, potentially as intensive as the multi-day Memorial Day birding at Wenas
Hold a fundraiser and donate to a specific cause. Also make it timely, as we did donated to PAWS but that took seven months.
Bring Joshua Morris in for a talk about birds and conservation
That last point is the most important right now, as he has shown interest in talking to the school. I will need to contact StudGov, but before that find more ways to rope in Bird Club as a big name in organizing it, either for the assembly or a special club meeting.
Right now I'm focusing on expansion, and I hope that goes well.
In non-Bird Club related news, I am currently working on a research project affiliated with ISB (Institute for Systems Biology) on a study of how the pandemic impacted the usership of eBird. Not much progress yet but I do have a good direction, and the actual data necessary to do the research (courtesy of eBird, and around 20GB of external hard drive storage).
ABA Young Birders is coming up and I intend to get more concrete plans for that, which is related to Bird Club.
I'm technically working on two research projects with the UW, a hummingbird wing coloration survey meant to determine if male hummingbirds use sexually dimorphic wing colors to attract mates, and another about bill morphology that examines the evolution of nectarivore beak structure based on their closest relatives. Both are slow going, the former having had no updates in almost half a year (I'm the only one still active on it, despite email requests for information) and the latter took a four month break but is technically now back under way.
This is old news, but over winter break I went to Kaua'i and did some major birding: 4 locations in one day, then a few more spread out over 5. I ended up compiling 8 checklists and a five-day streak, a personal record, and 27 total species. I'm pretty proud and had a very good time. It helps that Kaua'i is beautiful. We went when it was rainy season (and got lucky to not be rained on except when we were driving) and the combination of far-off rain and brilliant sunsets was spectacular when we were at the foot of the mountains. Even without the weather helping it was gorgeous. Canyons both red with iron-rich soil and green/tan with far-off vegetation, white-tailed tropicbirds sailing over river valleys and waterfalls, sunsets over the ocean, massive walls of rock and vegetation stretching into the sky, all accompanied by the perfect temperature. I intend to go back.
Also, I got a massive (to me) milestone with the picture above, a rare (for the island) great egret that I suspect is the same one others have noted over the past few months. I got that cleared and approved by eBird, making me one of only a few dozen to have confirmed great egret sightings on Kauai!
Here's the link to the eBird site for great egrets on Kauai: https://ebird.org/species/greegr/US-HI-007
Also, I do plan to upload the highlights of the trip to my personal blog (along with every other photo I've gotten since April) eventually.
I'll try to keep this page updated as much as I can!
Oh, and here's some proof about our donation to PAWS: