Sue McGrath’s Report from the ECOC’s 
Annual Birding & Supper Event
Hosted by Dotty Brown
Monday, May 10, 2010, 6:00 pm

Dear ECOC Members,

Again, in the Club’s tradition, our gracious hostess Dotty Brown shared her seaside home filled with warm hospitality to an affable group of birders and picnickers. Our conversations ranged from warblers carrying nesting material, land conservation in Ipswich, art exhibits to shade-grown coffee.

This May gathering on Eastern Point in Gloucester was inclusive of newcomers as well as the Club’s senior naturalists as beverages flowed, the sea glistened and we savored the fine assortment of cheeses, deviled eggs and spinach pie. We were treated to highly decorated, ornithological desserts ~ a penguin shaped, spice cake and a chocolate cake shaped as a member of the swallow family.

Picnickers and Club Councilors Susan Hedman and John Nelson tallied the following on May 9th & 10th: 

Mute Swan, Mallard, Common Eider, Red-throated Loon, Northern Gannet, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Blue Jay, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Carolina Wren, House Wren, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, Nashville Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.

Birds & Beans®

As birders and people who care about bird conservation, protecting songbird wintering habitat and the family farmer is important to us. The Club is now partnering with Birds & Beans®, and you’ll find their link on the Club’s web page. Birds & Beans® only sells coffee meeting the demanding, independent certification of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Bird friendly coffee from Birds & Beans® comes from the best managed, family farms in Latin America – farms where passion for great coffee and respect for environment are ways of life. Strong, scientific evidence proves that farms with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s certification make a major difference for birds by preserving tropical habitat at a time when so many forests are under attack and industrial, mono-culture, sun coffee farming is expanding. Birds & Beans® is “Triple Certified” – birds, people, planet, and their coffee is roasted in small batches and within days of shipping.

Canoe Trip

The Club’s calendar has Saturday, May 22nd, as the 104th ECOC birding trip along the Ipswich River ~ arguably the oldest, uninterrupted bird-count in the world. Please keep an eye on the ECOC homepage for the announcement of the event’s coordinator and trip details. *As of this writing, we have no trip coordinator… *

Other News

The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island has announced birding program for May 18th which will be lead by Tom Wetmore. The target birds are Whip-poor-wills and American Woodcocks; the group will also listen for rails, bitterns and anything else that may be around, and with good fortunate, we may catch glimpses of them. The refuge is limiting the size of the groups, so you MUST register for the programs by calling 978-465-5753 or stopping by the visitor center at 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA. Time: 7:30 to 9:00 pm. Meeting Location: Hellcat parking lot

Peaboby Essex Museum ~ Salem

Trash Menagerie presents over 30 improbable works of art created from things most of us simply throw away. This is a playful and poignant exhibition. Visitors will think differently about the creative potential lurking in everyday objects. There’s an iridescent trout made from beach refuse and a flock of cheery birds made from tin cans. Trash Menagerie explores animals imaginatively made from recycled rubbish. Be sure to get there soon ~ exhibit closes on May 23rd.

Fruitlands Museum in Harvard

For the Birds: Art from the Mass Audubon collection features remarkable and rarely-exhibited art. The exhibition includes selected works spanning more than two centuries by internationally renowned artists from John James Audubon’s elephant folio prints to Andy Warhol’s Bald Eagle serigraph, all with an intriguingly diverse approach to their subject ~ birds. The Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center’s collection will be shared with a broader audience at Fruitlands. This extraordinary art collection was assembled over 114 years by Mass Audubon. For the Birds has something for everyone—casual visitors, art enthusiasts, backyard birdwatchers, adults and children. It runs through November 15th.

Flights of Discovery ~ Barry Van Dusen’s oils, watercolors and prints of songbirds, shorebirds, birds of wetlands, grasslands feathered friends and other nature subjects typical of New England comprise this exhibit. Barry is their 2010 Artist-in-Residence at Fruitlands. Van Dusen is an internationally recognized wildlife artist living in central Massachusetts. He has illustrated a variety of natural history books and pocket guides. His articles and paintings have been featured in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Birder’s World and Wildlife Art magazines. Barry has exhibited regularly in the prestigious Birds in Art show in Wausau, Wisconsin as well as in many galleries in the United States and Europe. In 2007, he was commissioned to create the UK Habitat Conservation Stamp which is the British counterpart to the US Federal Duck Stamp.

On a Personal Note

The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s 3-Day Walk Cure Breast Cancer [60 mile] will be on July 23 – 25 in Boston. My nieces Jane Kelleher and Courtney McGrath have asked for my support. Yes, I’ll be birding on the route too… Please support our team by sending your donation made out to the Susan G. Komen Foundation along to Sue McGrath, 44 Moulton Street, Newburyport, MA 01950.

Best Wishes,

Sue McGrath, President
Essex County Ornithological Club
Salem, MA