GOS Spring Meeting
May 18-21, 2018
Keynote Speaker – Dr. Bob Sargent, Past President, GOS
Friday Speaker – Ed Maioriello, host, Trivia Quiz
Bird List Compiled by Larry Carlile
If you weren’t able to join us in Hiawassee for the spring meeting, we missed you. Although the weather was threatening, all of the scheduled field trips departed (and returned!) on schedule. However, we occasionally had to take shelter from some heavy downpours. The trip I led to Hale Ridge had to take cover under the porch of a country store during a sudden deluge, but we had a good time watching Barn Swallows as they foraged over the pasture behind the store and occasionally rested on perches under the porch. By the end of the trip, we’d managed to have great looks at both Least Flycatchers and Willow Flycatchers. For a flatlander like me, that was quite a treat. Many thanks to all of the intrepid field trip leaders (Ed Maioriello, Patty McLean, J.P. Moss, Angus Pritchard, and Bob Sargent) who led trips for the spring meeting. We visited great destinations, such as Brasstown Bald, Burrell’s Ford Road, Hale Ridge, Ivy Log Gap, Gumlog Road, and Sosebee Cove, and tallied 107 species (see the complete list below).
On Friday evening, Second Vice President Ed Maioriello emceed a trivia quiz that was great fun and very tough! Our Saturday night keynote address was presented by GOS Past President Dr. Bob Sargent. Bob summarized the history of Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, and Peregrine Falcon conservation in the state and presented the results of his work with Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons since he was hired as one of Georgia DNR’s nongame program managers in 2015. The good news is that Bald Eagles have made a tremendous recovery in the state, from no successful nests found in Georgia during most of the 1970s to a state record 218 occupied nest territories in 2017. However, the species still faces very real threats from collisions with cars, loss of nesting habitat, lead poisoning, and avian vacuolar myelinopathy, a neurological disease. Peregrine Falcons were probably never abundant in Georgia. Prior to the appearance of the nest in Tallulah Gorge State Park in 2015, there was only one documented record of a wild-type Peregrine Falcon nest in Georgia, which was found in 1942 in Cloudland Canyon State Park. Of course, the species is often seen in the state during migration, especially on the coast, and it has been nesting on highrise buildings in the Atlanta area since 1996. Bob noted that there appear to be at least four falcon territories in and around the big city. In April 2018, Bob, Jim Ozier, and Georgia DNR helicopter pilot Major Doc Watson conducted the first intensive falcon eyrie search in the state since 1995. Although some of the cliff faces they inspected appeared suitable for nesting, no peregrines or nests were found. To conclude his presentation—as an added bonus—Dr. Bob gave us an enjoyable quiz, just to make sure we’d been paying attention. Correct answers were rewarded with lovely Peregrine Falcon prints.
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler