Please check Calendar for upcoming bird walks, field trips and meetings.
There were 35 birders, 28 species and a nice fire today (even though the air temperature was about 70 degrees!) for birding at New Quarter Park for the first day of 2022.
The ebird list is at https://ebird.org/checklist/S99856080
Photos by Shirley Devan (except for the photo Shirley is in. That photo by Jeanette Navia)
The Board is in agreement that walks can now be open to the community with no need for reservations. New Quarter Park walks will be the fourth Saturday of each month at 8:00 am. You may just show up with no restrictions! Hurray.
Carpooling for field trips may resume as previously done. On the day of the field trip, people will meet at Colony Square Shopping Center (1301 Jamestown Road) and the cars/riders will be configured at that time.
See the calendar for upcoming events.
By Bill Williams
A devoted member of the Williamsburg Bird Club’s extended family was claimed by cancer January 6, 2021. Tom McCary had been a WBC member since 1983 and was granted a Lifetime Membership at the club’s September 20, 2017 Fortieth Anniversary meeting, recognition long and well deserved.
Upon completion of a career in education, Tom assumed vital roles in our organization’s life before health issues compromised his activities. He served as Vice President for Programs for five years, 2003 through 2007, and then was club Historian for 2017 and 2018.
His scholarship and love of birds were blended into essays for The Flyer, among them: “Titmouse 1, Dog 0” (Vol. 32 No. 4-April 2008); “Can’t Find Birds-Pray for Wintry Day” (Vol. 39 No. 2- February 2015); “March 29 Chincoteague or Bust: Chasing Birds from Sun to Sun” (Vol. 39 No. 5-May 2015); and “Another Unusual Bird Sighting” (Vol. 40 No. 9-November 2016). He often regaled us at monthly meetings with eloquent book review recitations. Tom was a regular attendee at the club’s monthly field trips and was an integral member of the club’s annual Spring and Christmas bird counts, covering on foot a large area of the College Woods section, an area of Williamsburg where he grew up and resided before moving to a health care facility near Richmond. Tom occasionally led bird walks at Shirley Plantation, where he was a docent, and was part of the bird-walk leaders team for New Quarter Park.
Above all, Tom embodied the character, dignity, and decorum of a quintessential gentleman. To a person this will be the first and foremost memory anyone who knew him will mention. It was not uncommon to find him dining alone at one of our local eateries, dressed in a coat, tie, and hat. When approached, Tom would stand, smile delightedly as he gave a slight, gracious bow, and then immediately would want to know how you were doing. Learning of Tom’s passing, Virginia Boyles posted this to several of us on January 24: “I remember going to the Capitol Pancake House after birding at the park [New Quarter], and the waitresses knew him by name, and what he wanted to drink before he ordered. They all loved him, and some came by to speak to him, though they were not serving that table.”
During the last year Tom, his attorney and WBC Treasurer, Ann Carpenter, worked through the logistics of a generous bequest to WBC to support our Nature Camp Scholarship funding, lasting evidence of his life devoted to education, scholarship, and birds. Tom McCary’s obituary may be found at this link.
Since the beginning of the Williamsburg Bird Club in 1977, the Club has had a relationship with the local public library, the Williamsburg Regional Library. We have donated funds to the library so they could add bird-related books, and, later, cassettes, CD’s, DVDs, and eBooks to their collection. A list of those titles can be found at Hallmark Maxine Coffee/Tea Mug/Cup Red/White/Blue. Note that there is now a “carousel” of book covers on that page of bird-related items available at the library. If you click on the titles, you will be taken to the record for that title in the library’s catalog for possible check out. This is another great way the club and the library have partnered.
The Williamsburg Bird Club was organized with the purpose of promoting interest in the study of wild birds; protecting birds and their habitat; and sharing the joy of birding with others. To do so, the Club supports the goals of many birding partners, including these listed on our website under links: Virginia Society of Ornithology, Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, The Center for Conservation Biology, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Recently the Virginia Society of Ornithology posted the following statement which the Williamsburg Bird Club also endorses:
The Virginia Society of Ornithology recognizes the unique challenges people of color can face in all aspects of society, and that includes birding and other outdoor pursuits. Enjoyment of birds and all facets of the natural world is everyone’s right, equally and without bias. As our ongoing commitment, we will continue to promote participation from people of all backgrounds and ethnicities in our field trips, youth programs, and all other VSO activities. Through diversity we are stronger, wiser and better able to face the challenges of declining bird populations and environmental degradation.
Check out this article which highlights Black Birders Week, with insightful comments from Dr. Drew Lanham, Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Clemson University:
- Count birds at home or in your neighborhood following safe, social distancing guidelines. Count anytime, or multiple times, from midnight to midnight on Saturday May 9th. Multiple checklists are encouraged if you plan to spend several short periods of time watching birds throughout the day.
- Create a checklist(s) using your personal eBird account.
- Share your checklist(s) with the bird club’s eBird account. Our username is “W Bird Club”.
Dear Club Members: I do hope that all of you are continuing to stay well and safe! Your good health is an upmost priority to me and as President of your club I feel it is my responsibility to do everything I can to minimize any risk to our members. I also feel a grave responsibility to your family and our community. I am sure you are aware of the Stay-at-Home directive issued by the Governor yesterday.