Bimonthly Membership Meeting
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
7:30 PM — 10:00 PM
Phipps Garden Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Seventy-nine individuals attended 3RBC's April meeting, which featured an informative presentation by president of the Bartramian Audubon Society, Jeffrey Hall, on his adventure on the Galapagos Islands. Several attendees were first timers.

President Bob VanNewkirk called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. He related that three individuals had asked to make announcements.

• 3 RBC member Roy Bires, reminded the attendees about an upcoming event benefiting the Steel Valley Trail Council, a volunteer organization that maintains part of the Great Allegheny Passage Trail - the section starting at the Glenwood Bridge and running to and through McKeesport, including the Waterfront in Homestead, West Mifflin, and the Duquesne area. The group holds an annual fund raiser, and this year’s event - a pay-to-participate bicycle ride, called the Raptor Row Ride - will focus on the birds of prey present on this section of the trail. Emphasis will be placed on the Hays Bald Eagles’ nest, a Great Horned Owl's nest at the Homestead Grays Bridge (inactive this year), a Red-tailed Hawk nest opposite Duck Hollow, and an Osprey nest near Kennywood Park. The group is looking for volunteer expert birders to be at locations along the trail. Each expert birder, with a spotting scope, will point out the nests to the bike riders and provide other salient birding information. Bob Mulvihill and Roger and Margaret Higbee have already volunteered, but others are still needed. The date is Saturday, April 29, from 10:00 AM till 2:00 PM. Those interested in volunteering should contact Mr. Bires at

• Ryan Tomazin once again reminded the attendees that the Brooks Bird Club 78th Annual West Virginia Foray is coming up. The Foray is held each June in a different region of West Virginia suitable for bird and natural history studies. The purpose is to offer members and students the chance to be in the field and take part in an ecological study of a selected area. The program is planned so that everyone can pursue his/her own interests. There are classes and field work in birds, ferns, mosses, flowers, grasses, trees, geology, fungi, butterflies, herptiles and small mammals. The interdependence of all living things is stressed. This year’s Foray will be held at the Lost River Camp in Hardy County, West Virginia. The Foray will begin on Friday June 9th and ends Saturday June 17th. Participants can sign up for either full or part time participation. Accommodations are limited at Lost River, so please sign up early. An article about the Foray will be appearing in Bird Watchers Digest. For more information, visit Brooks Bird Club or refer to the article in the March/April issue of The Peregrine. Mr Tomazin also reminded the attendees that the Brooks Bird Club is having its 85th anniversary celebration at Olgebay Park in October. As with the Foray, info regarding this event is also available at Brooks Bird Club.

• Susie Moffett of the Fern Hollow Nature Center announced a benefit fund raiser - a Big Day of Birding in the Sewickley area. The event will raise money to benefit the Center’s education efforts and will be held on Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. Birders will identify as many bird species as possible in an area that roughly corresponds to the Quaker Valley School District. Prizes will be given to the teams or individuals who spot the most species. More information can be found at Fern Hollow Nature Center's Big Day.

President VanNewkirk then turned the meeting over to Vice President Sheree Daugherty, who conducted the business portion of the meeting. She began by asking for comments and announcements from the floor.

• Jack Solomon would like to revive a past tradition of having a group dinner for 3RBC members who are visiting Magee Marsh. Mr. Solomon will post a time and a place on the club’s FaceBook page.

Ms. Daugherty then called for reports.

• Tom Moeller, the club's treasurer, reported that 3RBC has 289 memberships, and expressed his - and the club’s - gratitude for the quick and generous renewal by many of the members. He asked all to remember to renew their memberships and provide updated email addresses if necessary. Next, he presented six coupons for 25% off your purchase donated by Lou Griffith, manager of the Columbia Sportswear outlet in Tanger Outlets, which were added to the door prize table. Mr. Moeller finally informed the attendees of an Easter event at Beechwood Farms - an “Eagle Egg Hunt” - on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

• Steve Thomas, the club’s outings coordinator, reported that the club will sponsor many outings this spring, with two brand new offerings: the first a Schenley Park outing led by Kate St. John, and second, a Tom’s Run Nature Reserve outing led by David Yeany. He reminded the club’s members to check the club’s website for outings lists and details.

• Mike Fialkovich presented the recent bird sightings report for Allegheny County. Since his last report some of the bird highlights included: Tundra Swan over Pittsburgh; Gadwall at Imperial; Redhead also at Imperial; Long-tailed Duck at Dashields Dam, Woods Run and Tarentum; Ruddy Duck at Imperial and Duck Hollow; Common Loon at Woods Run; Great Egret at Beechwood Farms and Fox Chapel--Chapel Harbor on the Allegheny River; Rough-legged Hawk at Imperial; Osprey at Neville Island, Leetsdale, and Dashields Dam; Merlin in Shaler Township; Sora at Duck Hollow; Bonaparte’s Gull at Dashields Dam and Blawnox; Caspian Tern at Dashields Dam; and a Forster's Tern, also at Dashields Dam.

• Vice President Daugherty announced that the next meeting on June 7, 2017, will feature John Canter, presenting “Sands of the Sandpipers' Time,” a report on the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper of eastern Asia.

Vice President Daugherty next introduced the evening’s speaker, Jeffrey Hall, who presented “Blue-footed, Red-billed, and Magnificent: a Galapagos Adventure.” Jeffrey Hall is president of Bartramian Audubon Society and is also active in Seneca Rocks Audubon Society. His articles and photographs have appeared in many publications, including Living Bird, New Jersey Audubon,Underwater Naturalist, and Cassinia, as well as the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology’s Birds of Pennsylvania website. He has given more than 100 programs for birding, nature, and photography groups, and is an instructor at the Institute for Learning in Retirement at Slippery Rock University. A retired biology teacher, he lives in Franklin, Pennsylvania. This was his second presentation to 3RBC.

Mr. Hall’s presentation detailed his experiences on the Galapagos Islands. Known also as the “Enchanted Islands” at the time of Darwin’s visit in 1835, the Galapagos Islands are still a place of enchantment for the naturalist today. The volcanic archipelago on the equator was settled by a few species of plants and animals. Over the millennia, these took advantage of the many available ecological niches to evolve into the Galapagos inhabitants that can be seen going about their lives, unafraid of humans, each adapted to its unique setting. His presentation highlighted many Galapagos denizens, from Blue-footed Boobies and Darwin’s finches to Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas.

Following the presentation, President VanNewkirk adjourned the meeting.

— prepared by Frank Moone on 4-27-2017

Image Gallery

Mission of 3RBC

To gather in friendship, to enjoy the wonders of nature and to share our passion for birds!

© Photo Credits:
Sherron Lynch, Brian Shema, Chuck Tague