It is my good fortune to be on the board of one of Ohio's largest and most active birding organizations. Each year we gather to hold our annual meeting and conference, and this year we rocked Cleveland, at the beautiful Radisson in Eastlake .
This morning was filled with field trips and a Lake Erie pelagic. Our group met up at Dike 14 - the only undeveloped land within eye-shot of downtown Cleveland. It is the remains of a dredging operation's spoil pile, and now offers some of the best sparrow watching in Cleveland.
Our stellar group of leaders, including Craig Caldwell, Dan Sanders and Jim McCormac helped us sort out the host of fall migrants. We even determined that every birder in Ohio has been on at least one Jim McCormac-led field trip, somewhere, sometime.
It was my honor to present Jim with a gift from the whole society, in honor of his 6 years dedicated to the OOS as the Inaugural President. From its humble beginnings - a letter of interest from Ed Pierce which started a series of small group meeting in Wooster, Ohio- the OOS was "fledged" in 2004. Combined with with Jim's first book release- Birds of Ohio- it was a perfect storm.
Jim relentlessly toured the state giving programs and book signings, all the while promoting OOS. His enthusiasm for birding and conservation was the eye of the OOS hurricane, and in a few short years membership sky-rocketed to nearly 800.
A photo of Jim's award- a Black Scoter.
OOS has given a number of awards in the past-lovely duck decoys- created by Tim and Laura Dornan. Usually we give a Wood Duck, but we knew Jim's heart has been set on adding a Black Scoter to his personal collection of "Dornan Decoys." Special thanks to Tim and Laura for helping us pull this off!
The Keynote Speaker was Drew Wheelan of the ABA, on the Deepwater Disaster.
OOS is donating half of our proceeds to a Gulf Relief effort, and half to the Safe Flight program headed up by Harvey Webster at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
There were two awesome days of field trips, and many of us got two see Nelson's and LeConte's Sparrows at Wake Robin Trail. We counted ourselves very lucky. It was a wonderful conference, and the field trips were full of fall migration birds.