Registration for the 46th Annual WFO Conference in Reno, September 7–11, is in full swing. You don’t want to miss it. The “Register Now” button on the WFO website is open for everyone who has not yet registered. Complete schedules of field trips and workshops are on the same page. Pinyon Jay (above) can be elusive but are possible on three trips: Alpine County, Topaz Lake, and Carson River. (Photo: Ed Harper)
Here are some highlights to tempt you!
Field Trips—Full Days
- Mason Valley WMA and Lahontan Reservoir, the most distant field trip, offers Ruddy Duck, Redhead, Caspian Tern, and maybe Lesser Yellowlegs with other shorebirds. Good raptor numbers are a bonus.
- Topaz Lake and Walker River SRA are excellent places to look for Juniper Titmouse and Lewis’s Woodpecker. The Walker River is seldom birded but is just the spot for a fallout of migrants. Could be a “who knew?” field trip.
- Lahontan Recreation Area has a huge expanse of open water for waterfowl and waterbirds. The best part is that the shoreline could have migrant warblers and flycatchers. Carson Lake includes some outstanding wetland habitat and attracts a large diversity of breeding and migrant shorebirds and waterfowl. The trees could have a mix of interesting sparrows.
Field Trips—Half Days
- Sagehen Creek is a new field trip on the schedule, available on Friday only. It consists of mixed coniferous forest with intermittent aspen stands, creating ideal habitat for many Sierra Nevada residents, including Pileated and Black-backed Woodpeckers, Northern Goshawk, Red Crossbill, Mountain Quail, and Mountain Chickadee.
- Caughlin Ranch Trail follows a nice riparian corridor through a suburban neighborhood and could have Williamson’s Sapsucker and three species of hummingbird. To top it off, there are small ponds.
- Damonte Ranch Wetlands is a complex where you can expect a good diversity of dabbling ducks and maybe a few divers as well. Both Virginia Rail and Sora are here, plus many other water- and marsh birds.
- Boynton Slough, a property of the Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation, has very limited public access and has not been birded extensively, so surprises may be in store. Any data we collect will aid the foundation’s restoration plans. That means becoming part of the slough’s history.
- Blythe and Fianna Wilde will present Migrating Bird Art created in an effort to mitigate light pollution.
- Tom Blackman will show you tricks of photography to improve your photos.
- Mario Cordoba will entice you to go to Costa Rica. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
- Nathan Pieplow will demonstrate how to use Merlin on your phone to record and identify bird sounds. He even has a Sunday field trip associated with the workshop.
- Jon Dunn will take the stress out of identifying shorebirds. Who doesn’t need that?
Our Saturday night banquet has a new feature—special meals for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
This year’s keynote, by Morgan Tingley, is “Avian Responses to Climate Change in a Rapidly Warming World.” He gave the keynote for the 2021 virtual conference about how fires are changing the bird world. This topic should prove as engaging.
Trying to donate some of your book collection? Bring a few books to auction. Then buy a few and at the same time benefit the WFO Publishing and Student Programs Committees.
And There’s More!
When you register, you’ll see lots of other activities.
- Ed Harper’s Bird Photo ID Challenge in which he grills experts on identification from photos that often hide the bird’s best field marks.
- Nathan Pieplow’s Sound ID Challenge bringing together teams to compete on identifying bird sounds. I don’t just mean your easy backyard birds but species all over the western states. Plus, the vocalizations are not just songs but calls too.
- Science Papers presented by students doing field research work. These are our true ornithologists. It’s enlightening to see and learn from their work.
- The Welcome Reception, open to everyone at the conference. We will greet you with passed canapés and a cash bar. Come and meet friends, the WFO board of directors, scholars, and hardworking field guides and workshop presenters.
Be prepared to thoroughly enjoy yourself.
— Diane Rose