EVENTS: Choctawhatchee Audubon Society home page
CAS Newsletter Shorelines: Fall 2016 (PDF)
CAS Newsletter Shorelines: Spring 2016 (PDF)
CAS Newsletter Shorelines: Winter 2016 (PDF)
if obscured, right-click to download the PDF file.
Trip Report: 16 Apr 2016 at Veterans Park (PDF)
Trip Report: 19 Mar 2016 at 7 Pines Nursery (PDF)
FIELD TRIPS AND PROGRAMS
Field Trips and Program Meetings are free and open to the public. Field Trips begin near the trip's birding site. Program meetings are held the first Thursday of most months (not Juen/July) beginning at 6:30 PM, and each night's program begins at 7:00. Place: In Room 130 on the ground floor of the Student Services Center at Northwest FL State College main campus in Niceville. For more information, click our Facebook link or call Don Baltz at (225) 252-2760 ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). The interested public is invited to all of the events. Children should be accompanied by their parent(s) or guardian(s).
October 6, THURSDAY MONTHLY PROGRAM: “eBird: A tool for collecting, sharing, and discovering data on birds around the world”. Bruce Purdy, eBird reviewer, will present a primer on the use of eBird Mobile. eBird is part of a system developed by the Cornell Ornithological Lab at Cornell University. You can use it on a smart phone to keep records of your own observations and to find out where you might find new birds or birding hotspots when traveling to a new city or region. You may want to go online and check it out before the meeting---it is cool!!! The meeting will be held in room 130 of the Student Services Bldg 400 at Northwest Florida State College main campus in Niceville (click Earth view in Google Maps). Socializing begins at 6:30 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Call or e-mail Dr Don Baltz at 225 252-2760, dbaltz@LSU.edu for more information.
October 8, SATURDAY FIELD TRIP to Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore. Join leader Alan Knothe 850 208 1780 at either of two places/times: 7:00 AM at Uptown Station, 99 Eglin Parkway NE, Fort Walton Beach (city) or Battery Langdon at 8:15 AM. Wear water, long pants, closed shoes, hat, and binoculars. Look for migrants and learn about shorebirds with an enthusiastic birder. An adventure-packed day of birding in some of West Florida’s finest viewing locations. Click to read about the: PARK ENTRANCE FEE.
October 15, SATURDAY EVENT Explore the Outdoors Festival, Live Oak Landing, Freeport. Leader: Lori Ceier 850 267 2064. Meet 9:00 AM at 229 Pitts Ave, Freeport WEBSITE: LIVE OAK LANDING RVC OUTDOORS This family festival centered on outdoor pursuits has a laid-back atmosphere and many different exhibitors in a gorgeous location. We’ll be using games to help children learn to identify birds, and will also offer hands-on instruction in the use of binoculars and spotting scopes. Audubon members who would like to volunteer to help should bring water, insect repellent, and a lawn chair. Call Margaret Benner at 850-678-6665 to volunteer to help. No admission fee is required.
October 22, SATURDAY MORNING WALK at Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island. We meet Malcolm Mark Swan 210 343 9082 at 7:30 AM in the NE corner of the Emerald Coast Convention Center parking lot. We'll look for migrant songbirds, some of which may just arrived after crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Over 210 species have been spotted here during the last 3 years. Looking for other animals and plants, as well. Wear closed shoes and hat. Bring binoculars and/or camera, and bugspray. Restrooms at Ross Marler Park and the Convention Center.
November 3, THURSDAY MONTHLY PROGRAM: To Be Determined
November 19, SATURDAY MORNING BIRD WALK: Highlights of Niceville, Bluewater Bay Marina, and Lake Pippen. Join leader Carol Goodyear to look for loons, ducks, shorebirds, ospreys and woodpeckers. Wear good walking shoes and bring a sack lunch, binoculars, and friends). Call Carole Goodyear 850 897 2666 for more info. Meet 7:30 AM at the Bluewater Winn Dixie under the sign, 4512 East Highway 20, Niceville.
December 1, THURSDAY MONTHLY PROGRAM: To Be Determined
December 3, SATURDAY MORNING FIELD TRIP to the Destin Beaches. Join Bruce Purdy at 7:30 AM for a bird-walk to the East Pass, West Jetty, and Gulf Beach. Discover gulls, terns and shorebirds with an experienced birder. Wear closed shoes & hat. Bring your camera and a friend or two. Meet at the public parking lot at the South-West end of the Marler (Destin) Bridge (east end of Okaloosa Island on south side of Hwy 98). For more info, call Bruce at 305-359-5334.
December 12 AUDUBON CHRISTMAS PARTY, SATURDAY EVENING 5:30 PM at 4085 Bond Circle, Rocky Bayou, Niceville. Hosts: The Benners 850 678 6665. BYOB, a dish to share, and item for silent auction.
2015 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT - Maybe December 19 (TBD). Alan Knothe coordinates our Audubon CBC circle in this worldwide citizen science event (all experience levels welcome). The 15-mile-diameter circle is centered 4 mi N of the Marler (Destin) Bridge over East Pass, and the circle is divided into many sections for the different parties of observers. Contact Alan 850 208 1780 to participate.
PREVIOUS 2016 PROGRAMS AND FIELD TRIPS
January 7, THUR EVENING PROGRAM: The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society wishes to thank Walt Spence for serving as our President for the past several years. Helping to protect the Great Blue Herons at Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island is one of Walt's most recent endeavors. Our members and friends are invited to bring their favorite photographs of scenery and wildlife at Veterans Park.
January 16, SAT. MORNING FIELD TRIP - Join members of the Bay County Audubon Society at 8:30 am in the Pepitos Restaurant parking lot at 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd. in Wright, Florida (north side of Fort Walton Beach). Experienced birder Lenny Fenimore will be our leader on this Bird Walk to the Wright Landfill, the Passerine Trail, and the Okaloosa Holding Ponds. Aside from Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island, these are among the most consistently productive sites in Okaloosa County.
February 12-13/14, C.A.S. ANNUAL RETREAT - THIS YEAR TO CEDAR KEY (Park Place Motel). Contact Margaret Benner (850) 678-6665. Time and Location: 5:00PM at Park Place Motel, 211 2nd St, Cedar Key. We will bird island nature trails, and take a boat trip to other islands including famous Seahorse Key. The Boat will approach to 100 yards off shore without landing. Bring binoculars/scope/camera, AND bring warm clothes (coat, etc.) to break the wind chill.
February 27, SAT. FIELD TRIP: FWB Landfill and Okaloosa Holding Ponds. Contact Alan Knothe (850) 208-1780. We meet 7:30 AM at the Pepitos Restaurant parking lot at 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd. in Wright, Florida (north side of Fort Walton Beach). We'll look for waders, herons, ducks and hawks.
March 3, THURS PROGRAM: “The Biology of Marine Birds” by Professor Emeritus Don Baltz, Louisiana State University. Dr. Baltz will explore the biology of the four primary groups of marine birds, Sphenisciformes (Penguins), Procellariiformes (Albatrosses and relatives), Pelecaniformes (Cormorants and relatives), and Charadriiformes (Gulls and relatives). These groups include about 275 species distributed around the world. Each group shares unique characteristics, but families and species within each group make a living in the marine environment in diverse ways. Many other species, which are considered secondary marine birds, use the marine environment in some manner but breed and rear their young in freshwater systems. The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the Student Services Center at Northwest FL State College main campus in Niceville. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM, and the program begins at 7:00. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call or e-mail Dr Don Baltz at 225 252-2760 for more information.
March 12, SAT FIELD TRIP: South Walton Courthouse & local area. We meet leader Dee Nickerson (850) 499-9269 at 7:30 AM at the Bluewater Bay Winn Dixie, 4512 East Highway 20, Niceville under the sign, or at 8:15 at the SoWal (South Walton) Courthouse. We'll see early migrants, warblers and maybe a Northern Parula. Plan to have brunch together afterwards.
March 19, SAT FIELD TRIP: 7 Pines Native Nursery. We meet leader Dara Dobson (850) 830-8996 at 7:30 AM at the CVS parking lot, Oak Creek Shopping Center, Niceville. We'll go N on 285, turn Rt on 90, at 331 turn left, go N for 6 mi. Turn Right onto Co Hwy 192. See sign at 2 miles on Right. Address: 2435 County Highway 192, Defuniak Springs, FL.
March 26, SAT FIELD TRIP: Birding on Eglin AFB to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers (maybe Bachman's Sparrow). We meet leader Malcolm Mark Swan (210) 343-9082 at 7:00 AM at the Eglin AFB Armament Museum parking lot, 100 Museum Dr, Eglin AFB. You must obtain a Jackson Guard Pass prior to this date to join the group. $20 for Annual Pass. Open weekdays at Eglin Jackson Guard office 107 Hwy 85 North, in Niceville.
April 7, THURS PROGRAM: Retired Federal Fishery Biologist Dave Clausen will present a program on the flora and fauna of Lord Howe Island, a U.N. World Heritage Site off the coast of eastern Australia. Clausen visited the island in 2015 and will report on many of the unique, endemic species of wildlife. The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the Student Services Center at Northwest Fl State College main campus in Niceville. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM, and the program begins at 7:00. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call Don Baltz at 225 252-2760 for more information.
April 16, SAT. FIELD TRIP: Veterans Park on Okaloosa Island. We meet Malcolm Mark Swan (210) 343-9082 at 7:30 AM in the NE corner Emerald Coast Convention Center parking lot. We'll look for migrant songbirds, some of which may just arrived after crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Over 200 species have been spotted here during the last 3 years. Looking for other animals and plants, as well. Wear closed shoes and hat. Binoculars, camera, and bugspray can be helpful at times. Restrooms at Ross Marler Park and the Convention Center.
April 23, Saturday: ESTUARY FESTIVAL, ROCKY BAYOU SP. See Gary, Phyllis, Don & Walt Spence (850) 582-7064. We meet 9:00 at Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park Rt 20, Niceville. We will spend a great day at the Park teaching children about birds.
May 5, THURS PROGRAM. The Choctawhatchee Audubon Society will host a showing of a short film on Florida’s Coastal Dune Lakes on the Northwest Florida State College campus. Award winning film maker, Elam Stoltzfus, has provided a stunning view of the scenery, ecology, and importance of 15 lakes that are extraordinary features of the panhandle’s coast. While the lakes are not unique, similar systems are found in only a few other places around the world. Professor Jon Bryan, chair of the Science Department, will be on hand to discuss the lakes’ geology. Ms Brandy Foley of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance will describe the pivotal role that CBA has taken in ensuring the preservation of the lakes ecological integrity. The meeting will be held in a new location: Room 110 of the Robert E. Greene, Jr. Science Building (bldg 350) at Northwest Florida State College main campus in Niceville (click Earth view in Google Maps). Socializing begins at 6:30 PM, and the program begins at 7:00. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call Don Baltz at 225 252-2760 for more information.
May 14, SAT. FIELD TRIP: Bay County Audubon President Ron Houser (850) 381-5651 will guide us at Bay County Audubon’s Laidlaw Plantation; we'll see the improvements made for birders. Meet 7:00 AM at the CVS parking lot, Oak Creek Shopping Center, Niceville. Bring sack lunch & wear appropriate clothing, including study footwear, hat and bugspray. Bring binoculars and camera.
May 21, Saturday: Coastal Bird Stewardship Program Training Walk. Contact Audubon Program Manager Caroline Stahala qt (850) 951-7704. We meet 7:30 AM at the Parking lot, SW Marler Bridge, Destin. We will learn what it takes to protect our nesting shorebirds such as Snowy plovers.
August 4, THURS. PROGRAM: Dr. Caroline Stahala, Program Manager for Audubon Florida in the FL panhandle, will present Natural History and Conservation of the Bahama Parrot. All though the Bahama Parrot is one of the closest native parrots to the United States, people rarely know of this species. Caroline has been conducting behavioral and demographic studies on this parrot for 14 years now and will be presenting some of this work in addition to the species' natural history to Choctawhatchee Audubon Society. The Bahama Parrot is a charismatic and unique bird species. This parrot exhibits a unique behavior in that it nests underground in limestone solution cavities. This also poses unique management challenges which other parrots do not face. The Bahamas National Trust has addressed this challenge as well as other conservation issues through its management.
Sepember 1, THURSDAY MONTHLY PROGRAM: Jim Cox, Director of the Stoddard Bird Lab at Tall Timbers Research Station will present Sex in the Sitta: The Complex Social World of the Brown-headed Nuthatch. There is a ton of intriguing biology wrapped up in the diminutive Brown-headed Nuthatch. The nuthatch is one of three bird species found only in southern pinelands. The treetop antics and rubber ducky calls make these inquisitive birds a pleasure to watch, but population declines coupled with interesting behaviors call for more closer scientific attention. Like Florida Scrub-jays and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, adult nuthatches often forego the chance to breed and instead help other adults raise young. Unlike woodpeckers and jays, cooperative breeding among nuthatches frequently includes assistance provided to adults that are not close relatives. This creates complex social arrangements with many intriguing twists and turns.
September 17, SATURDAY MORNING FIELD TRIP to Okaloosa Holding Ponds and Wright Landfill area. Please join leader Lenny Fenimore 7:30 AM at the Pepitos Restaurant parking lot at 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd. in Wright, Florida (north side of Fort Walton Beach). Lenny will scope out waterfowl, waders and shorebirds migrating through the Florida Panhandle. Contact Lenny at 850 863-2039 for additional information.