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Spring 2017 AOS Meeting

April 21, 2017 - April 23, 2017

AOS Spring Meeting

April 21-23, 2017

Kevin Karlson, noted birding author and nature guide, will be the featured speaker at the Alabama Ornithological Society’s spring meeting on Dauphin Island April 21-23. Karlson is co-author of The Shorebird Guide, and Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds, as well as two photography books on birds. Karlson will join with another professional wildlife guide, Andrew Haffenden, to lead several field trips during the three-day weekend. Haffenden, who leads field trips around the world, makes his home on Dauphin Island and is an expert on the birds found there. Karlson will hold a workshop on Friday evening on identifying shorebirds by impression and on Saturday evening will present a program on “Birds on the Wind — the Miracle of Migration.” Dauphin Island is one of the best sites in North America to see migrating warblers and shorebirds.

Register Online Download & Mail Form

FRIDAY, April 21, 2017

6:45 a.m. Field Trip with Kevin Karlson and Andrew Haffenden

Splinter Hill Bog and Meaher State Park
Lunch at Felix’s Fish Camp

5 p.m. Registration and Social Hour (non-alcoholic beverages)

6 p.m. Potluck Supper

Please bring a dish to share–your favorite appetizer for the social hour, a main‐course dish for supper, or a dessert! Please have your food on the table by 6:00 p.m., so we can start the workshop on time.

7 p.m. Shorebirds by Impression I.D. Workshop with Kevin Karlson

This interactive workshop shares a different approach that Kevin calls Birding by Impression, A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds, which is the title of his and Dale Rosselet’s new book in the Roger Tory Peterson Reference Series. Shorebirds are the focus of this workshop, and comparative digitized photos encourage the audience to spot differences between similar species in direct side-by-side comparison. This exciting ID approach concentrates initially on basic impressions of size, body shape, structural features and body motion to form a surprisingly accurate mental picture of every bird seen in the field. Kevin then shows most of the species that can be seen in our area, with comments on how to age, sex or identify them from similar species. This ID approach is similar to the one used in Kevin’s bestselling book The Shorebird Guide (Houghton Mifflin, 2006). Test your birding and observation skills by attending this workshop and guessing the correct species using pertinent ID tips to reach your decision.

8:30 p.m. Adjourn

SATURDAY, April 22, 2017

7 a.m. Field Trips

Meeting place: United Methodist Church parking lot

Field Trip 1: Birds of Pelican Peninsula with Kevin Karlson and Andrew Haffenden

Field Trip 2: Exploring Dauphin Island

11:30 a.m. Lunch
Join us for lunch at the home of Jennie Stowers

2:00 p.m. Board Meeting
United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

5:30 p.m. Social Hour
(Non‐alcoholic beverages will be available. Donations benefit the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary)

6:15 p.m. Banquet
(Until further notice, the banquet is limited to the first 95 registrants.)

7:15 p.m. Keynote Speaker Kevin Karlson

Co-author of The Shorebird Guide and Birding by Impression

Birds on the Wind: The Miracle of Migration

This multi-media presentation reveals the amazing story of the unbelievable feats that birds perform during their migrations to and from breeding areas, and also during movements to wintering areas for attitudinal and irruptive migrants. The stories are told in such a way as to appeal to birders and non-birders alike, with superb photos illustrating the beauty and behavior of our migratory birds. Good news is mixed with bad news as Kevin relates how man has disturbed these movements with forest fragmentation and ill-advised urban building designs, but he also tells how some neotropical songbird migrants have adapted to changing conditions and continue to persevere. This saga contains two musical interludes that allow the audience to enjoy action photos of birds in migration and motion, and a musical ending that will touch your hearts with its positive message. All in all, this show is a celebration of birds and their fascinating lives, with hard-to-believe feats of avian endurance. (See Speaker Bio below)

8:30 p.m. Adjourn

SUNDAY, April 23, 2017

7 a.m. Field Trip with Kevin Karlson and Larry Gardella

Blakeley Island Mud Lakes

Meeting place: United Methodist Church parking lot

12 p.m. Compilation

Hosted by Ann McLaurin and Lynne Fitzgerald

Across the street from the Goat Trees.

Spring Meeting Adjourns

Field Trip Details

Unless otherwise noted, all field trips meet at the parking lot of the Dauphin Island United Methodist Church, 302 Key Street, Dauphin Island.

Friday, April 21:

Baldwin County Birds and Blooms

Trip Leaders: Keynote Speaker Kevin Karlson and Andrew Haffenden.

We’ll visit Baldwin County starting at Splinter Hill Bog, among acres of blooming pitcher plants, four other pitcher plants species, and many sundews. This is one of the largest White-topped Pitcher Plant bogs in America. Our main birding goal, Bachman’s Sparrow, is singing from exposed perches. Other birds include woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatch, possibly Grasshopper Sparrow and others typical of Longleaf Pine habitat. Next we return to the coast and Meaher State Park to observe birds from the boardwalk in the shallows of Mobile Bay. The park holds a variety of birds including shorebirds, herons, gallinules, Boat-tailed Grackle, occasionally Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill and Groove-billed Ani. Alligators are also regular here. Continuing along the Mobile Causeway, our next stop (around 11:30-11:45) is Felix’s Fish Camp Grill on the Causeway, where we can bird from the deck overlooking Mobile Bay while eating some of the best seafood in Alabama. After lunch we return to Dauphin Island, arriving by 3 p.m. in time for the incoming migrants.

Meet: 6:30-6:45         Departure Time: 6:45am

Meeting Place: United Methodist Church Parking Lot

Those coming south on Friday can meet us at Splinter Hill Bog at 8:30 – 8:45 am, from Tillman’s Corner meet at us at Walmart. Please email Andrew at andrew@natsp.com if you plan to attend so any last minute changes can be sent to you.

Saturday, April 22:

Field Trip 1: Pelican Island

Trip Leaders: Keynote Speaker Kevin Karlson and Andrew Haffenden.

Situated on the east end of Dauphin Island, Pelican Peninsula is a prime location for observing a rich variety of birds. We’ll be taking advantage of Kevin’s expertise in shorebirds. Many will be in complete or nearly complete breeding plumage, which makes for easy identification once you are shown how. In addition to his knowledge, Kevin is an excellent and engaging teacher, and everyone on this outing will come back much more confident about shorebirds. In addition to the usual plumage points, Kevin will be demonstrating his ‘Birding by Impression’ method, which is especially useful with this group. In addition to shorebirds we’ll see herons and egrets, many species of terns, pelicans and other sea birds. Usually a few ducks will still be around. Rails, sparrows and a variety of other species including Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon are possible. We’ll make a detour on the way to the beach to look for rails and sparrows at the airport. To be early for the rails, we will leave at 7 a.m. sharp. Car pooling is preferred so please arrive well before 7 a.m.

Meet: 6:30-6:45 a.m.       Departure time: 7 a.m.

Field Trip 2: Birding Highlights of Dauphin Island

Trip Leader: TBA

This tour, led by an experienced island birder, takes us to all the best spots on Dauphin Island for bird activity. We’ll start at the Airport, looking for rails and sparrows, then move around, visiting the Shell Mounds, Goat Trees and the nearby DIBS lots, and the Audubon Sanctuary for warblers, tanagers, vireos, flycatchers, cuckoos and whoever else is around after arriving the day and evening before. We’ll also be looking on a couple of more open areas, especially at Fort Gaines, where ground-preferring birds such as Dickcissels, Bobolinks, Indigo and Painted Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks can often be found. Time at each location will depend on what’s been reported and what’s around. This is an ideal trip for those new to the island, both newer and experienced birders, and anyone who wants to find out where to go for birds on Dauphin. The tour ends by 11:30 a.m.

Meet: 6:30-6:45 a.m.       Departure time: 7 a.m.

Sunday, April 23:

Blakeley Island Mud Lakes

Trip Leaders: Kevin Karlson and Larry Gardella.

The Blakely Island Mud Lakes are among the best wader and shorebird sites in Alabama. We’ll walk the roadway system (level, but hot and exposed, and usually buggy) looking into the various retention ponds for American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, herons, ibis – all three Alabama species have been seen here – gallinules and ducks, including Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, which breed here in good numbers. As some birds will be at a distance this will be a good chance to test out the Birding by Impression skills you acquired at the Friday night workshop. Rarities regularly pop up, including Roseate Spoonbill and Yellow-headed Blackbird. There are usually plenty of land birds to keep us interested between ponds. The distance walked is about a mile, with a short uphill-downhill at the start and finish. We’ll return to the island in time for compilation at noon.

Meet: 6:30-6:45 a.m.       Departure time: 7 a.m.

Departure times are not fuzzy; the leaders’ vehicle will depart on time. Outing logistics discussions will start 10 minutes prior to departure time.

Kevin Karlson, Keynote Speaker

Speaker BIO

Kevin T. Karlson to be Keynote Speaker at AOS Spring Meeting on Dauphin Island

The AOS Spring Meeting Keynote Speaker will be Kevin Karlson, accomplished birder, professional tour leader, wildlife photographer and author of many bird and nature related articles for magazines, books, and journals. A regular presence at Bird and Nature festivals in North America, Kevin will co-lead multiple field trips for the three-day AOS Spring Meeting with AOS Field Trip Chairman Andrew Haffenden, who is also a well-known nature guide and tour leader. On Saturday night Kevin will offer a multi-media presentation of photographs and music, ‘Birds on the Wind—The Miracle of Migration.’

Kevin is a co-author of The Shorebird Guide, and his most recent book with wife and co-author Dale Rosselet, Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds, was released in May 2015 in the Roger Tory Peterson Reference Series.

Kevin will draw on both books for his Friday night workshop, ‘Shorebirds by Impression’ and AOS members will also have a chance to learn from Kevin on field trips to Splinter Hill Bog and Meaher State Park on Friday, Dauphin Island’s Pelican Peninsula on Saturday, and the Blakeley Island Mud Lakes on Sunday morning.

Kevin is also the author/photographer of a two photography books titled The Birds of Cape May and Visions: Earth’s Elements in Bird and Nature Photography. His new book with Pete Dunne, Birds of Prey, will be released by HMH in April 2017. Kevin’s photos can be seen in numerous locations, including his website kevintkarlson.com. A former photo editor for North American Birds, he also wrote the Birder’s ID column and served as an Advisory Board member for Wild Bird Magazine from 1992 – 2012.


April 21, 2017
April 23, 2017


Alabama Ornithological Society


AOS Spring Meeting location: Isle Dauphine Supper Club, 100B Orleans Drive, Dauphin Island
100B Orleans Drive
Dauphin Island, AL United States