The January-February 2014 issue of the JVAS newsletter, the Gnatcatcher, is now out [PDF]. Members should be getting the paper edition in their mailboxes today or tomorrow.
Speaking of which, it's time to renew your membership in JVAS. If you're not already a member, you can print out the form in the PDF version of the newsletter. This year, for the first time, we are offering the option to not receive the paper version, and just read the Gnatcatcher online. While this is undoubtedly a somewhat more environmentally friendly choice, we do understand why some will prefer to read it the old-fashioned way. And if you have a physical bulletin board, you may want to tack up the Spring 2014 field trips and programs brochure [PDF].
Speaking of which, it's interesting to note that there is now no single, canonical source for information about JVAS events. The brochure includes all of the monthly program meetings and those field trips that are planned well in advance, but there are often fuller descriptions here on the website — not to mention embedded Google maps. And many more impromptu outings are only advertised on the JVAS Facebook page, so we encourage people to like our page on Facebook if they want to keep abreast of absolutely everything we're doing.
At any rate, the latest issue of the Gnatcatcher includes articles on the snowy owl irruption, Fort Roberdeau County Park in winter, and the importance of early successional forests. Check it out.
The November-December issue of the Gnatcatcher is now out [PDF]. Paper copies should be arriving in mailboxes shortly. In the meantime, feel free to download and share the digital version (and visit the growing archive for other recent issues you may have missed). Featured articles in this issue include one by JVAS Conservation Chair Stan Kotala on some major riparian restoration work along the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata, and a couple of pieces by JVAS Vice President Laura Jackson: a portrait of "The People Behind Jacks Mountain Hawk Watch" and a description of the recent PSO-sponsored field trip there and all the raptors they saw. Additional news notes and a reminder about the Christmas Bird Count on December 21 round out the issue.
Thanks to Gnatcatcher editor Ruby Becker for another terrific job!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 21, and plan to participate in our annual Christmas Bird Count by contacting the coordinator, Steve Bonta, to coordinate your counting activities. Call 684-1175, or send an email to [email protected] with "Christmas Bird Count" in the subject line. We aim to have as complete coverage of the count circle, with as little overlap of participants' count areas, as possible. Of course, backyard bird feeder counts are always welcome as well.
Although we previously announced that the CBC would be held early this year, on December 14, we decided to move it back to December 21 when we realized that the 14th was the last day of regular rifle deer season in Pennsylvania (and that Steve would be here on the 21st after all, and not in Newfoundland as he originally planned).
One big change from previous years is the location of the count supper. Rather than our habitual potluck, the board decided to instead try meeting at a restaurant this year, which should mean that more people can go out and count birds rather than staying home to cook. So we will meet at 5:00 PM to trade stories and compile bird numbers at Urie’s Rib Shack, 954 Pennsylvania Avenue, Tyrone. Any JVAS member is welcome to join us, whether or not you counted birds, but please visit their menu online and let our hospitality chair, Marcia Bonta, know what you'll be ordering no later than December 12 so we can let the chef know. Anyone who fails to do so will not be able to join us. Email her at [email protected] with "Bird count supper" in the subject line or call 684-3113. We'll have a private room in the back with room for up to 30 people.