1996 Annual Meeting
The 1996 annual meeting of the Texas Bird Records Committee was held at the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Collection, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, on Saturday, 19 October 1996. In attendance were
- Greg Lasley, Secretary
- Willie Sekula
- Carl Haynie
- Mark Lockwood
- Keith Arnold, Academician
- Chuck Sexton
- Martin Reid
TBRC members absent from the meeting were John Arvin and Gail Yovanovich. The meeting was convened at approximately 9:15 a.m.
Election of Members
Gail Yovanovich's 1st term expired in the fall of 1996 and Chuck Sexton's 2nd term also expired in the fall of 1996, this left two vacancies to be filled at the meeting. There were three nominations for the two positions: Gail Yovanovich, Barry Zimmer and Terry Maxwell. Arvin, Lasley, and Arnold were renominated for the positions of Chair, Secretary, and Academician. Voting on the open positions were taken by secret ballot. Terry Maxwell and Barry Zimmer were elected to the committee and the three officers were re-elected.
Current membership and term of service are as follows:
John Arvin, Chair - Term expires fall 1997; can be re-elected
Greg Lasley, Secretary - term is as listed for Chair
Keith Arnold, Academician - term is as listed for Chair
Carl Haynie - 2nd term expires fall 1997
Mark Lockwood - 1st term expires fall 1998; can be re-elected
Terry Maxwell - 1st term expires fall 1999; can be re-elected
Willie Sekula - 1st term expires fall 1998; can be re-elected
Martin Reid - 1st term expires fall 1997; can be re-elected
Barry Zimmer - 1st term expires fall 1999; can be re-elected
Regular Agenda Items
Fourth Round Records
- 1992-108 Northern Jacana
- Welder Wildlife Refuge, San Patricio Co., 20 Dec.1974 - March 1975
- accepted 7-0
- 1992-113 Leach's Storm-Petrel
- Port Aransas, Nueces Co., 20 Aug 1991 (found dead in poor condition)
- Discussion of potential occurrence of Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel resulted in a motion by Arnold (second: Sexton) to accept Leach's/Swinhoe's as Leach's until such time as a Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel is documented for North America. Committee accepted motion of a vote of 7-0.
- The Leach's Storm-Petrel record was then accepted 7-0.
- 1992-141 Pacific Loon (2 birds)
- Galveston Island, Galveston Co., 24 Mar - 16 May 1983
- accepted 7-0
- 1992-145 Red-throated Loon
- Texas City, Galveston Co. 26 Dec 1981 - 28 Feb 1982
- Discussion of record included consideration of old Spoonbill records and consideration of the observer.
- rejected 5-2 (Sekula, Sexton voted "No")
- 1992-148 Masked Duck
- Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co., 8 Nov 1992
- accepted 7-0.
- 1993-40 Henslow's Sparrow
- west Harris Co., 2 March 1982
- accepted 7-0.
- 1993-56 Shiny Cowbird
- Goliad Co., 5 Mar 1993
- Arnold confirmed that the courtship display described by the observer is consistent with, but not diagnostic, with Shiny Cowbird.
- accepted 6-1 (Lockwood voted "No").
- 1993-118 Northern Saw-whet Owl
- Boot Springs, BBNP, Brewster Co., 4 Sept 1993
- Lockwood added that he had seen a N. Saw-whet Owl respond to a N. Pygmy Owl tape.
- accepted 7-0.
Revision of Mailing Sequence
New mailing sequence is as follows:
Fast-tracking certain records
Reid discussed eliminating the official circulation of records of birds that have been documented 10 times or more. These records would have to have an obviously identifiable photo accompanied by supporting written description. It would be up to the Secretary's discretion to determine if the record was a candidate for fast-tracking. The Secretary would notify all committee members by e-mail of any record considered for fast-tracking. If any member wanted the record circulated it would be. All fast-tracked records would receive a TBRC number.
Master List on the Web
Reid proposed placing the Master List on the TBRC web site. Lasley and Sexton described their view of authorship of the document and possible pending publication of most of the information contained within. The committee concurred that some of the information in the Master List (e.g. accepted records) would be useful to have accessible via the TBRC home page on the Internet. Haynie mentioned that to include and update the listing would require almost constant updating of the site and added the possibility of linking the review species with range maps of the counties where there are accepted records or a similar less labor intensive system. Arnold suggested an abbreviated posting of a summary for each review species.
The topic was left for future discussion with no formal action taken at the present meeting.
Reid reviewed the history of this record of Greater Shearwater (28 May 1994, off Port O'Connor, Calhoun Co.), which went 7-2 on its first two rounds. Reid had re-contacted the original observers to discuss the circumstances of the sighting and had enlargements made of the slides to be sent to various people for further examination. All responses were that the bird was a Black-capped Petrel. All of the original observers who submitted details were contacted and all but two of them withdrew their descriptions of the bird. Procedures for handling the record were discussed (reject, withdrawn records, recirculation).
Based on the new information and the enlarged photos of the bird the committee voted on the record as an "in-person" third circulation as submitted. The record was rejected 0-7. The record will be resubmitted with a new TBRC number as a Black-capped Petrel with the enlarged photos and expert opinions included.
Status of White-cheeked Pintail on the Texas List
Reid discussed the single accepted record of White-cheeked Pintail for Texas (TPRF-141) from Laguna Atascosa NWR. Reid described personal observations of out-of-range White-cheeked Pintails at Tierra del Fuego. The problem is that the species, which is fairly common in captivity, seems to have a reasonable chance of occurring as a natural vagrant.
Reid moved (second: Sexton) to remove the 1978 White-cheeked Pintail record from the accepted list and thus remove it from the state list. Discussion included suggestions that the Secretary and Reid contact bird records committees from states with accepted records of this species, Florida in particular. If possible Bahamian experts will be contacted for information and opinions. Motion was tabled until 1997 annual meeting.
Trumpeter Swan in Texas
Lockwood discussed the origin of neck collared Trumpeter Swans in Texas. One accepted record (TPRF-798) and one record currently in circulation (TBRC 1996-68) consist of birds known, because of the numbers and color of the neck collars, to have been part of the reintroduction process in the Midwest. The validity of these records as documentation of the species in Texas was discussed. Discussion also included that these birds were known to be collared as cygnets from eggs transplanted from Alaska. Lasley made the motion to leave the two records on the list with annotations as to the origin of the birds. The motion failed to get a second. Sexton made a second motion (second: Reid) to delete the accepted record from the accepted category. The motion was accepted 7-0.
Status of Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow in Texas
Lockwood described identification problems between Saltmarsh and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrows, particularly in differentiating between Saltmarsh and the Nelson's altera subspecies. Two specimens identified as Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows are known to exist. One is housed at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and was collected in Cooke County, suggesting that it is likely a Nelson's. The other specimen is at the Denver Museum of Natural History (DMNH) from Refugio County. The latter has been examined by other workers who have concurred with its identification. Arnold and Lockwood will contact the two institutions with specimens to confirm identity. Discussion centered on the need to either add the species to the review list or delete the species from the state list until the specimens are examined. Arnold pointed out that previous workers have examined the DMNH specimen and until we know differently we should accept it as correctly identified.
Lockwood moved (second: Reid) to add Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow to the review list based on the Refugio County specimen at DMNH. The motion was accepted 6-1 (Sexton dissenting).
Review Species Specimens Located
Lockwood and Doug Booher have contacted a number of institutions to get listings of their Texas holdings. This search lead to the discovery of 37 specimens of review species that were not previously known to the TBRC. Lasley had also discovered an additional five specimens for other institutions. Specimens of a Bohemian Waxwing (USNM 597272) collected in 1936 from Palo Duro Canyon and a Red-faced Warbler (MVZ 37897) collected in 1890 from El Paso County were borrowed by Arnold for the meeting. Frank Armstrong collected the warbler and the label clearly states El Paso County, but the location refers to a mountain range that does not appear to be in El Paso Co. Lockwood moved (second: Lasley) to add the newly located specimens, with the exception of the Red-faced Warbler and Roseate Tern (to be circulatred in the normal manner), to the Master List of accepted records. The motion was accepted 6-1. Reid dissented because of an American Black Duck specimen (AMNH 35053) on the list. Lockwood agreed to further investigate the Red-faced Warbler specimen and Arnold agreed to borrow the Black Duck specimen for closer examination.
TBRC Web Page
Haynie provided information about a web page in California that contains a fill-in form for bird record submission. The committee discussed the merit of having a similar page for the TBRC. The consensus was that we preferred the system now in place.
Haynie also suggested that the TBRC members attempt to send vote forms electronically to the Secretary. Each member was asked to attempt emailing votes to the Secretary to determine the workability of that system.
Haynie moved (second: Arnold) to remove Pacific Loon from the review list. The Secretary determined that there had been 50 records that are either accepted or in circulation of Pacific Loons in the last ten years. The motion passed 7-0.
Scarlet Ibis status in Texas
Lasley reviewed an article in the Condor (20:78-82) entitled "The Scarlet Ibis in Texas" describing the status of Scarlet Ibis in Texas. The article indicated that several specimens had been taken in the 1910's and that they were on display in Houston and San Antonio. The article includes a photo of a specimen reportedly from Texas. Lasley reported that Ted Eubanks and Jim Morgan had made unsuccessful attempts to find these specimens in Houston. Lockwood agreed to try and research the information in the Condor article.
Definition of Texas Waters
Lasley discussed the TBRC's current definition of Texas waters and how that differed from the definition proposed by Peake and Elwonger in "A New Frontier: Pelagic Birding in the Gulf of Mexico" (Winging It 8:1, 4-9). Peake and Elwonger suggested placing the eastern boundary along the current Minerals Management Service gas and oil leasing block and the southern boundary along the current Economic Exclusion Zone Boundary. The committee agreed to accept the proposed boundary changes.
Reid made a motion (second: Haynie) to add a provision to the by-laws to add a "Fast-tracking" provision, which allows the Secretary at his discretion to accept on behalf of the committee well-documented records with obviously identifiable photographs or audio recordings of review list species without circulating them through the committee. The Secretary will notify the entire committee of records proposed to be accepted and added under this provision. Any committee member may object to the inclusion of any individual record and request its formal circulation. Records accepted in this manner will get a TBRC number and will be reported as having been accepted unanimously by the committee. The motion was accepted 7-0.
Lasley asked for the committee's opinion on records of Eurasian Collared-Dove in Texas. There currently are several reports from various regions of the state. Two records have gone through the 1st round, both 7-2. The committee agreed that there was no need to continue to circulate additional records of this species, but that additional information was needed. The committee further agreed that the Secretary should continue to solicit and accept documentation on Eurasian Collared-Doves and hold all of those records for the 1997 TBRC annual meeting where the status of the species will be reviewed again.
Record Review Process
Lasley discussed the difficulty he often faces when determining how to treat records where multiple individuals over an extended period are reported. Similar problems exist with single birds reported over a period with long periods without any known observations. The committee discussed possible alternatives for dealing with these situations. The general consensus was that the Secretary should continue to assign TBRC numbers to records of this kind at his discretion.
Lasley also discussed problems he faces when votes are received and a member has voted to accept one individual in a multi-individual record. The example of the California Gulls reported from Cooper Lake during the summer of 1994 was noted. The consensus was that a record should be accepted if a committee member believes "one or more" of the birds in the record is documented. The committee member should clearly define which individual(s) or age group they accept.
Lasley reminded committee members to check vote submissions for completeness.
There being no other formal business on the agenda, the meeting was adjourned at about 3:45 p.m.
Greg W. Lasley, Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee