2004 Annual Meeting
The 2004 annual meeting of the Texas Bird Records Committee (hereafter committee or TBRC) was held at the Hornsby Bend Environmental Center, Austin, Texas, on Saturday, 26 June 2004. In attendance were:
o Mark Lockwood, Secretary
o Keith Arnold, Academician
o Petra Hockey
o Kelly Bryan
o Mel Cooksey
o Randy Pinkston
o Jim Paton
o Brad McKinney
TBRC member John Arvin was unable to attend the meeting. The meeting was convened at 9:56 AM.
Election of Members
Petra Hockey's 2nd term and Mel Cooksey's 1st term expired at the conclusion of the summer 2004 meeting. This left two vacancies to be filled. In addition, Chairman John Arvin had retired from the committee. Three nominations had been received for the vacant Chairmanship: Brush Freeman, Randy Pinkston, and Willie Sekula. Pinkston was elected as the new Chair. With Pinkston's election, there were three vacant voting member positions and five nominations: Mel Cooksey, Willie Sekula, Eric Carpenter, Martin Reid, and Mike Austin. Cooksey was confirmed for his second term and Carpenter and Sekula were elected new members. Lockwood and Arnold were again nominated for the positions of Secretary and Academician respectively and re-elected by acclamation.
Current membership and term of service are as follows:
o Randy Pinkston, Chair - term expires fall 2006; can be re-elected
o Mark Lockwood, Secretary - term expires in fall 2005; can be re-elected
o Keith Arnold, Academician - term is as listed for Secretary
o Kelly Bryan - 2nd term expires fall 2006
o Mel Cooksey - 2nd term expires fall 2007
o Jim Paton - 1st term expires fall 2005, can be re-elected
o Brad McKinney - 1st term expires fall 2006, can be re-elected
o Willie Sekula - 1st term expires fall 2007, can be re-elected
o Eric Carpenter - 1st term expires fall 2007, can be re-elected
Regular Agenda Items
Fourth Round Records
1. 2001-15 (Vega) Herring Gull
Nueces Co., 26 February-1 April 2000
The discussion of this record focused on two topics, 1) that most of what is known about (Vega) Herring Gulls has been gathered from the wintering grounds and 2) that very little seems to be known about what the situation is like on the breeding grounds in regard to potential hybridization between the Asian subspecies groups. Therefore, what is being identified as a Vega Gull may be part of a larger hybrid swarm or a more complex situation in the Siberian Arctic than we now appreciate. The consensus of the committee was that to the best current knowledge this individual fits the characteristics of a named population extremely well and could not have been better documented. The committee also discussed the willingness to re-examine this record should Vega Gull be elevated to species status by the AOU's Committee on Classification and Nomenclature and/or when additional information concerning identification of the Herring Gull complex becomes available.
2. 2001-47, Iceland Gull
Dallas Co., 4 February 2001
3. 2001-141, Trumpeter Swan
Hemphill Co., 8 December 2001-16 February 2002
Revision of Mailing Sequence
New mailing sequence is as follows:
Review Species Specimens Located
Two specimens collected prior to 1988 were discussed during the meeting.
"Great White" Heron - Galveston Is., Galveston County, ca. 1936 (*Dallas MNH 6779)
Dusky-capped Flycatcher - Brownsville, Cameron County, 3 April 1893 (*CU 8040)
The "Great White" Heron specimen has been widely cited in Texas literature, but no one on the committee has examined the specimen or even seen a photo of it. Lockwood agreed to solicit additional information about this particular specimen.
The Dusky-capped Flycatcher specimen housed at Cornell University belongs to the subspecies found in northeastern Mexico (Myiarchus tuberculifer lawrencei) and was part of the Frank Wright collection. Mr. Wright was a collector of specimens and purchased birds from many sources. This specimen is one of three rarities in his collection and some questions have been raised about the methods used in maintaining his collection, most notably renumbering his specimens so that loons were always first in his catalog, and occasionally removing tags from specimens. The committee established that the Dusky-capped Flycatcher specimen is of the subspecies likely to occur in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the timing of occurrence is not unexpected. Unless some additional information surfaces to discredit this specimen, the TBRC voted to accept it as a valid record (Lockwood: motion, Bryan: second). The motion passed unanimously.
Rufous collars in adult male Rufous and Allen's Hummingbirds
Pinkston noted in a video of a reported AHY Allen's Hummingbird currently circulating through the TBRC that the bird appeared to have a full rufous collar. He has communicated with Steve Howell and Sheri Williamson in order to determine if this character could be helpful in distinguishing the two species. Both reported that this is a very variable feature in Allen's Hummingbird and did not appear to be helpful as a field mark.
The vast majority of photographic submissions to the TBRC now are digital. Martin Reid advised that having prints made at a photo reproduction facility would provide a print with a greater archival life than images printed on an inkjet printer on photographic paper. Arnold will examine the materials submitted to the TBRC, determine what images are best suited for printing, and have prints made for archival purposes. A digital archive of all submissions, with back-ups, will also be kept in the Texas Photo Record File.
Documentation where vocalization descriptions are the focal point of a submission
Pinkston brought up the situation where written vocalization descriptions were the focal point of a submission and whether there needed to be a separate policy for reviewing such records. The consensus was that there should not. Obviously it is much more difficult for each reviewer to have the same understanding of a written description of a song or call when compared to a description of a physical character.
TBRC 2000-36 and 2000-46
Martin Reid brought to the committee's attention that two accepted records of Bohemian Waxwing (TBRC 2000-36 and 2000-46) from Tarrant County likely pertain to the same individual and might better be treated as a single record. TBRC 2000-46 was reported at River Legacy Park in Arlington on 21 March 2000 and TBRC 2000-36 was reported from the Village Creek Drying Beds in Fort Worth on 1 April 2000. These two properties share a boundary. Considering the close proximity of the two locations and the fact that the sightings were only 11 days apart, the committee agreed that these sighting should be included under a single TBRC number (TBRC 2000-36).
TOS Handbook of Texas Birds update
Lockwood provided an update on the recently published TOS Handbook of Texas Birds (formerly theChecklist of Texas Birds). The book is selling well with Texas A&M University Press having sold over 1800 copies as of 1 June 2004. All author royalties will be donated to The Texas Ornithological Society ( TOS). At the spring 2004 TOS Board meeting a resolution was passed to direct the royalties to support the Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society and other scientific publications.
Electronic circulation of records
The TBRC has moved entirely to electronic circulation of records using web space provided by TOS (thanks to David Sarkozi). Lockwood asked if any member had any suggestions about how the process might be improved and encouraged everyone to let him know should they have any ideas in this regard.
Motion to Remove Thayer's Gull from the list of Review Species
Lockwood asked the committee to consider removing Thayer's Gull from the Review List. This species is an annual visitor to the state with more than 60 documented records. It was discussed that the Texas birding community has developed an excellent grasp on the identification challenges provided by Thayer's Gulls and that the occurrence of the species is well documented in the state. In addition, it was not believed that by removing this species from the Review List that it would increase the likelihood of an Iceland Gull passing undocumented. There was no disagreement about the removal of the species. Cooksey moved (Bryan: second) to remove Thayer's Gull from the Review List and the committee voted 8-0 in favor.
Motion to Remove Allen's Hummingbird from the list of Review Species
Lockwood asked the committee to consider removing Allen's Hummingbird from the Review List. Thanks to the efforts of hummingbird banders (particularly Charles Brower, Brent Ortego, and Glenn Swartz) we now know that Allen's Hummingbird is a regular winter resident on the Texas coast. There was no disagreement about the removal of the species. Cooksey moved (Hockey: second) to remove Allen's Hummingbird from the Review List and the committee voted 8-0 in favor.
Motion to Remove Yellow-green Vireo from the list of Review Species
Lockwood asked the committee to consider removing Yellow-green Vireo from the Review List. Discussion centered on the increased number of documented records from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in recent years as summer birding has seen a resurgence. There was no disagreement about the removal of the species. Cooksey moved (Paton: second) to remove Yellow-green Vireo from the Review List and the committee voted 8-0 in favor.
With no other formal business on the agenda, the meeting was adjourned at 1:10 PM.
The TBRC would like to thank Kevin Anderson and the Hornsby Bend Environmental Center for hosting the annual meeting.
Mark W. Lockwood
Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee