2018 TBRC Annual Meeting
The 2018 Annual Meeting of the Texas Bird Records Committee (hereafter committee or TBRC) was held at 10:30 AM on 18 August 2018 at the Biodiversity Researching and Teaching Collections (BRTC) in College Station, Texas. Keith Arnold served as host. Six members were present in person; two members attended via conference call; two members (Lockwood, Lorenz) was absent. In attendance were:
● Randy Pinkston, Chair (via conference call)
● Eric Carpenter, Secretary
● Keith Arnold, Academician
● Tony Frank
● Chris Runk
● Dan Jones (via conference call)
● Petra Hockey
● Greg Cook
· Shelia Hargis, TOS President
· Jim Peterson, TBRC Webmaster
The meeting was convened at 10:28 AM.
Election of Members
Carpenter and Arnold were the only nominees respectively for the Secretary and Academician positions and were re-elected by acclimation. Jones and Lorenz had their 1st term expire at the Annual Meeting and they were elected by acclimation to serve a second term.
Lockwood and Cook's 2nd term expired at the Annual Meeting and there were 3 nominees for the 2 open positions - Mike Austin (nominated by Frank), Mary Gustafson (nominated by Pinkston), and Willie Sekula (nominated by Frank). The merits of each candidate were discussed and then members voted. Mary Gustafson and Willie Sekula received the most votes and were elected to become voting members.
Effective at the end of the Annual Meeting, current membership and term of service are as follows:
● Randy Pinkston, Chair - term expires in 2019; can be re-elected
● Eric Carpenter, Secretary (not a Voting Member) - term expires in 2019; can be re-elected
● Keith Arnold, Academician - term is as listed for Secretary; can be re-elected
● Mary Gustafson - 1st term expires in 2021, can be re-elected
● Willie Sekula - 1st term expires in 2021, can be re-elected
● Tony Frank – 1st term expires in 2019, can be re-elected
● Chris Runk – 1st term expires in 2019, can be re-elected
● Dan Jones – 2nd term expires in 2021
● Stephan Lorenz – 2nd term expired in 2021
● Petra Hockey – 2nd term expires in 2020
The sequence (used primarily for order for oral/4th round records) of members for voting becomes:
Fourth Round Records
There were 3 fourth round record that was discussed and voted on:
2017-06 - Black-capped Petrel (1)
24-Jan 2017, ~43 miles SE of Matagorda Island, Calhoun County
not accepted 5-2
2017-46 - Northern Pygmy-Owl (1)
24 Oct 2017, McKittrick Canyon, GMNP, Culberson County
2016-83 - Vaux's Swift (4)
10 - 11 Dec 2016, Comanche Park, Odessa, Ector County
not accepted 4-3
After the Vaux's Swift discussion and vote were completed, Runk requested that the Vaux's Swift record be circulated as a candidate for the Presumptive List, which Carpenter agreed to do.
Review Species – possible candidates for removal from the Review List
Pinkston moved that Black-legged Kittiwake be removed from the Review List; the motion was seconded by several. Discussion on this topic covered the rather steady occurrence of this species over the years. It was initially removed from the Review List in 1999 and then was added back on in 2005. It has been documented every year since 2009 with 39 records in the last 10 years and is likely a regular winter visitor to the (little birded) near-shore waters off the Texas coast. All agreed that it is rarely misidentified and it seems that records/photos will make it into eBird even if the TBRC stopped tracking it. The committee voted unanimously to remove Black-legged Kittiwake from the Review List.
Great Black-backed Gull
Cook moved that Great Black-backed Gull be removed from the Review List; the motion was seconded by Carpenter. In comparison to Black-legged Kittiwake, there are far less records (18) of Great Black-backed Gull in the last 10 years with one of those being a returning bird. Cook was mostly curious to know how carefully the records on the UTC were studied as several records in the past couple of years have had wide-ranging areas, essentially from one end of Galveston Island to the other as well Texas City Dike and Bolivar Peninsula. Carpenter indicated that he has studied the images to finer details (plumage and wear on wing and tail feathers, bill pattern, etc) than records of other species and feels confident that these gulls regularly wander this ~30 mile stretch of coastline/bay and that he feels confident that the records are properly tied to individual birds. Hockey and others pointed out that other gulls seem to have this same pattern in this area and along the coast. Cook was content with this explanation; this motion was not brought to a vote so Great Black-backed Gull will remain on the Review List.
Changes to By-laws
Carpenter had 3 proposed by-law changes which had been reviewed by the committee in the weeks prior to the meeting so discussions on these was a brief recap of the proposals. Outside of typos and minor clarifications, each proposal was unanimously accepted by the committee. The changes were for:
- Academician position can optionally be a non-voting position
· The Academician position becomes flexible like Secretary position - Academician does not have to be a Voting Member but can still be if desired/needed.
· If/when Arnold steps down, allowing Academician to be a non-voting member might increase the candidate pool.
· By-law changes to indicate that Academician might or might not also be a Voting Member are similar to by-law changes that did the same for the Secretary role.
· BYLAW Changes - updates made in sections III.A, III.E, III.F.
- Add "Location within Texas questionable" as reason for Rejection
- A couple records have been rejected where the identification was correct but there were questions as to if the bird(s) were actually present/seen in Texas. This is mainly with older specimens where there is insufficient detail to determine the location where specimen was taken and if that location was in Texas.
- There is not an official category on the voting form to reject such records; proposal here is to add this reason on form and make necessary by-law change.
- BYLAW Changes - updates made to sections VI.F.2,VI.F.12.
- Document an Expedited Review/“Fast-track” voting process
- “Fast-track” process has been used in the past to allow Secretary to Accept records on the behalf of the committee w/o a formal review.
- It was removed from the by-laws in 2010 when it was thought it might not be used again.
- (Re)Add section to by-laws for “Expedited Review” as a formal name for “Fast-track”.
- Secretary discretion to bypass formal review to accept records (unanimously 9-0 on behalf of voting members) that have physical documentation (photo, recording, specimen).
- Primary factors to consider for a record to be Expedited include number of previously accepted records, lack of/low number of previously rejected records (with physical documentation), distinctive plumages/field marks, outside expert review (eBird, Museums/Collections) and lack of concern/question about provenance.
- Secretary must provide voting members with record details of Expedited records prior to inclusion in annual report. At a voting member’s request, any record may be moved back to the formal review process up until when the annual report is published.
- Potential first state records can NOT be Expedited.
- Records are only Expedited to be Accepted; a record can not be Expedited to be Rejected.
- BYLAW Changes - updates made to sections VI.E.1.d, and VI.F.13.
Progress of Digitization Project
Carpenter gave an update on the digitization project. All TBRC paper records housed at the BRTC have been digitized into PDFs under the direction of Heather Prestridge, one of the BRTC curators, and those PDFs have been provided to Carpenter. Each PDF covers a single species and Carpenter has made headway on separating them into per-record PDFs. He requested help from other committee members, some who indicated they would be willing and able to do so. Carpenter also explained that he was taking the original paperwork (almost 4 filing cabinets worth) home to verify that everything was digitized. Prestridge has indicated that they are almost complete scanning the slides for the TBRC records and will provide that to Carpenter when it is complete. Carpenter stated that his goal was to get through the rest of the digitization project and to account (digitally) for every TBRC record by next year's annual meeting if possible and with help from other members of the committee.
With no other formal business on the agenda and no Any Other Business items raised, the meeting was adjourned at 12:32 PM. The attendees then all helped moved almost 4 full filing cabinets worth of TBRC papers (part of the digitization project) to Carpenter's truck for relocation to his home office and then headed off to lunch.
Secretary, Texas Bird Records Committee