On June 5, Southern Maryland Audubon Society held its annual picnic and meeting at one of the area’s birding treasures, Kings Landing Park in Huntingtown. SMAS friends, new and old, met on a beautiful, sunny day at the picnic pavilion.
To kick off the activities, Lynne Wheeler donated dozens of her grown-from-seed native plants. Those who arrived early scooped up deals on Spotted Beebalm, Butterfly Weed, Swamp Milkweed, and other delights. The plants sold out quickly! Between the plants and a silent auction for new birdhouses, donated by our supporters, SMAS raised $605 for the coffer.
Of course, food was high on the agenda! The serving tables were jam packed with goodness, including fried chicken and salads of every description. The dessert options—from Smith Island Cake to brownies, cupcakes to cobblers—were especially mouthwatering.
Board member Tracey Stuller shared bird-themed centerpieces for each picnic table to heighten the festive mood. Many thanks to our generous friends who brought food, refreshments, and supplies.
When we introduced the meeting business, members immediately approved the proposed amendments to our Constitution and Bylaws. These updates will help SMAS bring its operating procedures up to the digital age. Members also voted on directors and leaders for the 2022 to 2023 program year. The slate passed as follows: President, Molly Moore; Vice President, Elena Gilroy; Treasurer, Julie Daniel; and Secretary, Barbara Hill. The five board members for the coming year will be Tiffany Farrell (past president), Dean Newman, Karolina Popovicova, Ben Springer, and Tracey Stuller. Please check out the bios for the new folks at the SMAS Leaders page. We are grateful to all of them for volunteering their valuable time.
Bob Lukinic, the hardworking chairperson of the Conservation Committee, presented this year’s Conservationist of the Year Award to Calvert Nature Society. Calvert Nature Society is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Calvert County’s natural heritage and the creation of an environmentally literate and aware community. They run a nature center and conduct programs, including internships, camps, and other educational activities that support the Calvert Natural Resources Division. Representatives from Calvert Nature Society, including President Joyce Baki, accepted the award.
Outgoing President Tiffany Farrell then presented her awards to board members who gave extra support over the past year. Greg Klesch earned kudos during his final year as director for his leadership in organizing the first Drum Point Osprey Festival. Greg and his wife, Georgiana, are a dynamic duo. Georgiana launched many of our creative fundraising events, including the one at Perigeaux Winery in 2018, the Solomons Island boat trip in 2019, and Covid-friendly portrait sessions at Greenwell State Park in 2021.
Julie Daniel was also recognized for her reliable and important work as treasurer, and Lynne Wheeler for her nonstop energy and commitment to all things SMAS.
Lynne Wheeler presented a surprise gift to Tiffany Farrell: a framed print of a very special photograph—an Osprey (the SMAS mascot) capturing a Blue Crab—by Calvert photographer Sal Icaza. The Calvert County theme was strong at this picnic!
Finally, Mike Callahan led a productive bird walk around the park’s shaded trails. Birders learned the alpha codes (four-letter abbreviations) for some common species. TUTI for Tufted Titmouse was a fan fave. Among the memorable sightings was an adult Brown Thrasher feeding a fledgling on the trail. Hikers explored woodland where Northern Parulas sang high above; a campground serenaded by Eastern Wood Pewees, Acadian Flycatchers, and Blue Grosbeaks; and then along the marsh of Cocktown Creek. From a boardwalk overlook there were clear views of a surprisingly low Osprey nest with an occupant.
Back at Tom Wisner Hall the group had excellent views of a Scarlet Tanager in a small tree, barn swallows nesting under the eaves, and a Summer Tanager—an ideal cap to a day of celebrating birds and nature outdoors.