IAS Spring Gathering 2021
May 1 @ 6:00 am - 9:00 pm EDT$20 – $32
Join us at the IAS Spring Gathering!
May 1, 2021
The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary welcomes everyone back to enjoy a weekend of socially distant birding, learning, and great fellowship with friends. Stay the weekend and experience the best of spring migration. The MGBS is the flagship property owned by the Indiana Audubon Society, Inc. With over 700 acres of property, participants can walk the many trails, enjoy welcoming back the migrating birds, and celebrate spring! Camping is available for IAS members free of charge in the MGBS campground and lodging can also be found a short distance away in Connersville. All formal events will be held on Saturday.
To continue complying with CDC recommendations, all IAS Spring Gathering activities will have the follow restrictions:
All IAS Spring Gathering participants must pre-register in advance for field trips.
All activities have capacity limits in place.
All participants are expected to either utilize facial covering and/or social distance six feet during trips or presentations.
All non non-related participants should plan on traveling separately rather than carpool during multiple location trips unless COVID vaccinated.
The Gathering Events on Saturday
6:30AM – 8:00AM TO-GO BREAKFAST OUTSIDE THE MARKLE BARN
Please join us while we start the day with a simple to-go breakfast in and around the Markle Barn, overlooking the ponds.
7:00AM – 11:30AM WHITEWATER MEMORIAL STATE PARK BIRDING TRIP
The north side of Brookville Reservoir can be good for long distant scans for shorebirds, birds of prey, and many aerial bird species. Participants joining IAS board director Richard Garrett will stop by Quakertown SRA first to seek out Osprey and Black Vultures before finishing the morning seeking migrants in the state park. Total commute time about 25-30 minutes.
7:00AM – 10:00AM WARBLER BLITZ OF MARY GRAY
Nearly all of Indiana’s regular 36 species of regular occurring warblers have been found at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary. IAS executive director, Brad Bumgardner, will seek out as many warblers as possible on this morning venture through the woodlands, wetlands, and prairies of the sanctuary. We’ll focus on ID traits as well as we seek them out.
7:30AM – 10:00AM BIRD BANDING WITH AMY WILMS
Amy Wilms will band birds at the Large Shelter. First net run will occur at 7:30 AM. It is not only the coolest thing to have a bird in the hand, but it is also cool to watch Amy handle and band them. Please visit the station and enjoy feathered friends up close. Come and go as you please.
9:00AM – 12:00PM POSSOM HOLLOW TRIP
Join Pam for a birding trip winding through Fayette and Union Counties. Participants will be mostly in their cars with several stops to get out and scan with binoculars, scopes and cameras. Stops will include Whitewater River crossing, farmland, woods with stream, and a couple of locations on Brookville Lake. Expect to see spring migrants, bald eagles, great blue herons, belted kingfisher, common songbirds, and gulls.
11:00AM – 12:00PM FUNGUS AMONGUS HIKE
The 700+ acres of Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary not only host a large diversity of birds, but also an interesting selection of mushrooms, shelf fungus, and more. Join state mushroom expert and author Rob Hallock for a foray into the May woodlands of Mary Gray to learn about some of the spring mushrooms popping now- edible and poisonous ones alike.
12:00PM LUNCH AT THE BARN and SOLAR DEDICATION
Join us during the noon lunch hour for a safe, box lunch offering. Outdoor eating will be provided around the barn and nearby shelters. We’ll also be formally dedicating the completion of the MGBS solar project, powering the property for the next 50 years!
1:00PM IAS BOARD MEETING
Our board of directors will meet for one of three annual meetings. The public is welcome to sit in.
1:00PM OUR BIRD SPRING OBSTACLE COURSE- WINDOWS, CATS, AND MORE!
As professor at IU Kokomo, Lina Rafai, and her students have studied the various obstacles that stand in birds’ way each migration season. Lina will highlight the current greatest threats to birds in their annual pilgrimages across the hemisphere. Program takes place in the large shelter.
1:00PM HERP HUNT
Herps, or more largely amphibians and reptiles abound throughout the sanctuary. While frogs and turtles are the most popular to find species within Mary Gray, the careful eye can find so much more! Join Austin Broadwater for a search of all things herps this afternoon through the Sanctuary woodlands and creek sides.
3:00PM – 6:00PM WARBLERS 201 HIKE- LET’S CHAT!
Brad Bumgardner will guide folks for a more intense warbler ID hike on the property. We’ll target warbler species missed this morning and some of the habitat to find harder to find birds, such as our oddest warbler, the Yellow-breasted Chat. Expect some longer hiking distances.
3:30PM BIRDING PHOTOGRAPHY HIKE
Exciting developments in photo-technology present challenging issues to those who bird with cameras in hand. Many issues are synonymous with basic birding; others are unique to photography. Explore the Mary Gray property with Shari McCullough and refine your best bird and butterfly photography during this special two-hour hike.
6:30PM BIRDING BONFIRE AND MUSIC
While no formal keynote program and dinner will occur this year for COVID safety, feel free to join us for an evening around the campfire. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket for some great music with Phil English. Several nearby dining options exist that can be brought in via delivery apps or bring your own dinner to cook over the fire! We’ll also have some hotdogs and chips on hand for folks to roast (and maybe marshmallows!).
8:30PM MARY GRAY’S 3 OWL SEARCH
All three year-round resident owls make their home at Mary Gray. Audubon night owls will seek out our nocturnal residents in a final hour search into the growing twilight this evening. Bring bug spray, a light jacket, and a flashlight for the walk back and join us into the darkness.
Early Bird Adult: $32.00 (includes all programs, breakfast and lunch, and evening social)
Early Bird Youth: $20.00 (includes all programs, breakfast and lunch, and evening social)
Regular Adult: $39.00 (includes all programs, breakfast and lunch, and evening social)
Regular Youth: $25.00 (includes all programs, breakfast and lunch, and evening social)
*Early bird rates through April 24. Youth rates apply to all children 17 years of age and under.
WHERE TO STAY
CAMPGROUND: The Sanctuary has a primitive campground for use during your stay (at no additional cost). Pit toilets are located in the campground. Water and modern restrooms are nearby and will be available for your stay.
WOODRIDGE INN: The Woodridge Inn is located about 20 minutes away if visitors prefer to stay in a hotel. Depending upon your room choice, rates are between $80-$95 per night. Contact the hotel directly by calling 765-825-4800.