Taking Flight 2018 / Warbler Weekend


The Catskill Mountains host 27 different breeding warblers and at least 9 more species that have been documented passing through.

In honor of these amazing birds, the 3rd annual Taking Flight Conference is all about warblers.

May 25 - May 27, 2018


Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson, co-writers of "The Warbler Guide" 

will lead warbler hikes, warbler workshops (photographing warblers + Warbler ID), and will give the Saturday night keynote address... about warblers.

It will be a weekend in the Catskills you won't want to miss.

The weekend will be anchored by the birds behind the warbler guide, Scott Whittle + Tom Stephenson.

Scott Whittle 

Scott Whittle 

Tom Stephenson

Tom Stephenson

Scott and Tom

Scott Whittle lives in Cape May, NJ and has twenty years of experience as a professional photographer and educator. He holds an MFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts in New York, is a Fellow of The MacDowell Colony and is a onetime New York State Big Year Record Holder.

Tom Stephenson's articles and photos have appeared in birding and bird watcher's digest, at surfbirds.com and in the Handbook of the Birds of the World. He has guided groups across the United States and Asia. A musician, he has had several Grammy and Academy Award winners as clients and was Director of Technology at Roland Corporation.


A sample of the 2018 scheduled offerings include —   


In search of the Bicknell's Thrush / A pre-dawn hike up hunter mountain with Steve Chorvas

The Bicknell's Thrush has one of the most restrictive breeding grounds of any North American bird.  They also have an unusual mating system — both males and females mate with different partners. Each nest has young from different males, and males may have young in several nests. Some areas of the Catskill Mountains contain the elevation and ecosystem this bird prefers. 

This year, with the guidance of Steve Chorvas, a group will head up Hunter Mountain in search of the Thrush's pre-dawn song.


what the hell is a warbler / with scott whittle

Warblers can be confusing little buggers. Twenty +  varieties nest and breed in the Catskills, and telling them apart is challenging.

But more than that, what differentiates warblers from the other chirpers and peepers flitting around out there?

Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson have spent countless hours parsing these, and other Warbler mysteries, and will let us in on a few of their insights and discoveries. 


Birdsong Workshop / in the field with Tom Stephenson

This workshop will start inside with a review of bird songs and then the group will go on a short walk to improve their ability to identify birds by their song.


peregrine falcons / Chris Nadareski

In the 1970's, the Peregrine Falcon, or Falco peregrinus from the Latin for wandering, was placed on the endangered species list. Their populations across North America were depleted during the 1950's and 1960's, primarily because of the introduction of many chemicals, such as organochlorine pesticides. These toxic substances would harm the reproductive cycle of the falcon, preventing it from being able to hatch healthy young. To prevent the species from becoming extinct, falcons were bred in captivity and released into the wild.

Today, Peregrine Falcons are making a comeback in New York City. We currently know of 16 falcon couples, or 32 falcons total, that live year-round in unique places throughout the City such as on top of bridges, church steeples and high-rise buildings. While this comeback has been years in the making, it is possible that the goal of restoring the falcon population will finally be achieved, due to efforts of people like DEP scientist, Chris Nadareski.


Beginning Birding / Jamie Dappen + John Thompson

Jamie + John will introduce the basic skills of birdwatching in the field, focusing on habitats, behaviors and characteristics of birds along with resources and guides needed to enjoy observing them.


Taking Flight 2018 / Warbler Weekend
will be centered at

The Emerson Resort & Spa

5340 Route 28
Mount Tremper, New York 12457



Stay in the know

You'll be the first to know Taking Flight 2018 / Warbler Weekend's programming and news, and you'll have first dibs on registration.

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If there's anything you'd love to see at Taking Flight 2018 / Warbler Weekend, let us know! We'll see what we can do.