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Minutes of the DVOC
April 16, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 by President Paul Guris. It was noted, to much applause, that today was Anita Guris’s birthday. Thirty members and no guests were present. The minutes of the April 2 meeting were read and accepted.

Committees:

Membership: Chair Connie Goldman reported that we had no new members since the last meeting. Connie said that a good way to promote the club is to wear a club hat, which are available at the meeting for $17.00. DVOC patches and window decals are also available for $1.00 each.

Larus: Paul announced that Larus editor Jason Loghry is soliciting articles for the next issue. Please submit them directly to Jason.

Cassinia: Editor Art McMorris reported that Volume 71 is progressing well, and editorial work on Volume 72 is going on in parallel. Photo editor Steve Kerr is asking for photos for the “Sightings” photo spread of Volume 72. Photos can be either of unusual sightings or of more common birds, taken during 2006 or 2007. Please send them either as digital files or as photo prints to Steve.

Conservation: Chair Debbie Beer reported that Scott Weidensaul’s Northern Saw-whet Owl Banding Program for the 2008 migration year officially ended on April 13, 2009, with the last radio transmission from “Lexie.” The program was supported by funds raised by DVOC’s 2008 World Series of Birding Team, the Nikon/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes. Lexie was fitted with a radio transmitter on December 15, and since the transmitter batteries only last a few months, she was caught and fitted with a new battery a few months later. Lexie stayed in the same area longer than any other winter migrant Saw-whet Owl Scott has banded, but she has finally left.

The funds raised by the 2009 Nikon/DVOC “Lagerhead Shrikes” will go to support the Willistown Conservation Trust’s bird banding station at Rushton Woods Preserve in Chester County, PA. Scott Weidensaul and member Doris McGovern will be the master banders. Everyone was urged to pledge generously to our team. A pledge form was circulated with the sign-in notebook, and pledge forms can also be downloaded from the website: www.DVOC.org.

Field Trips: There have been no field trips since the last meeting. Field Trip Chair Bob Horton announced up-coming trips.

Lynn Jackson is running a field trip to coastal Delaware on Saturday April 18. The trip will start in New Castle County and head south from there, looking for early migrants and winter stragglers. Please contact Lynn a week before the trip if interested. This is a joint trip with the Wyncote Audubon Society.

Jeff Holt will be running a trip to Riverwinds and the National Park Dredge Spoils in Gloucester County, NJ on Sunday April 19. Jeff has seen over 130 species at Riverwinds alone. The dredge spoils are good for nesting marsh birds and wintering waterfowl.

Steve Kacir announced his photography field trip to Bombay Hook, DE on Saturday April 25. Targets will be overwintering birds, early migrants and early nesters. An effort will be made to document nesting Horned Larks for the Delaware Birding Bird Atlas.

Steve will also be running a trip to Turkey Point in Cumberland County, NJ on Saturday May 2. The actual date may change due to the weather, so watch the website. Targets are Black Rail, Yellow Rail and other night birds. Meet at the end of Turkey Point Rd. at 7:30 PM; see the website and/or contact Steve for full details.

Bob Horton announced Colin Campbell’s annual trip to southern Delaware and points beyond (in Maryland) for a 3-day weekend on May 1-3. This trip starts at Bombay Hook NWR on Friday morning and works south to other birding locations in Delaware and Maryland. Interspersed throughout will be a gourmet tour trying local delicacies such as crab, scrapple and muskrat. Yummy. Please contact Colin to sign up.

Bob also announced that Bill and Naomi Murphy will run a trip to Fort Washington State Park, PA, on Sunday, May 3. Fort Washington State Park is an excellent place for spring migration. Bill and Naomi have tallied up to twenty-eight species in prior spring migration periods. The trip will meet at the Hawk Watch platform at Militia Hill at 8AM.

Phil Witmer announced that he is planning an overnight trip to the lower Poconos for the mid-week dates of May 6-7 or 13-14. Participants will stay in cabins at the private Graystones Preserve and enjoy catered dinners. Information is posted on the website; see Phil if interested.

Tony Croasdale announced a trip to southwestern NJ on Saturday May 16 to track down goodies found during scouting for the World Series of Birding. Tony is looking for a new leader for this trip, since he has just accepted a field position in Alaska.

Tony said that plans for his Belize trip for January 6-16, 2010 are firming up. The trip will be a joint venture of DVOC and a commercial bird tour company, Wildside Birding Tours, run by Kevin Loughlin. A full announcement is now on the DVOC website, at the end of the 2009 trip schedule.

Details of all these trips are on the website: www.DVOC.org.

Programs:

Frank Windfelder announced the programs through June:

On May 7th, Chris Lotz will speak about "Birding the Southern Third of Africa from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and Namibia." Chris will take us on a journey from the southern tip of Africa through extremely diverse birding habitats across 7 very different countries.
There is a change in the program for May 21. The new program will be Bert Filemyr, talking about “The Apostrophes - Stories Behind Birds Named in Honor of People.”

And on June 4, Frank Windfelder will present “Trans-Pecos Birding.”

Announcements:

Paul Guris announced that pelagic trips will be running in North Carolina on the Country Girl on May 30, 31 and June 1, and on August 15, 16 and 17. Mary Gustafson, Mike Fritz and Angus Wilson will be the leaders. The cost is reasonable, and discounts will be given to those taking multiple trips. Flyers were available with full detail. If interested, contact Mary Gustafson at live4birds@aol.com, or call 252-473-5577.

Frank Windfelder mentioned that Kevin Loughlin, who will be co-leading the Belize trip with Tony, was here at the meeting.

Debbie Beer gave an update on Win Shafer’s through-hike of the Appalachian Trail with his 19-year old son, Blake. Win and Blake have completed about 400 miles of the 2,174-mile trail so far. They plan to meet up with some DVOC members at the Delaware Water Gap in PA in late May; arrangements will be announced as the time gets nearer.

Don Jones announced that there are still 2 spaces available on the Oregon trip being run by himself and Tom Bailey on June 3-15. Please see Don if interested.

Bert Filemyr announced that DVOC Council recently voted an increase in dues, the first increase in many years. Beginning in 2010, annual dues will be $35.00. Following past practice, life memberships will be 15 times the annual rate, payable in 3 equal annual installments. Anyone who joins in 2009 will pay the existing annual rate, and anyone who begins paying for a life membership before the end of 2009, or who has already begun paying, will lock in the current rates.

Local Notes:

Steve Kacir was at Bombay Hook NWR, DE last weekend and saw that Black-necked Stilts had returned, and shorebirds were building. Two special experiences were standing at the boardwalk at the gut at dusk listening to Marsh Wrens singing their short evening song, and flushing 20 Bobwhites at one spot.

Frank Windfelder was at Pennypack on the Delaware last weekend and saw Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Laughing Gulls, Caspian Terns and Forster’s Terns. Two eggs hatched on March 18 at the Bald Eagle nest, and the chicks are growing like crazy.

Debbie Beer was at Tinicum (John Heinz NWR) in Philadelphia on Easter Sunday. She had a Red-shouldered Hawk, Rusty Blackbirds and many other birds at the horseshoe, and the first Yellow-crowned Night-Heron recorded there in 15 years.

Todd Fellenbaum was at Tinicum last Thursday and saw a Yellow-throated Warbler, a very good bird for this location. Ovenbirds, Palm and Pine Warblers were also seen, and a singing Louisiana Waterthrush at the small boardwalk – very unusual for Tinicum.

Tom Bailey saw 14 Pine Siskins in Tabernacle, NJ on Sat. April 11, and a Black-throated Green Warbler at Wharton State Forest, NJ.

Bob Horton saw a Louisiana Waterthrush and Palm Warblers at the South Branch of the Raritan River, NJ.

Further afield, Rick Mellon just returned from San Antonio, Texas, where he saw Yellow-crowned Night-Herons nesting in cypress trees above several restaurants. The message: diner beware! He also saw several Masked Ducks, a Hook-billed Kite, Green Kingfisher, two pairs of Muscovy Ducks, a female Blue Bunting, and a Black-throated Magpie-Jay, a cage bird that escaped about a year ago and has remained in the area.

Paul Guris reported that he an Anita still have about 125 Pine Siskins at their feeders in Green Lane, PA.

Rick Mellon asked everyone to be alert for evidence of nesting of White-winged Crossbills. Like Pine Siskins, many irrupting White-winged Crossbills are still in the area; and both species are opportunistic breeders, nesting in any month in any area where they find abundant food. Evidence of nesting of either species should be reported to the Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas.

Ornithological Studies:

Chair Todd Fellenbaum introduced Phil Witmer, who presented “Glass: Reducing Bird Strikes.” The number of birds that die from window strikes in the US is estimated at 100 million to over 1 billion birds per year. Phil described factors that bring about collisions and measures that can be taken to reduce collisions. Phil’s PowerPoint Presentation is posted on the website at www.DVOC.org, as are most other Ornithological Studies presentations given in the past.

Main Program:

Frank Windfelder introduced Andy Smith, who presented “Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River,” a program which had its origin in a trip Andy made to the Platte River in Nebraska in March and April 2008. Andy discussed the natural history of this ancient species, the migration phenomenon, and the effects of changing land use practices in the area.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary