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Minutes of the DVOC
December 17, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 by President Paul Guris. Twenty-five members and no guests were present. The minutes of the December 3 meeting were accepted as submitted.


Membership: Connie Goldman announced two member applicants, Paul McGonigal and Steve Mattan. Paul McGonigal first joined the DVOC as a member in 1953, let his membership lapse at some point and now wants to be a part of the club again. Paul stated that he was an avid birder in his teens in the 1950’s and attended meetings and trips – he has always maintained an interest in birds and wishes now to renew active birding.

Steve Mattan wrote in his application, “I started birding in 2000. I was on a family vacation in September at the jersey shore, and I noticed a flock of little yellow birds in the yard of the place we were staying. My curiosity peeked, I decided to check a bird book at the library. How hard could it be to finds a little yellow bird? Then I noticed there were two different sized seagulls. Who knew there were two different kinds? I’ll check the book for them too. So, for my first birding challenge I picked Fall warblers and gulls. I’ve been trying to figure them out ever since.”

New Bins for New Birders: President Paul Guris announced that we have received a letter of appreciation from the Milton Hershey School Environmental Center thanking us for our donation of 16 pairs of Nikon binoculars.

Conservation: Debbie Beer announced that the Christmas Bird Counts would begin on December 14 and run through January 5. The list of counts is posted on the website, along with the name of the compiler. If you are interested in participating in one of the counts, please contact the compiler of that count. Debbie will present a recap of all of the local counts at the Annual Meeting on January 7.

Field Trips: Chair Bob Horton conducted the trip reports and announcements:

Trip Reports:

No Field Trips have occurred since the last meeting.

Trip Announcements:

The 24th annual Philadelphia Mid-Winter Bird Census will be held on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010. The census is organized each year by its founder, Keith Russell. Participants are always needed; please see Keith.

Steve Kacir will run a photography field trip to Peace Valley Nature Center in Bucks County, PA, on Saturday, Jan. 9. Please let Steve know if you plan to come.

Erica Brendel and Chris Walters will be running their annual field trip to Montauk Point on the tip of Long Island, NY, for the Martin Luther King weekend, Jan. 16-18 (Sat. – Mon.). The trip specializes in winter seabirds, finches, and other winter residents and visitors. Space is limited, so please let Erica or Chris know soon if you would like to attend.

Win Shafer announced that he would be running a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada, and other locations in eastern Ontario over Presidents’ weekend, Feb. 13-15 (Sat. – Mon.). Targets will be winter finches, raptors, owls, boreal birds, and whatever surprises are awaiting. The first bird seen last year was a Slaty-backed Gull. Win will arrange a van for this shared-expense trip. Please see Win to sign up.

On Feb. 18-22 (Thursday – Monday), Ana Pazos and Bob Horton will lead a trip to Puerto Rico. This is a shared-expense trip. The itinerary will cover most of the best birding spots on Puerto Rico. A wide variety of Caribbean birds can be expected, including most of the Puerto Rican endemics.


Frank Windfelder announced the first 2 programs for 2010:

Jan. 7 will be the 120th Annual Members’ Meeting, followed by refreshments, a tradition since the founding of the Club in 1890. The meeting will feature the Annual Election of Officers and Council members, Reports by the Treasurer and Trustees, and a review of the area’s Christmas Bird Count results, compiled by Debbie Beer. Hear of surprises, trends, etc., in this century-long census of our resident birdlife. We will then adjourn for socializing over snacks and drinks, organized by Bonnie and Phil Witmer.

The Program on January 21 will be DVOC favorite Adrian Binns, presenting “The Naked Safari: Tales of East Africa.” Adrian has compiled humorous stories from his birding and wildlife tours in East Africa. Renowned for its peerless concentrations of wildlife, there is an extraordinary diversity of birds and mammals that make this part of Africa truly remarkable. There is so much more than just seeing the big 5 and saying you have been on safari. Come prepared for encounters and stories from the world’s most famous wildlife sanctuaries.

Nominating Committee:

In the absence of Committee Chair Colin Campbell, President Paul Guris presented the Committee’s slate of nominees, to be voted on at the Jan. 7 meeting. The slate is:

Officers (1-year terms)
President: Frank Windfelder
Vice President: Art McMorris
Secretary: Bob Horton

Councilors (3-year terms):
Marty Dellwo
Todd Fellenbaum

Paul reviewed the nomination procedure. The slate of nominees is prepared by the Nominating Committee and approved by Council. Additional nominations can be made by any member at the first or second December meeting, with the advance consent of the nominee. Further details of these procedures, as specified by our By-Laws, are available on our website: www.DVOC.org.

Witmer Stone Sanctuary: We have received a copy of a letter written by Pete Dunne of the Cape May Bird Observatory to the Superintendent of the Cape May State Park. The CMBO is endorsing our efforts to reestablish the Witmer Stone Wildlife Sanctuary.


The Cumberland County Winter Eagle Festival will be on February 6 in Mauricetown, NJ. Also, beginning March 13, the MV Osprey will be conducting Bald Eagle tours on the Maurice River.

Paul announced that he will be running an 8 hour pelagic trip our of Jones Inlet, Freeport, NY on January 17. This will be an in-shore trip. There will also be a trip out of Lewes, Delaware in February, and one in late February from Belmar, NJ. Both trips will focus on Dovekies. Pelagic trips will also be scheduled on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day Weekend from Cape Hatteras, NC.

Debbie Beer is looking for volunteers for a Bald Eagle Census. Please contact her if you are interested. Additional information is on our website.

Steve Kacir is looking for a volunteer to establish a Twitter service for the DVOC RBA.

The Glenolden (PA) CBC is December 19. Doris McGovern is looking for additional birders to help out.

Bonnie and Phil Witmer are organizing the refreshments for our Annual Meeting on Jan. 7. People are needed to help organize, bring various items (for reimbursement or as donations), etc. Please see Bonnie and Phil.

Local Notes:

Frank Windfelder saw 5 Eurasian Wigeons on December 12 on Lighthouse Pond in Cape May, NJ. He noted that 2 were females and 3 were first-year males.

Paul and Anita Guris commented on the great views they had of the waterfowl in the Shark River (NJ) area. Paul noted that the birds are quite tame, which allows for close observation and photography.

Frank Windfelder observed that there seemed to be significantly fewer numbers of smaller birds, i.e. sparrows and the like.

Ward Dasey commented on the decline of Saw-whet Owls and the increase of Long-eared Owls.

Ornithological Studies: Connie Goldman presented a study entitled "Ornithology Primer: Some Correlates of Wing Structure and Migration.” Connie compared the different wing shapes of various birds, including non-migrants, short-distance migrants and long-distant migrants.

Main Program:

Steve Kacir presented a report and slide show of his 2008 big year, "A Montgomery County Big Year." The main goal of the big year was to become more familiar with Montgomery County PA, its birds and its habitats. A secondary goal was to beat the previous big year record of 153 species, and a tertiary goal was to beat the record by mid-May. Steve’s informative presentation provided us with information on many of the rarely birded areas within Montgomery County.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Horton for Art McMorris, Secretary