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Minutes of the DVOC
February 19, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 by Chris Walters, standing in for President Paul Guris. Twenty-eight members and 6 guests were present. The minutes of the February 5 meeting were read and accepted.


Membership: Chair Connie Goldman announced new member Ron Sinclair, and read the profiles of new applicants Nicole DiGregorio, Darrell Middleton and Betsy Schnorr.

Conservation: Edie Parnum asked for nominations for recipients of conservation grants from DVOC, to be supported by funds raised by the DVOC World Series of Birding team, the “Lagerhead Shrikes.” Nominations can be sent to Edie or to Conservation Chair Debbie Beer.

Cassinia: Cassinia editor Art McMorris reported that editorial work on Cassinia Volume 71 is progressing and that the process of formatting for the printer is underway.

Field Trip Reports:

Bob Horton conducted the reports of recent field trips.

Colin Campbell reported on his Feb. 7 trip to Delaware City, DE for waterfowl and other winter birds. Unfortunately all the local freshwater ponds were frozen, so waterfowl were conspicuous by their absence. The Peregrine pair under Reedy Point Bridge performed admirably and a Merlin was also seen. Ron Sinclair then mentioned that he had seen a flock of White-winged Crossbills the previous day in Newark, so the group went there and saw 13 crossbills, with many males in resplendent colors, feasting on the spruce cones in bright sunlight.

Marty Dellwo gave the report of Tony Croasdale’s Feb. 8 trip to Manahawkin WMA, NJ, a new trip this year. Locations included Manahawkin, Barnegat Light State Park, and Cedar Run Rock Road. Sightings included both loons, Long-tailed Ducks, Surf and Black Scoters, Harlequin Ducks, Common Goldeneye, a big flock of Greater Scaup, flyover American Pipits, many Harriers, Black-bellied Plover, Dunlin, Ruddy Turnstones and a gorgeous “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrow.
Todd Fellenbaum gave the report of the Feb. 14-16 trip to eastern Ontario run by Adrian Binns. The Ottawa area yielded Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hoary Redpoll, Common Redpoll, Pine Grosbeak and Bohemian Waxwing, among others. Six owl species were found on Amherst Island: Snowy, Northern Hawk, Barred, Boreal, Great Gray and Northern Saw-whet. Algonquin Park produced Black-backed Woodpecker, Red and White-winged Crossbills, and Boreal Chickadee, but no Spruce Grouse.

Full reports are on the website: www.DVOC.org.

Field Trips – up-coming trips:

Bob announced two up-coming trips:

On Saturday Feb. 21, Martin Selzer will run a joint trip (with the Wyncote Audubon Society) to Indian River Inlet, DE, for winter waterfowl, gulls, seabirds and other late winter visitors. Besides Indian River Inlet and Rehoboth Bay, the trip will visit Silver Lake, Cape Henlopen State Park, Prime Hook and Bombay Hook.

Steve Kacir announced his annual photography field trip to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, NJ, on Saturday Feb. 21. The trip will focus on getting some good photographs of wintering gulls and waterfowl. Almost no effort will be made to find rarities. Let Steve know what kind of photography you plan to do (e.g. digiscoping, camera only, lens types, etc.) This is the best location in New Jersey to see Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper. Common Eider, other ducks and loons are regular here; King Eider is possible; and the dunes are good for “Ipswich” Sparrows, Snow Buntings and longspurs.

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


Frank Windfelder announced the next few programs:

March 5, Jeff Gordon, “Kingfishers and their Allies.” Jeffrey will talk about the kingfishers of the world and their relatives in the Order Coraciiformes: bee-eaters, rollers, mot-mots, hornbills and hoopoes.

March 19, Kevin Karlson, “Shorebirds: a Different Approach to Field ID,” a jizz-based approach described in his best-selling book (with Mike O’Brien and Richard Crossley), “The Shorebird Guide.”

April 2, Bill Evans, “Nocturnal Migration of Birds in the 21st Century.” Bill will discuss night migration and what has been learned from his studies on nocturnal flight calls, and will talk about approaches that could reduce the impacts of wind turbines, communication towers and artificial lighting.

The summer informal meetings in July and August will be held at the Palmyra Cove Nature Park, NJ, and the first September meeting (also informal) will be held at the John Heinz NWR at Tinicum, PA.


Chris Walters summarized ongoing preparations for the annual (national) meeting of the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU), which will be held in Philadelphia (actually at Villanova University) in mid-August, 2009. A DVOC committee consisting of Paul Guris, Chris Walters, Nate Rice and Bert Filemyr is planning field trips for meeting participants, and looking for volunteers to lead the trips. The core of the meeting will be Thurs. Aug. 13 through Sat. Aug. 15, and pre- and post-meeting trips will be run on Aug. 9-12 and 16. During the days of the meeting itself, field trips will be morning affairs, approximately 1½ hours, to nearby places so that participants can be back by 9 AM for the meeting. Pre- and post-meeting trips will be to other places such as Cape May, Brigantine, Bombay Hook, Mill Grove (for history), Hawk Mountain (the migration count will be underway), etc. A pre-meeting pelagic trip is a possibility. Chris asked people to think about possible trips and to volunteer to be tour guides. Guides won’t have to be concerned about transportation; buses and other matters (e.g., meal arrangements) will be arranged by AOU.

Local Notes:

Last Sunday Steve Kacir went to Deal, NJ and saw the Pacific Loon that has been reported there. Nearby he saw a Eurasian Wigeon at Silver Lake and American Coots and a Common Teal (the Eurasian subspecies of Green-winged Teal) at Lake Takanassee. Additionally he saw Pine Siskins at Riverbend Environmental Education Center and a Short-eared Owl at Valley Forge (both in PA).

Chris Walters reported that Sheryl Johnson had seen White-winged Crossbills at Haverford College, PA, where she lives on-campus.

Todd Fellenbaum reported that Tony Croasdale had seen a male Blue-winged Teal at Tinicum, PA, a very unusual mid-winter sighting.

Linda Rowan reported that the “Pole Farm” in NJ, more formally known as “Mercer County Park NW,” is very reliable for Short-eared Owls and Northern Harriers. Jeffrey Hall (tonight’s speaker) said that the location is also good for Rough-legged Hawks. Ask Linda for exact driving directions.

Frank Windfelder saw his third flock of White-winged Crossbills in northeast Philadelphia this winter, at Nazareth Academy. The birds wander nomadically; check hemlocks. Six or 7 days ago Frank saw a hutchinsii Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii hutchinsii). The Bald Eagle nest behind the prison on Rhawn St. near the Delaware River is active; Frank saw a nest exchange recently. The nest is monitored by Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Jerry Czech. Frank pointed out that Bald Eagles have been removed from the Federal Endangered Species list, but are still protected.

Last Thursday (Feb. 12) Vincent Nichnadowicz and Bob Horton saw the Pacific Loon at Deal, NJ. Bob had also seen the bird on Feb. 10, as well as an Orange-crowned Warbler and Long-eared Owls.

On Tuesday Feb. 17 Connie Goldman, Bert Filemyr and Mike Rosengarten saw a number of great birds, including LeConte’s Sparrow and Eurasian Wigeon.

Ornithological Studies:

Chair Todd Fellenbaum invited people to give presentations in the Ornithological Studies series. He is striving for variety in people giving talks and in the subjects presented. He asked for suggestions for topics and speakers.

Todd then introduced Art McMorris, who presented “2008 Peregrine Falcon Nesting Season in PA.” Art gave a very brief summary of the Peregrine Falcon re-introduction and recovery program after the falcons had been extirpated in eastern North America by DDT and other pesticides. He then summarized the results of the 2008 nesting season in PA. Highlights included 3 new nests, and all-time highs (during the recovery period) in number of nests, number of successful nests at natural (cliff) sites, and number of young fledged. However, Pennsylvania still has only 23 nests total, and 3 cliff nests, as compared with 44 ad 43, respectively, before the DDT era, so there’s still a long way to go. Much discussion ensued.

Main Program:

Guest speaker Jeffrey Hall presented “Behaving Beautifully,” a series of vignettes about various birds illustrating not only their beautiful appearance but also interesting observations about their behavior and natural history. His talk was illustrated with photographs from a variety of birding Meccas and lesser-known locations throughout North America

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

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary