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Minutes of the DVOC
March 19, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:45 by President Paul Guris. Forty-six members and 9 guests were present. The minutes of the March 5 meeting were read and accepted.


Cassinia: Editor Art McMorris gave a status report on Cassinia. Editorial work on Volume 71 has now been completed and the issue is now in the process of being formatted for the printer. If past experience is a guide, the process of formatting and printing, until we receive the printed copies, is expected to take about 5 months, although we will do everything we can to expedite the process. Editorial work on Volume 72 is going on in parallel and volume 72 will follow close on the heels of Volume 71.

Field Trip Reports:

Bob Horton conducted the field trip reports.

Chris Walters reported on his trip to Barnegat Light, NJ on Sunday, March 15, designed especially for new members and students, but open to all. Fifteen participants came, 10 of them from the Upper Main Line YMCA (in PA). Excellent views were had of Red-necked Grebe, Harlequin Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Northern Gannet, and other specialties. The trip then continued at Brigantine (Forsythe NWR), where the birds seen included Short-eared Owl and American Pipit.

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

Field Trips – up-coming trips:

Steve Kacir announced his Saturday, March 21 trip to Bombay Hook NWR, DE. A prime purpose of the trip is to get data on early breeders for the Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas. A special effort will be made to confirm breeding of Horned Lark. Time will also be taken to look for interesting winter visitors such as Cackling Goose, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Rusty Blackbird, etc. The trip will run rain or shine.

Bob Horton announced a new trip, organized and run by Tony Croasdale, to the Franklin Parker Preserve in NJ on Saturday March 28. The Preserve is a mixture of old cranberry bogs and pinelands. Targets will include Tundra Swan, Rough-legged Hawk, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, American Pipit, Savannah Sparrow and Merlin. Tony has gotten permission to drive into the preserve, which will save a lot of hiking.

Frank Windfelder will run his annual Southwestern NJ trip on Sunday March 29. The trip will visit Pedricktown and Mannington Marsh, and will look for possible winter stragglers such as Ross' Goose, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Rusty, Brewer's and Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and any early migrants. Ruffs have been seen previously on this trip. There will be 2 start times: 6:15 AM for the early birds, and 7:30 for those who don’t want to get up so early.

Phil Witmer announced that he is planning an overnight trip to the lower Poconos for the first or second weekend in May. Participants will stay at a private preserve. Information will be posted on the website; see Phil if interested.

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 Trap Pond State Park where you can camp or you can stay in a motel nearby. Saturday will be spent at Nanticoke WMA and areas around Seaford before returning to Trap Pond. Sunday will be at the Cypress Swamps in DE and MD, then in the bayside areas to the north. Interspersed throughout will be a gourmet tour trying local delicacies such as crab, scrapple and muskrat. Yummy. Full details on a flyer nearer the time. Please contact Colin to sign up.

Bob Horton will be running a trip to the Lakehurst Naval Air Station on Wednesday June 10 to see the Upland Sandpipers that breed in the grasslands on the base. Other grassland birds such as Grasshopper, Vesper, Field and Savannah Sparrows, Horned Lark, Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink are expected, as well as other species in the nearby pine woods. It has been 4 years since the last field trip to this site. Advance registration is necessary, and participants must be US citizens and have a photo ID. Those wishing to drive on the base will also need to show their driver’s license, registration and insurance card. Limited to 20 participants.

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


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. Cards were available with full details of the trips. If interested, contact Mary Gustafson at live4birds@aol.com, or call 252-473-5577.

Paul reminded everyone that the World Series of Birding will be held on Saturday May 9. This year our team, the Nikon/DVOC “Lagerhead Shrikes,” will be raising money to support the bird banding station being run by the Willistown Conservation Trust at its Rushton Woods Preserve in Chester County, PA. Everyone was urged to pledge generously.

Local Notes:

Marty Dellwo was at Tinicum (John Heinz NWR, PA) 2 Sundays ago and saw several male Redheads, as well as American Woodcocks and Wilson’s Snipe.

Paul Guris reported that the recent snowstorm brought over 400 Pine Siskins to his feeders in Green Lane, PA. Paul said that he and Anita were spending a small fortune on niger seed.

Paul reported on his most recent pelagic trips. His Lewes DE trip on Feb. 7 found about 200 Dovekies, as well as Herring, Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and several Atlantic Puffins and Northern Fulmars. His Sunday Feb. 8 trip from Bellmar NJ stayed close to shore to avoid the stormy conditions further out. Ten Common Murres were found, which is a high count for NJ. Other birds found were Atlantic Puffin, Razorbill, and Glaucous, Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Paul announced that he will be running 2 overnight pelagic trips in August. See www.paulagics.com for full details.

Further afield, Al Driscoll reported that he had recently returned from Bosque del Apache NWR in New Mexico. A flock of 40 white geese proved to be mostly Ross’s, but 4 Snow Geese were easy to pick out. Later he saw a flock of 300 Rosy Finches – through a plate glass window while sitting comfortably indoors, eating green chili.

Visitor Dawn Capone reported that she had seen a Snowy Owl at Stone Harbor Point, NJ.

Ward Dasey reported that he had seen 13 Long-eared Owls in New Jersey. Bert Filemyr added that there were 4 Long-eared Owls at Peace Valley, PA, earlier in the season. Ann Scott said that one was still there as of yesterday.


Frank Windfelder announced the next 3 programs:

On April 2, Bill Evans will present “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.

On April 16, Andy Smith will present a program entitled “Ten Million Years and Still Going: Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River and Elsewhere.”

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.
Ornithological Studies:

Chair Todd Fellenbaum introduced Chris Walters, who presented “Flight Identification of Wilson’s Snipe vs. American Woodcock.” The topic was the result of a brief sighting, under less-than-optimal conditions, of a snipe or woodcock while driving on an interstate highway to the Montauk NY field trip in January. Chris gave ID pointers based on flight style, structure, and jizz.

Main Program:

Frank Windfelder introduced Kevin Karlson, who presented “Shorebirds: a Different Approach to Field ID,” as described in his best-selling book (with Mike O’Brien and Richard Crossley), “The Shorebird Guide.” His approach is based on such features as size, structure and movement, which do not change with plumage and molt. Kevin led us through fine points, finer points and still finer points of structure and behavior that could be used to distinguish, for example, Long-billed vs. Short-billed Dowitcher in flight. His talk was illustrated lavishly with the stunning photography for which Kevin has become famous.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary