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Minutes of the DVOC
March 5, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 by Frank Windfelder, standing in for President Paul Guris. Thirty-five members and 5 guests were present. The minutes of the February 19 meeting were read and accepted.


Membership: Chair Connie Goldman announced new members Nicole DiGregorio, Darrell Middleton and Betsy Schnorr, and read the profile of new applicant Zach Baer.

Conservation: Phil Witmer announced that the Conservation Committee and Council have named the Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT) as the recipient of the conservation funds to be raised this year by the DVOC World Series of Birding team, the “Lagerhead Shrikes.” The funds will be used specifically to support a banding station that WCT is setting up at its Rushton Woods Preserve in Willistown, Chester County. Scott Weidensaul and DVOC member Doris McGovern will be the banders. Phil encouraged all members to pledge generously to our WSB team to support this conservation project. Team member Bert Filemyr pointed out that this is our biggest event for raising conservation funds. The competition itself is secondary to the main purpose of the event: to raise money for conservation.

Bert announced that Paul Guris will not be on the WSB team this year, because of health issues. Zach Baer will be a new member on the team, and Mike Fritz will be Captain.

Cassinia: Editor Art McMorris gave a status report on Cassinia. Editorial work on Volume 71 is nearly finished and will be completed before the end of the month. Once that is complete, the material will be formatted for the printer and sent to the printer. If past experience is a guide, that entire process, 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. Art will provide frequent progress reports.

Field Trip Reports:

In Bob Horton’s absence, Art McMorris conducted the field trip reports.

Edie Parnum gave the report of the Feb. 21 trip to Indian River Inlet and environs, DE, led by Martin Selzer (joint trip with the Wyncote Audubon Society). The best bird by far was the Black-bellied Whistling Duck on Silver Lake. This vagrant, far away from its normal range in south Texas and Arizona, was not even a first record for Delaware! Other good birds included a good mix of winter gulls, waterfowl (sea, bay and freshwater), shorebirds and songbirds, and Bald Eagle.

Also on Feb. 21 was Steve Kacir’s Photography field trip to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, NJ. The trip focused on getting some good photographs of wintering gulls, waterfowl, and other winter birds (e.g. longspurs). Steve reported that the wind settled down, birds stayed close to the jetty, and a number of good photographs were obtained. Six harbor seals were a highlight. Participant Beth Hunter wrote about the trip on her blog and posted a number of photographs; a link to her blog is in the trip report on the DVOC website.

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

Field Trips – up-coming trips:

Art McMorris announced the trip to Barnegat Light, NJ on Sunday, March 15, led by Chris Walters. The trip is designed especially for new members and students, but all are invited. This is the best location in NJ for Harlequin Duck and Purple Sandpiper. Other targets are Eiders (Common and King), other bay and sea ducks, loons, and winter songbirds such as Snow Bunting and “Ipswich” Savannah Sparrow.

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.

Tony Croasdale announced a new trip he will be leading on Saturday March 28 to the Franklin Parker Preserve in NJ. 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.

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


Frank Windfelder announced the next few programs:

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.

April 16, Andy Smith, “Ten Million Years and Still Going: Sandhill Cranes on the Platte River and Elsewhere.”


Don Jones announced that there are two spaces available on his June 3-15 trip to Oregon. This trip has been a favorite in the past. Many different habitats will be visited all over the state. On the last trip in 2006, 207 species were found. Full details are on the DVOC website at http://www.dvoc.org/Misc/2009/OregonTrip.htm.

Local Notes:

Scott Fraser reported that he had over 60 Pine Siskins in his yard in Collegeville, PA. Last Saturday, Feb. 28, he had a flyover Common Redpoll.

Tony Croasdale reported that a window-strike American Woodcock was found at Temple University in Philadelphia today.

Frank Windfelder was at the NE Philadelphia Water Treatment Plant yesterday. Approximately 20 overwintering Northern Rough-winged Swallows were still present. He also observed 2 Tree Swallows and 1 Eastern Phoebe. At any other location, these would be considered to be very early.

Ornithological Studies:

Because the scheduled speaker was recently in a car accident, the presentation was cancelled. The speaker is OK, but still recovering.

Main Program:

Frank Windfelder introduced Jeff Gordon, a frequent and always-welcome speaker to our group, who presented “Kingfishers and their Allies.” Jeff described the natural history of various members of this diverse group, which includes not only kingfishers, but also rollers, bee-eaters, hornbills, mot-mots, todies, hoopoes, wood-hoopoes, and the Kookaburra. Naturally the kingfishers are the largest group within the order (Order Coraciiformes), with 95 species world-wide. His talk was illustrated with many stunning photographs of this colorful group, and many anecdotes about their behavior, breeding, and place in mythology.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary