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Minutes of the DVOC
November 5, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:39pm. There were 21 members and 1 guests present. (Guest Ann Bacon did not introduce herself when guests called for, but signed the attendance sheet as a guest.) Member Mike Fritz was up from Cape May, a less than common birder sighting at meetings, and was given a special welcome by the membership. Member Nikolas Haass was here from Australia – we were happy to have him back for a meeting also!

The minutes of the October 15th meeting were announced as posted on the website. They were accepted without corrections by the members.

Committee Reports:

Membership – Connie Goldman announced Mark Sinclair of Philadelphia as a member applicant. Mark is here for 10 months volunteering at a soup kitchen. He is an international birder. He attended our recent club field trip to Higbee Beach.

Conservation: Committee member Phil Witmer informed members of the climate control bill that passed the House of Representatives now being considered by the Senate. He urged us to support a strong Climate Control Law.

Field Trips: Chair Bob Horton had the following reported on:
Frank Windfelder’s trip to Bake Oven Knob on 11/1 – about 41 species were seen. Notable was a flock of 18 Brant seen by Paul Guris and compilers up on the rocks early. These were first ID’d by call as they flew toward the lookout area. Three goshawks were tallied, one of them an immature flying close and circling over the lookout. Four Golden Eagles and a flock of Tundra Swans and multiple loons were among the birds of the day.
Upcoming Trips: Bob Horton also announced these future trips:
11/7 - This coming Saturday will be the club trip to the Hidden Valley Saw-whet Owl banding station. The trip is full but there is a waiting list. Contact Debbie Beer.
11/14 – Debbie Beer will lead a trip to Okehocking Preserve.
11/27 – Sandra Keller will run a Brigantine trip focused on youth birders, but all are welcome.
11/27 – Bob Horton will lead a day-after-Thanksgiving trip to Raccoon Ridge hawk watch. There may be a closer access shortening the previously required couple-mile hike to the lookout.

Programs: Vice President Frank Windfelder announced our next program as our Annual Banquet, 11/17, during which Rick Wright will present his talk “The Most Beautiful of the Whole Beautiful Lot – Warblers of the American Southwest”. December 3rd will be our annual photo contest meeting. December 13th we will hear member Steve Kacir discuss his Montgomery County Big Year.

Frank Windfelder announced he is accepting photos for the annual photo contest to be held at our Dec. 3rd.
Chris Walters announced there will be a Montauk trip again this year on MLK weekend and that Erica has secured rental of “the house” – the traditional lodging used in previous years for this trip.
Win Shafer announced there will be a New England trip on President’s weekend and that he may lead it, as Adrian is likely to be away.
Paul Guris announced a number of “Paulagics” trips coming up – this Sunday (11/8) out of Wildwood Crest, others the 1st 2 weekends of December. A Memorial Day pelagic in N. Carolina is likely also – more info to come.

Local Notes:
Rick Mellon, seeing robins in a loose widely distributed flock, followed them and was able to locate a roost of thousands of birds. He expressed the opinion that it may be that there are a number of loose flocks coming together like this in our areas of residence and more attention to these birds as they go to roost in the evening may enable more of us to get larger numbers of them on our Christmas Bird Counts.
Nikolas Haass had a sighting of 600+ Greater Shearwaters and 200+ loons out of Cape Ann, Massachusetts.
Frank Windfelder saw a Grasshopper Sparrow in October at Pennypack on the Delaware. Other recent sightings there include Nelson’s Sparrow and Brant on local ball fields there. Most recently, he saw an Orange-crowned Warbler there 2 days ago. He “talked up” the area as a place to bird, not knowing of any other birders there but himself.
Colin Campbell recently accompanied Dick Bell on his annual Delaware Big Day. This annual day has been written up in Cassinia in the past. 2009 marks Dick’s 37th run at this. Colin reported they got around 80 species this year, an average amount. Notable was Sandhill Crane.
Phil Witmer reported 5 Saw-whets last night at the Hidden Valley banding station.
Bob Horton reported going to see the Sage Thrasher that had been reported on RBA’s at Sandy Hook – he also got Vesper Sparrows and Meadowlark there on his visit.

Main Program:
Bert Filemyr and Jeff Holt presented “The Composite Prints of Audubon’s Birds of North America – The Rarest of the Rare.” They updated us on their research into these rare plates, which drew their interest during a DVOC trip to Mill Grove. Bert and Jeff traveled to and communicated with various museums holding these historic plates. Their research culminated in a book published about the plates and their significance in Audubon’s publication, Birds of North America. The two enlightened us on what the composite plates are, impressed upon us their rare historic value, and proposed a novel theory on the reason the plates were created. After their very interesting presentation we were given the treat of viewing an actual original Audubon print from Birds of North America, that of the Bohemian Waxwing. Astounded, we all went home to scour our attics to see if we might just be holding one of the composite prints whose whereabouts are not known to this day!

Respectfully submitted,
Connie Goldman, for Secretary Art McMorris