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Minutes of the DVOC
October 15, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 by President Paul Guris. Twenty-six members and 6 guests were present. The minutes of the October 1 meeting were accepted as submitted.


Membership: Chair Connie Goldman announced that Patty Rehn and Jennifer Pour are our two newest members. No new applications have been received since our last meeting.

Conservation: Chair Debbie Beer reported that Scott Weidensaul’s Northern Saw-whet Owl banding program began operations for the year on October 1. So far he has banded 10 owls and caught two that were banded last year. Scott says that Canada is “loaded” with Saw-whets.

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

Trip Reports:

Frank Windfelder reported that his trip to Tuckerton Marsh, NJ, for Sharp-tailed Sparrows on Oct. 10 was very successful. At Tuckerton, the group found about 40 Saltmarsh Sparrows, 2 Nelson’s Sparrows of the subvirgatus subspecies, and a Seaside Sparrow. The trip then continued to Brigantine (Forsythe NWR, NJ) where the Roseate Spoonbill was still present, and there were good numbers of shorebirds including White-rumped Sandpipers and a juvenile Baird’s Sandpiper, and 7 or 8 Peregrine Falcons.

Steve Kacir gave the report of his photography field trip to Norristown Farm Park, PA, on Sun. Oct. 11. Three flyby American Pipits were seen, Orange-crowned and Palm Warblers, and both White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows.

Trip Announcements:

Denis Brennan announced that he would be running a trip to Tinicum (John Heinz NWR, PA) this coming Sunday, Oct. 18. Lots of ducks are present.

On Sat. Oct. 31 or Sun. Nov. 1 (depending on the weather forecast), Frank Windfelder will lead a trip to Bake Oven Knob, PA for migrating raptors. This will be a prime time for migrating Northern Goshawk and Golden Eagle.

Debbie Beer will run the annual Northern Saw-whet Owl banding field trip on Saturday Nov. 7. The trip is to Scott Weidensaul’s banding station at Hidden Valley, PA. Registration is required, and space is limited to 15 participants. The trip is currently full but people are encouraged to sign on to the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Everyone was reminded to bring their checkbooks so that they could adopt an owl.

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


Frank Windfelder announced several future programs:

The next program, on November 5, will be Bert Filemyr and Jeff Holt will present “The Composite Prints of Audubon’s Birds of America – the Rarest of the Rare.” They will tell the story of these extremely rare prints, as described in their recently-published book of the same title.

The November 19 program will be our special event, the Annual Banquet. The speaker will be Rick Wright, the Managing Director of the birding tour company Wings and the former editor of ABA’s “Winging It.” Rick will talk about “The Most Beautiful of the Whole Beautiful Lot: Wood Warblers of the American Southwest.” Frank acknowledged the extraordinary efforts of Bernice and Joe Koplin in organizing the banquet.

Bernice announced that a prize would be given to the first registrant, and Paul and Anita Guris said that they would present a door prize.

Connie Goldman asked members to send in slides of themselves or other members for projection during the cocktail hour.

Jeff Holt reminded people to send in nominations for the annual awards which will be presented at the banquet: the Julian Potter Award for an outstanding contribution to field ornithology, the Witmer Stone Award for the best publication in ornithology not undertaken in the course of professional duties, and the Conservation Award for contributions to conservation by a non-member. Nominations should be sent in to Jeff (Potter award), Colin Campbell (Stone) or Debbie Beer (Conservation).

The December 3 program will be the Members’ Photo Contest. Frank encouraged people to send their submissions in the categories of Birds (up to 5 slides can be submitted), Natural History (5), Scenery (3) and Birders (3). All photos must be digital. The judge will be Howard Eskin. Paul and Anita will provide prizes: the first-prize winner in each category will receive a $50.00 gift certificate for Nikon Pro Gear, and the prize for Best of Show will be a pair of Nikon Travelite binoculars.


Bob Curry thanked DVOC for its support of the AOU meeting which Bob hosted in Philadelphia during the summer, and for leading and running the field trips associated with the meeting.

Paul Guris announced that the pelagic trip he will be running for the Waterbird Society annual meeting is now open to the public. The trip will be on Sunday Nov. 8, departing from Wildwood Crest, NJ. It will be an 8-hour trip on an 85-foot boat. The cost is $86.00.

Paul also has 2 more up-coming pelagic trips, leaving from Belmar NJ and Lewes DE, on the first and second Saturdays of December.

Local Notes:

Bert Filemyr was at Hawk Mountain on Tuesday, and wondered about the genetic makeup of the chickadees that are there now. Bob Curry replied that the hybrid zone had now reached Hawk Mountain, and that both Black-capped and hybrids are there, but no pure Carolinas. A few possible hybrids have now reached Tuscarora, 15 miles north of Hawk Mountain. Nolde Forest, one of his study sites, has no pure Black-caps but now may have some pure Carolinas. Although the common wisdom is that the chickadees at Sandy Hook, NJ are Black-caps, Bob believes that they are hybrids, but they haven’t been studied adequately. Bob would love to do studies there.

Debbie Beer took the “PA Young Birders” group to Hawk Mountain last Saturday, and they witnessed the third-largest single-day flight of Cooper’s Hawks. They also saw a Bald Eagle.

Frank Windlfelder saw 2 Dickcissels, an adult female and a young male, at Benjamin Rush State Park, PA, 8 days ago. At Pennypack on the Delaware (POD) in Philadelphia, he saw a Grasshopper Sparrow. A person he spoke to at Pine Run, PA, told him that Nelson’s Sparrows migrate through there; the peak is the third week of October.

Bob Horton saw a Connecticut Warbler at Cape May and a Tricolored Heron at Nummy Island, NJ, last weekend.

Colin Campbell reported that a “Western-type” kingbird was found recently at Prime Hook NWR, DE. It was either a Tropical or a Couch’s, and on the basis of its call note it was probably a Tropical. It was a first for Delaware, and was present for only one day. Another recent “one-day-wonder” in Delaware was the European Golden Plover at Wick’s Potato Farm near Smyrna on Sept. 14.

Paul Guris saw a drab first-year Cape May Warbler at Higbee’s Beach, Cape May, NJ last Sunday. A group was having a “Big Sit” at the hawk watch in the State Park. Their final count of 146 species, including a Sabine’s Gull, set a new North American record.

Paul asked whether anyone had a recording of a Yellow Rail at Turkey Point, NJ. Yellow Rails have been reported there the last few Aprils, and Paul is looking for documentation on behalf of the New Jersey Bird Records Committee.

Ornithological Studies: Art McMorris introduced Sue Killeen, who presented “Mystery Hawk at my Birdbath,” an account of a bird that spent 8 minutes in her back yard recently but was less than cooperative in presenting favorable views. Sue went through a step-by-step analysis of features which led her to the conclusion that it was an adult Broad-winged Hawk, a conclusion that was confirmed when the bird called.

Main Program:

Frank Windfelder introduced the main speaker, Rob Fergus, who presented “Birds of the Ancient and Modern Maya.” He described the peoples and the birds of the Mayan regions of Guatemala and Belize, and the many roles of birds in the ancient and contemporary cultures.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary