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Minutes of the DVOC
April 19, 2012

President Art McMorris attempted to call the meeting to order at 7:31 PM, but little success was truly achieved until 7:34PM. Thirty-six members and seven guests were present.
The minutes of the 2 April 2012 meeting were approved as submitted.

President Art McMorris thanked Vice President Phil Witmer for providing the newly rediscovered club gavel.


Chairperson Anita Guris welcomed Jack Mahon to the club as the newest member of the DVOC.

Bob Billings Award:
Chairperson Art McMorris announced the participants for the 2012 Bob Billings Big Year: Adrian Binns, Tony Croasdale, Steve Kacir, Sandra Keller, Ann Morrison and Ken Tischner.

Chairperson Phil Witmer presented an article from Mother Jones about any connections between fracking and earthquakes. Phil stated that the article noted that fracking could cause tremors, but should not cause larger earthquakes or increase the frequency of earthquakes. However, there is a possible connection between subterranean wastewater storage and earthquakes, and increased fracking would increase underground wastewater storage. Rodney Platt gave a short list of chemicals used in fracking and touched on associated drinking water issues related to fracking. The Mother Jones article can be found here:

Phil Witmer also noted that the Dutch National Oil Industry was starting to use green lights on their ships, as those green lights appear to attract fewer birds. A short discussion about additional applications for these lights was mentioned. More information on this topic can be found here: http://www.abcbirds.org/newsandreports/stories/080319_oil.html

Phil Witmer passed around pledge sheets in support of the DVOC Loons World Series of Birding (WSB) Team and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary American Kestrel Program to be funded through pledges in support of the team. The funds will be used to support the reprinting of the American Kestrel nest box and conservation color brochure, which will help landowners participate in the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary American Kestrel Conservation Program. A pledge form can be downloaded from the DVOC website:

World Series of Birding Team:
Team Captain Bill Reaume announced the 2012 DVOC Loons team members: George Armistead, Scott Fraser and Todd Fellenbaum (and of course Bill himself as well). Bill asked that DVOC members consider aiding the DVOC Loons in scouting for the 2012 World Series of Birding. The team members all have limited ability to scout in advance of the competition and will be dependent upon club members to aid them in scouting for the event. Bill noted that Bert Filemyr was already offering information based on his years of experience with the World Series of Birding. Bill said that they would especially need help with scouting for the days right before the competition, a sentiment echoed by former Nikon/DVOC Lagerhead Shrikes Team Captain Paul Guris.

Field Trips:
Chairperson Win Shafer conducted the trip reports and trip announcements:

Trip Reports:
April 15 – West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Gregg Gorton led this joint field trip with the Lower Merion Conservancy Association with highlights including Red-shouldered Hawk, Louisiana Waterthrush and a trip to the Cynwyd Trail overlooking the Schuylkill River at Manayunk where participants could see the male Peregrine Falcon in the tower overhead.

Trip Announcements:
April 21 – Coastal Delaware Field Trip: A joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society. Leader is Lynn Jackson. This trip will begin at Prime Hook NWR and work its way north, looking for early migrants and lingering winter visitors. The trip meets along the Turkle Pond access road at 9:00AM.
April 28 – Fort Washington State Park Field Trip: A joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society. Leader is Jane Henderson. This trip will begin at the Militia Hill Hawk Watch Platform at 8:00AM and focus on spring migrants.

April 28 or April 29 – Rails and Nocturnal Species at the C&D Canal Field Trip (New Castle County, DE). Leader is Steve Kacir. Weather permitting; this trip will take place on the evening with the best conditions for hearing rails and other nocturnal birds. The trip will be rescheduled in the event of unfavorable weather. The trip meets at 3:30AM at the intersection of South Reedy Point Rd and Dutch Neck Rd (A Google Map is available on the DVOC website).
April 29 – Belleplain State Forest Field Trip: A joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society. Leader is Martin Selzer. This trip will begin at the Super Wawa at Route 47 and Route 347 at 7:00AM and will focus on breeding and migrating warblers and flycatchers.

Ornithological Moments:
No report.

Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.
On May 3, Steve Kacir will present a program about his trip to Australia, entitled “Bush Camping and Spotlighting: A Queensland Adventure.”
On May 17 Dr. Edwin Scholes III will present “The Birds-of-Paradise Project: Revealing an Avian Wonder of the World.”
On June 7, Terry Master will present “Riparian Songbirds: Canaries in an Aquatic Coal Mine.”
On July 5, Bert Filemyr will present “From the Archives: The Strange Case of DVOC Member Charles J. Pennock” as part of the informal summer meeting.
Phil stated that he is still looking for speakers for the club’s informal summer meetings. Programs can be short or long and deal with any variety of topics. Contact Phil if you can present a program at a summer meeting. Phil mentioned that Art McMorris had emailed him with an idea for a summer meeting presentation that Rick Mellon had suggested: a small group of members could spend 5-10 minutes discussing pro’s and cons of some apps and/or technology for use in birding.

Rodney Platt announced that he had a petition to the PA Department of Environmental Protection urging the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to elevate the status of the upper and middle Delaware River to exceptional value status. More information on this petition can be found here:

Paul Guris announced that the Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) is holding an overnight pelagic boat trip on May 17-18. The same trip in 2011 had excellent results including sightings of Arctic Tern, Parasitic Jaeger, South Polar Skua, Northern Fulmar and Leach’s Storm-petrel. Contact the CMBO if you are interested in joining this trip.

Paul Guris announced that he and Anita Guris have a Nikon Dealership. Currently, they can offer $500 discounts for Nikon EDG binoculars and telescopes and $200 off Nikon Fieldscopes and Nikon Premier Binoculars. Contact Paul or Anita Guris for pricing.

Mike O’Brien announced that the seniors of Holy Family Home Nursing Home are building bluebird houses to sell and he presented a bluebird house for sale. The bluebird houses will be high quality and cost $35 each with a discounted price of $20 for individuals or nature centers that would like to purchase six or more, allowing nature centers to put them up for sale at a profit. The birdhouses will all be handmade by seniors at the nursing home.

Mike O’Brien announced that he is seeking donations of old binoculars for the Holy Family Home Nursing Home to aid senior citizens interested in birding. Mike noted that the home has seniors aged 70-100 years old who he hopes to get sparked on birdwatching. Please contact Mike O’Brien if you can donate binoculars.

Bob Mercer announced that the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education is presenting a Pennsylvania Master Naturalist Program. The course will be made available at Silver Lake Nature Center, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and The Land Conservancy’s Bucktoe Creek Preserve in Chester County. More information can be found here: http://www.piceweb.org/p_PAmasternaturalist.html

Debbie Beer announced that the John Heinz NWR at Tinicum is in the process of developing their Comprehensive Conservation Plan, which will determine the course of management for the refuge over the next fifteen years. Public comments are being accepted through April 23. Please send comments to northeastplanning@fws.gov with “John Heinz NWR” in the subject line.

Rodney Platt announced that there would be a clean up at John Heinz NWR on Saturday April 21. Rodney also mentioned that snakeheads had infiltrated the refuge impoundment.

Steve Kacir announced that Steve Falconi had contacted him about a Great Blue Heron rookery in Blue Bell, PA. Anyone interested in information about the site should contact Steve Kacir or Steve Falconi for additional information.

Steve Kacir announced that he would be joining some other birders at Turkey Point in the Glades Wildlife Refuge of Cumberland County, NJ to listen for Yellow Rails. Anyone interested in joining them can contact Steve or meet them at the end of Turkey Point Road at 3:30AM on the morning of April 21.

Local Notes:
Scott McConnell mentioned that he had given a bird talk recently where he met Sandy Sherman’s father and Ed Fingerhood’s nephew.

Debbie Beer reported that John Heinz NWR had American Bittern, Green Heron and Savannah Sparrow. Debbie reported that the Bald Eagle chick at the refuge was growing and healthy.

Mike O’Brien reported that two Sharp-shinned Hawks were frightening doves into the windows of Holy Family Home on Good Friday. Two separate Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were found dead at that site due to window strikes. On Easter Sunday, three Dark-eyed Juncos put in appearances there as well.

Bill Reaume reported that a Whip-poor-will was calling nightly at Awbury Arboretum from April 8 through April 17. Bill also noted that a Wilson’s Snipe was at the ponds at Germantown Academy last Tuesday.

Rick Mellon reported that his work in the Poconos gave him opportunities to enjoy listening to singing Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creepers, Purple Finches, Nashville Warbler and Warbling Vireo.
Scott Fraser reported that a pair of Cooper’s Hawks is nesting across the street from his home. The two hawks have been hunting mammals frequently this year. A nearby Red-tailed Hawk nest means that the male Cooper’s Hawk is continually harassing the Red-tailed Hawks. Scott has trained his dog to chase the Cooper’s Hawks away from their chickens.

Marty Dellwo reported that he had seen the Franklin’s Gull at Spruce Run Reservoir. At Palmyra Cove Nature Park, Marty noted Horned Grebe in breeding plumage and Pied-billed Grebe. Marty also mentioned that a nesting Canada Goose chased and nearly attacked him at Palmyra. Marty mentioned that Tony Croasdale’s dad told him that there were three nestlings in the Bald Eagle nest at Pennypack On the Delaware. Finally, Marty mentioned that there were Savannah Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks at Northeast Philadelphia Airport and that he found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at his house.

Paul Guris reported that on Easter Sunday her was photographing Red-throated Loons while they were feeding at Nummy Island and he heard them making brief, soft, low cooing calls. Paul mentioned that Steve Kacir had heard Red-throated Loons making the same sort of calls at the jetty near the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal.

Andrea Bennett reported on Easter birding in New York City’s Central Park, where she found Pine Warbler, Hermit Thrush and Ruddy Duck.

Sue Killeen reported that she had found her first of the year Ruby-throated Hummingbird at her feeders.

Ornithological Moment:
Art McMorris introduced Mike Fritz who presented the evening’s Ornithological Moment, “DVOC Bob Billings Big Year 2011” which gave a brief overview of Mike’s epic big year for the Bob Billings Competition, which turned out to be a significant New Jersey Big Year effort as well.

Main Program:
Vice President Phil Witmer introduced tonight’s speaker, Kevin Loughlin who presented the program “PERU: Birds of the Inca and Amazon” which ended with a quick overview of birding in the Galapagos as well.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary