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DVOC Main Page > Meetings / Programs > December 6, 2012 Minutes
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Minutes of the DVOC
December 6, 2012

President Art McMorris called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. Twenty-one members and four guests were present.
The minutes of the 18 October 2012 meeting and 1 November 2012 meeting were approved as submitted.

President Art McMorris shared a letter sent to the DVOC from Pennsylvania Audubon, thanking the DVOC for its donation and volunteer efforts in support of the Open Air for the Birds monitoring program. The monitoring efforts collected data on how an Open Air light show in Philadelphia affected migrating birds. DVOC donated $300 to PA Audubon in support of this effort.


Membership Committee:
Chairperson Bonnie Witmer announced the newest DVOC members: Ann Reeves (who was present at the meeting), Jared Ciocco, Jordan Piazza, Skyler Streich, Reed Hennessy, Eric Houser, Janice Chorba, Maryanne & James Siti. Bonnie read an application for membership that was submitted by Connie Chronister.

Bob Billings Award Committee:
President Art McMorris announced that six members were competing in the 2012 Bob Billings Big Year competition, and that competition checklists are due by the end of January.

Conservation Committee:
Chairperson Phil Witmer talked about the Open Air for the Birds monitoring program, and mentioned that a report based on the radar data was pending. Most observers did not report birds trapped in beams of light, though they did report birds flying north after flying into the light beams. Four members who volunteered with the program were present: Art McMorris, Phil Witmer, Steve Mattan, Erica Brendel. Art McMorris reported that it first seemed that no birds entered the light beams, but on the second night he saw birds changing direction after flying into light beams. Steve Mattan and Erica Brendel both reported witnessing similar behavior. Phil Witmer reported that it was difficult initially to distinguish birds from insects during the monitoring efforts.

Field Trip Committee:
Win Shafer had no formal report, but mentioned various upcoming volunteer opportunities for birding:

Christmas Bird Count (CBC):
The 113th Christmas Bird Count will take place from 14 DEC 2012 through 5 Jan 2013, and is organized by the National Audubon Society. More information about the Christmas Bird Count can be found online:

Please consider taking part in a Christmas Bird Count. Several DVOC Members coordinate efforts in CBC Territories and seek assistance from members and other birders. If interested in participating, consider contacting one of these members to help count birds for the CBC.

Paul Guris – Cumberland County, NJ CBC on Dec 30 & Cape May, NJ CBC on Dec 16
Chris Walters – Cape May, NJ CBC on Dec 16 & Glenolden, PA Count on Dec 15
Rick Mellon – Southern Bucks County, PA on Dec 15 & Cape May, NJ CBC on Dec 16

Philadelphia Mid-Winter Census (PMWBC):
Marty Dellwo mentioned that Keith Russell’s Philadelphia Mid-Winter Bird Census would take place on January 12, 2013, an annual count of birds within the borders of Philadelphia. Contact Keith Russell if you would like to count birds for the PMWBC.

Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC):
Bonnie Witmer announced that the Great Backyard Bird Count is also coming up, taking place on President’s Day Weekend (Feb 15-18, 2013). More information about this citizen science project can be found online:

Request for Field Trip Leaders:
Win Shafer announced that the Field Trip Committee is seeking new blood: members who would volunteer to lead field trips for the DVOC. Anyone who would be willing to volunteer or with any suggestions for leader candidates should contact Win Shafer or the other members of the Field Trips Committee.

Field Trip Announcements:
Erica Brendel announced that the DVOC field trip to Montauk would take place on Martin Luther King weekend (Jan 19-21, 2013). This is a shared expenses trip, and uses a rental house on Shelter Island. Anyone interested in attending this field trip should contact Erica Brendel or Chris Walters.

Trip Reports:
Nov 25 – Mannington Marsh, NJ; Formerly the Brigantine Division of Edwin B Forsythe NWR. Leader was Sandra Keller. Jack Mahon reported that the participants enjoyed viewing five or six Sandhill Cranes at Mannington Meadows.

Youth Birding Committee:
President Art McMorris read an email sent by Chairperson Cindy Ahern. Cindy Ahern is requesting assistance organizing field trips for young birders during the winter break and Presidents Weekend periods when schools are not in session. Cindy would like to have some field trips available for young birders during the week at those times. Anyone interested in leading or co-leading such field trips should contact Cindy Ahern.

Banquet Committee:
Chairperson Barbara Granger reported that the Banquet had 109 attendees and the expenses for the event were covered. Barbara thanked Bernice Koplin and Chris Walters for all their assistance in organizing the event. Barbara reported that about half the attendees were members and half were guests or interested parties from outside the club. Barbara reported that attempts to expand the ambiance during the banquet had been successful due to the generous donation of time by volunteers. Those efforts culminated in the presence of autumn gourd centerpieces, modest decorations and multiple informative display tables. Barbara hopes to continue similar themes into the next banquet.

Intern Fund Committee:
Chris Walters announced the club’s new DVOC Interns Program, which is overseen by an eponymous committee chaired by Chris Walters. Hart Rufe masterminded this initiative. Hart and Jewel Rufe contributed $10,000 to start the fund, with the goal of engaging young birders in ornithology and birdwatching. This initiative will also promote and strengthen the relationship between DVOC and the Ornithology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The fund will generate dividends, which will be used to support interns who will work in the Ornithology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Interns will be required to join the DVOC, but anyone can apply. Additional donations to the fund are actively sought. Donations can be made online or checks can be sent to the DVOC. A number of members have already contributed to the fund, and Paul Driver donated the $50 proceeds from his 2012 Julian K Potter Award to the fund.

More information on the Interns Fund can be found online:

Witmer Stone Award Selection Committee:
Art McMorris announced that Colin Campbell had stepped down from Chairperson of the Witmer Stone Award Selection Committee after a long period of much-appreciated service. Steve Kacir is now the Chairperson of the Witmer Stone Award Selection Committee, and will be seeking new members to join him on the committee.

Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.

This evening’s program was the DVOC Members’ Photography Night.

On Dec 20, Robert DeCandido and Deborah Allen will present “Raptor Migration in South-east Asia.”

On Jan 3, the club’s Annual Members Meeting will take place. During this meeting, Bert Filemyr will also make a short presentation related to DVOC history.

Art McMorris announced that the Second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas (2004-2009) has been published and presented a copy for members to examine (and possibly use in a weight-lifting competition as the book is massive!). DVOC members are eligible for a 20% discount off the purchasing price when bought through the publisher. DVOC had previously contributed towards the publication of the Second Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas through funds raised via the World Series of Birding and the 2011 conservation grant.

Paul Guris announced that an online petition for a Conservation Stamp is soliciting signatures. The stamp would be similar to the Duck Stamp program, but would allow those of us who enjoy nonconsumptive wildlife activities to make our numbers known. In addition, the possibility exists for collectors to seek out both stamps and increase conservation funding. The funds would be used to promote conservation and preservation initiatives. One can sign the petition online:

On behalf of Debbie Beer, Art McMorris read from an Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition press release, which stated that “…Councilman Kenyatta Johnson announced that he would be officially withdrawing the rezoning bill that would have permitted Korman Residential to proceed with their proposed development of 722 rental apartments on 35 acres of green space adjacent to John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.” More information can be found online:

Mike O’Brien announced that the seniors of Holy Family Home Nursing Home are selling bluebird houses. The bluebird houses are 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 are all handmade by seniors at the nursing home.

Paul Guris announced that the 2013 winter pelagic schedule would soon be up on the See Life Paulagics website and promised many January trips on the schedule.
Visit See Life Paulagics Online:

Local Notes:
Win Shafer reported on a Boston trip during which he saw Northern Lapwing in Boston, Little Egret in Cape Cod and Barnacle Goose in the Bronx.

Dwight Molotsky reported that damage from Hurricane Sandy was still evident in northern NJ. Dwight went to investigate the ponds from Manasquan Inlet through Deal, and reported that the devastation was still unbelievable with sand on roads, piles of debris and at least one pond fully drained. Few birds were on the ponds with the only exception being Wreck Pond. Dwight reported that Long Beach Island is still recovering from damage as well. However, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park had weathered the storm more favorably and the park is still open and the jetty can be accessed. Dwight saw Harlequin Ducks, Surf Scoter, loons and Bonaparte’s Gulls while he was there.

Dwight Molotsky announced that he was looking for information about some older DVOC members: Joe Devlin, Ed Manners (deceased), Bob Miller (deceased), Fred Pierce (moved to Maine), Jerry Weinstein, Paul Gowan, George Hitchener (deceased), Bill Russell, Bill Myers.

Mike O’Brien reported that the auto-tour loop at the Brigantine Division of Edwin B Forsythe NWR was closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy and that the storm had littered 130 boats across the refuge.

Erica Brendel reported on the Eastern Screech-owls at Carpenter’s Woods, Philadelphia.

Marty Dellwo reported that winter finches have been seen in Philadelphia. An Evening Grosbeak was photographed at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum, feeding on crabapples. Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill and Northern Saw-whet Owl have all been reported from around Philadelphia recently.

Marty Dellwo reported that a Western Grebe was at Cape May Harbor and continues to be seen there.

Ornithological Moment:
No Ornithological Moment.

Main Program:
Vice President Phil Witmer presided over the DVOC Members’ Photo Night, presenting a slide show of all the submissions, later appearing as Santa Claus to distribute candy canes and announce the winning photos. The judges for the 2012 DVOC Members’ Photo Night were Mike Fritz, Bonnie Witmer, Bob Betof and Ann McCauley.

Phil’s homemade prizes were awarded as follows:

Birds Category:
3rd Place: Paul Guris - an action shot of a running Snowy Plover
2nd Place: Linda Widdop - a photo of a group of Black Skimmers on a beach
2nd Place: Barrie Ashby - a close shot of a Least Bittern
1st Place: Paul Guris - a flight shot of an immature Yellow-crowned Night-heron

Birders Category:
Honorable Mention: Steve Mattan - a shot documenting a birder’s set up process
3rd Place: Bob Horton - a close-up of a young birder and her telescope
2nd Place: Bob Horton - group of Boy Scouts working on Bird Study Merit Badge
1st Place: Barrie Ashby - birders eating lunch in the rain under umbrellas

Natural History Category:
3rd Place: Barrie Ashby - butterflies trying to get salt from a turtle’s eyes
3rd Place: Paul Guris - a pair of Northern Raccoons in Texas
2nd Place: Marvin Hyett - mating wasps on a flower with a floral background
1st Place: Andy Smith - some millipedes on the Appalachian Trail

Scenery Category:
Honorable Mention: Andy Smith - a band on Snow Geese against a landscape
3rd Place: Steve Mattan - a Hawaiian volcano against a starlit night sky
2nd Place: Steve Mattan - an exquisite 3.3megapixel shot of the Yosemite Valley
1st Place: Andy Smith - sunset and silhouettes of birds

Best of Show:
Andy Smith - some millipedes on the Appalachian Trail

Several members volunteered to judge for the 2013 Members’ Photography Night: Anita Guris, Steve Kacir and Steve Mattan.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:07PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary