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Minutes of the DVOC
February 2, 2012
President Art McMorris called the meeting to order at 7:37
PM. Twenty-four members and eight guests were present.
The minutes of the 19 January 2012 meeting were approved as submitted.
President Art McMorris announced that DVOC Council had approved membership for Andrew “Bo” Grunwald of Paoli, PA and John Bloomfield of Doylestown, PA. Our two newest members to the club were welcomed in absentia and Bob Horton recommended that “Bo” might consider investing in life membership early.
Secretary Steve Kacir announced that the club had received three new applications for membership and read the membership applications for Adam Hymans of Philadelphia, PA; Ann Marie Morrison of Absecon, NJ and John C. Thele of Harleysville, PA.
President Art McMorris presented a brief overview of the current process for membership application at the request of guest Jan LeSuer.
Phil Witmer presented information from The New York Times article about the Snowy Owl irruption. The article stated that these Snowy Owl irruptions are periodic but that this year’s irruption is much larger than usual. The Owl Research Institute described this winter’s irruption as the most significant wildlife event in decades. The irruption had its origins in a high lemming density last year, which allowed the owls to successfully rear clutches of 6-7 offspring. The resultant increased population density caused competition between Snowy Owls, and that competition (especially between males) led to Snowy Owls moving south in large numbers. Despite this singular increase in population size, Snowy Owls are experiencing a long-term population decline. Dino Fiabane reported that a similar story had run on the NBC Nightly News. Lamar Corlis added that the farthest south that a Snowy Owl had been reported this year was a male discovered in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Frank Windfelder reported that he got good photographs of the male Snowy Owl at Northeast Philadelphia Airport on 1 Feb 2012. Art McMorris cautioned that recent research indicated that what had been previously known about aging and sexing Snowy Owls may not be completely accurate, and that birders may want to consider that when recording observations in the field. Phil Witmer noted that a Snowy Owl had reached an airport in Hawaii, but had been shot to prevent planes from colliding with the owl. Frank Windfelder added that a Snowy Owl had reached Bermuda years ago and had to be killed when it began killing and eating endangered Bermuda Petrels.
Marty Dellwo reported that an article in Science on albatrosses and global warming indicated that the increasing temperatures and changes in wind speed have aided albatrosses, allowing them to fly farther and feed better. Art McMorris added that the birds are foraging 50% farther in a shorter period of time, allowing them to feed offspring twice a week instead of every two weeks.
Jim Blumenstein noted that a Cooper’s Hawk caught a Northern Cardinal and thirty kids in his class became birders as a result.
Chair Win Shafer conducted the trip reports and trip announcements:
January 21 (postponed from 31 December 2011) – Conowingo Dam, MD and Perryville, PA: This field trip, led by Tom Reeves, was cancelled due to weather conditions.
January 21 – Cape May, NJ: This field trip was led by Martin Selzer and went ahead as scheduled with only one participant.
January 22 – Cumberland and Cape May County, NJ: This field trip was led by Tony Croasdale and went as scheduled. Steve Kacir, who attended the field trip, said that the field trip encountered a Long-tailed Duck at Heislerville WMA along with unseasonably good numbers of Eastern Towhees and Great Egrets. An early search for the Sandhill Crane flock at Husted Landing failed to locate the birds. Scoters and Common Goldeneyes were seen from Seaview and an evening’s vigil at Husted Landing met without success in terms of seeing cranes or Short-eared Owls.
February 5 – Delaware City, DE: A trip around the freshwater ponds of Delaware City. Leader is Colin Campbell.
February 18 – Indian River Inlet and Points North, DE: This DVOC trip is a joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon and consists of a search for wintering waterfowl, gulls, seabirds and other late winter visitors. Besides birding Indian River Inlet and Rehoboth Bay, the trip will stop at Silver Lake, Cape Henlopen State Park, Prime Hook and Bombay Hook. Leader is Martin Selzer.
February 25 (rescheduled from Feb 4) – Photography Field Trip to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park (NJ): This trip was rescheduled due to conflicts arising from a pelagic seabird trip. Leader is Steve Kacir.
Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.
On February 16, Nate Rice will present “Field work in Vietnam.”
On March 1, Frank Windfelder will present “The Fabulous Ipswich Sparrow”
On March 15, Keith Bildstein will present “Movement Ecology of Scavenging Birds of Prey.”
A tentative date of May 17 has been set for Dr. Edwin Scholes III to present a program detailing his studies of New Guinea’s Birds of Paradise.
On June 7, Terry Master will present “Riparian Songbirds: Canaries in an Aquatic Coal Mine.”
President Art McMorris announced that the University of Pennsylvania is presenting "Variety of the Feather'd Kind: The Birds of Mark Catesby” on exhibit: October 3, 2011 - February 24, 2012 at Kamin Gallery, 1st floor, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. More information is available here: http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/catesby.html
Debbie Beer announced that the Great Backyard Bird Count would be taking place Feb 17-20. More information can be found here: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/
Debbie Beer announced that on February 18, the Friends of Heinz and PA Young Birders are organizing a Great Backyard Bird Count at John Heinz NWR starting at 9:00AM. More details here: http://www.facebook.com/events/102526839871541/
Steve Kacir announced that he had made photocopies of the article “Hinweise zur Unterscheidung der Kanadamoewe Larus smithsonianus von der Silbermoewe Larus argentatus (Identification of American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus and European Herring Gull Larus argentatus),” by Martin Gottschling, Nikolas K. Haass and Andreas Buchheim from the journal: Limicola, Band 22, 2008, pages 1-29. Nikolas Haass was awarded the 2011 Witmer Stone Award for his co-authorship of this article, and Steve Kacir made three copies available to any club members or guests who wanted a copy.
Lamar Corlis reported that he looked for the male Snowy Owl at Northeast Philadelphia Airport without success on the weekend after the last DVOC meeting. Lamar reported that the Green Heron and Cackling Goose at FDR Park were no longer being seen. Lamar went on to note that three Black Vultures were seen over his school in Delaware County, PA.
Judy Stepenaskie reported that the Manayunk Peregrine Falcon was spotted on January 29, when the bird landed on a railroad bridge while carrying prey. Win Shafer also saw the Peregrine Falcon, and Art McMorris noted that he appreciated these reports of Peregrine Falcon sightings.
Win Shafer reported that he saw the Red-headed Woodpecker at old mile marker 8 at Forbidden Drive at Wissahickon Valley Park. Win also reported that a Cackling Goose was in a Canada Goose flock at The Episcopal Academy.
Frank Windfelder reported that Todd Fellenbaum found 4-6 Common Redpolls at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Frank went on to note that a smattering of Common Redpolls had been seen at various locations recently.
Debbie Beer reported that Todd Fellenbaum spotted the Northern Shrike at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum on January 30.
Marty Dellwo reported that he and Todd Fellenbaum saw the Northern Shrike at John Heinz NWR on January 30. Marty indicated that he found an Iceland Gull in Philadelphia near the Delaware River behind the Walmart.
Lamar Corlis reported that he had seen a juvenile Northern Harrier at John Heinz NWR about two weeks ago. The harrier was chasing American Black Ducks and may have caught one.
Bob Horton reported that the Hamilton-Trenton Marsh had twenty Rusty Blackbirds, Winter Wren and good duck diversity.
Steve Kacir reported that he, Dan Efroymson and Tony Croasdale took a trip to southern Delaware on January 27. They found two Razorbills at Indian River Inlet, Brown-headed Nuthatches at Burton Island, 1,500 Canvasbacks at Silver Lake in Rehoboth and a Ross’s Goose at Broadkill Marsh in Prime Hook NWR towards sunset.
Vice President Phil Witmer introduced tonight’s speaker, Don Freiday. Don Frieday presented “How to identify birds like an expert.”
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 PM.
Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary