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Minutes of the DVOC
June 7, 2012

President Art McMorris called the meeting to order at 7:32 PM. Twenty-three members and four guests were present.
The minutes of the 17 May 2012 meeting were approved as submitted.


President Art McMorris reported that Anita Guris had resigned as Chairperson of the Membership Committee due to health issues, and that he was seeking volunteers to take up the position of Membership Committee Chairperson. Art called for a round of applause from the assembled members in gratitude for Anita’s years of service. Secretary Steve Kacir read the membership application of Penelope Myers.

Chairperson Phil Witmer encouraged all DVOC members to make pledges in support of the DVOC Loons World Series of Birding Team and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary American Kestrel Program. Phil noted that it is not too late to donate to this cause. 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. Phil also encouraged those who have already pledged to be sure to send in their payment. A pledge form can be downloaded from the DVOC website:

Bob Horton announced that he’d found a 1965 PA Hunting and Trapping publication listed such birds as kingfishers, hawks and owls as lacking legal protections. In addition, a five-dollar bounty would be paid out for Great Horned Owl kills. President Art McMorris remarked that a fifty-cent bounty used to be paid for each hawk and owl killed under the Hawk and Owl Bounty Act and that such birds were specifically excluded from the protections of the International Migratory Bird Act as it had been originally drafted.

Field Trips:
Bob Horton conducted the trip reports and trip announcements:
Trip Reports:
May 20 – SW New Jersey led by Tony Croasdale. Tony reported that this trip’s eleven participants enjoyed Kentucky Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler and Louisiana Waterthrush at Belleplain State Forest. Afterwards they took in the spectacle of the Heislerville WMA heron, egret and cormorant rookery before heading to Fortescue for the Red Knot show. At Ackley Road they saw Scarlet Tanager and a Wild Turkey with her brood.
June 2 – Wharton State Forest for Nighthawks led by Steve Kacir. Steve Kacir reported that the early portion of the field trip had 2 participants and found 8 Prairie Warblers, Common Yellowthroats and Black-and-white Warblers as well as Carpenter Frogs and sundews. Ten participants were present for the nighthawk show, witnessing booming displays of up to 13 Common Nighthawks and listening to a dozen Whip-poor-wills and Ovenbird singing its flight song.
May 19 – Ridley Creek State Park, PA led by Art McMorris. Art reported that the 18 field trip participants observed 54 species including Osprey, Barred Owl, Hooded Warbler, Canada Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Acadian Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo and Scarlet Tanager.
Trip Announcements:
June 8-10 – Weekend at Camp Susquehannock in Northeastern PA. Leader is Win Shafer. Staying at the cabins of Camp Susquehannock, this trip will focus on northern breeding birds.
June 12 – Lakehurst Naval Air Station for Upland Sandpipers. Leader is Bob Horton. This trip will focus on grassland species breeding on the Naval Air Station property including Upland Sandpipers, Grasshopper Sparrows, Field Sparrow, Horned Lark and Eastern Meadowlark.

Ornithological Moments:
No report.

Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.
Due to the Independence Day holiday (July 4th), the July 5 informal meeting of the DVOC will be moved to July 12. On that date, Bert Filemyr will present “From the Archives: The Strange Case of DVOC Member Charles J. Pennock” as part of the informal summer meeting. This meeting will take place at the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center.
The informal meeting on Aug 2 will take place at John Heinz NWR.
The informal meeting on Sep 6 will take place at Palmyra Cove Nature Center and will feature a small group of DVOC members presenting short 5-10 minute discussions of the pros and cons of some apps and/or technology for use in birding.
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.

On Oct 4, Sue Killeen will present “Birding Cuba for Cuban Endemics.”
On Oct 18, Derek Lovitch will present “How to be a Better Birder.”
On Nov 1, Bob Curry will update the club on his chickadee research.
On Nov 15, the DVOC Banquet speaker will be Stephen Kress, the director of Project Puffin.
On Dec 6, the DVOC Members’ Photography Night will take place.

Art McMorris announced that The Academy of Natural Sciences is presenting a bird-themed weekend event that the Academy has dubbed Bird Fest. Bird Fest takes place on June 9-10 as part of the Academy’s bicentennial celebration. DVOC will have a table at the event, and those interested in manning the table should contact Bonnie Witmer who will be heading up the DVOC table at the event. More information about the bird weekend can be found online:

Art McMorris announced that Debbie Beer had notified him and other DVOC members about a plan for developing land adjacent to John Heinz NWR in Eastwick. Both the Eastwick Action Committee and Friends of Heinz oppose this development. Debbie encourages any and all citizens who can be present for public hearings on June 12-13 to attend and speak or simply be present to allow City Council to see visible opposition to this development plan. Bill Reaume noted that the city is attempting to use eminent domain for development of private homes in the area and will be permanently altering waterways for the purposes of development. Art McMorris stated that 35 acres are owned by the city and an additional 93 acres was sought by the city. Bill Reaume said that the development might call for mitigation of lost wetland, but that such mitigation does not require contiguous acreage and might only involve small plots that total the required mitigation acreage. Art McMorris noted that the site has breeding populations of Swamp Sparrow and Willow Flycatcher. Tony Croasdale said that the area under threat is the location in which the refuge holds its walks to look for American Woodcock in the spring and that the loss of adjacent woodland would seriously diminish available woodland habitat in the refuge. Robert Jaffe said that he had been an attorney with City Council for twelve years and stressed those who live in the city need to talk to City Council and tell them why the preservation of this land is important to them. Robert mentioned that those opposing the development should stress specific species of import in the area. Robert said that citizens should call their City Council member and let them know how the development will affect them and contact the Council member of the district in which the development will take place and let them know how the development will affect their activities within that district. Robert said that opposition should call, write and call again. In addition, Robert noted that the City Council has Council Members at Large who are supposed to represent the entire city, and that those living or working in the city should voice their opposition to these council members and let them know how the development will affect them. Bill Reaume noted that if you tell City Council about how your spending habits in the district will be affected by the development that information may be of importance in altering opinions of City Council. Art McMorris said that simply having bodies showing up at the hearing could make a difference. Judy Stepenaskie noted that the city is really pushing for development. Art McMorris mentioned that arguments noting an economic impact might make an impact on City Council.

Local Notes:
Judy Stepenaskie reported that the Manayunk Peregrine Falcon had fledged at the St John the Baptist church. Art McMorris mentioned that Rob Bierregard calls that site the most viewable Peregrine Falcon nest in the Philadelphia area. Art mentioned that viewers can watch from across the river or at eye level from Lofty Street.
Tony Croasdale reported Common Nighthawks from South Philly.
Linda Widdop reported Common Nighthawks from Fairmount Park.

Ornithological Moment:
President Art McMorris presented DVOC World Series of Birding Team Captain Bill Reaume and team member Scott Fraser. Bill and Scott presented a World Series of Birding Report detailing the team’s 2012 effort. Assembled by President Art McMorris, the new DVOC Loons Team consists of Captain Bill Reaume, George Armistead, Scott Fraser and Todd Fellenbaum. Despite a very low amount of scouting, the DVOC Loons were able to find 192 species of birds and achieve fourth place in the competition. Bill mentioned that this had been his 15th year in the World Series of Birding. Bill passed out copies of a summary letter and checklist from the team’s effort. The Scott and Bill presented highlights, hits and misses from the day’s marathon birding.
Afterwards, Bo Grunwald reported on his World Series of Birding experiences with the The Loons with Binoculars youth team. Bo noted that their best bird was a Black Tern and that they were able to find and identify 160 species for the event.

Main Program:
Vice President Phil Witmer introduced tonight’s speaker, Terry Master who presented “Riparian Songbirds: Canaries in an Aquatic Coal Mine.” The informative program was packed with life history information for Louisiana Waterthrush and Acadian Flycatcher, discussed the use of those birds as bioindicators and touched on the plight of the Eastern Hemlock in our region. The talk ended at 9:24 PM and Terry entertained questions through 9:36 PM.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:36 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary