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Minutes of the DVOC
October 4, 2012
President Art McMorris called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. Twenty-five members and two guests were present.
The minutes of the 20 September 2012 meeting were approved as submitted.
Chairperson Bonnie Witmer announced the newest members of the DVOC: Eric Houser, Reed Hennessy, Ed Mittinger and Janice Chorba. Membership packets will be sent to these newest members.
Editor Dave Long reported that the next issue of Cassinia would be a double issue covering 2006-2009, Volume 72-73. Dave requested article ideas, and mentioned that aside from waiting on minor items, he hoped to have the issue out by the New Year. Dave announced that someone had been found to do the layout for Cassinia.
Chairperson Phil Witmer had no formal report.
Debbie Beer updated the club on the progress of Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition and Friends of Heinz Refuge in their efforts to ensure that any development in Eastwick proceeds in a fashion that promotes a sustainable, environmentally healthy community, including protections for the lands buffering John Heinz NWR at Tinicum. On Oct 9 at 10:00AM, there will be a hearing with City Council to discuss how Eastwick matters to the community and how development might adversely affect the ecology and community of Eastwick and the 128 acres of filled wetland surrounding the area. These proceedings will be seminal in determining how the city treats communities when planning development. Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition and the Friends of Heinz Refuge hope that all who enjoy John Heinz NWR and its surrounding countryside will come to show their support for the Eastwick community and its surrounding natural lands. Contact Debbie Beer for more information on how to help. Frank Windfelder asked whether the staff at John Heinz NWR were allowed to express a public opinion on the Eastwick development. Debbie Beer replied that the staff is permitted to do so, and that the staff supports the Eastwick Coalition and Friends of Heinz in their advocacy at the city level. Online sources of information about this important urban conservation program can be found here:
http://www.gridphilly.com/digital-edition/ (Page 19)
Debbie Beer updated the club on the progress of the monitoring program for the artistic light show program that has been running in Philadelphia during fall migration from Sep 20 through Oct 14. Pennsylvania Audubon alerted the DVOC to the possible conflict between migrating birds and the light show, and mobilized a monitoring program, including radar tracking and volunteers on the ground. DVOC has been acting as the official organizing body for volunteers monitoring the light display to detect birds captured in the beams of light. If birds become trapped in the light display, the artist has committed to shutting down the display briefly to allow the birds to escape. Debbie reported that as of this meeting, no adverse effects on bird migration had been witnessed. Twenty-three volunteers have helped the DVOC and PA Audubon monitor the display, and no additional volunteers are needed at this time. Volunteers have been serving three hour shifts from 8:00-11:00PM, recording observations at fifteen minute intervals. In addition, a military-grade RADAR system at East Park Reservoir has been recording bird migration data. Additional information can be found here:
Art McMorris announced that the DVOC donated $300 in support
of PA Audubon’s monitoring efforts, including the use of the military
grade radar that allowing tracking of individual birds migrating through the
city. PA Audubon is seeking $15,000 to fund these emergency efforts and welcomes
individual donors to contribute.
Donations to PA Audubon in support of the monitoring project can be made here:
Field Trip Committee:
Win Shafer conducted the trip reports and trip announcements:
No Trip Reports.
Oct 6 – Sharp-tailed Sparrows at Tuckerton Marshes, NJ. Leader is Frank Windfelder. A trip to the Tuckerton Marshes for Nelson’s Sparrows and Saltmarsh Sparrows as well as other typical species and migrants. Bring high boots or wellies and pack a lunch if you’ll be continuing on to the Brigantine Division of Edwin B Forsythe NWR afterwards. The trip meets at the end of 7 Bridges Road (Great Bay Blvd) at 7:00AM sharp.
Oct 13 – Ashland Nature Center, near Hockessin, DE. Leader is Colin Campbell. This trip will visit the hawk watch and look for migrants. The trip meets at the Ashland Nature Center parking lot at 8:00AM.
Oct 20 – John Heinz NWR at Tinicum, Philadelphia, PA. Leader is Win Shafer. This trip will search for early waterfowl and late passerine & shorebird migrants as well as the local resident species. The trip meets at the refuge parking lot at 8:00AM.
Oct 27 or Oct 28 – Bake Oven Knob, PA. Leaders are Frank Windfelder & Chris Walters. This is a hawk-watching trip for raptors, including the possibility of Golden Eagle and Northern Goshawk. The decision as to the date will be made a week prior to the field trip based on weather conditions. Field trip participants should bring a lunch. The trip meets at the parking lot at 9:00AM.
Nov 3 – Saw-whet Owl Banding at Hidden Valley, PA. Leader is Debbie Beer. This annual trip to Scott Weidensaul’s Northern Saw-whet Owl banding station will give participants an opportunity to observe owl-banding and get close looks at Northern Saw-whet Owls. Bring snacks and dress for the weather. This field trip is currently full with a waiting list. The trip meets at 6:30 PM at the banding station, located along the Kittitany Ridge on Second Mountain in Schuylkill County - approximately 2 hours from Philadelphia.
Win Shafer also announced that the banding station at Rushton Farm as part of the Willistown Conservation Trust would be another venue to observe Northern Saw-whet owl banding. The schedule for when the banding station would be open to the public will be posted.
Ornithological Moment Committee:
Youth Birding Committee:
Debbie Beer announced details from the Sep 22 American Birding Association (ABA) Mid-Atlantic Young Birder Conference at the Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin. The DVOC had a table at the event, which was manned by Cindy Ahern, Debbie Beer, Edie Parnum, Mary Bowler and Barbara Granger. Cindy Ahern organized a raffle held at the conference. The conference featured various workshops and field trips, and had over 150 people in attendance from eight states, some from as far away as Tennessee. Wildside Nature Tours gave away two internships at the event, one of which was awarded to the DVOC’s own Jack Beltz. To support the conference, the DVOC donated $250, which was obtained through fundraising efforts. More information about the conference is available on-line: http://www.aba.org/events/MAYBC12/
Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.
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 and the Black-capped Chickadee/Carolina Chickadee hybrid zone.
On Nov 15, the DVOC Banquet speaker will be Stephen Kress, the director of Project Puffin will present “Restoring Endangered Seabirds: Lessons from Puffins and Terns.”
On Dec 6, the DVOC Members’ Photography Night will take place. Phil is seeking volunteers to act as judges and/or suggestions for judges. Phil is also seeking suggestions for a format for the Annual DVOC Members’ Photography Night.
On Dec 20, Robert DeCandido and Deborah Allen will present “Raptor Migration in South-east Asia.”
The club’s Annual Members Meeting will take place on Jan 3, 2013. During this meeting, Bert Filemyr will also make a short presentation related to DVOC history.
Chairperson Barbara Granger announced that she is attempting to provide native plants for the Banquet, which will be held at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall at the intersection of Columbus Ave and Washington Ave in Philadelphia, PA. The site has plenty of free parking. Cocktails will be served at 6:00PM with dinner served at 7:00PM. The speaker, Stephen Kress is the director of Project Puffin and will present “Restoring Endangered Seabirds: Lessons from Puffins and Terns.” Stephen Kress has been active in seabird restoration, preserving Hog Island, teaching and training others in environmental education. The banquet will also feature the presentation of the DVOC awards to their recipients: The Julian K. Potter Award for outstanding contribution to field ornithology, The Witmer Stone Award for the best publication embodying the results of ornithological research not undertaken in the course of professional duties and the Rosalie Edge Award presented to non-members of the Club who have made a significant contribution to conservation of the environment.
President Art McMorris added that the Annual Banquet would take place on Nov 15 at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall. Additional details can be found on-line: http://www.dvoc.org/Banquet/Banquet.htm
Julian K. Potter Award Selection Committee:
Art McMorris announced that the Potter Award Selection Committee had received many nominees and had made their recommendation to DVOC Council. Nominations for this award are now closed.
Witmer Stone Award Selection Committee:
Steve Kacir announced that the Stone Award Selection Committee had received many nominees and have prepared a short list. The deadline for submitting nominations for the Witmer Stone Award is Oct 18, 2012. After that, the committee will submit their recommendation to DVOC Council.
Conservation Committee (Rosalie Edge Award Selection
Chairperson Phil Witmer announced that the nominations for the Rosalie Edge Award are now closed, and that once the Conservation Committee has made its decision, the committee will submit their recommendation to DVOC Council.
Paul Guris announced that See Life Paulagics would be running two late fall pelagic trips. A trip will sail out of Lewes, DE on November 17, and another will sail out of Cape May/Wildwood, NJ on December 1. These trips are being made in hopes of encountering Great Skuas taking advantage of large numbers of migrating seabirds. While past trips at this time of year have not found skuas, they have been successful at locating such species as Red Phalarope, Manx Shearwater, Northern Fulmar and Black-legged Kittiwakes. More details can be found online: http://www.paulagics.com/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91&Itemid=84
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.
Debbie Beer announced that the Big Sit at John Heinz NWR at Tinicum would take place on Oct 14.
Paul Guris gave an account of the See Life Paulagics pelagic trip out of Lewes, DE from the end of August. The trip explored DE and MD waters and was probably the best Mid-Atlantic pelagic trip ever. Highlights from the trip included a dark morph Herald Petrel, 5 Black-capped Petrels, a White-faced Storm-petrel, a Long-tailed Jaeger, around 60 Leach’s Storm-petrels and ~120 Band-rumped Storm-petrels. The success of the trip may be due to the weather and sea conditions before the trip. The Gulf Stream was closer to shore than usual, and before the trip there were 10-12 days of southerly fronts going up the coast and easterly winds blowing for three days straight.
Todd Fellenbaum and Paul Guris talked about a Massachusetts pelagic trip the same weekend as the trip out of Delaware, which may have been the best New England pelagic trip ever, featuring 1-2 Barolo Shearwaters, a Red-billed Tropicbird, White-faced Storm-petrel and Band-rumped Storm-petrel.
Paul Guris talked about a potential taxonomic split concerning Black-capped Petrels. There are smaller Black-capped Petrels without the white going all the way around, and these may consist of a second race or cryptic species. Similarly, Herald Petrels and the Trindade Petrel may be split due to differences in nesting location and the timing of the nesting period.
Win Shafer mentioned that the Rushton Farm Banding Station at Goshen Rd had seen Tennessee Warblers, Connecticut Warblers and Mourning Warblers. The banding station runs three mornings a week, and is open to the public on Thursday mornings.
Frank Windfelder and Win Shafer described the recent birding situation from John Heinz NWR at Tinicum with 24 species of warbler reported last weekend, and Todd Fellenbaum reporting 21 species personally.
Bonnie Witmer mentioned that she is requesting slides for the DVOC Annual Banquet. Slides should feature photos of DVOC members and will be shown during the cocktail hour.
Paul Guris mentioned that conditions this winter may see this being a banner year for wintering species in the region including goshawk, winter finches and owls. Duluth has already had a 2,000 crossbill day. Red-breasted Nuthatches, Purple Finches, Crossbills and Northern Goshawk have all been reported in NJ multiple times already. Two Boreal Owls were in Southern Ontario as well. Marty Dellwo later reported that the finch forecast for this winter is generally pretty good. Phil Witmer asked whether the birds moving south were tied to the same two-year cycle that the Northern Saw-whet Owls experience. Steve Kacir countered that each of the different species respond to different local conditions which cause them to irrupt south, and that the key trigger for irruption is a lack of food. Drought in the northern ranges of many of these species is causing them to move south due to the scarcity of food in the more northern part of their ranges, but each species is reacting to the scarcity of a different type of food. More information about the winter bird forecast can be found in Ron Pittaway’s finch report: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/ff2012
Frank Windfelder mentioned that the DVOC used to run a May 25 field trip for Mourning Warbler, but now that date is too late for encountering Mourning Warbler in the region. Frank reports that he considers spring migration to be occurring earlier and fall migration to be occurring later. Frank said that previously, fall warbler migration would peak around Sep 7, but now 24 species can be found by the last week of September. Paul Guris mentioned that, in the spring, the warbler migration seems to follow the progress of the leaf out. In the fall, migration timing may be due more to hours of daylight or by the completion of the mating season and rearing of young. Frank Windfelder mentioned that the autumn leaves seem to be dropping later, with leaves still on the trees by Thanksgiving.
No Ornithological Moment.
Vice President Phil Witmer introduced tonight’s speaker, Sue Killeen who presented “Birding Cuba for Cuban Endemics.”
The meeting was adjourned at 10:05PM.
Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary