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Minutes of the DVOC
April 4, 2013

President Art McMorris called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. Twenty-nine members and three guests were in attendance.

The minutes of the 21 March 2013 meeting were approved as submitted.

President Art McMorris welcomed guests.


Membership Committee:

Chairperson Bonnie Witmer read an application for membership that was submitted by Brian Quindlen. Bonnie announced the newest member of the DVOC: Kenneth Frank. President Art McMorris inquired as to the status of the stock levels for DVOC ball caps, and Bonnie replied that she did not think the stock levels were too low, but would check to make sure.


Committee member Barbara Granger reported that the final .pdf file for issue 72/73 of Cassinia had been finalized and sent to the publisher.

Bob Billings Big Year Committee:

Chairperson Art McMorris revealed that seven members are participating in the Billings Year Competition for 2013 and noted that their names were on the website. Art announced that committee member Rick Mellon was leaving the Bob Billings Big Year Committee. Art thanked Rick for his service on the committee during the development of the Billings Year Competition and its rules and into the first years of the competition.

Conservation Committee:

Chairperson Phil Witmer reported that the recipient of the 2013 DVOC World Series of Birding Conservation Fundraising would soon be revealed.

Ornithological Moments Committee:

Chairperson Rob Bierregaard reported that Chris Walters would be presenting an ornithological study on Mew Gull identification at the next meeting. After that, Rob is hoping to get an Ornithological Moment on the topic of the Northern Saw-whet Owl banding season.

Field Trip Committee:

Committee Member Marty Dellwo conducted the field trip reports:
Trip Reports:
There had been no field trips run since the last meeting.
Trip Announcements:
20 APR 2013 – Coastal Delaware. Leader is Lynn Jackson. This is a joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon, and will meet at Prime Hook NWR then explore coastal Delaware from Southern DE through Bombay Hook NWR.

21 APR 2013 – Franklin Parker Preserve. Leader is Tony Croasdale joined by Emile De Vito, who acts as a leader and roving historian for this trip. This year, the trip is being held a month later than last year and will look for lingering winter species and early spring migrants and breeding species.

27 APR 2013 – West Laurel Hill Cemetery: A joint field trip with the Lower Merion Conservancy Association. Leader is Gregg Gorton. This trip features a walk through West Laurel Hill Cemetery and part of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail. This site has hosted 160 species of birds since 1990, and the trip should have some good viewing opportunities for Peregrine Falcon. Meet in the parking lot of the funeral home just inside the entrance to the cemetery near Belmont and Levering Mill Road in Bala Cynwyd at 8:30 am. People are welcome to arrive at 7:30 am and join the leader in some scouting.

27 April 2013 – 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 7:30AM and focus on spring migrants.
Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.

April 18: Steve Kacir will present "New South Wales: Australian Surf & Turf.”

May 2: Jeffrey Buler will present “What can weather radars tell us about migratory bird ecology?”


Jan Gordon announced that National Audubon Society and Outward Bound Philadelphia are attempting to create an educational center for conservation and leadership development at the East Park Reservoir: The East Park Leadership and Conservation Center. The East Park Reservoir has been a popular winter habitat for diving ducks, especially Canvasbacks, and the establishment of the education center will aid in preserving the land. In addition, the establishment of the East Park Leadership and Conservation Center will make almost 50 acres of lake and land accessible to the public, where currently Philadelphia Water Department jurisdiction precludes all access. In compliance with the Open Space Protection Ordinance any organization using public land for a private organization can be compelled to donate an equal amount of land to the Philadelphia City Parks as compensation. Some have questioned whether Audubon and Outward Bound will be providing enough public access, which may be ironic since there is currently no access. Jan Gordon, National Audubon Society and Outward Bound Philadelphia encourage all interested parties to participate in a letter writing campaign to address the concerns about access, so that this inaccessible gem might become enjoyed by the public and better monitored for conservation purposes. A link to more information about this issue has been posted on the DVOC website.

President Art McMorris read an announcement received by the club from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary about the annual “Benefit for the Birds Gala.” Details on this event can be found online:

President Art McMorris read an announcement received by the club from the Cape Cod Bird Festival. Details about the Cape Cod Bird Festival can be found online:

Gregg Gorton inquired about the health of Pete Dunne, as Gregg had heard that Pete Dunne had suffered a stroke. Bert Filemyr said that Pete was expected to make a full recovery. George Armistead said that there was some concern over Pete regaining full use of one arm. Steve Mattan read from an email update, which stated that Pete was making steady progress and hoped to be back at work soon.

President Art McMorris presented for club member perusal an advance copy of the new book The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors published by Princeton University Press.
More information about the book can be found online:

President Art McMorris announced that an article published in Nature Genetics detailed the sequencing and analysis of the genomes of the Peregrine Falcon and the Saker Falcon.

Bonnie Witmer announced that a US Department of State draft for the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline stated that they expected minimal environmental impact from the pipeline. Those who want to contribute during the public comment period can join a letter writing campaign through the Audubon Society website:

Mike O’Brien announced that Holy Family Home would be holding an Earth Day celebration with more details to be revealed at the next meeting. At the event, Mike will present a lecture on hummingbird gardening and will have his bluebird houses for sale.

Bob Mercer announced that on May 18 there would be a Bristol Marsh Bio-Blitz, and that the organizers are looking for someone to survey birds that day. Please contact Bob if you are interested.

Linda Widdop mentioned that the “Birding is Fun” website is holding a contest related to the new Crossley ID Guide: Raptors. More details can be found online:

Linda Widdop announced that she was looking for participants to take part in informal pelagic seabirding trips aboard fishing boats, as See Life Paulagics is not running trips this year. Please contact Linda if you have an interest in taking part on such excursions.

Local Notes:

Mike O’Brien reported the results of a field trip to Salem County, which included such sightings as the continuing drake Tufted Duck at Parvin State Park, 9 Bald Eagles, Horned Lark and Eastern Meadowlark. Mike reported that others in his group saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird at Featherbed Lane WMA, but that he did not see the bird himself.

Bert Filemyr reported that there had arisen some controversy over the Delaware First State Record Anna’s Hummingbird. Initially, this bird was described as a first winter female Anna’s Hummingbird after examination in the hand by Bruce Peterjohn. As the bird molted into adult plumage, it became apparent that this was a first cycle male Anna’s Hummingbird. Then, some began to believe the bird to actually be a first cycle male hybrid Calliope Hummingbird X Anna’s Hummingbird. Art McMorris updated the discussion, referencing more recent information posted to the Delaware Birdlist at the behest of Bruce Peterjohn that seems to indicate that this bird is unlikely to be a hybrid due to the large size of the bird. Details on the discussion of this bird can be found here:

Bert Filemyr reported that the Rufous Hummingbird that spent the winter in his yard was still present. This Rufous Hummingbird has been at Bert’s yard since 16 OCT 2012, and is continuing its molt. The bird has shed primaries P9-P10 and will likely not be migrating until the molt is complete. If the hummingbird is present on 16 APR 2013, then it will have been at Bert’s yard for six months.

Rob Bierregaard saw an Osprey during a golf outing, and noted that one of his radio-transmitter equipped Osprey had taken the same route, but five hours earlier than the observed Osprey. That Osprey with the transmitter flew a course from southeast Massachusetts to Venezuela and then at the golf course 1.3 miles from Rob’s house.

Rob Bierregaard reported a pair of Wood Ducks on Dove Lake.

Gregg Gorton reported hearing a Hermit Thrush singing a soft subsong at Shortridge Memorial Park and inquired as to whether any other members had heard Hermit Thrush sing in the region.

Mike O’Brien reported that Purple Martins were back in southern New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania.

Cliff Hence reported a Brown-headed Cowbird at East Park in Philadelphia

Linda Widdop reported a Baltimore Oriole at Lemon Hill in Philadelphia

Erica Brendel reported a new yardbird: Black Vulture.

Ornithological Moment:

No Ornithological Moment.

Main Program:

Vice President Phil Witmer introduced the evening’s speaker, Greg Budney, Curator of Audio for the Macaulay Library of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Greg presented “The Diversity of Animal Sounds: An Acoustic Exploration of the Sounds of Wildlife,” a staggeringly interesting exploration of wildlife recordings, how they are made and how they are utilized. The talk consisted of probably four slides and had no photo images whatsoever. Nevertheless, the talk held the club spellbound and ended all too soon.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:42PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary