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Minutes of the DVOC
September 19, 2013

President Art McMorris called the meeting to order at 7:33PM. Nineteen members and four guests were in attendance.

The minutes of the 19 September 2013 meeting were approved as submitted.

President Art McMorris welcomed guests and members to the first formal meeting of the fall schedule. Art then passed around photos of Art and various Peregrine Falcons that were taken by Howard Eskin, who was also in attendance that evening. Howard Eskin and Art both talked about the photos.


Membership Committee:

Chairperson Bonnie Witmer read membership applications submitted by “Alvin” Wun Fung Hui who has recently moved to Philadelphia from Hong Kong. “Alvin” was in attendance at the meeting. Bonnie also read the application for membership that was submitted by Ian Lynch who served as member of the 2013 DVOC Loons World Series of Birding Team.


Editor Dave Long requested that members please send in articles for the next issue of Cassinia Issue 74/75 which will cover the years of 2010-2013. Dave asked members who knew recently deceased DVOC members to consider writing obituaries for the next issue of Cassinia.


No Report.

Conservation Committee:

Chairperson Phil Witmer announced that nominations for the Rosalie Edge Award would close on 1 OCT 2013, and reminded members that might have nominations to submit their nominations before the deadline.

Phil read from a bill being proposed by Pennsylvania lawmakers that would essentially hobble the state’s ability to enforce and enact endangered species protections, create more bureaucracy around listing endangered species, establish that state endangered species would be removed from protective status and reviewed every two years, give the state Legislature more authority over endangered species listings at the expense of the independent commissions which designate them now. In addition, federal regulations require that state commissions have independent authority when it comes to designating endangered species, and without it Pennsylvania could lose $27 million in fish and wildlife restoration grant money. This last point, made by Howard Eskin and Art McMorris referenced an email post to the PA Birds listserv by Scott Weidensaul. Members were encouraged to write to their legislators in opposition of this proposed legislation.

More on this issue can be found online:

Take action on this threat to Pennsylvania’s wildlife here:

Field Trip Committee:

Committee Member Marty Dellwo conducted the field trip reports:
Trip Reports:
15 SEP 2013 – Fort Washington State Park. Leader was Jane Henderson; this was a joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society. Bert Filemyr reported that the trip featured a nice walk with 7-8 warbler species. The highlight of the trip came later in the day at the Militia Hill Hawk Watch where hawk-watchers witnessed 18,000 Broad-winged Hawks passing by the hawk watch platform that day.

18 SEP 2013 – Manayunk (Chestnut Hill) Chimney Swift Roost. Leader was Jane Henderson; this was a joint field trip with Wyncote Audubon Society. Linda Widdop reported that the swifts swirled and disappeared. The trip was held at the Jenks School, 8301 Germantown Ave. Philadelphia PA, 19118.

Trip Announcements:

6 OCT 2013 – Warren Grove Gunnery Range in the NJ Pine Barrens. Leader is Dave Long with Professor Walter F. Bien of Drexel University, who coordinates various biological research projects at the site. This field trip will allow access to an area normally off limits for civilians. Details on the trip meeting place and time are still being developed. Four-wheel drive is required to access the site, so attendees will carpool in from a more accessible meeting location. The trip will likely run three hours and not be solely focused on birds. Those interested in attending should contact Dave Long.

2 NOV 2013 – Saw-whet Owl Banding at Hidden Valley, PA. Leader is Debbie Beer. The DVOC continues it's longtime tradition of visiting Scott Weidensaul’s Saw-whet Owl Banding Station during the peak of Saw-whet migration. This popular field trip provides an opportunity to observe and learn from the experts on banding Saw-whet Owls. Meet at the banding station at 6:30 PM, located along the Kittatinny Ridge on Second Mountain in Schuylkill County - approximately 2 hours from Philadelphia. Dress warmly. Expect to be out till 11PM. This trip is limited to 15 participants - registration required. Contact Debbie Beer at debbeer(at) or 610-955-4098. Provide name(s) in your party and cell phone number. First come, first served. There is often a waiting list; please make sure you attend if you register.

Ornithological Moments Committee:

Chairperson Rob Bierregaard reported that this evening’s Ornithological Moment would feature highlights from his Osprey research, and that theme would continue into the next meeting’s Ornithological Moment.

Banquet Committee:

Chairperson Barbara Granger reported that the announcements for the 2013 Banquet had been mailed. The Annual DVOC Banquet will take place on 21 NOV 2013, featuring speaker William Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest. Bonnie Witmer is organizing a slideshow of DVOC members to be played during the cocktail hour before dinner. Please submit photos of DVOC members to Bonnie Witmer for inclusion in the slideshow. Bonnie requests that the photos should be submitted as JPG files with preferred resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.


Vice President Phil Witmer announced the upcoming programs.

OCT 3: Greg Shriver will present “The Conservation of Tidal Marsh Birds: Guiding action at the intersection of our changing land and seascapes.”

OCT 17: Pete Bacinski will present “Bosque del Apache in the Land of Birding Enchantment.”

NOV 7: Doug Tallamy will “Plant a Better Bird Feeder.”


President Art McMorris read from a letter sent to the club by Ed Mitinger and Janice Chorba, who thanked the DVOC, particularly the Youth Birding Committee, the New Bins for New Birders Committee and members Mary Bowler, Debbie Beer, Sandra Keller, Cindy Ahern, Edie Parnum and Adrian Binns for assistance given to Sadie Glover Blossom Summer Camp at Courtyard at Riverview Public Housing during a visit to John Heinz NWR at Tinicum.

President Art McMorris read from a letter that sent to the club by Lorraine McCay, Superintendent of Cape May Point State Park. Lorraine thanked the club and particularly Linda Rowan and Mick Jeitner for making possible the funding and installation of the Witmer Stone wayside exhibits on display at Cape May Point State Park.

President Art McMorris read from a letter sent to the club by Benjamin Meritt, inquiring as to whether DVOC would be interested in a large collection of Cassinia issues and other birding publications that had been part of the library collection of his late father James Meritt, a former DVOC president.

President Art McMorris announced that DVOC and the Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS) had reached an impasse related to the DVOC Annual Meeting. The ANS had entered into an exclusive catering contract, and had wanted DVOC to purchase food and drink through the caterer. Art and Nate Rice negotiated with ANS to allow the DVOC to continue to provide its own food for the Annual Meeting; however, ANS and their caterers refused to allow DVOC to bring in alcohol for the meeting. ANS will only allow alcohol in the building if it is purchased through the ANS caterers and served by a bartender through the catering company. In effect, that would mean that, instead of $40 for alcohol, the club would need to spend $500 for bartender and unimpressive beers, with no chance at having the same “bird label” beers that the club has come to expect at the Annual Meeting. Essentially, the club has been left with three options: 1) Pay the caterers for the beer and bartender and have the Annual Meeting stay at ANS 2) Have the Annual Meeting at ANS but without alcohol or 3) Utilize an alternate venue for the Annual Meeting that would allow us to bring our own food and alcohol. As of yet, there has been no decision made; though, discussions are ongoing within DVOC Council.

Vice President Phil Witmer read from a letter sent to DVOC from the Upper Main Line YMCA (UMLY), thanking the DVOC for their assistance with UMLY World Series of Birding Teams.

Vice President Phil Witmer read from a letter sent to the DVOC from the Willistown Conservation Trust thanking the DVOC for funding projects with World Series of Birding Conservation Grants.

Gregg Gorton announced that John Heinz NWR at Tinicum needs leaders for bird walks and nature walks at the refuge. Those volunteering to lead walks could commit to as little as a quarterly commitment, and could feel free to tie walks to topics besides birds (e.g. herpetology, botany, entomology and more). Please contact the refuge staff or Friends of Heinz Wildlife Refuge if you can lead nature walks at the refuge.

Jack Mahon announced that he had sixteen cases of old NJ Birding and Wildlife Trails Delaware Bayshore Trails books that he was looking to distribute. Jack then passed out copies to those in attendance and encouraged members and guests to distribute the books accordingly.

Local Notes:

Rob Bierregaard announced that his newest yardbird (#81) was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. Rob also mentioned that the Merion Golf Course hosted many Warbling Vireos.

Tom Bailey reported that a pair of Common Ravens was at Palmyra Cove Nature Park after Labor Day. Two nights ago, about twenty Common Nighthawks were at Palmyra. Tennessee Warblers have been common there. On Sunday, Tom watched as three kettles totaling a couple hundred Broad-winged Hawks flew over Palmyra, an unusual event for the park.

Howard Eskin reported that many Chimney Swifts were at Kintnersville near Riegelsville.

Art McMorris reported Williamson’s Sapsucker and Sooty Grouse were at Yosemite National Park.

Linda Widdop saw the American White Pelican at Bombay Hook NWR.

Ornithological Moment:

Rob Bierregaard presented some highlights from his Osprey research.

Main Program:

Vice President Phil Witmer introduced the evening’s speaker, Dr. Andrew Mack, Executive Director of the Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance and Professor at the Punxsutawney Campus of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Andrew Mack spent four years in a remote part of Papua New Guinea studying cassowaries and their role as seed dispersers. During that time, he discovered a new species of mahogany, now named for him (Aglaia mackiana). Andrew also spent about twenty years developing research and conservation programs in New Guinea. Andrew’s talk entitled “Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest” was a spellbinding account of the life history and biology of the Cassowary, an indepth exploration of the cassowary’s role in seed dispersal and an eye-opening look at the challenges and rewards of pursuing conservation and biology research in true wilderness. Andrew is publishing an account of his time in the New Guinea rainforest, and more information on that endeavor can be found online:


The meeting was adjourned at 9:42PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Stephen E.T. Kacir, Secretary