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DVOC Main Page > Meetings / Programs > January 16, 2014

Minutes of the DVOC
January 16, 2014



President Phil Witmer called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM. Thirty-seven members and seven guests were present. Guests included: Tykee James, Colleen Stephanie, Sally Creighton, Elaine Whiteman, David Hewitt, Meggan Pebbert, Jason Weckstein, and Rich Horwitz.
The minutes of the 2 January 2014 meeting were approved as submitted.

Committee Reports

Membership:
Chairperson Bonnie Witmer announced Colleen Stephanie’s application for membership. Colleen has been a birder for 5 yrs, birding primarily at Heinz NWR.

Cassinia: No report

Website: No Report

New Bins for New Birders (NB4NB): No Report

Bob Billings Big Year:
Chairperson Art McMorris invited contestants to formally declare their intent to participate by the March 31st deadline. Winners get $200, plus bragging rights.

Conservation:
Chairperson Phil Witmer reported that House bill 1576 is still active. The bill would gut the Endangered Species Act, denying the state critical federal funds. He encouraged everyone to contact their representatives on this important issue.
Phil also noted that Comcast has announced that they plan to build a second Comcast tower, and mentioned that it would be good to encourage them to consider birds and window-strikes as they move forward with planning and construction.

Field Trips:
Chairperson Tony Croasdale noted that the fully subscribed Montauk trip was set to depart the following weekend.
The next field trip after that is Cape May led by Martin Seltzer, and Tony mentioned upcoming field trips to the New Jersey north shore, and to Indian River Inlet in DE.

Programs:
Vice President Steve Kacir announced that the upcoming program on February 6th would be presented by club member Debbie Beer and titled, "Birding Morocco - Wings on the Edge of the Sahara".
The following meeting on Feb 20th is to be held at Palmyra Cove Nature Center, and the presenters are Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson. Their talk is titled, “Using Often Overlooked ID Points to Identify Confusing Warblers".

Announcements
Gregg Gorton stated that the Lower Merion Conservancy winter bird count had been postponed, but was rescheduled. Check their website for more info: http://lmconservancy.org/
Steve Kacir requested candidates for judges for the annual DVOC photo contest. Also solicited ideas for prizes, and donations in support of the contest. And he mentioned that we are still in need of speakers for a couple of short programs at Summer meetings.
Phil Witmer presented Art McMorris a $100 gift certificate to REI for his great work as club president over the previous two years.

Local Notes:
Rob Bierregaard played a recording of Red-headed Woodpeckers at the Natural Lands Trust property at Crow’s Nest Preserve. Rob had been asked by Cornell’s Macaulay Library to record this locally unprecedented large winter gathering. At times over two dozen birds have been reported in the area and the birds have set up acorn caches, as there has been an abnormally large acorn crop last year. Rob saw 6-7 birds while he was there.
Bert Filemyr reported on the continuing Snowy Owl invasion (the largest such event in about 50 years). He noted that over 300 Snowy Owls were seen in Newfoundland over the course of one weekend. There are still many around in the Delaware Valley region as well including as many as four Snowy Owls at Dover AFB. Several Snowy Owls have also been seen at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). You can learn about “Philly,” a Snowy Owl that was captured and outfitted with a transmitter at PHL on the Project SNOWStorm website (http://www.projectsnowstorm.org/). Philly was captured at PHL, and taken to Honeybrook Preserve about 40 miles away. Within a couple days he was back at PHL. Rob Bierregaard mentioned that adult Snowy Owls have been documented flying between continents from year to year: breeding one year in North America the next in Asia. As such, a displacement of 40 miles is no great shakes for these majestic birds.
Marty Dellwo noted that 2 Snowy Owls were counted on the Philadelphia Mid-winter Bird Census (PMWBC) held on Jan 12th. One was at PHL, right on the county line between Philadelphia and Delaware Counties. Marty said that Doris McGovern reported up to three Snowy Owls had been at PHL. Marty also said the Northern Shrike was again present at John Heinz NWR during the PMWBC. The species total for the PMWBC was at 103 species, and not all parties have submitted their results yet.
Art McMorris was with Chris Walters, Alan Crawford and Win Shafer saw the Snowy Owl at PHL during the PMWBC.
George Armistead reported that, while participating in the 2014 PMWBC, he saw an adult Black-headed Gull x Ring-billed Gull hybrid at the same exact date, place and time that he saw one during the 2013 PMWBC.
Jack Mahon reported Bald Eagle sightings from John Heinz NWR and mentioned that the nest at Tinicum was active.
Al Driscoll reported 3 Trumpeter Swans at Assunpink Wildlife Management Area.

Trustee’s Report
President Phil Witmer briefly reported on the “Snow Ball” Annual Meeting at Jenkins Arboretum, and introduced Chris Walters who gave the annual trustee’s report. Christ noted that the trustees include himself, Paul Guris and Hart Rufe. He discussed how lump sum payments from life members and bequests go into the DVOC endowment, which currently sits at $196,000 overall. Most of the endowment is invested in Vanguard funds. The goal is that enough interest is earned that this can go back to the treasurer for the running and management of the club, as the principal continues to accumulate value. For 2014 a check for the club’s management would be going to treasurer Bert Filemyr in the amount of $5105.08, with an eye toward program expansion.

Main Program
Vice President Steve Kacir introduced speaker Bob Peck who gave a scintillating talk titled, “Exploring the West with John James Audubon: The Last Expedition”.

Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30pm. The usual suspects then assembled at Cherry Street Tavern.

Respectfully submitted,
George L. Armistead, Secretary