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Minutes of the DVOC
December 18, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 by President Paul Guris. Thirty-six members and 2 guests were present. The minutes of the December 4 meeting were accepted.


Membership: Chair Connie Goldman announced two new members, Tom Mitchell and Andrew Chirls, and read the profiles of new membership applicant Richard Myers.

Conservation: Chair Debbie Beer announced that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a revised list of endangered species candidates. The Red Knot and the Lesser Prairie Chicken are moving up the priority list to be considered as candidates for endangered species designation.

Scott Weidensaul’s Northern Saw-Whet Owl banding project, supported in part by DVOC, has finished its banding operations for the season but is still radio-tracking the birds that were fitted with transmitters.

Publications: - Larus: Paul solicited articles for the next edition of Larus, our newsletter. Submissions can be sent to Paul Guris (paul AT paulagics DOT com) or directly to Larus editor Jason Loghry (JasonLoghry AT gmail DOT com) who is now residing in South Korea.

Field Trip Reports:

Bob Horton reported that there have been no field trips since the last meeting.

Up-coming Field Trips:

Paul Guris announced his up-coming pelagic Christmas Bird Count trip, sailing from Bellmawr, NJ on Friday Jan. 2. See Paul if you’re interested.

The Philadelphia Mid-Winter Bird Census will be held on Saturday Jan. 10 2009. See Keith Russell if you’d like to participate in this worthwhile effort.

Erica Brendel announced that she and Chris Walters would be running their annual field trip to Montauk, Long Island, NY, on Martin Luther King weekend (Jan. 17-19), for winter finches, eiders, scoters, alcids, and other winter birds. The rental house that has been used in recent years is unavailable this time, so participants will need to stay in a motel, increasing the cost of the trip. Space is limited; see Chris or Erica if interested.

Further details of these trips are on the website at www.dvoc.org.


VP/Program Chair Frank Windfelder announced the next few programs. The first meeting in 2009 will be the Annual Meeting on Jan. 8, at which we will elect Officers, Councilors and Fellows, and hear the annual reports from the Treasurer and the Endowment Trustees. These will be followed by reports of local Christmas Bird counts, and will then we will adjourn for food, beer, wine and conversation.

The January 22 meeting will feature member Cindy Ahern and Rebecca Elzey, who will present "A Bird's Eye View of Wild Bird Rescue, Rehabilitation, and Release"; on February 5, Mary Gustafson will present “Don't just Blink: Look Twice - Texas Style”; and on February 19, Jeffrey Hall will present “Behaving Beautifully.”

Nominating Committee:

Chair Colin Campbell reported the committee’s slate of nominees for officers and councilors:

Officers: to serve for 2009:

President: Paul Guris
Vice President: Frank Windfelder
Secretary: Art McMorris
Treasurer: Bert Filemyr

Councilors: to serve Jan. 2009 – Jan. 2012 (3 years), replacing retiring Councilors Connie Goldman and Nate Rice:

Edie Parnum
Bob Horton

Further nominations should be sent to Colin.


Vincent Nichnadowicz brought free NJ state maps for anyone who would like one.

This is the 109th year of the Christmas Bird Count (CBC), founded in 1900 by Frank Chapman, and this year’s counts have begun. Debbie Beer encouraged everyone to sign up for one or more CBCs if they haven’t already done so. The CBCs are very important for conservation, and CBC data are a gold mine of information on resident bird populations extending over more than a century. There’s a list of CBCs on the DVOC (www.dvoc.org) and Audubon (www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/getinvolved.HTML) websites.

Paul Guris asked for volunteers to help with the Cumberland NJ CBC on Sunday Dec. 28. Cranes are usually seen on this CBC, and the mixed flock, mostly Sandhills but including 1 Common Crane and 4 hybrids, has been reported in the area again this year. The Common Crane does not have a crooked toe, so it is not the individual observed in previous years that is known to be an escaped domestic bird. It is not known where these cranes spend the summer, but there are Sandhill Crane breeding records in Sullivan County, PA and in Ohio.

Rick Mellon noted that Common Cranes breed in both Europe and Asia, and asked whether the subspecies had been determined. Howard Eskin replied that he had sent photographs to Cornell, but they can’t identify it as to subspecies.

Bert Filemyr asked everyone to check the membership directory information list that was being circulated and make corrections for the 2009 directory.

Jeff Holt announced that he had brought more copies of the new book co-authored by himself and Bert Filemyr, “The Composite Plates of Audubon’s Birds of America.” The price is $12.00. It is also available from Amazon.com for $12.99 plus shipping.

Paul Guris announced that he is planning two “Dovekie chase” pelagic trips, on Feb. 7 from Lewes DE and on Feb. 8 from Bellmawr NJ. Other alcids, fulmars and kittiwakes are also to be expected. See Paul or go to www.paulagics.com if interested.

Local Notes:

Win Shafer saw a Cooper’s Hawk eating a Mourning Dove this morning at Episcopal Academy.

Vincent Nichnadowicz saw his lifer Lapland Longspur at the entrance road to Bombay Hook NWR, DE recently. He also saw one Snow Bunting.

Debbie Beer reported that there were 60-70 Bald Eagles and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Conowingo Dam in Maryland.

Connie Goldman reported that she, Bert Filemyr, Karl Lukens and Ann Scott had just returned from Niagara Falls. Besides seeing an excellent assortment of winter gulls, they successfully chased a Snowy Owl, White-winged Crossbills and a female Common Eider.

Paul Guris and Adrian Binns reported that 4 Boreal Owls had recently been reported from Amherst Island, Ontario. Adrian plans to run an Amherst Island trip in early February if he doesn’t go to India.

Paul reported that Razorbills, Black-legged Kittiwakes, an Iceland Gull, a possible Lesser Black-backed/Herring Gull hybrid, and 8 Dovekies were seen on his Dec. 13 pelagic trip.

Main Program:

Frank Windfelder conducted the “Members’ Photo Contest.” Sixteen people submitted a total of 165 photographs. The submissions were judged by well-known bird photographer Howard Eskin, who spent 3 days viewing the photographs and selecting the winners. There were so many outstanding photos that Howard had a tough time choosing the winners, and after seeing all the photographs, those in attendance could see why.

Winners were each presented with a $25.00 gift certificate, good for Nikon gear, compliments of Nikon Sports Optics.

The winners were:

First Place: Todd Fellenbaum – “Willow Flycatcher Family”
Second Place: Andy Smith – “Peregrine Breakfast”
Third Place: Art McMorris – “Purple Gallinule Eating Seeds”

Natural History
First Place: Marv Hyett – “Tobacco Hornworm”
Second Place: Steve Kacir – “Hoary Marmot”
Third Place: Art McMorris – “Eastern Lubber Grasshopper Nymph”

First Place: Colin Campbell – “Sign at Waitangi”
Second Place: Andy Smith – “Sunrise at Leed’s Point”
Third Place: Marty Dellwo – “Tree Mirror”

First Place: Steve Kacir – “Wedding Birders”
Second Place: Beth Hunter – “Wissahickon Birdathon”
Third Place: Jane Huang – “Young Birder Boston”

The winning photographs have bee posted on the website at www.dvoc.org/MeetingsPrograms/MeetingsPrograms2008/Resources/PhotoWinners2008.pdf.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary