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Minutes of the DVOC
December 4, 2008

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 by President Paul Guris. Forty-eight members and 10 guests were present.

Bert Filemyr circulated a list of membership directory information and asked everyone to make corrections for the new directory. Phil and Bonnie Witmer circulated a sign-up sheet for people interested in receiving e-mail alerts on conservation issues.

Secretary Art McMorris thanked Connie Goldman for taking the minutes of the Nov. 6 meeting. The minutes of the Nov. 6 meeting were read and accepted.

Ten guests were introduced: Flavia Rutkowski, Tina Watson, John McElroy, John Mellon, Orion Nessley, George T. Feeley Jr., Tony Gordon, Ben Johnson, Stan Shur and Doug Wechsler.


Membership: Chair Connie Goldman announced two new members, Bill Creekmore and Peggy Fiabane, and read the profiles of two new membership applicants, Tom Mitchell and Andrew Chirls.

Award Presentations:

President Paul Guris presented two awards that are normally presented at the Annual Banquet, but were not presented at that time this year because the recipients were unable to attend.

Paul presented the DVOC Conservation Award, which is awarded “to one or more non-members of the Club who have made a significant contribution to conservation of the environment” to Scott Weidensaul. Scott was honored for his Saw-Whet Owl research and banding project which he founded and has conducted since 1997 under the auspices of the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art. Scott oversees an all-volunteer research crew of 18 banders and 85 assistants, working at three sites in the mountains of eastern and south-central Pennsylvania every night from the beginning of October until Thanksgiving. To date, Scott and his crew have banded more than 5,000 saw-whet owls.

Paul then presented the Julian K. Potter award to Steve Kacir. Established in 1964, the Julian K. Potter award is given to a DVOC member who has made an outstanding contribution to field ornithology. Steve was cited for managing the burdensome task of the Delaware Valley Rare Bird Alert and his leadership in creating and guiding new and unique field trips such as his photography trip to Barnegat, his nighttime trips to Delaware for rails and his trips to Wharton State Forest for Nightjars.

Additional Committee Reports:

Publications: - Larus: Articles are being solicited 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:

Sandra Keller’s field trip to Brigantine (Forsythe NWR, NJ) was held on Nov. 22. Sandra was not present at the meeting and no report was given.

Bob Horton gave the report of his new hawk-watching field trip to Raccoon Ridge, NJ on Friday Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving. The good mix of birds seen included 4 Golden Eagles and 2 Bald Eagles.

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

Up-coming Field Trips:

Field Trip chair Adrian Binns announced that the full schedule of field trips for 2009 has been posted on the website: www.DVOC.org.

Chris Walters and Erica Brendel announced that they 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. Space is limited; see Chris or Erica if interested.

Christmas Bird Counts: Frank Windfelder mentioned that a full menu of Christmas Bird Counts is coming soon, and asked for information about the Sandy Hook, Elverson PA, and West Chester CBCs. Jeff Holt asked people who were interested in the Gloucester NJ CBC on Saturday December 20 to see him. Paul Guris asked for volunteers to help with the Cumberland NJ CBC on Sunday Dec. 28 to see him. Paul also announced that he would again be doing his Pelagic CBC, leaving from Brielle, NJ. It will be held on Friday, Jan. 2; see Paul if interested.


VP/Program Chair Frank Windfelder announced the next few programs. December 18 will be the Members’ Slide Contest. All members are encouraged to submit slides (digital only) in the 4 categories: Birds (limit 5 slides), Natural History (5 slides), Scenery (3 slides) and Birders (3 slides). The deadline or submissions is Dec. 10. Come and see the slides, and relive the experiences with the photographers. Prizes will be awarded in all four categories.

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," and on February 5, Mary Gustafson will present “Don't just Blink: Look Twice - Texas Style.”

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


Anita Guris announced that Paulagics has a new 2009 schedule of pelagic trips; it is posted on their website at www.paulagics.com. Two new North Carolina trips have been added over the Martin Luther King weekend for Great Skua. Nine or 10 more participants are needed for the trips to go; please see Anita or Paul if interested.

Bert Filemyr announced that the new book co-authored by himself and Jeff Holt, “The Composite Plates of Audubon’s Birds of America,” has been published. Bert and Jeff have copies available tonight, or copies can be purchased for $12.99 on Amazon.com.

Al Driscoll announced that the Moorestown (NJ) Historical Society would be presenting a program on Audubon and his colleague Edward Harris. Google “Moorestown Historical Society” for the date.

Local Notes:

Frank Windfelder went to the NE Philadelphia water treatment (sewage) plant on Nov. 11 and saw 3 Cave Swallows that had been reported there. Adrian Binns also visited the plant and saw 4 Cave Swallows. This may be the first Philadelphia record for the species. Also present were Northern Rough-winged Swallows, which have over-wintered at the site in recent years.

Erica Brendel saw a Cooper’s Hawk in a hemlock eating a Rock Pigeon in West Mount Airy.

On December 4, Colin Campbell and Scott Weidensaul saw the Ruby-throated Hummingbird that was visiting Sally and Bill Fintel’s feeders in Lewes, Delaware. Scott banded the bird and Colin took photographs.

Al Driscoll reported that Ward Dasey has had a Rufous Hummingbird at his feeders for the last 2 weeks.

Dino Fiabane witnessed a Cooper’s Hawk eating a squirrel.

Rick Mellon has had a good variety of birds at his feeders in Yardley, PA or the last 2-3 weeks. Included at White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and House Finches. The birds come only at dawn and dusk. There are lots of accipiters patrolling the yard.

Paul Guris saw hundreds of Bonaparte’s Gulls, lots of Red-throated Loons and one Parasitic Jaeger about 10 miles offshore in NJ on Thanksgiving weekend. Lots of finches and Pine Siskins are being seen in Cape May, NJ. He and Anita recently had their first Purple Finch of the year at their feeders in Green Lane, PA.

Frank Windfelder reported that there are 4 Redheads (3 females and 1 male) at FDR Park in Philadelphia.

Main Program:

Scott Weidensaul presented a program entitled “Of a Feather: a (Brief) History of American Birding,” based on his recent book, “Of a Feather.” His talk covered topics such as prominent and lesser-known but equally important observers of American natural history from the 1700’s to the present; the development of ornithology as a science and birding as a pursuit; the origins and development of the modern field guide; the role of birds and birders in the conservation movement as a response to the plume trade and Christmas bird shoots; and the evolution of birding in relation to socioeconomic changes in the 20th century. As always, Scott’s talk was richly illustrated with rare and stunning photographs and delivered in Scott’s captivating speaking style.

Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary