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Minutes of the DVOC
March 20, 2008

Minutes of the DVOC Meeting March 20, 2008

President Paul Guris called the meeting to order at 7:35 PM. Thirty-one members and 6 guests were present. Andy Urquhart introduced Joan Pauley, visiting from North Carolina. The minutes of the March 6 2008 meeting were accepted.

Committee Reports

Membership: Chair Connie Goldman read the names of 6 new membership applicants: Todd Fellenbaum, Gregg Gorton, Mark Cary, Howard Goldfine, Kathleen Klusman and Garr Novick. Todd Fellenbaum was present; Connie introduced him, and he described his birding background and interests. Connie read the membership profiles of the other 5 applicants.

Conservation: Jane Henderson reported that NASA is considering sites in Florida for its commercial vertical launch complex. One of the two sites being considered threatens a large area within the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Areas that would be affected or possibly closed if the site should be chosen would be: Black Point Wildlife Drive, The Merritt Island NWR Visitor Center, Cruickshank Trail, Scrub Ridge Trail, Oak Hammock Trail, Palm Hammock Trail and Haulover Canal, in the vicinity of which are boat ramp, sports fishing, Manatee viewing and waterfowl hunting. Members who oppose these plans should write to their Senators and Congressmen and express their opinions. Full details of the plans, and a sample letter, are on the website at:

Paul Guris said that New Jersey Audubon Society is looking for citizen scientists to participate in various bird surveys. Flyers were made available in the front of the room, and details are available online at http://www.njaudubon.org/Research/CitizenScience/Call_volunteers.html. Interested persons should contact NJAS directly.

Publications: Larus editor Jason Loghry invited members to submit articles, or ideas for articles, for publication in Larus.

Field Trip Reports: Bob Horton presided over the reports of recent field trips. Steve Kacir’s photography field trip to Barnegat Light, NJ, postponed twice because of bad weather, was finally held on Saturday, March 15. Steve reported that they had great photo ops of insanely close Dunlin and Purple Sandpipers, a Common Loon eating a crab, Wilson’s Snipe, distant Northern Gannets, and Harlequin Ducks up close, among others. The prize was a female King Eider. After birding and photographing at Barnegat Light, some of the participants continued at White’s Bog and the rest went to Sandy Hook.

The field trip for young birders, led by Chris Walters together with Brian Raicich of the Upper Main Line Y, was held on Sunday March 16. Eleven young birders came, most of them from the Y. The group found 62 species at Barnegat Light and Brigantine (Forsythe) NWR, not a bad haul for a short day. Birds included typical winter specialties such as Harlequin Ducks, Snow Geese and Purple Sandpipers, and early spring arrivals including Eastern Phoebes, Tree Swallows, an Osprey, Eastern Bluebirds and Red-winged Blackbirds setting up breeding territories, and a breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons.

Up-coming Field Trip Announcements:

On Saturday March 29, Frank Windfelder will lead a field trip to Pedricktown and Mannington Marshes, NJ, for winter stragglers and early spring migrants. Ruffs have been seen in the past on this trip. There will be two meeting times: 6:15 AM for early birds and 7:30 for those who need their beauty sleep.

On April 13, Denis Brennan will lead a field trip at Tinicum (John Heinz NWR) for winter waterfowl, raptors, resident land birds and early spring migrants. Meet at 8 AM at the refuge.

Colin Campbell’s 3-day trip to southern Delaware and northern Maryland has been re-scheduled to May 9-11 (Fri. – Sun.). The trip starts at Bombay Hook NWR and continues to Trap Pond State Park, Nanticoke WMA and areas around Seaford, the Cypress Swamps in DE and MD, and the bayside areas. Interspersed throughout is a gourmet tour trying local delicacies such as crab, scrapple and muskrat. Not to be missed!

Details of all these trips are on the website: www.DVOC.org.

Programs: Frank Windfelder announced the next two programs. On April 3, David Errol Pattemore will present "On the Brink: Conservation of Endemic New Zealand Birds," and on April 17, Frank Windfelder and Yoav Chudnoff will present “Bigtime Birding in Bulgaria,” a report of their memorable June, 2007 trip.


Paul Guris announced that his Cape May NJ pelagic trip scheduled for March 16, which had to be cancelled due to weather, has been re-scheduled for Sunday April 13. Space is available on that trip, and also on his April 5 trip from Lewes DE. Finally, 2 spaces are still available for the pelagic portions of the May 29-June 1 club trip to North Carolina for “Surf and Turf Specialties,” and on Paul’s North Carolina trips the following weekend. Details are at www.Paulagics.com. Information on the May 29-June 1 club trip is available on the club website, www.DVOC.org.

Paul, who is a member of the New Jersey Bird Records Committee (NJBRC), announced that the Barnacle Goose in Cape May has now been accepted by the NJBRC. If you want to see this species and have it count on your life list, go see the bird while it’s there. Several other records that were recently accepted were Western Reef Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Long-billed Murrelet and Band-tailed Pigeon.

Chuck Hetzel is organizing a World Series of Birding team whose list is based on photographic evidence and sound recordings only. Their name "Cape Crusaders" implies their demonstration of the importance of digital photography plus sound recording in their birding efforts. Since their equipment is mostly Sony they hope to attract the support of the Sony Corporation which would be a new and powerful sponsor of the WSB.

Local Notes:

Jane Henderson and Connie Goldman took a Swedish visitor, Magnus Aurivillius, out birding on March 19 and 20. He had asked on the Internet for help in finding two target birds for his life list: American Woodcock and Piping Plover. Jane and Connie responded. On the evening of the19th, cold and cloudy weather notwithstanding, they found 2 American Woodcock at Gwynedd Wildlife Preserve. The next morning they met up with Karl Lukens in Cape May, walked onto the beach and found a single Piping Plover. The main objectives having been reached, they all went to The Villas and found a few more of Magnus's target birds: Rusty Blackbird, Eastern Phoebe, and Field Sparrow. They never did find American Black Duck, another needed species, that day.

Dino Fiabane reported that Piping Plovers were in at Stone Harbor.

Steve Kacir reported the most recent additions to his Montgomery County Big Year list: #85, American Woodcock; #86, Canvasback; #87, Merlin; #88, Pied-billed Grebe and #89, White-winged Scoter.

While Paul Guris was at Sandy Hook, NJ for the NJBRC meeting recently, he saw the Townsend’s Solitaire that has been there for the last 3 months, and also Osprey, Eastern Phoebe, Laughing Gull and lots of Northern Gannets. There were also a large number of Harbor Seals. Back home in Green Lane, PA on Sunday morning, he had a Barred Owl in his front yard.

Marty Dellwo was recently in Dutchess County, NY, and saw a Marsh Wren, 2 ½ weeks earlier than the previous early date.

Mary Gustafson reported from Texas that a there is now another guest ranch that has a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl in its yard.

Ornithological Studies: Art McMorris announced the next two Orni Studies. On April 3, Colin Campbell will present “New North American Birds - Expert Predictions and Actuality,” and on April 17, Patty Thompson from the Lower Merion Conservancy will present “Changes in Spring Arrival Dates for Three Bird Species in Lower Merion from 1997-2007.”

He then introduced the night’s Ornithological Study speaker, Anthony Gonzon, who spoke about “The New Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas.” Those interested in the Atlas can find full information at www.fw.delaware.gov/BBA.

Main Program: Frank Windfelder then introduced the main speaker, Jeff Gordon, who presented a program entitled “iBird: Digital Technology vs. Natural History.” Jeff reflected on the different ways that innovation and technology have affected birding, including iPods, digital videos and the Internet in the current era as well as a much earlier revolutionary innovation, Roger Tory Peterson’s first Field Guide to the Birds, “A Bird Book on a New Plan.” Pulling the two together, Jeff is currently working with Houghton-Mifflin to put together a series of 3-minute video podcasts of common birds for the Peterson Field Guide series.

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

Respectfully submitted,

Art McMorris, Secretary