Minutes – April 5, 2018

Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Time: 7:36pm (in BEES Conf Rm)

Call To Order:

Marty Dellwo (filling in for Pres. George Armistead)

VP: Linda Widdop;  Secretary: Gregg Gorton

Minutes from last meeting approved as submitted.


Members present; 37; Guests: 7–Jess Secrest, Becky Laboy, Kris Benarcik, Rick Stehlik, James Burlage, Bob Michener, Karen (Billings) Walter (daughter of Liz and Bob Billings)

Reports from Council:


Committee Reports:

Membership Committee:

Bonnie Witmer

New Members: Douglas Fry

New applications received: none

Field Trips:

Linda Widdop

–>Cobbs Creek BirdPhilly/TreePhilly

April 14, 2018 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am

700 Cobbs Creek Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA, 19143


Trip Leader: Tony Croasdale

Free to all members and non-members.

We will walk to find early spring migrants and late wintering birds. This walk will coincide with a TreePhilly yard tree giveaway, when Philadelphia residents can get a free tree for their yard!

–>Kick Start Spring at Belleplain State Forest

April 15, 2018 @ 7:30 am – 12:00 pm

1 Henkinsifkin Road, Woodbine, NJ, 08270

Trip Leader: Linda Widdop

Free to all members and non-membersLet’s get into the swing of spring by touring Belleplain State Park in search of early spring migrants and breeding birds. We will listen and look for specialties such as Summer Tanager, Worm-eating Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and more. Many of these species are at the northern limit of their range but show up early to establish breeding territories.

Meet at the Park Visitor Center where we will try to carpool for the rest of the trip. We will end by noon.

–>Brendan Byrne State Forest
(Burlington County 2018 Walk No. 4)

April 22, 2018 @ 5:00am (see just below) for Barred Owl
7:15 am – 12:00 pm for the main walk

****Additional Time — Barred Owl search****– meet at headquarters parking lot at 5:00 AM to listen for owls in the woods.

103 Shinns Rd, Vincentown, NJ

Trip Leader: Sandra Keller

Free to all members and non-members

This gem of a pine barrens preserve (also known as Lebanon State Forest) has many different habitat types – not just the dry, upland forests that most people associate with the pine barrens – but open successional areas, cedar bogs, cranberry bogs, etc. We will hit all the different habitat types. All areas are accessible by car with limited walking once we reach an area. For a list of possible species for the trip, please see eBird and the Brendan Byrne hot spot and look at the bar graphs. But keep in mind that this area is very under birded. I look forward to adding to the ebird data for April to this hotspot. The trip will go until around noon. The date is on the border of when a lot of species return, so if any doubt about certain species, please email Sandra: sandrakeller@verizon.net.  And, be prepared for ticks this time of year although we won’t be bushwhacking.

Directions – the headquarters is accessible off of either Rt. 70 or Rt. 72. I prefer Rt. 70 as it is well marked with signs. There is a Wawa along Rt. 72 for those who need food before we start. Please have a full tank of gas before we start. This Wawa does not sell gas. I do request that those interested in the trip please email me and let me know.

–>Houston Meadow

April 29, 2018 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am

Houston Playground, 900 Grakyn Lane, Philadelphia, PA, 19128


Trip Leader: Martin Selzer

Free to all members and non-members

Join Martin Selzer to see sparrows, bluebirds, warblers and other fantastic birds. This site has turned up hooded warbler, blue winged warbler, black-billed cuckoo, and pileated woodpecker on previous trips.

–>Warbler Walk

April 29, 2018 @ 7:30 am – 12:00 pm

Ridley Creek State Park, Gradyville Rd, Newton, PA

Trip Leaders: Win Shafer and Alan Crawford

Free to all members and non-members

Let’s look for warblers (and other migrants) at Ridley Creek State Park! Join Win Shafer and Alan Crawford to explore this hotspot.  Meet at the Bridle Trail on Gradyville Rd. in Newtown Square.

This is a joint trip with Willistown Conservation Trust.

–>Please contact Linda if you want to lead a trip outside Philadelphia: Linda@techimpact.org

–>And, please contact Tony Croasdale if you want to lead a walk inside Philadelphia (for DVOC’s BirdPhilly initiative): Tony.croasdale@gmail.com

(Details for all walks/trips can be found at http://dvoc.org/activities/field-trips/ )

Billings Big Year:

Art McMorris

Art introduced Debbie Beer, this year’s winner, and then Debbie gave a brief, good-humored, and animated rendition of her Big Year adventure, highlighting the most unusual birds she found, detailing some of the logistics (roughly 30,000 miles in total travel), and thanking the many people who helped her achieve a count of 353 species. She also gave her gratitude–as did the audience with loud applause–to Liz Billings and Karen (Billings) Walter, who enjoyed this year’s tale.


Karen (Billings) Walter, Liz Billings, Art McMorris, and Debbie Bird

Karen (Billings) Walter, Liz Billings, Art McMorris, and Debbie Beer


Debbie Beer recounting her Big Year

Debbie Beer recounting her Big Year


Linda Widdop

April 19, [email protected] 7:30pm-9pm (in Commons)

Ecuador: The Northwest Choco, Esmeraldas and the Andes near Quito

Speaker:  Martin Selzer

Details and Meeting Schedule can be found at http://dvoc.org/wp/activities/meetings/


Marty Dellwo:  There is a new Book for Guests that will be circulated at each meeting so they can sign in and list their email address if they wish to do so.

Linda Widdop:  The Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) annual Optics Sale will take place April 14-15, 2018 at the Observatory office, Cape May, NJ. Go to: https://njaudubon.org/sectioncapemaybirdobservatory/specialevents/annualopticssale.aspx

Holly Merkel: The Delmarva Ornithological Society Bird-a-Thon will take place on May 5, 2018. Funds raised this year will be used to help purchase a 635-acre farm along the Delaware Bay shore in Delaware. Go to: https://www.dosbirds.org

Local Notes:

Patty Rehn: Two Blue-winged Teal are present at the John Heinz NWR. And, Matt Halley reportedly had an American Bittern at Heinz, as well.

Katrina Rakowski:  Reported a Hermit Thrush at Heinz.

Barb Bassett: Reported a Glossy Ibis at Heinz.

Rick Mellon: Noted an American Bittern at Five Mile Woods, 1315-1329 Big Oak Rd., Morrisville (Lower Makefield Twp.),  Bucks County, PA.

Barb Bassett:  An immature Little Gull and a Black-headed Gull were seen in Dividing Creek, Cumberland County, NJ, along Maple Avenue. And, double digit numbers of Razorbills, as well as approximately 15,000 Northern Gannets were seen from Coral Avenue off Cape May Point, Cape May County, NJ.

Debbie Beer: An American Bittern was located at the Natural Land Trust’s Hildacy Farm Preserve, 1031 Palmer’s Mill Rd., Media, Delaware County, PA. That is an unusual bird there, since the habitat is forest, field, and creekside only, without marsh/swamp.


Program Speaker:

Ian Gardner

Spring Warbler Migration

Ian did a very nice job presenting information on phenologic timing of migrants’ returns, the habitats in which our 37 regular warbler species can be found, information about nesting habits and feeding styles, as well as auditory and visual ID tips. Excellent slides of each species, along with photos, sonographs, and monthly frequency data accompanied his talk.


Ian Gardner priming his audience for warblering!

Ian Gardner priming his audience for warblering!


Meeting Adjourned:


After Meeting at Cherry Street Tavern;

As usual, some members enjoyed beverages and bird-chat. Billings Winner Debbie Beer picked up the beer bill, appropriately enough.