Minutes – December 7, 2023

This was a hybrid meeting. The in-person portion was in the BEES classroom and the speaker was remote. Instructions for registration were announced on the website and weekly digest.

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton (remote)

Call to Order: 7:31 PM

Gregg introduced all the officers and welcomed guests.

Attendees: 10 in-person, 53 on Zoom. 

No minutes needed to be approved since the last meeting was the banquet.

Committee Reports

Membership Committee – Nilesh Shah

Two new members were added in November – Stephen Solotoff and Elizabeth Bennett. Two other members have applied and we’ll be approving them for membership soon. 

Nominations – Art McMorris

Nominees to be voted on during the annual election on January 4, 2024 are:

Officers (for 1-year terms):
President:           Barbara Bassett
Vice President:   Navin Sasikumar
Secretary:           Nilesh Shah
Treasurer:           Martin Dellwo

Councilors-at-Large (for 3-year terms):
Tanya Burnett
Peter Hamner

Art asked if there were any further nominations from the floor for any of these positions. There were none.

Field Trips – Linda Widdop

Email Linda Widdop, linda@techimpact.org, if interested in leading any field trips. 

Upcoming field trips:

  • December 09 @ 9:00 am – 10:30 am – Bird Walk at The Discovery Center. Ken Walsh is sick so we need an alternate leader or we’ll have to cancel the walk. Navin volunteered to step in. 
  • December 09 @ 9:00 am – 11:30 am – South Cape May Meadows with Barb Bassett.
  • January 06 @ 8:00 am – 1:30 pm – Barnegat Inlet Bird Walk – Joint Trip with Wyncote Audubon led by Linda Widdop and Leigh Altadonna

Navin Sasikumar asked for volunteers to lead the annual walk at West Laurel Hill Cemetery for the Great Backyard Bird Count on February 17th. Navin and Mike McGraw are leading the walk on the east side. We’ve done competing walks almost every year for the past 7 or 8 years and it’s a lot of fun. Ken Walsh volunteered to lead the walk on the west side. 


Gregg Gorton reported that there are a number of committee chairs rotating out in January and Anne Bekker is one of the committee chairs moving on. Other committees with new chairs include Archives, Ornithological Studies, and Membership.

Cassinia – Gregg Gorton for Holger Pflicke

Holger continues to assemble the next issue of Cassinia and is hoping to get the issue out by February or March. 

Billings – Art McMorris

Go Birding. You can find more details about the Billings contest on the website


The banquet this year was a fun affair with a strong attendance. Thanks to Lauren Diamond for putting together yet another memorable event.

Communication – Navin Sasikumar

Manny Dominguez has taken over as Weekly Digest editor. 

DEI – Navin Sasikumar

No report


Barb Bassett reported that we hosted a special Zoom meeting on November 28 with Amber Wievel as speaker to disseminate information about the third Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas.  The recording is available on our YouTube channel for those who couldn’t make the meeting. 

Gregg Gorton asked members to please think of nominees for fellows and honorary members who will be elected at the Annual Members’ Meeting in January. 

Gregg also added that the annual meeting is a potluck and will take place at the Discovery Center. Please sign up for the potluck using the spreadsheet shared via the Weekly Digest.  

Local Notes

Steve Mattan reported that at least a dozen Pine Siskins have been at his Southampton, Burlington County yard for a week or so.

Linda Rowan had a Common Raven flying over in Langhorne, PA. 

Manny Dominguez reported that Canvasbacks, Ruddy Ducks, Greater/Lesser Scaup, and some Buffleheads have returned to the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. He also had a few Horned Grebes there recently as well.

Marty Dellwo had a few lingering Ovenbirds, including four in one day, hanging out in Rittenhouse Square, along with Hermit Thrushes (up to seven one day). He also reported that a female Downy Woodpecker was seen heading to roost at the nest hole used in the spring.

Nilesh Shah gave an account of the birds he had seen at Edwin Forsythe NWR last Saturday. These included lots of Snow Geese, Tundra Swan, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, American Coot, Black-bellied Plover, Dunlin, American Bittern, Northern Harrier, and Bald Eagle.

Rich Ziegler reported great views of the Red-flanked Bluetail today in New Jersey as it perched for a few minutes in forsythia. He added that the residents were very welcoming to the large number of birders.

Gregg Gorton had an update from his winter home in Arizona. He said that Say’s Phoebes usually nest and also roost throughout the year under the porch roof in the back of the house. They were no longer doing it this year because a pair of Northern Red-Shafted Flickers have taken to roosting there.

Programs: Barb Bassett

Barb said that the next meeting is the annual members’ photo contest. The submitted photos have already been judged and we’ll be showing all photos that have been submitted, as well as the winners during the meeting. 

More information is on the Meetings page of the DVOC website for this and other upcoming meetings.

Evening Program

Clay Sutton gave an informative program about the trends seen in 35 years of bird surveys on the Maurice River in New Jersey. There were causes for concern as many species had declining numbers though some had a positive trajectory. Clay also gave us some of his thoughts on these trends. The declining numbers of Northern Pintail is probably due to the decrease in wild rice. The change in sea levels has had a dramatic effect on the river and is making the water saltier. Phragmites are increasing in number and this is a major issue since it smothers native species and their density makes it harder for many birds to use as habitat. Another factor that contributes to declining numbers is the trend towards milder winters. In addition, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy killed off a large number of marsh rodents due to flooding and this resulted in corresponding declines in the numbers of Red-tailed Hawks and Northern Harriers which rely on these rodents as a primary food source. 


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:18 pm. A handful of us went to Cherry Street Tavern for post-meeting drinks.