Minutes – Feb 20, 2020 Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Academy of Natural Sciences – Commons

Call to Order: President: Linda Widdop

Call to Order: 7:30pm
Vice-President: Gregg Gorton
Secretary (for Barb Bassett): Navin Sasikumar

Minutes from last meeting approved as submitted.

Attendees: 29 members present

Reports from Council


Committee Reports:

Cassinia: Matt Halley

Cassinia is on its way – currently at the layout designer.

Trustees: Chris Walters

The Intern fund that was started by Hart Rufe and managed by the Trustees is used to fund interns at the Ornithology Department at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Jason Weckstein requested partial funding of $3000 for the new intern, Jenna Souto, and this was unanimously approved by Council.

Communications: Navin Sasikumar

The DVOC website was down over the past weekend due to the hosting provider switching servers. There were some difficulties getting the right IP addresses and an issue with a download prompt, but that has all been since resolved.

Membership Committee: Navin Sasikumar for Bonnie Witmer

New Applicants: Jim Wright, Steve Gautier

New Members: Fred Clement, Maureen Weir

Field Trips: Linda Widdop

Free to all members and non-members

FDR Park
February 23, 2020 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am
1800 Pattison Ave, Phila, PA, 19145
Trip Leader: Holger Pflicke

Please join us for a bird walk at one of Philly’s Top 3 birding locations. We should see plenty of waterfowl and sparrows. Maybe we even get a glimpse of the resident Great Horned Owl. This walk will also include portions of the now-closed golf course.

Let’s meet at the parking lot east of the gazebo. GPS coordinates: 39.9034994, -75.1787725. This is the first parking lot on the left after the playground before the bridge when you are driving the park loop.

Due to consistent flooding in the park please be prepared for muddy and wet areas. This event will take place unless there is a winter storm warning and/or temperatures below 10F. You don’t have a pair of binoculars? Birding backpacks (including binoculars and field guide) are available at the following libraries: Andorra, Cobbs Creek, Cecil B. Moore, Logan, Richmond, South Philly and Widener.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area – Joint Trip with Wyncote Audubon
February 29, 2020 @ 10:30 am – 3:00 pm
100 Museum Road, Kleinfeltersville, PA, 17578
Trip Leader: Judy Stepenaskie

Meet in the parking lot at the Visitors Center and bring lunch. Join us to witness the spectacle of huge numbers of snow geese as they prepare to head north. We expect to see over 100,000 snow geese, plus several thousand tundra swans and a few Bald Eagles. Other waterfowl we expect include: Pintails, Scaup, American Wigeon, Black Ducks, Common and Hooded Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Buffleheads and Ring-necked Ducks. For those interested, we may stay till dusk to see the Short-eared Owls.

The Visitor’s Center is located on Museum Road, off of Hopeland Road in Kleinfeltersville, PA. Bring lunch.

Here is the website for the PA Game Commission with directions and info:

Woodcocking at the Rancocas Nature Center
March 01, 2020 @ 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
794 Rancocas Mt Holly Rd, Westampton, NJ
Trip Leader: Patty Rehn

Each year in the late winter, the American Woodcock move northward at the beginning of their breeding season. One of their migration stops is the Rancocas meadow– a reliable spot to catch the male of the species perform a fascinating aerial display to impress the female Woodcocks. Join Rancocas naturalist Patty Rehn at dusk for an informational session and unique viewing opportunity. Bring binoculars and dress for the weather. This is a joint program with Rancocas Nature Center. Please call 609 261-2495 to register or REGISTER ONLINE.

Birding the Schuylkill River from Manayunk
March 07, 2020 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am
High and Dupont Sts, Philadelphia, PA, 19127
Trip Leader: Gregg Gorton

We will begin at the parking lot at the Manayunk Bridge Trailhead, which is at Dupont & High Streets. We will bird from the Philly side of the bridge and then go down to the Schuylkill River Trail (towpath), which we’ll take upriver to Flat Rock dam, or thereabouts, depending on time. Wintering ducks & other water birds, raptors and early migrants are likely.

See websites for details: https://dvoc.org/activities/field-trips/ and http://birdphilly.org/events.html

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

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


Matt Halley: The ornithology department is pumping out new research. Therese Catanach has new research that Accipiter striatus (Sharp-shinned hawk) is actually multiple species with different species on the different Caribbean islands.

Chris Walters inquired about the Wilson Journal which Matt Halley said he would bring to the next meeting.

Linda Widdop: on March 7th, from 2-5pm, Friends of Forsythe will be holding a symposium “3 Billion Birds Gone Missing: How, Why What Can Be Done”, at Stockton college. https://friendsofforsythe.org/calendar/  Linda is looking for members of the club to come support her.  There will be an opportunity to have a table with club membership information.

Local Notes

Anne Bekker: Saw the recurring Gyrfalcon in Northampton County

Ken Walsh: Saw Pink-footed Goose in Lancaster County, along with Cackling Goose, 3 Ross’s Goose, and 2500 Snow Geese

George Armistead: At Barnegat in Ocean County, had Ipswich sparrows in puddles, 6 Razorbills, and an adult male King Eider.

Navin Sasikumar: Eastern Screen Owl in East Falls. Low exposed location facing a busy street and a school.

Matt Halley: Went to Forsythe with Jason Weckstein, saw the wintering Chat and said it really pops against the winter backdrop.

Art McMorris: Peregrine nesting season is starting and he’s checking sites for activity. At the Walt Whitman Bridge, there were two pairs, one on the NJ side and one on the Penn side, which is rare. Turns out that one member of one pair is an offspring of the other pair.

Gregg Gorton: At the GBBC walk at West Laurel Hill found a Great Horned Owl (found one last year as well). Initially heard a group of jays and crows and then found the owl in a Blue Spruce. The large group potentially scared the owl which took off and was later found by 5th grader, Bradley.

Julia Hill: Victoria Sindlinger and Janie Hill found 2 woodcocks peenting at Eastwick.

Maureen Weir: Found a mallard x muscovy duck at Lake Galena in Bucks County.

Matt Halley: Great Horned Owl has taken over Cooper’s Hawk nest at Heinz. He is compiling the Breeding Bird Census in 2020 and would like updates on nesting.

Programs: Gregg Gorton

March 05, 2020 @ 7:30pm-9pm

The History of Bird Sound Recording at Cornell
Speaker: Randolph Scott Little

Evening Program:

What the ‘Insect Apocalypse’ Means for You, Your Yard & the Birds

Speaker: Ashley Kennedy

Ashley presented an insightful talk about food preferences of nesting Eastern Bluebirds based on research she conducted at Mt. Cuba Center. She also highlighted the food preferences of other birds based on crowd-funded photos from citizen scientists and highlighted the importance of planting native species of plants on your urban and suburban yards.

The meeting adjourned at 9:02pm.

After-meeting at Cherry Street Tavern

After the meeting, a group went over to Cherry Street Tavern to enjoy adult beverages and more chatter.