Minutes – Feb 6, 2020 Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Academy of Natural Sciences – BEES Classroom

Call to Order: President: Linda Widdop

Call to Order: 7:33pm
Vice President & Secretary (for Barb Bassett): Gregg Gorton

Minutes from last meeting approved as submitted.

Attendees: 25 members present; 1 guest (Linda Burnet, spouse of speaker)

Reports from Council


Committee Reports:

Membership Committee: Bonnie Witmer

New Members: Theresa O’Malley, Vin Karthik, Karyl Weber, Steve Kapski

New Applications: Fred Clement, Maureen Weir

Conservation: Anne Bekker

The Migratory Bird Protection Act (MBPA), of 2020, was again discussed. A bipartisan bill, HR 5552, has been introduced to reaffirm America’s commitment to conserving migratory birds and seeks to reverse rollbacks by the Trump administration. Please consider signing a petition in its support: Https://abcbirds.org/action/petition-mbta

There is also an ongoing threat to Double-crested Cormorants. Please consider signing a petition supporting their protection: https://www.change.org/p/let-these-birds-live-stop-ontario-s-war-on-double-crested-cormorants?use_react=false

Billings: Art McMorris

Keep birding!

Field Trips: Linda Widdop

Free to all members and non-members

Pennypack Park – Verree Meadow

February 09, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 11am

We will meet at the parking lot of the Champions Park playground off of Verree Road at the intersection with Tustin St/Susquehanna Rd. GPS coordinates: 40.080355,-75.067948.

Trip Leader: Holger Pflicke

Duelling field trips:

Laurel Hill (east) Cemetery Great Backyard Bird Count

February 15, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

3822 Ridge Ave, Phila

Trip Leader: Navin Sasikumar

West Laurel Hill Cemetery Great Backyard Bird Count

February 15, 2020 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am

225 Belmont Avenue, Phila

Meet at Conservatory/Office (not funeral home or chapel)–follow signs

Trip Leaders: Gregg Gorton and Jason Weckstein

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:

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

Programs: Gregg Gorton

February 20, 2020 @ 7:30pm-9pm (in Commons)

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

Speaker: Ashley Kennedy


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.

Linda also mentioned the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count, February 14-17. She also reminded the group that DVOC has two FaceBook sites: a group page (which one must join) and an “advertising” page for general information. Finally, she mentioned Cassinia, the club journal, so new attendees would be aware of it.

Bonnie & Phil Witmer: they will be giving an introduction to the Great Backyard Bird Count, to draw new participants, at the Radnor Memorial Library on February 8 @ 10am.

Judy Stepenaskie: there will be a Wyncote Audubon trip to Colombia in July, 2020, to be led by George Armistead (Rockjumper Tours) and Robin Irizarry. Contact Robin (robin.irizarry@audubon.org) or go to the Wyncote Audubon website for more information: https:wyncoteaudubon.org/birding/category/field-trips-and-bird-walks/

Local Notes

Dan Efroymson: was surprised and pleased to find a White-winged Scoter in a photograph he had taken of Canvasback and scaup at the Naval Yard. He also heard the “kerwee” call of a Sora from the big boardwalk at the Heinz NWR at Tinicum, and other folks found the bird the following day. And, he saw the lingering Common Gallinule, as well.

Janie Hill and Eva Marie Shahade: saw a Sora at Heinz, at the upper eastside end of the impoundment.

Vin Karthik: found a Lark Sparrow at Twining Valley Park in Willow Grove, Upper Dublin Twp, Montgomery County. He also had a Wilson’s Snipe at Bradford Dam in Warrington, Bucks County.

Rachel Adler: found a Razorbill at Barnegat Lighthouse Park, Ocean County, NJ.

Linda Widdop: during a DVOC trip to the same site the prior weekend, the group found five Razorbills.

Tori Sindlinger & Janie Hill: along with Daniel Long, the youth birders were very pleased to be led on a walk by George Armistead at the Edwin B. Forsythe NWR in Atlantic/Ocean Counties, NJ on January 19th, where they saw a Yellow-breasted Chat, Palm Warblers, and a good variety of duck species.

Scott Burnet: noted that a Pink-footed Goose and a Greater White-fronted Goose had been present at the Fogelsville Quarry, Upper Macungie Park, Fogelsville, Bucks County. In addition, a dark morph Gyrfalcon has returned for the third year in a row to the Grand Central Sanitary Landfill, but it has also been seen in adjacent Pen Argyl, Plainfield Twp., Northampton County and in Alpha, Warren County, NJ, which is across the Delaware southeast of Pen Argyl.

Evening Program:

Chimney Swift: America’s Mystery Bird

Speaker: Scott Burnet

Scott presented a fascinating talk about the natural history & life cycle of the Chimney Swift, its anatomy and how to identify it, how it compares with the other three swift species in the US, and efforts to conserve it by use of artificial nesting towers and by public education (eg, keeping chimney tops open during the breeding season). He passed around two nests and several eggs and responded to ample questions from the audience.

Don’t trust the veracity of everything you see about birds on the internet!
Scott taught us about the extraordinary and too little-known Althea Sherman, who was a pioneer in researching the life cycle of the Chimney Swift and in working to conserve the species.

The meeting adjourned at 9:18pm.

After-meeting at Cherry Street Tavern

Despite the drizzle and windiness, a group walked to the tavern in pursuit of adult beverages and further conversation, per tradition.