Minutes – March 15, 2018

Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Time: 7:30pm

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; 36;  Guests: none identified

Committee Reports:

Membership Committee:

Gregg Gorton
New Members: Pamela Barton (who joins her husband, Michael Walter, in a household life membership); New applications received: none

Bob Billings Big Year Competition:

Linda Widdop
The winner of this year’s competition, Debbie Beer, will give a short talk about her Big Year at the April 5th meeting, when the Billings family can also be present.  Reminder: one and all are urged to sign up for this year’s Bob Billings competition by March 31st.  The goal is to find the most species in the DVOC area in 2018… so you can win bragging rights, plus a small honorarium.  If you don’t sign up, you can’t win!  Contact Art: mcmorris@mac.com

Field Trips:

Linda Widdop
Bird Walk at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum
March 17, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
8600 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA
Trip Leader: Navin Sasikumar
Free to all members and non-members
Join Navin Sasikumar for a walk around Heinz looking for late wintering birds and early spring arrivals. Highlights may include rusty blackbird, a variety of waterfowl and fox sparrow singing!

Birding Burlington County-Part 3
March 18, 2018 @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Trip Leader: Sandra Keller
County Road 563, Chatsworth, NJ, 08019
Free to all members and non-members
Explore Franklin Parker Preserve searching for early migrants. Expect a lot of walking on fairly well maintained trails. Franklin Parker Preserve comprises 9,770 acres of pine woods south of Chatsworth lake. The Preserve is New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s largest, encompasses 16 square miles in the heart of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. It is accessible by a network of sandy roads that wind though pitch pine forest and blueberry fields, and run along the preserve’s cedar swamp, shallow lakes and pristine tributaries of the West Branch of the Wading River.
Meet at the “Speedwell” parking area on Rte 563 at the south end of the preserve. See: http://njconservation.org/preserves/FPPDirectionsrevisedSpeedwellEntrance.pdf

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!

April 7, 2018
Warbler Warm-up! Field Trip
(on the Saturday after the April 5th Meeting, featuring the Warbler Warm-up! Talk by Ian Gardner)
Site and more information will be announced.

Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ, for Upland Sand Pipers
June 6, 2018 (Wednesday)
Trip Leader: Bob Horton
NOTE: You must register by May 16th so your name will be on the official list of people allowed to enter this secure military facility adjacent to the Pinelands Preserve, which is also where the famous Hindenburg (Blimp) Disaster occurred. You will be required to be a US citizen, to present a valid ID card at the time of the walk. Likely species: Upland Sandpiper, Horned Lark, Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Field Sparrow, Pine Warbler. Limited to 20 attendees.  To sign up, contact Bob: Horton633@verizon.net

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/ )


Matt Halley
In an arduous effort (applauded by attendees), all remaining members’ issues (i.e., those not given out by hand at previous meetings) have now been mailed out by Matt. Contact him with any questions: [email protected]


Navin Sasikumar
Plans are being made for DVOC’s involvement in the 3rd annual American Birding Expo, which is an ever-growing national bird fair that draws exhibitors from both hemispheres, and birders from all over, and which will be held again this year at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA, September 21-23, 2018.  Volunteers will be needed to help staff the DVOC booth and to lead walks—-so stay tuned!

Annual Banquet:

Linda Widdop
November 8, 2018
Kevin Karlson is tentatively scheduled to talk about the new book that he and Pete Dunne are writing.  Stay tuned for details!


Linda Widdop
April 5, [email protected] 7:30pm-9pm
Warbler Warm-up!
Speaker: Ian Gardner
The migrants are coming our way so let’s get ready! It’s been a whole year since our friends from the south passed through the Delaware Valley on their way to breeding grounds to the north. In this refresher session, Ian Gardner will remind us how to make the most of the migration with tips on locating migrating birds by sight and sound, finding the best locations, and planning your search according to the timing of migration. Ian was born and raised in Central PA, which is also where he went to college and graduate school, and where he currently lives and works. He earned his B.S. degree in Wildlife Conservation at Juniata College, and his M.S. degree in Forest Resources at Penn State University. For the last 3 years, he has been a Wildlife Technician at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA.

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


Linda Widdop made several announcements:  The Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) annual Optics Sale will take place April 14-15, 2018 from 9am-5pm at the Observatory’s Center for Research and Education, 600 Rte 47 North, Goshen, NJ. Tel: 609-246-3581. See: www.njaudubon.org/specialevents/annualopticssale.aspx

Also, Linda wants everyone to be aware that any specimens of birds found dead that are collected for donation to the Academy of Natural Science – Drexel’s collection MUST be from NJ or PA only!  The salvage permit held by ANS-D is valid only for those states.  Birds found in DE can be donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE (contact: Jean Woods, Bird Curator and Director of Collections, at 302-658-9111; and, see www.delmnh.org). Birds found in NY can be donated  to the Bird Department of the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West & 79th St., New York, NY (Paul Sweet, Collections Manager: 212-769-5100; and, see: https://www.amnh.org

And, finally, Linda said that there will be an EXTRA MEETING this year, on September 13, 2018, so members can enjoy items related to Witmer Stone’s classic volume, Birds of Old Cape May:
An Ornithology of Coastal New Jersey
(1937), the 3rd copy of which was recently acquired by the ANS-D. It was signed by leaders of DVOC at the time of publication. Bird specimens collected by Stone and perhaps other early members of the club will be on display, and Scott McConnell (whose biography of Witmer Stone won the Witmer Stone Award!) will present a talk.

Local Notes:

Marty Dellwo:  Returned to look for the Gyrfalcon in NJ, but dipped again. He noted that a Thick-billed Murre was seen offshore at Cape May, NJ.

Dan Efroymson: Saw two ravens in Manayunk, and he suspects that they may be looking to nest in that area.

Matt Halley: Reported recent sightings at Tinicum (John Heinz NWR)– 47 Tundra Swans; a pair of Ospreys; hundreds of Tree Swallows; displaying Woodcock at Eastwick Meadows just outside Heinz NWR. And, in Peace Valley Park, Doylestown, Bucks County, PA, with Martin Selzer, sightings of male Red-breasted Merganser and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Rob Bierregaard added that he saw a very large number of the latter species at the same site a couple of years ago.

Bert Filemyr: Snowy Owls are still present at Edwin B. Forsythe NWR (Brigantine Unit), NJ.

Rick Mellon: Saw two ravens from his place in Yardley, Lower Makefield Twp., PA.

Ken Walsh: Reported seeing both Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, as well as 2,000 Fish Crows, in the Trenton area near the Mulberry Street Exit off Rte. 1 (where there are two watercourses nearby).

Katrina Rakowski: Saw two Red-necked Grebes and one Horned Grebe, and 5 Common Goldeneyes (including a beautiful male) at Glen Foerde (Estate) on the Delaware, 5001 Grant Avenue, Torresdale, Philadelphia. She also met Judy Stepenaskie in Manayunk (Philadelphia) while Judy was studying the pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest on St. John the Baptist RC Church,146 Rector Street. When Kat looked through Judy’s scope she happened to catch the pair of falcons copulating—and got a photo.

Judy Stepenaskie: saw the Manayunk Peregrine pair mate one other time, and the female was making an unusual squeaking sound that Judy will try to record. The female is spending the night in the nest box, but during the daytime Judy even saw a 3rd Peregrine fly in to try to mate with her.

Gregg Gorton and Rob Bierregaard: Mentioned that there will be a “Pizza and Peregrines” meet-up at the Couch Tomato restaurant on Rector Street near the church sometime in June once this year’s (hoped for) young birds have fledged.  That affords a great Peregrine family-watching opportunity, and involves ad hoc outreach to local folks who happen by and inquire what the group is looking at through their scopes and bins.

Program Speaker:

Don Jones
Bird Sounds: An Introduction to Listening and Visualizing
This program was inspired by Nathan Pieplow’s book The Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America (2017), which contains myriad sonographs and an associated CD-ROM that the author uses to teach readers how to visualize what they are  hearing, in order to be able better to recall songs and calls. Don made use of recordings by four DVOC recordists (George Reynard, Ed Manners, Paul Driver, and himself) to illustrate his talk with sounds from many different species, using Pieplow’s method (and visuals used with his permission) for organizing the song types.


George  Reynard

Attachment-1           IMG_9902                                            Don Jones                                                                      Ed Manners


Paul Driver

Meeting Adjourned:


After Meeting at Cherry Street Tavern:

As usual, some members enjoyed beverages and bird-chat.