Minutes – March 21, 2019

Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Time: 7:34pm

Call To Order:

President: George Armistead
VP: Linda Widdop; Secretary: Gregg Gorton


Members present: 29; three guests (students of the Program Speaker)

Reports from Council: 


Committee Reports:


Gregg Gorton (for Bonnie Witmer)

No New Members; two new applicants: Liam Hart and Carol Weisl

Billings Award Presentation

Art McMorris introduced the Billings family (Bob’s widow, Liz, and daughter, Karen) and this year’s winner, Sandra Keller. Sandra then gave an animated account of her Big Year, highlighting the unusual species. She saw 303 species (302 of them in N.J.), which is notable not only for outstripping the other entrants this year, but also for her total’s being lower that her second- and third-place finishes of several other years! The Award is clearly well-deserved.

The area map for the Billings Competition can be found at:  http://dvoc.org/Committees/BillingsAward/Resources/CompetitionAreaMap.pdf

A brief, animated account…
Liz Billings, Art McMorris, the Winner, and Karen (Billings) Walter

Field Trips: 

Linda Widdop

Woodcocks & Spotlighting for Night Creatures

Cobbs Creek Environmental Center

March 22, [email protected]:00pm-7:00pm

700 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia

Trip Leader: Tony Croasdale


Discovery Center Bird Walk
The Discovery Center
March 31, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 9:30 am
3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA, 19121
Trip Leader: Gregg Gorton (for Matt Halley)

Cape May Area Birdwalk
Meet at Concrete Ship (USS Atlantus – western terminus of Sunset Blvd.)
April 06, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 1:30 pm
500 Sunset Blvd, Cape May, New Jersey, 08204
Trip Leaders: George Armistead, Martin Selzer

This is a joint DVOC/Wyncote Audubon field trip
Bring food, or we can make a quick stop at Wawa.
Plan: Birding in the main spots at Cape May and perhaps up the Bayshore, looking for returning Piping Plovers, migrating Bonaparte’s Gull and (fingers crossed!) hopefully for a Little Gull, or Sandhill Cranes somewhere along the way. Good time of year for migrating loons and grebes too. We will adapt our day to where the area’s birds are.
Note: Monitor BirdPhilly Chatter group on WhatsApp and DVOC Facebook page for updates prior to trip, and for live updates during the day of April 6th.

TreePhilly Meets BirdPhilly!

Cobbs Creek Environmental Center

April 7, [email protected]

700 Cobbs Creek Parkway, Philadelphia

Leaders: Tony Croasdale and Navin Sasikumar

Birds and native plant gardening: birding and a workshop

–>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

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

Upcoming Program:

April 4, 2019 @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

New Bird Specimens from Amazonia: Show and Tell!

Jason Weckstein


Linda Widdop: Marty Dellwo’s birthday is today!

Tony Croasdale: If you want a free tree from the City for your yard, email him about arranging that.

George Armistead: The Delaware Birdathon (of the Delaware–formerly Delmarva–Ornithological Society) will raise funds this year in the ongoing effort to conserve more coastal land. In the history of this effort, about $400,000 has been raised, and more than 1200 acres have been protected. This year–and IF the amount raised is at least $100,000–a matching donation of that amount will be made! Dates: May 4-May 12, 2019.

George Armistead: Monies from the Conservation Fund have been allocated as requested by the Conservation Committee (Anne Becker, Holger Plicke, chairs): $750 will go toward more backpacks as part of the Backpacks for Birders program, and $600 will go toward the establishment and maintenance of a nocturnal migrant flight-recording station at the Discovery Center. If you want to set up such a system yourself, since it can be quite easily done, go to http://www.oldbird.org for information. That is the web site of nocturnal flight-recording pioneer Bill Evans.

Linda Widdop: Said she would donate a computer to the new Recording Project at the Discovery Center, since they need one.

Cindy Ahern: There is a campus group to monitor and try to prevent window-kills of birds at the Temple – Ambler campus.

Local Notes:

Linda Timlin: The female Red-tailed Hawk that has been monitored at a nest on or near the Franklin Institute over the past eight years, or so, has gone missing and is presumed dead. The nest is now in a tree at Eakins Oval. The female bird had not looked well for two days prior to her disappearing, based on information from the many people who keep tabs on her. She was approximately ten years old and had raised twenty-five young with several males. A young female has been reported in the area and appears to have gotten the attention of the older male partner of the missing “Mom,” as she is known. Folks are broken-hearted about losing her.

Ken Walsh: A good number of Rusty Blackbirds seen at the Stroud Preserve in Chester County.

George Armistead: Someone had a gnatcatcher at that preserve yesterday. And, a dozen or so Rusty Blackbirds have been seen at Heinz, along with the lingering Saw-whet Owl, and Redhead and Canvasback ducks.

Rob Bierregaard: Took a trip to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area near Kleinfeltersville in Lancaster County, and found 30-40,000 Snow Geese. He also had a large flock of one-to-two-hundred grackle over his house in Wynnewood.

Sandra Keller: Noted that Snow Goose numbers have seemed down this year in Cumberland County. She wonders whether the farmers’ new practice of “putting giant, fake eagles in their fields” is part of that.

Cindy Ahern: Saw approximately 150 Fish Crow over her house in Montgomery County.

Ken Walsh: Noted that a roost of about 3,000 Fish Crow exists in Trenton. He added that he saw a Gyrfalcon at Brigantine NWR, NJ.

George Armistead: Added that there was another Gyr reported from Bath, PA, Northampton County, north of Bethlehem, which was a very dark bird that Brian Quindlen reportedly saw. So, it appears that there have been (at least) two Gyrfalcons in the area.


Evening Program:

The Hummingbird Gardener
Speaker: Cindy Ahern (Photos by Scott Ahern)

This was a delightful and informative, as well as richly illustrated talk about the history of Cindy’s becoming a bird gardener, horticulturalist, and teacher of horticulture. Cindy’s energy and enthusiasm, as well as humor and vast knowledge of her subject, kept her audience engaged.

One part of the Ahern Garden, which was the very first backyard Bird Habitat officially recognized by Pennsylvania Audubon’s new program, in 2008

A juvie male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Meeting Adjourned: 9:18pm

After-meeting Gathering at Cherry Street Tavern:

After the formal meeting, some members enjoyed beverages and bird-chat.