Minutes – March 3, 2022

Due to concerns of COVID-19, meetings will continue to be held virtually rather than in person at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Zoom Meeting: Instructions for meeting registration were announced on the website and weekly digest.

7:00 PM The Pre-Meeting discussed Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, Osprey nests, Sandhill Cranes at Pedricktown Marsh, and more. 

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:31 PM

Registrants: 55; 40 members, 15 non-members (37 signed on for the meeting, some with more than one person per device)

Gregg welcomed all to the meeting and introduced the officers. 

The minutes from February 17, 2022 were approved.

Committee Reports

Membership Committee: Linda Timlin for Nilesh Shah

Michael Hoessly and Selina Lugar applied at the end of January. Mary T. Collins was added to a household membership with Joseph B. Timoney. James Tornetta, Christina Kanter, Ethan Kang, Christina Riehl and Howard Delfiner became members in February. 

Field Trips – Linda Widdop

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

Upcoming field trips:

  • March 06 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm – Woodcocking at the Rancocas Nature Center led by Patty Rehn. Register online at Rancocas Nature Center website.
  • March 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm – Winter Gulls at Glen Foerd led by Holger Plficke. 
  • April 5 @ 7:30 am – 8:30 am and continuing weekly on Tuesdays for 8 weeks – Spring Birding at Fox Chase Farm led by Linda Widdop. 
  • April 6 @ 7:30 am – 9:00 am and continuing weekly on Wednesdays for 8 weeks – Wednesday Spring Bird Walks at Lorimer Park & Fox Chase Farm by Linda Widdop.
  • April 20 @ 7:00 am – 9:00 am and continuing weekly on Wednesdays for a few weeks – Wednesday Morning Walks at Houston Meadowwith George Armistead.

Participants must follow all the COVID-19 Guidelines as posted on the website and must sign a participant release to attend the field trip.

Trip Reports:

Linda Widdop: On the field trip to Barnegat Light, participants saw lots of Long-tailed Ducks, Harlequin Ducks, one Common Eider, and a dozen or so Black Scoters. 

Judy Stepanaskie: For the Middle Creek trip, 25 participants registered, 15 showed up. Because of the large number of registrants, they had two trips, one on Saturday as scheduled and an additional one on Sunday. They saw the vagrant Tufted Duck on Saturday, but not Sunday. The tour road was open on Sunday, but they didn’t see any Short-eared Owls. The Snow Geese show on both days was spectacular. 

Barb Bassett: There is a new eBird account for DVOC. This will be useful to collect and showcase all the birds seen on DVOC and BirdPhilly field trips. If you lead a field trip, please share the list with DVOCbirder (or dvocbirder@gmail.com) on eBird. 

Conservation – Anne Bekker

Another season of monitoring is about to get going for Bird Safe Philly (BSP) to make migration safer for birds by identifying hotspots of bird window collisions. The program also includes a Lights Out component to reduce the number of collisions during migration. BSP is looking for volunteers – either as drivers to take injured birds to the rehab clinic at the Schuylkill Center, or as monitors to walk formal routes. BSP is also looking for non-formal volunteers to add their window collision observations to the Bird Safe Philly project on iNaturalist

Acres of mature trees have been cut down around Cobbs and Indian Creeks for renovating a golf course. The eventual acreage to be destroyed is potentially around 120. While some people were aware of the project, almost everyone has been surprised by the scale of clearcutting. This type of clearcutting will cause flooding issues downstream. The current plans call for establishing 37 acres of mitigating wetlands, but that will not replace the nearly 100-year-old  trees that have been chopped down. For more info, read DVOC member Billy Brown’s article for Grid Magazine: https://www.gridphilly.com/blog-home/2022/2/25/everything-i-know-about-philadelphias-plans-to-clear-120-acres-of-city-owned-forest-for-a-new-golf-course

Billings – Art McMorris

Brian Quindlen (“BQ”) is the winner of the 2021 Bob Billings Award with 257 species. The award will be presented to BQ at a DVOC Zoom meeting on April 7th, with members of Bob Billings’s family present, and BQ will give us a brief talk about his Bob Billings Big Year effort.

See https://dvoc.org/about/committees/billings/.

Interns Fund – Gregg Gorton

Jason Weckstein has requested that the Intern Fund release $3000 to support an intern at the Academy of Natural Sciences. 


Gregg Gorton – On April 24th, The World According to Sound is going to take you on a sonic exploration of all things avian.  Please see the DVOC Weekly Digest 22-10 3/622 for more details.

Barb Bassett: Kashi Davis is looking for volunteers to help with fencing for beach-nesting birds. Please see the DVOC Weekly Digest 22-10 3/622 for more details. 

Gregg Gorton: Watch out for news about a recent avian flu outbreak. There have been reports of thousands of cranes dying in Israel and the outbreak might just be hitting the US now. 

Local Notes (from the chat)

Kaitlyn Evans: Heard American Woodcocks in Houston Meadow the past few nights.

Linda Widdop: Best bird of the week: Mink at Lorimer Park

Karen Gee: Had large flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles in Lake Harmony, PA (Poconos).

Patrick McGill: There is a Red-breasted Nuthatch still hanging at Morris Arboretum. He also had a Red-necked Grebe on the Delaware River at Lardner’s Point in NE Philly last weekend. And Horned Grebe and Long-tailed Duck hanging close by.

Barb Bassett: Red-necked Grebe, Malaga Lake, Gloucester county; 3 Horned Grebes with a Ring-necked Duck, Lesser and Greater Scaup at Big Timber Creek, Westville, Gloucester County, NJ. 

Steve Mattan: In his yard at Piney Place, Southampton, NJ, Burlington County, has had continuing American Woodcock – multiple birds, as many as seven per night. He also had the first Barred owl calling this week. And on Tuesday night, he heard what might have been a Northern Saw-whet Owl tooting.

Programs: Barb Bassett

The next regular meeting will be on March 17th when Mary Caswell Stoddard (Cassie) will present Colorful Birds, Exquisite Eggshells and other Avian Adventures. Cassie will talk about the ecological and evolutionary processes that contribute to avian diversity from color perception in hummingbirds to the remarkable structure that is the avian egg and how it offers insights into avian behavior and evolution. 

More information at https://dvoc.org/wp/activities/meetings/ for this and other upcoming meetings.

Evening Program

Continuing the trend of informative, fact-filled presentations, and the second consecutive bird banding talk, Katy Duffy presented on her work banding owls in Cape May, New Jersey as well as surveys for males of several owl species during late winter and spring in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and the Gallatin National Forest. 

Some key highlights of the talk are below: 

  • Before there were as many banding stations as now, most recoveries of banded owls were dead birds – often hit by a car or window strikes. Due to the increase in the number of stations, most owls these days are live recoveries. 
  • The most frequently banded owl at Cape May is the Northern Saw-whet Owl, followed by Long-eared Owl. 
  • Barn Owl used to be frequent, but that is not the case anymore, probably due to the fact that there are fewer farms in the New Jersey area north of Cape May. 
  • Other owls banded (but in much smaller numbers than the others) include Eastern Screech-Owl, Great-horned Owl, Barred Owl, and Short-eared Owl. 
  • In the owl surveys in Yellowstone, the primary species are Northern Saw-whet Owl, Boreal Owl, and Northern Pygmy-Owl. 
  • Other species include Great Horned Owl which is the species that is most often seen (as opposed to only heard like the three primary species), and Great Gray Owl which is rarely detected. 


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 pm. A handful of us stayed on after the official meeting ended to chat.