Minutes – May 19, 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 bird nests and the Raven LunaChicks’ effort in the World Series of Birding. 

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:36 PM

Registrants: 39; 35 members, 4 non-members (25 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 May 5, 2022 were approved.

Committee Reports

Membership Committee: Nilesh Shah

There have been 7 new members since the last meeting. They are:

  • Paul Fitzpatrick and Susan Colette Daubner
  • Robert Bedell and Jane Harrington
  • Ashley Myers
  • Matt and August Pruden

Field Trips – Gregg Gorton

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

Upcoming field trips:

  • May 21 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am –  Pennypack Park with Patrick McGill
  • May 21 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am – Upper Dublin Bird Town Walks with Wyncote Audubon (Robbins Park) with Nilesh Shah
  • May 22 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am – FDR Park with Robert Karchnyak
  • May 25 @ 7:00 am – 8:30 am – Wednesday Spring Bird Walks at Lorimer Park & Fox Chase Farm with Linda Widdop
  • May 26 @ 7:30 am – 8:30 am – Spring Birding at Fox Chase Farm with Linda Widdop

Rob Horton is in contact with McGuire Air Force Base regarding the traditional DVOC trip there to find New Jersey’s only nesting Upland Sandpipers. The base is doing some work on the jump circle but they are hopeful that the work will be completed before the trip. 

Participants must follow all the COVID-19 Guidelines as posted on the website.

Conservation – Gregg Gorton for Anne Bekker

Gregg Gorton announced that Bird Safe Philly monitoring is ongoing and he thanked everyone involved. He also mentioned that there is a campaign to save Oakwell Forest (near the Stoneleigh Preserve) from deforestation that would replace the forest with playing fields. 

Judy Stepanaskie announced that there was a groundbreaking at FDR Park and shared a link to an article on WHYY about it. She reported that the groundbreaking doesn’t sound good for the campaign trying to stop the development from going on there, development that would replace the meadows with playing fields. https://whyy.org/articles/fdr-park-renovation-officially-begins-with-welcome-center-groundbreaking/

Banquet  – Gregg Gorton for Lauren Diamond

Gregg Gorton said that Banquet Chair, Lauren Diamond is beginning to look at venues. While recent in-person banquets have been held at the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall there was a suggestion from Liam Hart and George Armistead that a venue Liam’s sister is involved with might be a suitable replacement. Gregg also hopes that the club will be able to have an in-person banquet this year. 

Cassinia – Gregg Gorton for Holger Pflicke

Gregg Gorton reported that things are moving along for the next edition of Cassinia. Gregg said that Barb Bassett and he, as former secretaries, are editing the 2019 and 2020 minutes since they go into the ‘Abstracts of Proceedings’ section in Cassinia. 

Communication – Navin Sasikumar

No report


Navin Sasikumar announced the 2022 City Nature Challenge results. The Philadelphia area had over 19k observations, 2215 species, and 876 observers. This put us in the top 20 in all 3 categories and we managed to beat NYC in all of them as well. 

Judy Stepanaskie reported that they were doing a Peregrine Watch in Manayunk. In the past, Peregrine Falcon chicks have had issues where they end up on the street, hit by cars, etc. Some of these birds have been taken to rehab and rescued, but this year they are doing a formal watch to catch any issues quickly. The tentative start date for the project is May 27th and they need volunteers to cover various shifts between 8 am and 8 pm. The plan is to monitor the nests at least for a few days until the chicks have fledged. If anyone is interested, let Judy know by emailing her at judystep@comcast.net

Gregg Gorton announced that an Excellence in Black Birding event is scheduled for May 28th at the Academy of Natural Sciences to kick off Black Birders Week. Tanya Burnett and Troy Bynum will have their photographs displayed at the event and Tykee James, Corina Newsome, and Jason Hall will be panelists. The dress code is cocktail attire. 

Gregg Gorton also congratulated the DVOC World Series of Birding team, the Raven LunaChicks comprised of DVOC members Linda Widdop, Debbie Beer, Patty Rehn, and Lori Gladulich. See the following link for a full report: https://dvoc.org/blog/raven-lunachicks-2022-world-series-of-birding/

Judy Stepanaskie reported that the Wyncote Birdathon took place on Saturday, May 7th. The winning traveling team was ‘On a Meadowlark’ with 98 species. That team included Patrick McGill, Tanya Burnett, Peter Hamner, and Ben Filreis. They were raising money for Tykee James’ program to help minorities with college costs.

Local Notes

Steve Mattan reported that he had 9 Baltimore Orioles at his feeders at the same time in Southampton, Burlington County, NJ. He also said that he had a Cerulean Warbler in Medford Park, Medford, NJ, and King Rail and Least Bittern at the Franklin Parker Preserve. 

Linda Widdop reported that Linda had a Mississippi Kite over Fox Chase Farm on Wednesday this week. Linda said that it was one of many sightings of Mississippi Kites around the area this week. 

Barb Bassett said that she had Eurasian Collared-Dove and Pileated Woodpecker (which was a first for her in Cape May County) at Cape May Point, NJ.

Stephanie Petro-McClellan said that there was a Piping Plover and Arctic Terns at Glen Foerd on Saturday, May 14th. She was only able to go on Sunday, but she could find neither species that day. 

Nilesh Shah reported that he had an Eastern Wood-Pewee in his Montgomery County yard for the first time. He said the only reason he mentioned it was because his yard is in the midst of a lot of other manicured lawns, which is not a habitat in which he would have expected to find the bird.

Marty Dellwo reported on an exciting week in Philly starting with a Piping Plover found by Shane Murphy at Glen Foerd. And while he was there, some Black-bellied Plovers, a Dowitcher sp., and Dunlin were seen as well. While most people who came for the Piping Plover left when both tide and heavier fog rolled in, a couple of people including Marty stayed. After the fog cleared, they were rewarded with some Arctic Terns and a Least Tern. There was an unprecedented Arctic Tern event that weekend with many seen all over inland spots in lower New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Some were also seen (maybe the same birds) at POD; and the next day near Palmyra Cove as reported by Tom Bailey. On Tuesday, Marty reported that they had a Mississippi Kite event in Philly, with multiples seen along the Wissahickon and near the Schuylkill around Manayunk/Roxborough and that many folks got to see them. Marty and a few others had fantastic views of one (an apparent adult female) from the Houston Meadow ballfield. They also had a flyover Broad-winged Hawk. Later, he had his first Common Nighthawk of the year from Saylor Grove at the other end of the Wissahickon. He also reported that Rittenhouse Square has added a few new species to its hotspot list recently, including Indigo Bunting, Barred Owl, Broad-winged Hawk, and a pair of Mallards. He also said he believes he had a Least Flycatcher but as of the meeting, it is still unconfirmed by the reviewers.

Programs: Barb Bassett

The last meeting before the summer break will be on June 2nd when Keith Russell will present ‘The Bird Collision Problem in Philadelphia’. Keith will review what we have learned about the problem in Philadelphia and what has been done in recent years to address it.

More information on the Meetings page of the DVOC website for this and other upcoming meetings.

Evening Program

Lisa Schibley talked about the International Shorebird Survey (ISS) and how it fits in with Manemet’s (Plymouth, MA) work with shorebirds. She gave a brief history of the ISS and dove deeper into some of the shorebird surveys done in the US, Canada, and Latin America. She also detailed how participants could contribute to a shorebird survey (the following is from one of Lisa’s slides):

  • Visit the site at least 3 times per migration season
  • Visit the site the same way each time
    • Cover the same area
    • In about the same amount of time
    • At about the same tide each time
  • Count all the shorebirds at your site
  • Practice your estimation skills
  • Be conservative about identification. When in doubt use the sp!

She then did a live demo of the ISS map website where we looked at various survey sites in PA and NJ. 

Interesting links from the meeting:



After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:22 pm. A handful of us stayed on to chat after the official meeting ended.