Minutes – May 4, 2023

This was a hybrid meeting with the speaker remote. The in-person portion was in the BEES classroom. Instructions for registration were announced on the website and weekly digest.

Call to Order: President Gregg Gorton

Call to Order: 7:30 PM

Gregg introduced all the officers and welcomed guests.

Attendees: 8 in-person, 22 on Zoom. 

No minutes from the last meeting because it was a special meeting and no club business was conducted. 

Committee Reports

Membership Committee – Nilesh Shah

The following members were added in April: James Wiley, Chapin Wright, Diane Widdop, and Joel Larusso. 

We also have two returning members: Janie Hill and Hudson Moore.

29 new members have joined the club in the first four months of the year which is exactly the same as last year. Of the 29 new members, 14 were men and 15 were women. 

Field Trips – Navin Sasikumar for Linda Widdop

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

Upcoming field trips:

  • May 6 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am – FDR Park with Robert Karchnyak
  • May 7 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am –  Carpenter’s Woods with Ed Edge
  • May 7 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm – Morris Park with Ed Edge
  • May 9 @ 7:30 am – 8:30 am – Tuesday Morning Bird Walk at Independence National Park (with National Park Rangers) with Connor Smyth
  • May 10 @ 7:00 am – 9:00 am – Wednesday Spring Bird Walks at Lorimer Park & Fox Chase Farm with Linda Widdop
  • May 10 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am – Awbury Arboretum with Patrick McGill
  • May 13 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am – John Heinz NWR at Tinicum with Gregg Gorton
  • May 13 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am – FDR Park with Robert Karchnyak
  • May 13 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am – Tacony Creek Park with Tanya Burnett
  • May 13 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm – Fisher Park (joint event with In Color Birding Club) with Tanya Burnett
  • May 14 @ 7:30 am – 10:30 am – Pennypack Park with Patrick McGill
  • June 20 @ 7:00 am – 12:00 pm – Lakehurst Naval Station for Upland Sandpipers with Bob Horton. Registration is required for this trip and you need to be a US citizen. Please send an email to Bob Horton before May 29th with your full name, driver’s license number and state, and date of birth.

Gregg Gorton, Rob Bierregaard, Katrina Clark, and Manny Dominguez are leading a workshop called eBird for Everyone on May 6th from 1 pm to 3 pm at John Heinz NWR.

Conservation – Barb Bassett for Anne Bekker

The Heritage Conservancy will be running a 24-hour bioblitz at their new Croydon Woods Preserve – 80 acres of Coastal Plain forest – from Thursday 5/18, 3 pm through Fri 5/19, 3 pm, followed by a closing ceremony which will run until 6 pm. This biodiversity survey is a bit different – it will consist of teams for each taxon, with times for each team to survey particular taxa on both days. Email Tyler Kovacs (tkovacs@heritageconservancy.org) with your name, phone number, and indicate your area(s) of interest and expertise. There’s room for all levels of experience.

Gregg Gorton said that there were four species of bats detected using a bat detector at the Oakwell estate. One of those bat species is endangered, another is threatened, and the presence of these  species might aid in the struggle to save Oakwell.

Communication – Navin Sasikumar

Victor Lefevre will be taking over as web admin over the next few months. Please add Victor to any requests sent to Navin. You can also just use webmaster@dvoc.org and both of us should get those emails. 

Navin added that we have a Youtube channel where recorded meetings are posted. 

DEI – Navin Sasikumar

Nothing new to report but now that Victor has taken over web admin duties and CNC is almost over, Navin will be scheduling a meeting of the DEI committee.

The second annual Black Excellence in Birding event at the Academy celebrating Black Birders Week is on May 27th. 


Barb Bassett announced that the Raven LunaChicks are participating for the second time in the World Series of Birding on May 13th. The team is an all-female team of DVOC members – Linda Widdop, Debbie Beer, Patty Rehn, and Lori Gladulich. The team is raising funds to support the DVOC. 

Navin Sasikumar said that the observation phase of the City Nature Challenge is over but people still have until Sunday, May 7th to upload any photos or audio recordings made during the 4 days from April 28 – May 1. He said that because of the terrible rainy weather we had over those 4 days, this was one of our lowest totals with under 14k observations, 1997 species, and 614 participants (well short of the 1000 participant goal). He also added that we have many birds still on our needs list including Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, and Red-shouldered Hawk, and asked the audience to submit any photos or audio recordings of the missing species taken during the four days of the challenge to iNaturalist before 11:59 pm on May 7th.

Local Notes

Michael O’Brien said he had a Gray Catbird and American Robin at his residence in West Philadelphia. He said that lots of trees have been cut down to build new buildings at 53rd and Chester which has decreased the number and variety of birds present.  

Gregg Gorton mentioned that Judy Stepenaskie has seen both adult Peregrines at St. John the Baptist church in Manayunk and that there is a presumption that there may be young falcons. Art McMorris clarified that Judy saw an adult take food into the nest which means there are definitely young in the nest.

Linda Rowan who monitors peregrines on the PA-NJ connector on the PA Turnpike bridge said that she had seen prey being taken into the nest there. She said that the nest is visible from Radcliffe Street in Bristol township. She also said that there is a Red-tailed Hawk nest in Levittown, Bucks County where she saw two young birds being fed.

Barb Bassett said that she had Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Wood Thrush, Great Crested Flycatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Ovenbird, and Yellow-rumped Warbler in Clarksboro, Gloucester County. 

Bonnie and Phil Witmer had Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Northern Mockingbird,  House Wren, Carolina Wren, and Brown-headed Cowbird in their yard in Chester County. They said that Dark-eyed Juncos had just left, but they were still seeing White-throated Sparrows.

Steve Mattan reported Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Ovenbird, Black-and-white, Palm, Pine, and Black-throated Green Warblers singing, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and nesting Eastern Phoebe in his yard in Southampton, Burlington County, NJ. 

Martin Dellwo said that Patrick McGill found a Red-headed Woodpecker at SCEE today. Navin clarified that the bird was found by SCEE staff on the day before and reported by Leigh Ashbrook on Telegram. 

Nilesh Shah said that a Lark Sparrow was reported at Twining Valley Park in Upper Dublin. It is believed to be the first record for Montgomery County and was reported in the Upper Dublin Parks & Recreation brochure. Nilesh also said that Jean Brady and he had their first sighting of a Yellow-rumped Warbler in their yard in Maple Glen, Montgomery County. 

Barb Bassett said that Liam Hart had an American White Pelican fly over in Germantown. 

Programs: Barb Bassett

The next meeting is a special meeting in partnership with the Academy of Natural Sciences on May 25th (not the usual May 18th date). David Lindo is the speaker and he’ll be giving a presentation followed by a Q&A session afterward that will be moderated by Jason Hall of In Color Birding. 

Barb also said that this is our last hybrid meeting of the “semester”. On June 1st, we will have a Quizzo night. Barb is considering a couple of venues and will have more details soon. Questions are going to be in 3 categories – membership trivia, birding in the Delaware Valley, and birding in general. 

After that meeting, we will be taking a break from meetings until after Labor Day. 

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

Evening Program

Pat Sutton gave a wonderful presentation about the role fallen leaves play in the ecosystem. She mentioned that many orchids only grow in areas of good leaf litter cover. She then went into detail about caterpillars that pupate in leaf litter or shelter under it and showed us some wonderful pictures of the caterpillars and the adult butterflies and moths they become. She talked about the birds and amphibians that also rely on leaf litter and gave tips on plantings to attract birds and insects as well as what you can do with leaf litter in your yard. 

The full presentation is available on Youtube for one month. 


After the presentation and questions, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 pm.