Minutes – Nov 7, 2019

Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Time: 7:38pm

Call To Order:

President: Phil Witmer (subbing for George Armistead)
VP & Secretary: Gregg Gorton (subbing for Linda Widdop)


Members present: 33; guests present: 5 (Karyl Weber, Rich Horwitz, Amanda Dey, Lanny Niles, Janet Lippincott)

Reports from Council: 


Committee Reports:


Bonnie Witmer

New member – Rich Ziegler

New applicant – none

Conservation Committee – Anne Bekker

Nothing to report

Field Trips:

Barb Bassett

Glen Foerd On the DelawareNovember 16, 2019 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Trip Leader – Tony Croasdale

5001 Grant Ave, Philadelphia, PA

Discovery Center Bird WalkNovember 23, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 10:00 am

Trip Leader – Keith Russell

3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA, 19121

–>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/ and http://birdphilly.org/events.html

Up-coming Program:  


Lauren Diamond

Save this date: Nov 21, 2019 at 6:30pm!  The banquet will again be at the Sheet Metal Workers’ Hall on Delaware Avenue.  The Bird Art Show will take place again this year, and Jeff Gordon, President of the American Birding Association, will be the featured speaker. Annual Awards will be announced, as well. 


Matt Halley – “Show and Tell” – Matt once again regaled the audience with a tale and some exquisite items, this time having to do with a collection of bird skulls that he has recovered from within the museum collection, after it was believed to have been lost. Samuel Morton amassed the collection in the 1830s, and Matt discovered that it includes a Passenger Pigeon skull that had been mislabeled, which will now replace the supposed Passenger Pigeon skull in the museum collection that had also been mislabeled–and which in actually is a Band-tailed Pigeon skull. The key to Matt’s being able to correct the record was his finding not only the skulls, but also Morton’s original catalog to the collection. Matt displayed some of the skulls for the audience, and he further discussed this remarkable find after the main speaker had finished answering questions.

Matt Halley with part of the Morton Skull Collection

Local Notes:

Bert Filemyr – Anna’s Hummingbird continues at a private residence in the Westchester area. Go to eBird for details.

Barb Bassett – American Avocet at South Cape May Meadows.

Matt Halley – Joined Jason Weckstein and his students at South Cape May Meadows, where the Avocet was seen. They also saw a Least Bittern and an immature Golden Eagle (overhead; apparently the first of the season for the Hawk Watch).

Evening Program:

Extinction and the Long-distance Red Knot

Speaker: Larry Niles

Larry gave a spirited overview of the Long-distance form of the Red knot, which migrates from the Artic to the southern cone of South America along the eastern shore of that continent. He discussed results of tracking studies utilizing geo-locators and nano-tags applied to samples of the birds. He described in detail the exquisite temporal linkage between the reproductive behavior of the Horseshoe Crab in the Delaware Bay and other areas on the East Coast. And, he provided results of studies of that bird’s and the crab’s population over the past two decades. He amply made the case that the Red knot is at significant risk of extinction should there be further reduction in the Horseshoe crab population, catastrophic weather events, or ongoing degradation of habitat (including stopover habitat along the South American Coast). While the talk was somewhat disheartening, Larry also provided evidence that when fishing for the crabs is more tightly regulated, the Red knot population can respond positively to some extent. He made it clear that the fight to save the Red knot must encompass the entire ecosystem, and must address not only over-fishing, but unnecessary ongoing medical harvesting (despite the availability of a synthetic replacement for the crab’s blood in medical testing). He highlighted the campaign that he and supporting NGOs have initiated called “Halt the Harvest” (go to https://www.delawarenaturesociety.org/naturalists-renew-calls-to-halt-horseshoe-crab-harvest-in-delaware-bay/ ). There was ample discussion afterward.

Meeting adjourned at 9:27pm

After-meeting Gathering at Cherry Street Tavern:

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