Minutes – November 5, 2020 Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Academy of Natural Sciences is closed due to COVID-19. Zoom Meeting

7:00 PM Pre-Meeting to assist with any technical issues and have attendees ready for official meeting at 7:30 PM. Instructions for meeting registration and how to use Zoom were announced on website and weekly digest.

Participants were asked to share their local notes in the chat.

Call to Order: President: Linda Widdop

Call to Order: 7:29pm
Linda welcomed all to the meeting, including Karen Walter and Liz Billings who were present to present the Billings Award. The meeting timing is 7:30 – 8pm club business, 8-9pm program and questions, followed by a virtual “Cherry Street” at 9pm.

Registrants: 49, including 10 non-members (some had more than one person per device)

Linda introduced officers and Council: Vice President: Gregg Gorton; Secretary: Barb Bassett; Treasurer: Marty Dellwo; Editor: Matt Halley changing to Holger Pflicke; Current Councilors: Lauren Diamond, Rob Bierregaard, Anne Bekker, Brian Quindlen, Katrina Rakowski, Dan Efroymson, George Armistead (immediate past president).

Minutes from last meeting, October 15th, were approved.

Committee Reports:

Membership Committee: Barb Bassett for Bonnie Witmer

New Member Applications: Scott Burnett, Pauline Rosenberg, Shawn Towey, Hudson Moore, Stuart Wilder

Conservation: Anne Bekker

Anne will announce the Rosalie Edge Award winner at the banquet on November 19th. This is presented to a *non-DVOC member* who has made significant contributions to conservation.

She mentioned that Matt Haley testified at the Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces (HOPS) Bill hearing. The HOPS Bill Eliminates the use of toxic herbicides on city-owned and used grounds.

The Lights Out Coalition against bird strikes met and will be asking for volunteers at some point.

Billings: Art McMorris

Normally the award is presented in March but was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. With Liz Billings, Bob’s wife, and Karen Walter, Bob’s daughter, Art presented the 2019 Bob Billings award to Barb Bassett, the 2019 winner. Barb had 289 species in the DVOC area, included 4 species never before sighted during the 9-year history of the competition: Gyrfalcon, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, Cassin’s Kingbird, Boreal Chickadee. She gave a short presentation of her year showing where she saw the species in the Billings area and photos of the rare birds. She donated the $200 prize to Bins 4 New Birders.

Art reviewed the rules of the Billings Contest which can be found here: https://dvoc.org/about/committees/billings/

Barb showing her award plague
Cassin’s Kingbird

Banquet: Linda Widdop for Lauren Diamond

This year’s virtual banquet will be held on November 19th, with speaker Peter Kaestner, an ornithologist whose life list is over 9,000.  The details are on the website. Sign up!

Field Trips: Linda Widdop

The DVOC is holding off any further field trips due to COVID-19 restrictions and will review what other organizations are doing. George Armistead is looking into the various options.

Programs: Linda Widdop for Gregg Gorton

The next meeting will be the virtual banquet.

More information at https://dvoc.org/wp/activities/meetings/


The deadline for the Photo Contest is November 30th. Please send your entries to stevemattan@comcast.net.

Details can be found at: https://dvoc.org/activities/photo-contest/

Local Notes

Steve Mattan : We had over 100 Siskin and an Evening Grosbeak, on Halloween 2020, in our yard Piney Place.

Martin Dellwo : Found a Dickcissel at Heinz NWR this morning, nice surprise and only my second in Philadelphia.  Also had a Golden Eagle incredibly low over Houston Meadow.  Then saw a bunch at Hawk Mountain the next day.

Anne Bekker : up to 3 short-eared owls at Dixon Meadow (Montco just over the city line) since 10/31. I was surprised to find a dickcissel at SCEE (Philadelphia) this afternoon

Barb Bassett : Many evening grosbeaks fly overs in Cape May and at some feeders. There have been Red Crossbills (type 10) as fly bys at Coral Ave, Cape May Point; a Golden Eagle over Cape May Point; Vesper sparrow – Beanery, Cape May

Judy Foulke : Spent the afternoon  at Pennypack Trust. A red-breasted nuthatch hung out with us at the bird blind. Best views we have had in several years. Also had a pine siskin at the feeder in Warminster.  Great horned owls hooting from woods near us in Warminster.

Linda Widdop : Dickcissel at Pennypack Trust last weekend

Barbara Granger: had 20ish pine siskins for past few weeks, they move so fast, hard to count; and a pair of evening grosbeaks at home in Wyncote staying for 3 days over past weekend.

Evening Program:

Aotearoa–New Zealand, Land of Birds

Speaker: Professor Susan Lindee

Dr. Susan Lindee had a wonderful program with photos by Imogen Warren.

There are now 57 known species of extinct New Zealand birds, who disappeared either before humans arrived on the islands in about 1350, before Europeans arrived in 1769, or over the last 250 years.  The Polynesians who followed migrating birds to islands across the Pacific annihilated all of the dozen or more species of giant Flightless Moa.  Europeans brought rats, cats, dogs, and European birds, presumably carrying disease. Industrialization and industrialized agriculture disrupted ecosystems and many stunning birds disappeared.

And yet—what can still be seen in New Zealand today is exceptional, unique, remarkable.  During my trips in December 2019 and January 2020 with my friend Imogen Warren (whom I met on an Australian birding trip some years ago), I fell in love sequentially with the “confiding” Wrybill—the only bird in the world with a beak that is laterally curved; with the Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, a stunning and almost tame creature;  with dozens of surf-landing Little Blue Penguins; and with the unforgettable Giant Petrel, Fernbird, Kaka, Rifleman and Mollymawk.  Bird life in New Zealand is abundant and beautiful.

Today, this gorgeous land–more properly known by its indigenous Maori name Aotearoa–is still a remarkable birding destination. 


Linda Widdop adjourned the meeting at 9:15 pm.
All were invited to continue the conversation at a virtual Cherry Street Tavern but everyone called it a night.