Minutes – Oct 3, 2019

Delaware Valley Ornithological Club

Time: 7:40pm

Call To Order:

President: George Armistead
(with VP: Linda Widdop; Secretary: Gregg Gorton)


Members present: 30; guests: William Bassett, Rachel Adler

Reports from Council: 


Committee Reports:


Linda Widdop

New members: Ian Schramm (who was present and warmly welcomed)

Applicants: None

Field Trips:

Linda Widdop

Pennypack Park Walk

Oct 6, [email protected]:30am

8600 Verree Road, Philadelphia, PA

Leader: Holger Pflicke

If gate is not open, you can park along the road

Discovery Center Bird Walk

Oct 13, [email protected]

Fairmount Park, East Reservoir

3401 Reservoir Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19121

Leader: Keith Russell

Explore the East Park Reservoir with Keith Russell

The Big Sit

Oct 13, [email protected]

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum

86th & Lindbergh, Philadelphia, PA

Meet on the Observation Deck

Leader: Debbie Beer

–>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:  

Linda Widdop  

San Diego and the Salton Sea

October 17, [email protected]:30pm-9pm

Speaker: Cliff Hence


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. 


George Armistead: Audubon + Canon Walks: Birds in Focus, will take place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct 5 & 6 from 8:30am-3pm, at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Audubon, PA. Walks will occur on the hour during that time. You must register in advance, and there is a fee! –>Go to http://act.audubon.org

George Armistead: On October 5, [email protected] there will be a Bioblitz on the Delaware River Trail behind and south of Walmart (at Columbus Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA). Meet at Pier 68. For more info, go to: https://m.signupgenius.com/#!/showSignUp/8050a49afab2ba0ff2-south

Anne Bekker: Please submit to me your nomination of a non-member for the Rosalie Edge Conservation Award for consideration by the committee.

George Armistead: The Heinz Refuge will be closed for two four-day periods in October for archery hunts that will result (maybe) in the culling of some deer. I encourage folks to comment on the Heinz Facebook page, but we don’t have time for further discussion of that now.

Linda Widdop: Barb Bassett has taken the lead with regard to purchasing new DVOC hats in three styles: the same style we’ve had in the past, a trucker style, and a visor. She then polled the group about their preferences, which strongly favored the old style and the visor style.

Gregg Gorton: Please submit to me the name of a nominee for the Witmer Stone Award, for the best publication by a member that was NOT related to that person’s professional duties.

Rob Bierregaard: Please submit to me the name of a nominee for the Julian K. Potter Award for Field Ornithology.

George Armistead: The Frontiers in Ornithology event for youth birders in Hokessing, DE, at the Ashland Nature Center last weekend went off very well, and there is strong interest in having a second such event–perhaps at the same venue. Matt Halley gave a “great talk.”

Matthew Halley showed the group a missing type specimen of Empidonax flaviventris (Baird & Baird 1843) that he recently rediscovered in the ANSP collection. He also displayed the neotype specimen of Catharus swainsoni (Cabanis in Tschudi, 1845), a breeding specimen from northwestern Pennsylvania that was designated by him in a recent publication (Halley, M.R. 2019. Bull. Brit. Orn. Cl. 139(3): 248–69), and discussed more generally his ongoing efforts to straighten out nightingale-thrush taxonomy (Turdidae: Catharus). This includes updates to the common names as suggested in his recent paper. There was a round of applause after his presentation and President Armistead commented “Only at DVOC do you get things like this!”

Local Notes:

Rob Bierregaard: On my first trip to Bartram’s Garden I saw a falcon-like bird flying away toward the trees, and then found a perched female Peregrine!

George Armistead: Interesting, since I had a female Peregrine Falcon just north of there at the Newkirk Viaduct Monument about a week ago.

Katrina Rakowski: I led another youth birding trip to the Heinz Refuge from 4pm-6pm yesterday, as I do every Wednesday during the school year. Will some of you (directed to two attendees) comment on what you saw?

Tory Sindlinger: We had a Scarlet Tanager, a Wood Thrush and some warblers.

Janey ? : Yeah, a few kinds of warblers….

Eva ? : Also, we went to Cape May today, right Janey?

Janey ? : Yeah, we saw a Parasitic Jaeger, an Osprey, a Eurasian Wigeon and a Philadelphia Vireo!

George Armistead: That’s an amazing collection of birds–cool beans! –And I want to add that the golf course at FDR Park in south Philadelphia will be closed as of November 1st, so it will be open season for birders there!


Evening Program:

Neurobiology of Courtship Behavior in Songbirds

Speaker: Marc Schmidt

Professor Schmidt, from the University of Pennsylvania, gave a highly detailed report on the research that he and colleagues have been conducting in order to understand the relationship between the “song center” in the brain of the Brown-headed Cowbird and the copulatory behaviors that are triggered in the female when the male sings his song. He illustrated the talk with photos and video (including slo-mo) of paired and unpaired birds engaged in behavioral interaction, and explained both the hypotheses and some of the findings that have come out of the research. His discussion of the neuroanatomy was clear enough that the audience seemed clearly to appreciate the details of what he presented (which he had warned them would include some “bird porn”), challenging though it was at times. This talk was very warmly received, and not a few attendees asked questions or made comments or lingered afterward to talk further with Marc.

Meeting adjourned at 9:24pm

After-meeting Gathering at Cherry Street Tavern:

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