Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 54 | Number 1 | September 2022
Next meeting: September 21st!
Red morph Eastern Screech-Owl by Shannon Modla.

Letter from the President

A profile of DOS President Mike Moore.September. The start of my favorite time of the birding year – fall migration. While many birders revel in spring migration with birds sporting bright colors and singing loud songs, I look forward most to fall migration with its identification challenges and potential for rarities. Young birds are more likely to get lost and wind up somewhere they are not supposed to be so fall is ripe with possibilities. We already started off the southward migration with a bang in July with the appearance of a White-winged Tern at Big Stone Beach and the first state record Masked Booby at Fenwick Island. There is an article on the latter by Matthew Halley in the upcoming Delaware Ornithologist which will be mailed to members only in December.
September is also the start of the DOS year, with monthly meetings resuming this month with a Zoom presentation by our own Katie Bird. We are hoping the October presentation by Holly Merker can be held in person at Ashland, but we will continue to play it by ear and make that decision shortly before the talk.
The two hawk watches supported by DOS have begun and return our two favorite professional hawk watchers, David Brown at Ashland and Jen Ottinger at Cape Henlopen. I strongly encourage you to visit either of these sites this fall, especially when winds are out of the north. It is extremely pleasant to enjoy a beautiful fall day scanning the skies for tiny dots that David and Jen identify to species!
This is the start of my last year as DOS president because the bylaws limits presidents to 3 consecutive one-year terms. It is very important that DOS select a new president with the qualities to lead the organization in its ambitious and multifaceted mission. The greater number of members that get involved with this, the more successful it will be. Please give some thought to who would make a good next leader for DOS. We will formally call for nominations in January, but it is not too early to be thinking of possibilities.
Thanks so much to Katie Bird for the GREAT job she does each month with the newsletter. I hope you all have a great fall migration season and I hope to see you in the field. Good birding.

 -Michael Moore, DOS President
Renew your membership now!

Upcoming Field Trips

Blackbird State Forest with Ian Stewart
September 3rd @ 8:00am – 12:00pm EDT
Male Blue Grosbeak by Shannon Modla.
Male Blue Grosbeak by Shannon Modla.
We will explore the area around the headquarters of Blackbird State Forest and if the birding is good we’ll continue to follow the birds in that tract, if not we will move to another tract of the forest mid-morning.

Meet in the main parking lot by the pavilion (there is a parking lot by the office as you enter but keep on going past that), accessed by the entrance along Rt 471 Blackbird Forest Rd (if you are coming from US 13 the entrance is on your left just after you pass the turn for Oliver Guessford Rd.

Limited to 20 participants, please contact Ian to reserve a spot: [email protected]

Ashland Migrant Walk with Jim White
September 7th @ 7:30am – 12:00pm EDT

Join Jim White for a ramble along the Red Clay Creek at Ashland Nature Center in search of warblers and other neotropical migrants! Bring your binoculars and spotting skills.

Meet in the parking lot of Ashland Nature Center, Hockessin DE at 7:30 am. Our leader is Jim White, contact at [email protected] if you have questions about this trip. 


Searching for Sparrows at Burrows Run with Andy Ednie
October 2nd @ 8:00am – 11:00am EDT

Join Andy Ednie to search for sparrows in beautiful Burrows Run! October is the perfect time to find migrating sparrows, welcome back our winter birds, and study our year-round residents too! We’ll look for White-throated, White-crowned, Lincoln’s, and others on this pristine private property in the Red Clay Valley.

Meet at Burrows Run gated entrance off of Ashland Clinton School Rd, just uphill from Center Mill Rd. Wear boots and prepare for some hill climbing! *** Please note, Covid19 vaccination is required to attend this trip per leaders’ request***

Our leader is Andy Ednie, contact at [email protected] if you have questions about this trip. 

Fall Birding at Bombay Hook with Chris Bennett
October 8th @ 8:00am – 12:00pm EDT

Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is one of the premier birding sites in the eastern United States and it’s a short trip from anywhere in the state of Delaware. Early fall is a great time to search the refuge for songbirds, shorebirds, herons and egrets, terns and gulls, waterfowl and raptors. We will bird the wildlife drive with short walks on flat, well-maintained trails.

We’ll meet in the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center parking lot in Smyrna, DE. Refuge fees are in effect – $4 per car, or free entry with a 2022-2023 season duck stamp (or other special passes). 

Our leader is Chris Bennett, contact at [email protected] if you have questions about this trip. 

More information on Bombay Hook NWR is available here.

Red Knot Youth Birders

The Red Knot Youth Birders logo, which is a digital rendering of a red knot walking, surrounded by text.
Do you know kids who enjoy being outside and love birds? Join the DOS Red Knot Youth Birders today!

This month, the Red Knot Youth Birders will be exploring the Dupont Environmental Education Center to celebrate fall migration as we look for waterfowl, wading birds, and warblers! Youth birders must be accompanied by an adult. Loaner binoculars will be available.

Please email [email protected] to RSVP. Sunday September 18th, 8am to 10am. We will meet at 1400 Delmarva Ln, Wilmington DE 19801
Sign up at [email protected] to receive field trip schedules and other updates for the fall.

Brandywine Bird Walks

Brandywine Creek State Park in conjunction with the DOS will be hosting monthly bird walks in Delaware’s oldest state park. The walks are on the last Saturday of every month (except December) and start at the Nature Center at 8:00 am. The park entrance road is from Addams Dam Road near the intersection of Routes 100 & 92. This will be a 3-hour walk through rough terrain, bring boots and bug spray. The walks are free but parking fees are in effect.

Dates are: September 24th , October 29th, November 26th, December – pending for Wilmington CBC date.
Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Sept 17. DOS typically sponsors Port Mahon Road. Anyone interested should contact Anthony Gonzon by email at [email protected].

September Meeting:
Following Ashland Nature Center's Purple Martins

Patricia Gonzalez holding a shorebird for research.

September 21 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Katie Bird is a final year Wildlife Ecology Master’s student at University of Delaware, under the mentorship of Dr. Jeff Buler. Katie is also the DOS Flyer editor. Her research involves tracking Purple Martins with radio telemetry to answer questions about when and where they go while they are in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Katie’s project involves several martin colonies located at Bucktoe Creek Preserve, Curtis Mill Park, Longwood Gardens, and Ashland Nature Center. For this presentation, she will cover the individual stories of tagged martins at Ashland Nature Center, giving DOS members a closer look at the summer lives of these charismatic birds.

The meeting is held online via Zoom software. Members will receive an email with Zoom login info prior to the meeting.  If you are not a member and would like to attend, please click here to request login info which is available a few days before the meeting.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Shannon Modla.

Autumn is an excellent time to start planning some new native plantings in your yard. Fall migration is underway and the heat of the summer is fading. Our native birds rely on the plants on our landscape to provide their food, both directly and indirectly by supporting insect prey. You can turn your own yard into a bird haven by planting native plants! Native plants support far more native insects than non-native ornamental plants.

Luckily there are many resources available to help. Mt. Cuba Center in northern Delaware offers a variety of classes, eco-garden consultations, and tours to arm you with native plant knowledge. They are an excellent local resource on Delaware specific natives.

The Delaware Nature Society published a guide on Gardening for Water & Wildlife which includes how to create a certified wildlife habitat and gardening resources. This program partners with the National Wildlife Federation. NWF also provides a Native Plant Finder. Simply enter your zipcode and search both plants native to your region, and how many butterflies/moths they support! Remember, caterpillars = bird food!

PlantNative also has a nice easy-to-read starter list of regional native plants here.

While many nurseries have started carrying native plants, your next garden project doesn't have to cost a fortune! Get talking with other gardeners on groups like the Delaware Native Plant Identification and Exchange Facebook group, where people often give away or trade their extra plants .

When you're done planting your natives, consider registering your garden on Homegrown National Park! Led by ecology expert Dr. Doug Tallamy, this grassroots movement aims to regenerate biodiversity in the United States by collectively planting 20 million acres with native plants, which is approximately half of all privately owned lawns in the country. This is "the largest cooperative conservation project ever attempted."

Happy gardening!
~Katie Bird, DOS Flyer Editor

Access Pass Reminder

Don't forget: Conservation Access Passes are required to visit state wildlife areas such as Augustine (including Ashton Tract), Assawoman, Cedar Swamp, and Woodland Beach.
The cost to renew your annual pass is $32.50 for Delaware vehicles and $65.00 for out-of-state vehicles. Click here to get your pass!
Comic by Shannon Modla.
Shop DOS Merchandise!


Ashland Nature Center and Cape Henlopen Hawk Watches need volunteers!

You are invited to help with raptor counts and provide our in-kind matching contribution to earn continued funding for next year. Please consider spending an hour or the day (9-4) at the hawk watch. No registration is required. Show up at either hawk watch and identify yourself as a volunteer to someone on the platform or hill. 

Volunteers do not need to be expert in raptor identification. All are welcome. 

The counts start Thursday September 1 and continue daily through November 30. 

Please welcome back David Brown and Jen Ottinger as our professional counters for another successful year!!
Seaside Sparrow by Mike Moore.
The Wild Birds Unlimited Logo.
- Your backyard bird feeding specialist -

"Are you ready for migrating birds? Stop by Wild Birds Unlimited for all your birding needs."

A baltimore oriole perched on an orange feeder.

Wild Birds Unlimited-Hockessin 
Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm.

Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE

Bird ID Pop Quiz!

Rain can make identification tricky! This daytime photo shows a particularly damp bird that is more often heard than seen.

What's this bird? Click here for the answer. Photo by Katie Bird.


DOS Backyard Birding Challenge

Andrew Dunn now leads with 128 species, gaining 7 species this summer! With the summer doldrums almost over, will the rankings shift with fall migration? Time will tell!

Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of Aug 31, 2022.
Check out the new Delaware Migratory Shorebirds License Plate!

This beautiful plate by artist Liz Clayton Fuller highlights the Red Knot and its important ecological role in the Delaware Bay. Proceeds from this plate return back to DOS to help us achieve our bird conservation goals.

The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles lists more information about their specialty plates on their website.

Member Photo Gallery

Ovenbird by Shannon Modla. Short-eared Owl by Mike Moore. Lesser Yellowlegs by Shannon Modla.
Want to see your photos in the Flyer? Submit them to [email protected]!

DOS Flyer Archive

Click here to read digital copies of past Flyers.
Current DOS Officers & Committee Chairs
Copyright © 2022 Delaware Ornithological Society, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
DOS, P.O. Box 4247, Wilmington, DE 19807

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