Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 54 | Number 2 | October 2022
Next meeting: October 19!
Blackburnian Warbler by Mike Moore.

Letter from the President

A profile of DOS President Mike Moore.Conditions for fall migration were excellent during September. Large flocks of migrant warblers passed through (I personally saw 28 species of warblers in September – it's great to be retired!). Both Hawk Watches have seen excellent numbers of hawks, especially at Ashland which experienced the first strong Broad-winged Hawk flight in a couple of years and totaled nearly 13,000 hawks for the month. However, mega rarity season has not yet really begun. October and November are both great months to be out looking for rarities in the cooler weather.
If you do have a chance to go out birding, you may want to check out the bird migration forecasts on BirdCast. It is a fun site that will give you the expected migration in your town for the next three days. It is helpful to planning your bird outings, but keep in mind that it is predicting nocturnal radar migration, which is birds flying overhead. Sometimes on nights of heavy migration, the birds have no reason to stop and just keep going. So even when migration is predicted to be high, it does not always mean lots of birds on the ground. But it is usually a pretty good indicator.
For October, we are finally returning to in person meetings at Ashland Nature Center and to kick it off we have the always popular Holly Merker to speak on Ornitherapy. See the DOS website for more details. Unfortunately, we do not have the equipment or connectivity to live-stream the talk, but we will try to post a recording. We hope to have mostly in person meetings going forward, but we are planning to sprinkle in a couple of Zoom talks this winter to save driving to Ashland in the cold and dark.
I hope to see you in the field. If I do and I don’t know you, please come up and introduce yourself as a DOS member.

 -Michael Moore, DOS President
Renew your membership now!

Upcoming Field Trips

Searching for Sparrows 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 leader's 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.

White Clay Creek Preserve with Matthew Halley
October 13 @ 8:30 am – 10:30 am EDT

A Hermit Thrush perched in a tangle of sticks.

Join our vice president, Dr. Matthew Halley, Interim Curator of Birds at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science, for a guided walk through the scenic White Clay Creek Preserve in southern Chester County. In addition to caring for the extensive DelMNS bird collection of more than 113,000 specimens, Matthew conducts scientific research on the evolution of seasonal migration and has a wealth of knowledge about our local species. Fall migration is underway and it’s a perfect time to get outside and explore. Who knows what exciting species we might encounter? The group will meet at the Arc Corner parking lot and walk a relatively flat loop trail. Please bring binoculars if you have them. Beginners are welcome! Free admission; for DOS and DelMNS members only.

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

The Annual Ticking Tomb Bird Stroll with Ian Stewart
October 15 @ 8:00 am – 10:30 am EDT

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet perched on a branch.

Ye gods! Abandon all hope, ye who enter here……! This DOS bird walk heads through White Clay Creek Preserve near the London Tract Meeting House and Cemetery, home of the infamous “Ticking Tomb”. We will start off quaking with terror near the tomb then find serenity by heading into the woods to search for late warblers, thrushes, sparrows, kinglets, and…..who knows what else!

Meet at the London Tract Meeting House parking lot, at the intersection of London Tract Rd, Sharpless Rd, and South Bank Rd, Landenberg, PA

Our leader is Ian Stewart, contact him if you have questions about this trip.

Red Knot Youth Birders

The Red Knot Youth Birders logo, which is a digital rendering of a red knot walking, surrounded by text.
Sunday, October 16th, 8:30 to 10:30am
Goat Hill Serpentine Barrens Preserve
In addition to a variety of unique plants, this globally-rare ecosystem is a great place to check out fall migration! It has an interesting mix of grassland and shrub habitats that attract birds looking to rest and refuel after a long night's flight.  We will be looking for sparrows, warblers, finches, and any other migrants that might have stopped by.

Red Pump Road, Nottingham PA 19362
Monday, November 14th, 7:00 to 8:30pm*
Saw-whet Owl Banding at Rushton Farm Preserve
By popular demand! We are booked for an evening visit to an owl banding station in Newtown Square PA. We will get a chance to learn about this amazing owl species, learn about how and why scientists study them, and hopefully get to meet an owl or two up close.

911 Delchester Road, Newtown Square PA 19073

Spaces are limited, so pre-registration is required!
*Note the evening meeting time!

Saturday, November 19th, 8:30 to 10:30am
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
This trip is all about waterfowl!  Join us to explore numerous species of ducks and geese that move into the Midatlantic region for the winter each year. We'll be bringing scopes to make sure we get great looks, so don't miss out!
Sunday, December 4th, 8:30 to 10:30am
White Clay Creek State Park
We will meet around at the Nature Center and explore the nearby trails looking for winter residents like sparrows, red-breasted nuthatches, juncos, and winter finches!
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: October 29th, November 26th, December – pending for Wilmington CBC date.

2022 Lifetime Achievement Award

DOS was honored to present Frank Rohrbacher with his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 June Picnic. Frank has been a distinguished member of DOS and the Delaware birding community for many years. He served in several roles as a DOS member including DOS Secretary and secretary of the Delaware Bird Records Committee. Frank has authored numerous articles for the Delmarva (now Delaware) Ornithologist, including the Passing Scene and annual committee reports. Over the years, he has led many DOS field trips including the annual Delaware Lister's Head Start trip each January.

Currently Frank is serving as a regional compiler for North American birds. As an avid lister, he has spent countless hours in the field observing some of Delaware's most exciting birds and detailing his sightings for record. He has been an excellent mentor to many Delaware birders, encouraging us to get out and look, sharing his excitement with everyone around him, and creating a passion in others for birds second only to his own.

Frank has selflessly given himself to Delaware's birds and birders, to the Society, and to the greater birding community. Please congratulate Frank on this well-deserved award the next time you see him!

October Meeting: Holly Merker
"Ornitherapy: Why Watching Birds is Good For You"

October 19 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Learn why getting your daily dose of Ornitherapy is just what the doctor ordered.  We’re pushed and pulled in many directions, no matter our age. If we allow birds and nature to slow us down, we are practicing “selfcare”. Research shows that exposure to nature actively reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, while helping build a stronger heart and immune system.  Birds are gateways into deeper experiences with nature, magnifying these benefits. Through observation, we can learn not only about birds, but gain insight into our own lives while exploring our connection to the world around us. This fosters stewardship and bolsters conservation. Within the program, we’ll delve into our connections to birds, how to practice Ornitherapy for optimal benefits, and learn about the latest research in the power of nature for overall wellbeing.

Holly Merker has a background in art therapy, but today uses birds and nature towards the same goal of wellbeing by delivering nature-based wellness programming to people of all ages.

Holly has been a professional environmental educator and birding instructor for the past two decades, working for: National Audubon, the American Birding Association, Hillstar Nature, and many other organizations. Passionate about connecting young people to birds, she co-founded the Frontiers in Ornithology Symposium, and has facilitated many young birder groups and teen birding camps. Dedicated to bird conservation, she has been state coordinator/reviewer for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird Pennsylvania since 2005.

Holly is lead author of the book Ornitherapy: For Your Mind, Body, and Soul (Crossley Books, 2021) which guides readers into explorations that optimize the wellness benefits birding can provide us.

In her free time, Holly spends every possible moment practicing Ornitherapy herself, which she credits in helping her defeat breast cancer, restoring her health mentally and physically.

Holly served as an Officer on DOS Council for six years in the role of Secretary and is thrilled to present to a DOS audience.

This meeting will be in person at Ashland Nature Center. At this time we cannot offer a simultaneous Zoom session for in person meetings.

Call For Speakers

Our "For DOS By DOS" meeting is returning this December! Any member is welcome to propose something to speak about during this meeting. If you are interested, please contact DOS Vice President Matthew Halley.

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!
Recent Blackbird State Forest field trip. Photo by Mary Braun.
Time to renew your membership? All members in good standing receive the Delaware Ornithologist journal in December. This year’s issue is big with lots of interesting articles (see below). Don’t miss it and renew your membership now!

2022 Delaware Ornithologist Table of Contents
From the President’s Corner
Michael C. Moore

The Celebrity Whistling-Ducks of Clayton, Delaware
Michael C. Moore

Wintering Calliope Hummingbird in Delaware 2021-2022
Alissa Kegelman

Comments on the first specimen of Masked Booby (Sula dactylatra) from 
the northeastern United States: a Delaware state record

Matthew R. Halley

Observation of “Western-type” Empidonax Flycatcher and Ash-throated 
Flycatcher at the Ashton Tract, Augustine Wildlife Area

Andrew P. Ednie

The Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch - 2021 Season Report
Jennifer Ottinger

Chimney Swift Predation in Wilmington
Sally O’Byrne

The Kinglets of Delaware
Ian Stewart, Joe Sebastiani and Jim White
Ashland Hawk Watch - 2021 Season Report

David Brown and Joe Sebastiani

Delaware’s eBird hotspots: Ownership and Opportunities
Chris Bennett and Ian Stewart

The Passing Scene: Fall 2021 – Summer 2022
Frank Rohrbacher

Delaware Bird Records Committee Notice
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!
Magnolia Warbler by Shannon Modla.

Bombay Hook NWR Trip Report
July 23, 2022

A group of birders gazing to the left through scopes and binoculars while standing on the newly paved road at Bombay Hook NWR.
DOS's 44th Annual "Bombay Hook Beginners Shorebird Trip" Recap: 18 observers found 12 species of shorebirds; up to 95°F but light wind and very few "bugs."
Birds generally distant due to heat spell and water levels. We did not hear from other birders of any species sightings today of shorebirds we did not observe. Best bird of the morning was near full alternate plumage Long-billed Dowitcher, rare this early in the season, and confirmed as it preened with several adjacent Short-billed Dowitchers. Shorebird “no-shows” were Stilt Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper.
Thanks to all for your participation, and especially Holly Merker for the eBird tally and Chris Bennett for plumage and migration commentary!

See the eBird checklist here.
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."

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

Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE

Conservation Update

Horseshoe crabs on beach. Creative Commons from Wikipedia.

In recent shorebird-related news, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is proposing to alter horseshoe crab harvest restrictions and include female horseshoe crabs in future harvests.

The DOS Conservation Committee has been tracking this issue closely and has significant concerns about the adoption of the ASMFC’s Revised Adaptive Resource Management (ARM) model to set harvest quotas for horseshoe crab harvest. DOS does not support the adoption of a model that would currently recommend harvest of female crabs at this point in the recovery trajectory of rufa Red Knots.

We have submitted a letter recommending that ASMFC should NOT adopt the Addendum to the HSC Fisheries Management Plan at this time. This detailed letter will be available on the website shortly.

Bird ID Pop Quiz!

Vegetation and distance can make identification tricky! But there are still good field marks to help you out.

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


DOS Backyard Birding Challenge

Andrew Dunn now leads with 139 species, gaining 11 species this month! Fall migration is just now really starting to move - you never know what you could find!

Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of Sep 29, 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

Female/Juvenile American Redstart
Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Redstart by Mike Moore. Ruby-crowned Kinglet by David Lewis. Yellow-rumped Warbler 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

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You may unsubscribe to this list here: {{Unsubscribe URL}}.

For the best Flyer viewing experience, check to make sure your email inbox display settings allow images.