Newsletter of the Delaware Ornithological Society
 The Flyer 
Volume 54 | Number 5 | January 2023
Next meeting: January 18th!
Snow Geese by Mike Moore.

Letter from the President

A profile of DOS President Mike Moore.January is a special month for some birding activities – those that involve year lists. All year lists reset to zero on January 1 and, for those who keep year lists, you get to start over again. Year lists can be all kinds from photographed lists, yard lists, patch lists, county lists to state lists and more. I keep yard and state year lists. It is easy to do on eBird because all you have to do is enter your sightings into eBird and eBird totals all your year lists for you. You can view them under the “My Bird” tab on the eBird website. There are special sections under the “Explore” tab where you can compare your lists to others in the “Top 100”, “Yard List” and “Patch List’ categories.
Year listing is looked at with disdain by some birders and is referred to as “ornitho-golfing.” It deserves this if listing goes too far and becomes hyper competitive to the point where one birder is trying to undermine another birder’s list (see the movie “The Big Year”). However, I keep the competition friendly and think year lists really enhance my birding.
First, year listing really makes you appreciate common birds, at least temporarily, and they become special since they are “year birds.” Second, if you are shooting for a big list, it really stretches your knowledge of birds and birding locations. You must think carefully about how to find uncommon birds. For example, right now I am thinking about where to get American Tree Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Orange-crowned Warbler. These are all present in Delaware every winter, but they are uncommon enough that it takes special effort to find them and add them to your list. By doing this, over time, you accumulate more knowledge of where and when certain birds occur in Delaware. Third, listing gets me out birding more often. Since I have a lazy streak, I might not make the effort to get out and find a White-crowned Sparrow without keeping a year list. It is a bird I am very familiar with, since I did my PhD dissertation on them, but again listing makes them special and makes finding them a challenge I accept every year. Finally, if you keep your lists on eBird, it generates a lot more data for eBird since I am getting out more and keeping everything on eBird. Last year I submitted almost 400 checklists to eBird whereas before I was keeping a serious year list, I was submitting less than 200.
So, for 2023, I encourage you to try year listing or to try keeping a new type of year list, maybe a county or yard year list. It is fun and I think it really enhances your birding. However, the great thing about birding is you can practice it in a myriad of ways. If listing is not for you, I hope you find a way to bird that brings you joy.

 -Michael Moore, DOS President
Renew your membership now!

January 18 Meeting:

“Witness to the River of Raptors in Vera Cruz, Mexico”
by John Mercer
January 18 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EST

*Note: The traditional January CBC recap has been moved to March due to a scheduling conflict.*

A photographic travelogue of a trip with Hawk Mountain and ProNatura to watch the River of Raptors in Vera Cruz, Mexico.  A chronological tour of what we did and what we saw, with pictures of birds , sites and interesting critters, but mostly birds. A terrific trip especially for raptor lovers, but we also did a lot of other birding and some cultural visits, making this a well rounded and delightful trip.

John Mercer has been a serious birder since January 2005 although he always had an interest in birds.  He is a member of the West Chester Bird Club and the Treasurer and Field Trips Committee Chair for the club.  He lead beginning and Meadow bird walks at Longwood for several years until Covid put a stop to it and would like to get back to doing that. He says he is a birder who takes pictures, not a photographer who shoots birds, so he has some nice pictures and some not so nice.  He eBirds frequently, but has no real concern for his list, He is more proud of getting a picture of the birds on his life list, currently, at 91%.  His eBird list is 812 birds, but does not include birds of Australia, Hong Kong and Costa Rica from before he started eBird, so the actual list is around 1000. 

This meeting will be in-person at Ashland Nature Center.

Upcoming Field Trips

Midwinter Bird Walk at Alapocas with Sally O’Byrne
January 18, 2023 @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm EST

Pine Warbler by Chris Bennett

Come out and get to know some of the birds that are at home in the woods and fields during winter!

Our leader is Sally O’Byrne, contact at [email protected] if you have questions about this trip.

Meet at the Blue Ball Barn near the traffic circle on West Park Drive off Rt 141.

Sea Watch II with Chris Bennett & Anthony Gonzon
January 22, 2023 @ 8:00 am – 12:00 pm EST
Long-tailed Duck drake

Two more opportunities remain to join Anthony Gonzon and Chris Bennett for brisk birding adventures at the Indian River Inlet this winter!

January 22, 2023 – 8am until 12pm
March 12, 2023 – 8am until 12pm

To be enjoyed at the Southside Day Use Area (parking lot on the south side of Indian River Inlet along the ocean). Participants should monitor the DOS website and social media for last minute changes due to weather or other conditions.

Come prepared for cold conditions and the seashore wind and bring your scope if you have one.

Participants should monitor the DOS website and social media for last minute changes due to weather or other conditions.

Contact our leaders Chris Bennett at [email protected] and Anthony Gonzon at [email protected] if you have any questions.

Red Knot Youth Birders

The Red Knot Youth Birders logo, which is a digital rendering of a red knot walking, surrounded by text.

Sunday, January 15th, 8:30 to 10:30 
Brandywine Creek State Park, Thompson’s Bridge section 

This is a nice forested out-and-back trail along the Brandywine. We will look for winter birds like sparrows, finches, and juncos, as well as any ducks or other water birds along the creek. No state park fees are in effect this month. 

4017 Thompsons Bridge Rd, Wilmington DE 

Sunday, January 22nd, 8:00 to 12:00 
DOS Sea Watch, Indian River Inlet- Southside Day Use Area 

This is a great opportunity to see sea ducks, loons, gulls, and other fun ocean-going species.  There might even be a seal sighting!  This trip is in conjunction with the full DOS membership.  Youth birding leaders will be present for the whole morning, but feel free to stop by for only an hour or two if that is what your schedule allows.  We will have loaner scopes and binoculars available. 

More details here: Sea Watch II with Chris Bennett & Anthony Gonzon - Delaware Ornithological Society ( 

Sunday, February 19th, 8:30 to 10:30 
Bombay Hook NWR Take Two! 

This trip is all about waterfowl!  Join us to explore numerous species of ducks and geese that move into the mid-Atlantic region for the winter each year.  We'll be bringing scopes to make sure we get great looks, so don't miss out! 

2591 Whitehall Neck Road, Smyrna DE 19977 
Sign up at [email protected] to receive field trip schedules and other updates for the fall.

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. Don’t miss it and renew your membership now! Memberships must be renewed by November 15th to receive a copy!

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!
Shop DOS Merchandise!
Long-tailed Ducks by Mike Moore.
The Wild Birds Unlimited Logo.
- Your backyard bird feeding specialist -

"Keep your birds full this winter!"

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

Lancaster Pike & Yorklyn Road
Hockessin, DE

DOS Backyard Birding Challenge

Your faithful, but forgetful, editor failed to screenshot the year end yard totals for 2022. Even more tragic, eBird does not currently have a feature to see historic results for these friendly competitions. Regardless, I hope you will join me in congratulating all of our regular participants in the DOS Backyard Birding Challenge. At last count, everyone in the top 10 had over 90 species -- that in itself is something to celebrate! 

Our intrepid birding community has already started on their 2023 yard lists. Will you join the fun?

Compete by submitting eBird checklists from your own yard. 

Learn more here.
*Rankings as of Jan 12, 2023.

Member Photo Gallery

White-throated Sparrow and Golden-crowned Kinglet 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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