Programs & Meetings...

Our meetings are held at the Plymouth Friends Meeting House on Germantown Avenue at Butler Pike in Plymouth Meeting.

TIME: 7:30 PM


Schedule of Upcoming Meetings ~ 2015 / 2016

September 11, 2015

“Hog Island” with Jennifer Sherwood

Jennifer Sherwood is a backyard birder who attended the Hog Island Audubon Camp in June 2015. She volunteers as Chairperson of the Abington Township Environmental Advisory Council. Since 2003, she has focused her volunteer efforts on environmental education and outreach programs for sustainability, open space preservation and stormwater management. She also volunteers with the Wyncote Audubon Society, Briar Bush Nature Center, student environmental clubs, Community Supported Agriculture and other environmental organizations. She holds BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from Drexel University and is Vice President of Land Mobile Systems, which provides communications and alert systems in the Philadelphia area.

My mission is to improve the natural environment by expanding community awareness and appreciation of the environment. I strive to involve the community directly with the environment through participation; to restore natural habitat; to encourage the recovery of balance among natural resources; and to work with and educate adults and youth about the environment.

October 16, 2015

“Minas Gerais: Birds and Special Mammals of Central Brazil” with Martin Selzer

This program highlights Martin’s fifth trip to Brazil, where he visited the state of Minas Gerais to search for: Endemic Birds & Special Mammals of Central Brazil. Few countries can match the diversity of natural history experiences available in Brazil, South America’s largest country. With more than 2,000 species of birds and a wide range of habitats spread over an area larger than the contiguous 48 United States, Brazil requires multiple visits to be fully appreciated. Minas Gerais contains a mix of habitats, from grasslands and cerrado to humid Atlantic Forest and montane páramo, combined with often spectacular scenery, many colorful and endemic specialty birds (Brazilian Merganser, Hyacinth Visorbearer, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Blue Finch), and great mammal-viewing (including Maned Wolf, Giant Anteater and others).

Pale-throoated Pampas-finch

Aview from the Monastery

Martin began birding back in first and second grade when his aunt first took him to the bird banding demonstrations at Washington’s Crossing State Park and then to the Spring and Fall New Jersey Audubon Cape May Weekends. This was back when the mornings started with coffee, juice and donuts before was all set out birding around Lily Lake and the Point. Besides these trips, his early birding adventures were on many local Wyncote Audubon and Academy of Natural Sciences field trips.

Martin’s first trip outside the mid-Atlantic region was a Northeast Birding Workshop to Corpus Christi, TX in the spring of 1979. For some people it is a single bird or birding experience that hooks them on birds. For Martin, it was his aunt’s early influence on: “I would not have been bitten by the birding bug without her influence and her willingness to take me on all these trips.”

Since then Martin has birded across North America. His travels since that initial trip to Corpus Christi have now taken him multiple times to Central and South America, a few times to Europe and two trips to Africa. Although he considers shorebirds and raptors to be his favorite families of birds, it is really the spectacle of nature that he finds truly the most appealing and attractive part of birding. Whether watching Sandhill Cranes along the Platte River in Nebraska, witnessing the wonders of the Galapagos Islands or seeing 10,000s of geese in the Netherlands, these overwhelming wonders of nature are what make travel and birding so appealing.

Martin is an active local birder, is a member of ABA, DOS, a life member of DVOC, and currently serves as Field Trip Chairperson of the Wyncote Audubon Society.

November 20, 2015

“Winter Birding in Ontario”
with Bert Filemyr

Birding north of our area during the winter presents some challenges. Thus most birders think of heading south in the winter, but there are many rewards to those who choose to head north. Species that summer in the far, far north often come down to southern Canada for the winter months and winter is the best time of the year to observe them. This program will cover accessible winter birding hotspots in southern Ontario that, with proper preparation, can provide outstanding birding opportunities. Come and learn about finches, crossbills, grosbeaks, owls, and other winter Ontario specialties.

Bert Filemyr is an active field birder both in the Delaware Valley and throughout North America. He has birded extensively in all of 50 states, as well as many of the Canadian provinces. Retired from a public school teaching career, he pursues his passion for birding while researching topics related to early American ornithology. Bert recently completed a long-term goal of seeing at least 100 species in each of the lower 48 states. He currently serves as treasurer and webmaster of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club (DVOC) and was a member of the championship Nikon/DVOC World Series of Birding Team, the Lagerhead Shrikes. He co-authored, along with Jeff Holt the book "The Composite Prints of Audubon's Birds of America" and a major article on Alexander Wilson in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

December 5, 2015 ....ANNUAL BANQUET

"The Brain: How Does the Brain Identify Birds?" with Alvaro Jaramillo , Dinner Speaker

Most bird identification lectures focus on field marks and the specifics of separating species A from species B. But few ask exactly how we identify birds? What is our brain going through in order to do this? How does our brain get tripped up during bird identification – ever encountered the "leaf bird," the "branch bird," or the worse one of all, "the plastic bag snowy owl?" Why do experts identify birds almost without thinking, while the rest of us need to struggle? Are they different than the rest of us, or are there tricks? Truth is that bird identification is pretty tricky stuff but our brain is wired to shortcut much of the thinking involved in doing it. The trick is training yourself to do it like a pro. And that is the aim of this presentation -- a lighthearted but informative explanation of how the heck they do it.

Alvaro Jaramillo was born in Chile but began birding in Toronto, Canada, where he lived as a youth. He was trained in ecology and evolution with a particular interest in bird behavior. He is the author of the Birds of Chile, an authoritative yet portable field guide to Chile's birds. Alvaro writes the Identify Yourself column in Bird Watcher's Digest.

Alvaro runs a birding and nature tour company Alvaro's Adventures, where the focus is to have fun, learn a thing or two and truly enjoy nature. Alvaro lives with his family in Half Moon Bay, California.

January 15, 2016 –

“Barn Owl Conservation” with Dan Mummert

Dan Mummert is the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s wildlife diversity biologist for Southeastern Pennsylvania. His role with the Game Commission is to work on the conservation of the region’s wildlife species that are in steepest decline. Before being hired with the Game Commission in 2004, Dan worked as a wildlife biologist in California, Utah, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, and western Pennsylvania. Dan studied wildlife biology in college and received his B.S. from the University of Delaware and his M.S. from Northern Arizona University.

Dan was born and raised in Harrisburg and he’s thrilled to have a career that allows him to focus on preserving his home state’s incredible diversity of wildlife.

February 19, 2016

“Recovery of Pennsylvania’s Charismatic Raptors: How Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Peregrine Falcons have rebounded”
with Dan Brauning

Three of Pennsylvania’s large birds of prey have a long conservation history that tracks a similar path: declining populations, extirpation (disappearing from the state), state or federal list, and dramatically successful recovery. Do you know what they are? The presentation, “Raptor Recovery” is a story of hope in an era of the “6th great extinction.” While global pressures on wildlife are immense, we have a success story that should be celebrated, and used as a model for other species’ challenges. Bald Eagle, Osprey, and Peregrine Falcons all declined as a result of habitat and environmental challenges.

The story of their decline, and the 40 year effort work to bring them back will be presented from first-hand experience.

March 18, 2016

“The Locals: Birds, Butterflies of the Region from A to Z”
with Bob Pierce

Bob is a retired English Teacher, having spent the last 25 years of his teaching career in the Downingtown School District in Chester County. He has an Associate’s Degree in Photography from Antonelli School of Photography, a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University, and a MA in English from West Chester University.

He is the current Recording Secretary for the West Chester Bird Club and an active member of the Birding Club of Delaware County and has shown this program on the “Locals” to both of these bird groups and to many other local organizations in the area.

He has an avid interest in all things natural, but especially the creatures that fly.

If one places an old school protractor down into the middle of a map of Montgomery County and calculates out approximately one hundred miles in a circle, this area contains some of the best birding spots around the Middle Atlantic states. The area includes from Cape May to Hawk Mountain, from the Chesapeake Bay to Middle Creek Wildlife Refuge, and numerous great habitats in between. Our “local” area hosts all kinds of flying creatures that call this home or are just migrating through. This presentation will feature photos of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and other creatures that fly amongst us.

April 15, 2016

"A Nature Odyssey " with John Green

Travel throughout North America, including Atlantic Canada, New England, Alaska, Glacier National Park, Utah, SE Arizona, Florida, back to Pennsylvania.

John is a naturalist, with a particular interest in birds. He is a long time (very long time) member of WAS.

May 20, 2016

ANNUAL MEMBERS MEETING and Election of Officers
PROGRAM : “A Trip to Veracruz and the River of Raptors”
with Jane Henderson

A program about two weeks in Veracruz, Mexico with Laurie Goodrich and folks from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Images from the famous hawk-viewing roof at Cardel, as well as travels on the trip extension to see other birds. Lots of local color, and some awesome birds.

Jane is past president of WAS, and an enthusiastic local birder.