Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Field Report: Exton Park, Oct. 16, 2011

Recently, Valley Forge Audubon started hosting monthly walks (on the third Sunday) at Exton Park in West Whiteland Township. The park site was once the property of the Church Farm School but is now preserved by Chester County. Most of the park is composed of agricultural fields, but the highlight is a large pond and surrounding wetland and meadow that has attracted birds and birders for many years. Once known as Church Farm Pond, this unique site has always been popular because a number of rarities occasionally pop-up. There has been concern that parts of the park may be converted to playing fields, but hopefully our walks, and walks lead by other groups, prove to the community that the park has a particular value as wildlife habitat and can be enjoyed as such.

On October 16, Vince Smith lead a walk there that saw 48 species of birds — an impressive number for October! The complete list, as submitted to eBird by Brian Henderson follows:

Canada Goose  410     Many large flocks of geese on the move.
Wood Duck  1
American Black Duck  1
Mallard  18
Ruddy Duck  5
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  3
Bald Eagle  1     Scared up monster flock of geese and crows as it came over.
Northern Harrier  1
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Cooper's Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Kestrel  1     Possibly two birds.  Seen catching and eating a grasshopper.
American Coot  1
Rock Pigeon  8
Mourning Dove  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
Eastern Phoebe  2
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  250     Huge flock of crows seen at edge of construction area and in the air around.  Many stirred into the air when the bald eagle soared through.
Fish Crow  12
Tree Swallow  200     Perched on power line initially.  They'd fly off, then come back down with more birds somehow, the flock expanding from 30 birds to 200-ish in a matter of minutes.  Seen feeding over fields through the morning.
Carolina Chickadee  5
Carolina Wren  2
Winter Wren  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  2
Eastern Bluebird  5
American Robin  5
Gray Catbird  3  
Northern Mockingbird  2
European Starling  14
Cedar Waxwing  22
Palm Warbler  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler  15
Savannah Sparrow  10
Song Sparrow  19
Swamp Sparrow  2
White-throated Sparrow  18
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  4
Red-winged Blackbird  100
Brown-headed Cowbird  8
House Finch  13
American Goldfinch  2
If you are thinking of visiting the park, click on the "location" link below to view it on Google Maps.

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