Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Field Report: Stroud Preserve, October 19, 2013

On Saturday, October 19, Rick Keyser lead what was probably Valley Forge Audubon's first bird walk at Stroud Preserve, an impressive Natural Lands Trust preserve of over 500 acres near West Chester. 47 species of birds were spotted; highlights included Merlin, Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Lincoln's Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. This impressive count is a testament to Stroud Preserve's position as part of the Laurels, King Ranch, Stroud Important Bird Area. It's also a testament to the importance of the work of the Natural Lands Trust, who have preserved over 21,000 acres of land in our region. The complete list, as submitted to eBird, follows:

Canada Goose  200    Conservative estimate - vocal flocks
Mallard  2                 M/F pair flying over E. Brandywine Creek
Great Blue Heron  1    Flying
Turkey Vulture  2    Soaring
Accipiter sp.  1
Bald Eagle  1         Adult flying above E. Brandywine Creek
Red-shouldered Hawk  1    Heard calling repeately
Red-tailed Hawk  2    Adult soaring
Killdeer  1             Heard sustained vocalizations
Mourning Dove  18
Red-bellied Woodpecker  8    Conservative estimate - vocal
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  3    Vocal, a pair
Downy Woodpecker  5    Vocal
Hairy Woodpecker  2    Saw, but not well, vocal
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  3    Vocal
Merlin  1    Fly-by
Eastern Phoebe  2
Blue Jay  20             Conservative estimate
American Crow  20    Conservative estimate
Tree Swallow  10    Conservative estimate
Carolina Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  4    Calling; singing !
Brown Creeper  1    Heard sing once !
Winter Wren  1    Heard calling repeatedly, but would not show
Carolina Wren  6    Conservative estimate - singing, calling
Golden-crowned Kinglet  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3    Calling
Eastern Bluebird  10    Conservative estimate - calling
Swainson's Thrush  1    Feeding on wild grapes in tree crown
Hermit Thrush  1         Feeding on wild grapes in tree crown
Catharus sp.  1             Feeding on wild grapes in tree crown
American Robin  30    Conservative estimate - calling; singing !
Gray Catbird  1         Calling
Northern Mockingbird  4    Calling; singing
European Starling  2    Pair perched in tree crown
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  10    Conservative estimate - calling
Eastern Towhee  4    Counter-calling
Field Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  20    Conservative estimate:  counter-singing, calling
Lincoln's Sparrow  1    Saw the bird call its soft chip-note, fine breast streaks and flank streaks, all with buffy wash underneath them.
Swamp Sparrow  5    Conservative estimate - calling
White-throated Sparrow  30    Conservative estimate - singing, calling
White-crowned Sparrow  2    An adult, and an immature seen well (thanks Jane)
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  3    Saw and heard "Kew" calls
Northern Cardinal  6    Conservative estimate - calling
Red-winged Blackbird  75    Conservative estimate - calling; counter-singing !
House Finch  5         Calling
American Goldfinch  30    Conservative estimate - calling

The group also heard one call that could have been a Palm Warbler, and another trill that could have been a Pine Warbler, Junco, or Swamp Sparrow. Other wildlife spotted included Clouded Sulphur and Monarch Butteflies, Spring Peeper, Eastern Chipmunk, and Gray Squirrel.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bird Walk with Friends of Exton Park-October 20, 2013

By Debbie Beer
I was delighted to bird Exton Park for my first time ever, on Sunday October 20, 2013.  I substituted for Bird Walk leader Sue Lucas, who provided me with great information about trails and expected species.  It was a crisp, chilly morning when our group of 5 people met in the parking lot and set out to explore Exton Park, public spaces managed by both Chester County and Whiteland Township.

The trail led us through dense thicket, filled with sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers and a few cardinals. The nearby fields and sky overhead was alive with hundreds of Canada Geese constantly circling, landing, and taking off again.  It was difficult to count the numbers, not knowing which ones were newly arriving, or just switching locations.  The pond hosted Mallards, a female Hooded Merganser and a pair of Green-winged Teal.  We found an Eastern Phoebe, Belted Kingfisher and several Great Blue Herons in the picturesque wetlands.

The park is a mecca for sparrows this time of year, and we were delighted to find a White-crowned Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, and several Swamp Sparrows amongst myriad Song and White-throated Sparrows.  I got a quick look at an ammodramus sparrow, likely the Nelson's that had been reported twice earlier in the week.  I'd like to get better looks to rule out other similar species.

We ended a wonderful walk with 39 species + 1 sparrow species.  The Friends of Exton Park invite everyone to their regularly-scheduled Thursday morning bird walks, which meet at 8:30 am in the parking lot.  Special thanks to Carol Kuniholm who co-led the walk with me, and is spearheading excellent efforts with Friends of Exton Park!

Below is bird list submitted to eBird:
Canada Goose 400
American Black Duck 1
Mallard 19
Green-winged Teal 2
Hooded Merganser 1
Great Blue Heron 3
Black Vulture 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Red-tailed Hawk 3
Rock Pigeon 10
Mourning Dove 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 4
Eastern Phoebe 1
Blue Jay 4
American Crow 25 (Many circling overhead. High count of 25 at one time mobbing a Red-tailed Hawk).
Tree Swallow 15
Carolina Chickadee 4
Carolina Wren 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1
Eastern Bluebird 4
American Robin 25
Gray Catbird 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 12
Cedar Waxwing 3
Common Yellowthroat 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 25
Song Sparrow 18
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Swamp Sparrow 4
White-throated Sparrow 20
White-crowned Sparrow 2
Sparrow species. 1 (Ammodramus species seen very briefly. Face showed orange crescent around gray cheek. Seen in same location as Nelson's previously-reported twice this week, on Thursday 10/17 and Saturday or Sunday)
Northern Cardinal 4
Red-winged Blackbird 15
House Finch 2
American Goldfinch 5

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Field Report: John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, October 12, 2013

On Saturday, October 12, Vince Smith lead a bird walk at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove that saw 39 species. Now that we are reaching the heart of autumn, our neo-tropical migrants are being replaced by our "winter" birds. The only warblers spotted were Pine, Palm, and Yellow-rumped; while appearances were made by both kinglets, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a group of Hermit Thrushes. The complete list, as submitted to eBird, follows:

Canada Goose  85
Double-crested Cormorant  5
Turkey Vulture  7
Sharp-shinned Hawk  3
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  1
Chimney Swift  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  3
Downy Woodpecker  4
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted)  4
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Eastern Phoebe  3
Blue-headed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  13
American Crow  50
Carolina Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  4
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Brown Creeper  1
Carolina Wren  3
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4
Eastern Bluebird  7
Hermit Thrush  4     All birds found together feeding on Wild Grape.
American Robin  7
Cedar Waxwing  30
Palm Warbler (Yellow)  4
Pine Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  25
Eastern Towhee  1
Chipping Sparrow  20
Song Sparrow  7
Swamp Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  3
Common Grackle  3
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  2