Field Trip Report – April 2012

Greenwood Park/ Nanticoke Lake, April 28, 2012

To me, weather plays a big part in what we see on our field trips. Today was identical to our Dryden Lake trip a few weeks ago. Bright sunny skies, a sharp north wind that cut right through you, numbing the hands making a scribbled list of our sightings. Also, similar results….a lot of silence in the woods leaving us to wonder, “Where are the Warblers”.

I want to welcome two of our newer members, Christina and Al. The Savannah Sparrows we saw were a first for both of them. They both had a good time and are planning to attend future trips.

We did see the following:

Robins, Juncos, Pine Warblers, Chickadees, Mallards, Chipping Sparrows, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Ospreys, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow-bellied Sap Suckers, Broad-winged Hawk, Red-bellied Wood Peckers (H), Crows, Geese, Brown Creeper, Blue Heron, Tree Swallows, Flickers, Song Sparrows, Phoebe, Turkey Vultures, Cormorants, Pileated Wood Pecker, Field Sparrow (H), and a great spot by Christina….a few Savannah Sparrows.

We also had a mysterious, eerie call. We were deep in the woods on our way to the back swamp when we heard a sound similar to a hoot with an uprising whoop. We heard it five or six times. It was jokingly suggested to be “Bigfoot” but we could not confirm a sighting. Al, is trying to ID it through the McCaulay Library of sound on the Cornell website.

Our platter birds of the day were the Pine Warblers and Ospreys. The Pine Warblers were almost constant in their calls. We saw one Osprey at Greenwood Park and seven of them at Nanticoke Lake. Three of them were soaring and fishing and four of them on a migrating northerly glide.

Despite the cold and not that much bird activity, we had a good time being out with friends with similar interests.

Florence Shelly Preserve, April 14 2012.

I want to thank Debbie for volunteering to be trip leader to Florence Shelly Preserve, Thompson PA. This is a trip that was a result of a request I made to our members a couple of years ago, “Where would you like to go for a field trip”? I also want to thank Ruth for keeping track of our list. We had to “bird every bird”, as it was unusually quiet in the  woods. We hiked along a trail that went along a farm field, hardwood forest mixed with Red  Pine, Tamarack and Hemlock Grooves, then down to the wetlands. The woods were full of giant rock outcroppings typical of the Pennsylvania landscape. It was of interest to me, looking (carefully) around these outcroppings for rattlesnakes, but none were to be found. Our platter bird was the Ruby-crowned Kinglet giving us many close looks and it’s beautiful song.

We did see the following:
Red-tailed Hawk, American Crow, Red-winged Blackbird, Rock Pigeon, Goldfinch, Robin, Canada Goose, European Starling, Ring-necked Duck, Eastern Bluebird, Common Merganser, Song Sparrow, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Eastern Meadowlark (h), Black Capped Chickadee, Ruffed Grouse, Warbling Vireo (h), Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Junco, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (h), Turkey Vulture, Northern Flicker, Winter Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch (h), Swamp Sparrow, Brown Creeper (h), Tree Swallow, and a Spring Azure butterfly.

Dryden Lake, April 6, 2012.

Not a cloud in the sky, but a north wind that would cut right through you! We were hoping for what is known as the “Dryden Lake Effect”, a fall out that occurs after the passing of a cold front in March or April. It was cold alright, but not a cold front passing. We walked along the “Jim Shug Trail”, an old railroad bed maintained for hiking and biking. It has several habitats along its route so we should see the resulting birds in their habitat.

We did see the following:
Canada Goose, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Tree Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Some of the notables, the Osprey flying with its fish lunch, three Red-tail hawks soaring over head at the same time, one with a rodent lunch, and the Long-tailed Duck was a life bird for me.

Dan Dunn
Broome County Naturalists’ Club Field Trip Coordinator.

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