3RBC Outings Revisited

Baltimore Oriole — Photo by Chuck Tague
Baltimore Oriole
Photo by Chuck Tague ©

Outings Revisited is a synopsis of the club's latest outings.

To view previous months and years, please see The Peregrine newsletters, also under Outings Revisited.

Synopsis of Outings —

    Sewickley Heights Borough Park — September 1, 2017

    Eleven birders, including two first-time participants, met on a cold, cloudy morning eager to hit the trails.
    Goldfinches fed on wildflower seeds in the first open area on Bridle Trail. Throughout the outing, these chattering dynamos would brighten an otherwise drab day. We veered to the left onto a new trail and found the first small wave of warblers. We could positively identify only Magnolia, Black-and-white and Blackburnian, as the birds moved quickly through the trees.
    On the way to the horse pastures we heard strange calls coming from the woods. What could it be? My best guess was a young Blue Jay trying out some experimental calls. Wrong! A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk perched near the trail was making the unusual sounds.
    At the horse pastures we added Eastern Bluebird, Eastern Phoebe, and Barn Swallows. Birding was slow, so we entertained ourselves studying the late-fall wildflowers.
    Turning into the woods, we noticed that a few of the ground level branches on a Beech tree appeared to be covered in something white and shaggy - Beech Blight Aphids. They are also known as Boogie Woogie Aphids because, when disturbed, they dance wildly en masse putting on quite a show!
    On Pipeline Trail we finally had a nice group of warblers: Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, Magnolia, and an American Redstart. We heard Carolina Wrens all day, but we saw only two here in low bushes along the trail.
    At brief stop in Walker Park we enjoyed a picnic lunch and admired the newly installed restrooms.
    We found our seventh and last warbler, a Chestnut-sided, at the Edgeworth Dump. Double-crested Cormorants adorned the Ohio River buoys, a large flock of Cedar Waxwings flitted through riverside Sycamores, while Chimney Swifts soared overhead.
    Our 37 species were a low count, but it was a very enjoyable outing with a very pleasant group of birders.
    — by leader Sheree Daugherty

    Harrison Hills Park — September 3, 2017

    Usually after leading an outing, I wait until the evening or the next day to write the outing report. Today, I couldn't wait to write it. The morning was mostly overcast and dreary. Overnight rain had stopped just before the outing began.
    Our walk to the pond produced mostly residents, including Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Northern Flicker, a distant Empidonax flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Eastern Towhee, and House Finch.
    The creekside trail and the cliff were almost devoid of birds, except for Downy, Red-bellied, and Pileated Woodpeckers. Starting back to the parking lot, we stopped where we had heard a Kentucky Warbler on the spring outing. This day, we found a feeding flock that included chickadees (mostly hybrids here), Tufted Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Hooded Warbler, American Redstart, Magnolia Warbler, and Pine Warbler. Two Wood Thrushes and two Indigo Buntings also showed nicely. A distant Eastern Wood-Pewee called.
    Farther along the ridge, we found another chickadee-led flock that included Pine Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, and Black-throated Green Warbler. Two more Wood Thrushes and another Hooded Warbler also called from the dense shrubbery. A Hairy Woodpecker showed very nicely on a dead tree trunk.
    On the road from the Environmental Learning Center, we added House Wren, Mourning Doves, Northern Mockingbird, Eastern Bluebirds, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and more juvenile brown Indigo Buntings. We were about to call it a day when we saw a flock of birds low in a cherry tree. The flock had lots of warblers.
    When we got close, we found that the birds were mobbing a large Black Rat Snake sprawled along a horizontal branch. In or near the mob were chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Hooded Warbler, American Redstart, Cape May Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Chestnutsided Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Canada Warbler!
    Our 16 participants tallied 50 species, seven more than last fall's outing. We had 15 species of warblers, 12 of which were part of the mob. We watched the mob for 30 to 40 minutes. The birds were usually slightly above eye level just 20 feet away. What a great experience for the novice birders in the group to see fall warblers very close!
    With everyone feeling so good about the outing, 12 of us went to Eat'n Park for lunch. What a memorable outing!
    — by leader Jim Valimont
    Click the link to see the complete list of 47+ species for this outing on eBird: Harrison Hills List

    Sewickley Heights Borough Park — September 8, 2017

    Bob VanNewkirk greeted nine birders at the park. It was chilly enough in the early morning to see our breath, but it looked like it would turn into a beautiful day. April Claus, the park naturalist, reported that the bittersweet bushes that had taken over one of the upper fields had been removed and that native wildflowers and other plants had been put in. We were eager to see the results, so we took the path up to the Wildflower Meadow. Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, and a Carolina Wren were calling as we walked.
    An Eastern Phoebe was the first bird spotted in the meadow. There were numerous American Goldfinches, and a Red-bellied Woodpecker called from the top of a tree. A Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Pileated Woodpecker were also calling. A flock of Cedar Waxwings congregated in a tree, and a Baltimore Oriole flew over. A Song Sparrow moved in and out of a brush pile. We almost missed a Great Blue Heron, but someone turned around and noticed it flying behind us. A Common Raven isn't that common at Sewickley Heights, so it was exciting to hear one call!
    The old field that had once been choked by bittersweet looked completely different. Tall Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susan, Ironweed, Goldenrod, and other wildflowers were in bloom, and a new path stretched into the woods. Even better, chickadees and other small birds were calling and darting here and there. A few people caught a glimpse of a Philadelphia Vireo, and most of us got good looks at Yellow-throated and Red-Eyed Vireos. We started calling out warblers: Ovenbird, Nashville, American Redstart, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, and Blackthroated Green. Other birds included Mourning Dove, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, and Eastern Towhee.
    We had been moving slowly along, strung out in single file on the narrow path, and Bob in the lead was now at the edge of the woods, when April suddenly shouted "STOP!" We froze in place while April hurried to the front and pointed out a Yellow Jacket nest which we had almost walked into! Sewickley Heights Park has its share of these wasps and they can be quite dangerous when they feel threatened. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times. A few people experience a severe allergic reaction, and in worst cases, go into anaphylactic shock. We very quickly executed an about-face and thanked April for keeping us safe!
    We retraced our steps to the Wildflower Meadow, flushing a Northern Flicker on the way, and headed to the corner of the field which is usually good for warblers. However, only two American Redstarts were moving through the trees. Back in the woods, we were delighted when a young Broad-winged Hawk landed on a tree directly above us. It glared at us for a minute before taking off, and we started climbing the hill to the horse pastures. Two Pileated Woodpeckers took off as we approached. A family of Carolina Wrens foraged in the bushes, and another flock of Cedar Waxwings had settled into a tree bordering the field. Our first Canada Geese went winging over us. We counted four Turkey Vultures circling in the sky, and noted a few Barn Swallows and Chimney Swifts. Eastern Bluebirds and Northern Mockingbirds are usually foundhere, and they did not disappoint us this day.
    The park staff this summer had been busy re-routing a muddy section of the Laurel Trail and put in a new "turnpike" which certainly made walking easier! Along the path, we noticed a small tree that had rows of fuzzy white dots along the branches. April invited Bob to touch the dots, and the branch came alive, shimmering and shaking! These were Beech Blight Aphids, more commonly known as "boogie-woogie aphids." You never know what you might find, once you go walking in the woods!
    Back in the Wildflower Meadow, we spied a new woodpecker, a Hairy, making a quintet of woodpeckers for the day.
    It had warmed up considerably since we started out, and we eagerly shed our jackets in the parking lot. A few people left, but the rest of us continued down the Pipeline Trail, enjoying different kinds of butterflies, among them several Monarchs, and managing to find a Monarch caterpillar on a milkweed plant. We added Great Crested Flycatcher, Swainson's Thrush, and Scarlet Tanager to our list. A small wave of warblers were disappearing into the woods, but aside from a Magnolia and a Black-throated Green, most of them went unidentified.
    Back at the parking lot, most people left, as it was alreadyafter noon, but a couple of us went on to Walker Park for lunch and then to Pontefract Park, where we snagged a Green Heron. It had been a lovely day for a walk with friends! We had 49 species, including 10 warblers.
    — by participant Debbie Kalbfleisch
    Click the link to see the complete list of 42+ species for this outing on eBird: Sewickley Heights List

    Deer Lakes Regional Park — September 16, 2017

    Eleven participants led by Todd Hooe and Oliver Lindhiem gathered at the park. Most were seasoned birders, but it was exciting to have a first-time birder on the outing. It was unseasonably warm, and fall colors were beginning to show on many trees making for a spectacular morning.
    A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was seen in the top of a tree from the parking lot while the group was gathering. The first treat of the day was a Philadelphia Vireo perched on a snag, allowing for good views by the group. The vireo sang intermittently helping to confirm its ID. There were fewer flycatchers than expected, with just two Eastern Wood-Pewees, two Least Flycatchers, and a single Eastern Phoebe.
    The highlight of the day was a good number of warblers, 12 species in total. Throughout the morning small but steady waves of warblers made their way through the treetops close to the path. Many allowed for good views. The most common were Magnolia (6), Black-throated Green (5), and Hooded (4). At least two of the Hooded Warblers were still singing. The other warblers confirmed were Ovenbird, Black-and-white, Tennessee, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Cape May, Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Blue. Other warblers passed too quickly to be identified confidently.
    Halfway through the outing we were surprised by the loud croak of a Common Raven overhead. Near the end, we enjoyed a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Other highlights included Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, Swainson's Thrush, Wood Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, several Brown Thrashers, and a large flock of Cedar Waxwings.
    We identified 52 species.
    — by co-leader Oliver Lindhiem
    Click the link to see the complete list of 52+ species for this outing on eBird: Deer Lakes List

    Presque Isle State Park — September 17, 2017

    Seven birders gathered on a1 sparkling sunny morning at the Vista One parking lot to explore the peninsula for migrants. A few Ring-billed Gulls, Pied-billed Grebes, Mallards, and Wood Ducks were scattered over the bay. A juvenile Bald Eagle flying over was deemed a good omen.
    I arrived 45 minutes before our meeting time to scout the beach on the lake side. A foraging flock of 26 Sanderlings was a good find as they wandered over the sandy shore. Many Ring-billed Gulls rested farther up the lake on some of the breakwaters near Beach 1. In one patch of woody vegetation, I discovered a pair of Brown Thrashers, a Nashville Warbler, a Bay-breasted Warbler, and two Northern Flickers. Since this location was quite active, it was where I wanted to explore first with the group.
    What serendipitous luck! The juvenile Sanderlings were rediscovered combing the shoreline just a short distance from where we entered the beach. But this time, there were more of them scattered around. After several attempts to try for an exact count, we decided 42 was our best total. A small shorebird was noticed among the Sanderlings — a Semipalmated Plover. A check of the gulls revealed they were all Ring-billed. We heard a Warbling Vireo on the walk back to the parking lot.
    A few Wood Ducks were quickly spotted against the shoreline at Leo's Landing, but our attention was drawn to a Great Egret that flew into the marsh. At the end of the landing, we scanned the cattails and noted a Great Blue Heron, 14 Pied-billed Grebes and four American Coots. A Belted Kingfisher announced its presence when it flew overhead. As we walked back down the road, the egret gave us an even better admiring look by foraging in the open. We spotted our first warbler, a Common Yellowthroat, under the observation deck.
    The area around the ranger station was quiet, except for a fledgling American Goldfinch that begged noisily to be fed by its parent. We moved on to check the area around the Waterworks and to walk the Old Gas Well Trail. This area was mostly quiet except for a Red-bellied Woodpecker, some Blue Jays, and two White-breasted Nuthatches. A flock of Double-crested Cormorants flew overhead as we exited the trail. Well, at least we knew where the birds were not and headed to the Long Pond Trail which can be very productive. Birds there included a juvenile Bald Eagle perched near the top of a gigantic oak tree, two Great Blue Herons flying over the marsh, a Downy Woodpecker, a Black-capped Chickadee, a Carolina Wren, an Eastern Towhee, and our second warbler for the morning — a Nashville.
    During a picnic lunch at the Perry Monument, we watched a Caspian Tern flying repeatedly over Misery Bay. On one pass, it plunged into the water. Our first Herring Gulls were also noted. The Graveyard Pond trail is just across the road, so it is where we ventured next. We were disappointed again by the lack of warbler activity. I was the only one to see a fleeting glimpse of a Wilson's Warbler. Two Eastern Phoebes were spotted fly catching. Gray Catbirds were frequently heard or seen, as well as some robins. A Swainson' Thrush was discovered hiding in dense cover.
    Finding warblers was becoming a challenge, so we drove to Fry's Landing, a prime banding area during spring migration. Our first Turkey Vultures flew overhead. A Philadelphia Vireo was a good discovery. Gray Catbirds and Blue Jays were there too. A Swainson's Thrush perching low provided a satisfying look. Finally, near the end of the wooded trail, three Bay-breasted Warblers were discovered bopping around the leaves, but stopping long enough to be identified. Hallelujah, I silently cried!
    Our final destination was Pine Tree Trail, and we had a bit of activity that produced a Blackburnian Warbler, two Brown Thrashers, and our only Tufted Titmouse. A very unexpected sighting was a mystery at first. The bird was discovered on the grassy edge of this brushy trail. Its back was facing us, and it was definitely shaped and colored like a sparrow, but which one? As we approached, the bird slowly turned, and we saw it had a red crown and a pale breast. It was a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow. This species only begins to pass through Presque Isle in September. Now that was an unexpected sighting!
    Despite the lack of warblers, other birds put smiles on our faces. Some birders even got to see one or more lifers. We tallied 41 species.
    — by leader Bob VanNewkirk
    Click the link to see the complete list of 41 species for this outing on eBird: Presque Isle List

    Dead Man's Hollow — October 7, 2017

    Seven birders hiked the trails at this Allegheny Land Trust site along the Youghiogheny River outside of McKeesport. I've never been to this part of the property, so I was eager to explore it.
    Leader David Yeany started by giving us an overview of the area we were visiting using the handy map at the kiosk next to the parking area. We made a nice loop through wooded habitat. We passed a rock formation called table rock because it resembles a large dining room table.
    David Yeany with Garter Snake We soon had our first wave of migrants, but due to the leaves, angles, and light, it was difficult for us to see them well. There were Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-throated Green Warblers, and a Magnolia Warbler. David spotted an Ovenbird, and our warblers included two adult male Black-throated Blue, a Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped, and Palm.
    It seemed we were never out of sight and sound of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, as they were abundant in the area, and Northern Flickers were a close second. We also saw Downy, Hairy, Pileated, and a flyover Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - a good woodpecker list.
    At one point we heard what we thought was some type of machinery. As the sound got closer, we discovered it was a large flock of Common Grackles foraging for acorns and other mast through the leaf litter on the forest floor.
    A Winter Wren played hide-and-seek as it flew to a snag, popping out periodically while searching for insects in the numerous cavities and crevasses.
    We did well with thrushes, hearing several Swainson's. Near the end of the walk we hit a pocket of thrushes that included two Wood, a Swainson's, and a cooperative Gray-cheeked that perched in the open for a few minutes so everyone was able to see it.
    The pond at the parking lot yielded a Belted Kingfisher. In the parking lot we heard a Palm Warbler calling, so we searched and found that it was a "Yellow" Palm Warbler, the eastern subspecies that breeds in northeastern Canada and is a rare migrant in Western Pennsylvania.
    — report and photo by participant Mike Fialkovich
    Click the link to see the complete species list for this outing on eBird: Dead Man's Hollow List

    Frick Park — October 8, 2017

    Despite heavy rains the night before and through the early morning, 25 participants gathered with leaders Jack and Sue Solomon. Northern Flickers were spotted in the parking area, and the sweet calls of Carolina Wrens accompanied us throughout the hike.
    Frick Park Outing As we headed down Riverview Trail, woodpeckers included Pileated, Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Mourning Doves were plentiful, as were Blue Jays, Robins, and House Sparrows.
    Seen and heard were Chipping Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, and a House Finch. A flock of American Goldfinches and an Eastern Wood-Pewee were added to our list. The sun was beginning to show itself as we continued, and we found a Black-and-white Warbler, a Hooded Warbler, a Nashville Warbler, and two Black-throated Green Warblers.
    A highlight happened when we came to an area of the trail overlooking the parkway and were treated to approximately 30 Cedar Waxwings feasting on the ripe berries of a wild grape.
    On our return, we saw two White-breasted Nuthatches sidling down a tree trunk. A flock of Common Grackles passed overhead, as did an American Crow and a European Starling. A Gray Catbird announced itself as well. We listed 29 species for the morning.
    — report and photo by participant Patti Kaminski
    Click the link to see the complete species list for this outing on eBird: Frick Park List

    Pymatuning Area — October 8, 2017

    With a forecast of all-day rain and wind, only four birders took a chance on braving the weather. While waiting for late-arriving birders, I checked out the woods bordering the parking lot. In a grape vine were two Winter Wrens and a House Wren. Other birds were a Gray Catbird, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, an Eastern Towhee, and many Yellow-rumped Warblers. After the participants joined me, we discovered an Eastern Towhee, White-throated Sparrows, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and a Pileated Woodpecker.
    As we walked toward the overlook where the Wildlife Center used to be, Yellow-rumped Warblers were active, as were Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, American Robins, and Song Sparrows. Scanning the waters, we were pleasantly surprised by the high number of Bald Eagles. On one small island snag, there were six juvenile eagles perched on its branches like ornaments. Two adults were perched in pines across from us, and two more adults thrilled us when they flew parallel to the shoreline near our position. On the water were Double-crested Cormorants, Canada Geese, and a raft of 16 Gadwalls.
    At the spillway we hoped to find a duck that wasn't a Mallard. We did: 12 Ruddy Ducks and an American Black Duck. A Tree Swallow zipped overhead. While scanning the propagation field across from the spillway, we spotted a raptor on the ground. It was likely a Northern Harrier. When the bird took off, we could see its whitish rump and upraised wings. On the lake side were a Herring Gull and two Bonaparte's Gulls on the rocks among the many cormorants and Ring-billed Gulls. On Glen Island, we added two adult and one juvenile Bald Eagle to our growing numbers.
    On our way to the Hartstown Propagation Area fields and pond, we saw an American Kestrel perched on a powerline. As usual, Canada Geese were numerous. Hooded Mergansers rested on the water, and a small group of Green-winged Teal preened in the grass along the shore. Lesser Yellowlegs and Killdeer scurried around the shallows. A sudden Red-tailed Hawk flyover put the ducks, yellowlegs, and Killdeer into flight momentarily before they returned. Two Eastern Meadowlarks flew into a nearby corn field. As we were about to leave, we heard the unmistakable call of Sandhill Cranes. Ten flew across the road and landed near the edge of the same field as the meadowlarks.
    Along Wilson Road, the call of Sandhill Cranes again grabbed our attention. This time 23 were flying over the fields toward us. They flew in loose flocks and seemed as if they might land as they descended. However, they never landed and soon flew away.
    Making a quick stop at the Route 285 pull-off, we saw two more adult Bald Eagles and another juvenile. The Miller Ponds on Swamp Road were devoid of waterfowl. A Greater Yellowlegs foraged along the grassy edge of the larger pond. We birded farther down the road where a new marsh is being constructed. With its completion and adequate rainfall, the marsh might soon fill and begin to attract waterfowl. Two Pileated Woodpeckers put smiles on our faces as they perched near each other high in a tree.
    After lunch at the Spillway Inn, we visited the Linesville Fish Hatchery where we enjoyed three Great Egrets, three Great Blue Herons, many Wood Ducks, a Northern Shoveler, and a Belted Kingfisher. Six dowitchers were drilling for food at the far end of the spit. Despite viewing them with a spotting scope, the distance and wavy distortion caused by heat waves coming off the water, made identifying which species of dowitcher unreliable. Two adult and five juvenile eagles were there, but because this area is very close to the Wildlife Center, I did not add them to the total.
    We proceeded to explore the area near the Tuttle Campground, especially for a Red-headed Woodpecker where we had found them on past outings. The area was alive with birds such as American Crows, Cedar Waxwings, a Northern Flicker, an Eastern Phoebe, a White-breasted Nuthatch, and two adult and two juvenile Bald Eagles. Shortly we located the red-heads and watched them fly back and forth from the swampy inlet between the lake and the road. Each time one would land, it seemed to be caching acorns. After watching this behavior for quite a while, we decided to count how many of these woodies we were actually seeing. We spent an additional half hour trying for an exact count, and our effort netted six adults and one juvenile. On the way back to our cars, we heard a Red-shouldered Hawk calling.
    Our last stop, Custards, produced the last species we listed: five Turkey Vultures. The whole wetland area was filled with the sounds of Red-winged Blackbirds, and we saw one more adult Bald Eagle perched majestically atop a tall snag.
    Despite the prediction for rain, it didn't happen, and the wind was hardly noticeable. We listed 51 species. More predictable was that birding at Pymatuning is sure to supply unpredictable and captivating sightings.
    — by leader Bob VanNewkirk
    Click the link to see the complete species list for this outing in a PDF: Pymatuning List.

    Moraine State Park — October 22, 2017

    On a day that was more summer-like than fall, 29 birders gathered on the South Shore for the club's 16th anniversary picnic and outing. A bright blue sky and a warmer-than-normal temperature for late October brightened everyone's mood.
    The earliest birder to arrive at the boat launch area told me that he had seen a Bald Eagle flying over. Other early arrivers discovered a Cooper's Hawk perched high atop a tree in the marsh. As more participants joined the group, more species were quickly spotted such as Double-crested Cormorant, Common Grackle, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, European Starling, and Mallard. Noticeably absent seemed to be the American Coots that usually gather in large numbers here.
    We first checked out the hedgerow and field along the parking area. A White-crowned Sparrow was heard, but the bird was not sighted. As the group began to spread out, Northern Cardinals, a Swamp Sparrow, Tufted Titmice, Black-capped Chickadees, American Robins, American Goldfinches, a Downy Woodpecker,and two Yellow-rumped Warblers were noted.
    Our large group then "moseyed on" toward the Sunken Garden Trail. With a smile on his face, one birder aptly remarked that getting the group to move closer together and quicker was like trying to herd cats. Nevertheless, we reached the trail head and spied a Red-bellied Woodpecker flying from one tree to another. We also got a quick look at a few perched Cedar Waxwings before they flew off. The dense vegetation near the two wooden bridges provided good habitat and quick views of two White-throated Sparrows, a Song Sparrow, a White-breasted Nuthatch, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Farther along the wooded trail, many robins and waxwings grabbed our attention as they competed for the remaining grapes on high-growing vines. A few birders also saw a Golden-crowned Kinglet briefly.
    We headed back to the parking lot along a maintenance road. Sharp eyes spotted a Dark-eyed Junco foraging in low branches and a White-crowned Sparrow pecking at goldenrod seeds. More Yellow-rumps and goldfinches were there. Near the road's end, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet was found in some woody brush. Some birders formed a single line according to height to get a good look at that spritely bird. Earlier in this same area, one person found an Eastern Phoebe. We could not relocate it for the group.
    We caravanned to the beach to look through the gulls and search for waterfowl. As expected, the gulls were all Ring-billed. A dozen Canada Geese rested on the shore. Two cormorants and a Pied-billed Grebe swam in the lake. Tucked tightly against the end of the beach and temporarily out of sight were 34 American Coots. Three Killdeer foraged on the gravel roads. We made a quick stop at the overlook to check for raptors and waterfowl, but found none. However, we did watch a kettle of 16 Turkey Vultures seemingly fly out of the woods, spiral high into the sky, and disappear.
    Like tightly packed sardines, many birders and three spotting scopes crowded onto the observation deck. Three other birders with scopes scanned from beside and in front of the deck. Finally, with waterfowl to observe, no one complained about the cramped space and no one had to be voted off the deck. On the water were many Wood Ducks, Mallards, Gadwalls, some Pied-Billed Grebes, three Ruddy Ducks, and two Great Blue Herons. A flock of Canada Geese flew into the area but kept to themselves. A Mute Swan also distanced itself from the other waterfowl as it foraged. Four Killdeer and a Greater Yellowlegs were scoped feeding along the shore. A Red-tailed Hawk flew briefly over the marsh but never landed. We spent an hour on the deck so that as many people as possible could look through the scopes. A small group decided to look for birds along the roadside. They found a Brown Creeper.
    Our participants netted 42 species, although some of us did not see all of them. Since we had found an interesting diversity of birds, it was time to taste the diversity of food that people had brought for the club's anniversary-picnic. So, we headed off to the McDanel's Boat Launch pavilion with thoughts of delicious food and treats - and, of course, sharing our stories about past birding adventures.
    — by leader Bob VanNewkirk
    Click the link to see the complete species list for this outing in a PDF: Moraine List

Image Gallery

Mission of 3RBC

To gather in friendship, to enjoy the wonders of nature and to share our passion for birds!

© Photo Credits:
Sherron Lynch, Brian Shema, Chuck Tague