Friday, July 4, 2014

Research Roundup: Week of 6/30/2014


Started out at Nescopeck State Park. The main road (Honeyhole Road... I kid you not) was covered in Gray Catbirds and Chipping Sparrows. Must have been some insect there. I tried something new. Point counts by bike! Awesome, right? Well, if I was in better shape it would have been but getting to the farthest field took a minute or two and normally it takes fifteen or so (yes, I was haul'n butt). I still had to walk through hip-high grasses so I was hip-high soaked. Oh well. Pretty much picked up the same birds I did last time except I get the feeling the Indigo Buntings are now quieter but lurking. Just a guess. No Grasshopper Sparrows and Chats even though the habitat looks right. Puzzling. 

Nescopeck is still the buggiest site I go to... and it's also one of my favorites. 

Rubber boots, Docker casual pants (soaked) and a mountain bike. That's liv'n. 

Once I was done with NSP, I was off to SGL119, the Francis Walter Dam site. The first thing of note was the young Common Loon swimming in the pond. 

Point counts went on as scheduled. The Tree Swallows, as they do in Wilkes-Barre, have left now that they're done breeding. Where do they go? No idea. Anyone?  SGL119 has great potential. I just hope they don't turn the whole site into the Walmart of State Game Lands and completely use the site to fatten deer and temporarily keep a few pheasants. They use corn for game. Aren't they just training animals to go into farms and eat crops. I always found this puzzling. 



First site was Beltzville State Park. A gorgeous sunrise met me along with a bunch of Bobolinks and Grasshopper Sparrows. The study's first Eastern Meadowlark was there on the scene! Part of the field was mowed and looks like they'll bale it soon. 

Eastern Meadlowlark
Male Bobolink
Then I zipped over to State Game Lands 205. Unlike the last time, the cool-season grassland wasn't full of pheasant hen carcasses. Another positive was a female kestrel using the box in the cool season site. On the downside was the milkweed in flower all over the field and full of bumblebees and wasps. Not a single sting but I must have looked ridiculous with my arms over my head. 


Milkweed in the cool-season grassland

Female Red-winged Blackbird


Went to Kittatinny Ridge this morning first. The temperature wasn't so bad but hazy. Made for some interesting photography. Site was full of blueberries. So, hell yea, I ate some. 

Lehigh Gap Nature Center was my second stop. It was already 830 and already HOT. Picked up the Blue Grosbeak but no female detected. I must not have taken any pictures! 


Started the morning at the Earth Conservancy property in Newport Township, PA. There wasn't the absurd amount of mosquitoes and no-see-ums as last time so it was a much more pleasant trip. Picked up an amazing FOUR Yellow-breasted Chats. And there were still tons of Indigo Buntings, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Prairie Warblers singing. I would have taken pictures but I to make up some time for the next stop. 

Then I zipped over to Trumbower Farm. The haze left all the grasses wet so I was soaked up to my chest. Not too many interesting observation but I kicked up two fawns, which I heard bleating off in the distance. 


Lost a bet with my daughter so in Cape May... reading up on how to use a bat detector and I need to read up on how to handle mammal fur for isotopic analysis. Awesome. 

Have a great 4th everyone! 

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