Sunday, June 7, 2015

Summer Research Week 4

Week 4?? 

How can that be?  

MONDAY 6/1/2015 - Rain

TUESDAY 6/2/2015

Rain.. but.. lots of activity in the lab. Including more experimenting with making fake fruit and using gelatin and agar seems to work really well. 

WEDNESDAY 6/3/2015 

Surveyed Nescopeck State Park. I don't think the grasslands here are large enough to attract some of the area-dependent grassland specialists like Yellow-breasted Chats or Blue Grosbeaks. There are some five old field and are old pastures (assuming from the barbed wire fencing) but each is separated by strips of forest. The best bird, in the field seen below, was an Alder Flycatcher. The other thing about these fields is that every shrub is an invasive species: multiflora rose, several olives, and privet. But these shrubs are associated with more birds (Gleditsch, J. M. and T. A. Carlo, 2011. Fruit quantity of invasive shrubs predicts the abundance of common native avian frugivores in central Pennsylvania. Diversity and Distributions 17, 244-253).

Worst part of the day was forgetting my boots and getting saturated from knee to toe. The surrounding woods had tons of Veery and Least Flycather. I also added to points at a nearby powerline. I'm hoping to get the severely declining Golden-winged Warbler, an early successional species that I missed last year. Not at the powerline either but I did get a Bald Eagle flyover. 

Afterwards, I went up to the radio towers in Mountaintop just to check out a site with lots of bear oak that was burned a few years ago. I got lost and these are terrible roads so I headed back quickly but not before I was able to find a fading Pink Lady Slipper Orchid 

THURSDAY 6/4/2015

Bird survey at SGL221 "Cresco." I was there last week with Matt and Sebastian and helped clear a trail. The shrubs and coppice are so dense I had some difficulty finding the path we just cleared. No bears this time - last year I had FIVE bears that day. I did pick up 
six ticks - none attached. Walking up the dirt road to the trail there were a few newts on the road though nothing like last year when it was difficult to walk without stepping on them. 

If you wanted to study Gray Catbirds, this is the place. Incredibly high density of them. Lots of Prairie Warbler, Eastern Towhees, Indigo Buntings, Chestnut-sided Warblers, and a few Eastern Bluebirds. Surprisingly, there were a bunch of Veerys singing from the shrubland and a few Scarlet Tanagers -  both of which I consider forest interior birds. So much for that idea. 
Unknown caterpillars but interesting 

typical Cresco habitat 

view from standing on top of the boulder of count point 3

a bald at count point 3 with a family of field sparrows

random turkey egg

Then on to bird catching at SGL119 "Francis Walther Dam" with the crew. Great day with more birds than expected. Unfortunately, we didn't get as much blood as I had hoped. The highlight of the day was a hognose snake. That hissed, did a cobra, false strike, musked, played dead.  Last picture is a Red-winged Blackbird nest from last year. 

After catching birds, we went to the WaWa in Blakeslee and there was a Cliff Swallow colony on the CVS there. Hopefully, they won't powerwash it off like they did in the past. They were still building nests and the colony had about 15-20 nests. 


FRIDAY 6/5/2015 - daughter's graduation day 

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