Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Research Week 9

MONDAY 7/6/2015 Nescopeck State Park

The slow down continues with fewer birds vocalizing. Did the powerline easement first and that had Eastern Towhee and Field Sparrows with a single Prairie Warbler. I wouldn't be concerned with these three species in Pennsylvania despite the decreasing numbers - I think they're flexible enough in habitat to take advantage of gas and electric right-aways and I would through in Indigo Buntings as well. I hear these species all summer at my local grocery (Price Chopper) and around the mall as well. 

The fields that are managed for early successional birds had these birds as well and a few more. Goldfinches are becoming more obvious as their breeding season kicks in. Few Chestnut-sided and Yellow Warblers kicking around. Veerys... tons of them, still singing and calling from the edges. I've been seeing more hummingbirds too - maybe drawn to the flowers that are starting to bloom like the butterfly weed below. Blueberries are starting past their peek but bush honeysuckle, an invasive species, is pulling up the slack and they are heavy with fruit. 

Best bird of the day? Large female Cooper's Hawk that I almost hit in the truck 

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Butterfly Weed

Wildflower mix

Bush Honeysuckle

TUESDAY 7/6/2015 Beltzville State Park, Jacob's Property

A added a site near the boat launch. Last round, when I finished my survey, the land manager informed me they just sprayed the field. Now this is two weeks later and the site had been mowed (to about 8 inches) and seeded. There were still tons of song sparrows about the scattered shrubs and bluebirds but the yellowthroats were fewer. We'll see how they make out with the next planting.

The primary field didn't have the Eastern Meadowlark that was there last year. That's a species, unlike Field Sparrows, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Buntings, and Prairie Warblers, that we need to intensively manage. So far, I have ZERO meadowlarks and not a single Golden-winged Warbler.

On the upside this site had tons of Bobolinks. 

Jacob's Property, off 115, was really slow. Best bird was a male Sharp-shinned Hawk. There was other cool stuff there. This place needs a bioblitz

WEDNESDAY 7/7/2015 Office 


I didn't go out the day before because of rain. That rain clung to the shoulder-tall grasses. The site consists of several fields and they appear to be managed differently - making for great science. But we only sampled a warm-season and a cool-season grassland. The cool season is full of Red-winged Blackbirds and the edges have all the typical edge species (Indigo Buntings, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow). Like the other sites, I had Bobolinks swing by. 

After the survey, I took a ride over to Edge of the Woods Nursery for some native plants. Picked up butterfly weed, bottle gentian, and some irises. Not cheap. While I was there a red fox was working the edge of the fence. 


My favorite site and beautiful morning. I didn't get the species I was hoping (Savannah Sparrow, Henslow Sparrow) but I did get the Northern Harrier, Bobolinks flew over, and I picked up a Blue Grosbeak. 

Black-throated Blue Warbler in the woods adjacent to the fields

Good view of the vegetation and a deer waaaay out there

Grasshopper Sparrow - still singing

Northern Harrier cruising the fields

SATURDAY 7/11/2015 Lehigh Gap Nature Center and Kittatinny Ridge 

Gorgeous morning. Birds were few at LGNC as I expect but the Blue Grosbeak was still singing like crazy. After LGNC went up to Kittatinny Ridge where I have my last point on the Appalachian Trail. Life is good.These first two photographs show bare ground at LGNC where heavy metals obliterated the vegetation and soils. 


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