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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Chris Walters

Friday - Sunday June 25-27, 2004
PINEY TRACT GRASSLANDS, Clarion County, PA

Perfect weather greeted DVOC’s first-ever weekend tour of reclaimed strip mines in Clarion County, Western Pennsylvania. Careful pre-trip scouting by leader Rick Mellon and his locally-based friend Ron Montgomery produced all target birds on the first day, allowing the group to shift gears and sample boreal forested areas on the way home Sunday morning. There we saw several Elk and other northern breeders. A large group of DVOCers (20) participated in this trip.
Saturday morning’s first stop brought us all many excellent view of Henslow’s Sparrows and about a dozen Clay-colored Sparrows. Grasshopper Sparrows and displaying Harriers were also seen by all. After lunch in downtown Sligo, the group’s afternoon turned-up four Upland Sandpipers (first spotted by Steve Liebhaber), as well as many Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, and a Black-billed Cuckoo. A singing Vesper Sparrow was spotted by Butch Lishman but not refound.
On Sunday we changed habitats and went into forested country to the east. We were all fortunate to see several Elk, including one calf, and Dave Long gave us all a history lesson on how Elk came to be in Pennsylvania. We then went into wild areas north of Snow Shoe, PA, where we were greeted by singing Purple Finch, Blackburnian Warbler, Least Flycatchers, Hermit Thrush, and Cedar Waxwings.
We reluctantly began the 4-6 hour drive home, having had a great weekend. Participants were: Rick Mellon and Chris Walters (co-leaders), Colin Campbell, Doris McGovern, Kate Somerville, JoAnn Raine, Margie Keefe, Mick Jeitner, Steve Kacir, Nancy Cooke and husband Steve Liebhaber, Bill Lane, the Longs, the Berts, the Lishmans, and the Bilheimers.