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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Adrian Binns

Sunday September 17, 2006

Weather: Foggy to start and 60, then sunny reaching 75+ degrees. Winds were calm out of the southwest

A small group of us, Scott and Megan Fraser, Debbie Beer and I, assembled at the visitor’s center on a balmy though foggy morning. The habitat garden had produced the usual Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmouse along with a sprinkling of passerines that included American Redstart, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-eyed and Blue-headed Vireo, several Eastern Phoebes, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a nice young male Blackburnian Warbler.

By the time we reached the North Lookout it was evident that there were a number of passerines about. The first of many Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were seen and heard as was a Hairy Woodpecker and Blue Jay. A Swainson’s Thrush also flew across the path. The lookout itself was surrounded by fog, but what this did was concentrate the birds around us allowing us to see them in the shrubs, Mountain Ashes, pines and oaks that surrounded the boulder outcropping. Eastern Wood Pewees were very evident, flying sorties from various perches; there a brief sighting of an empid that may well have been an Acadian, and an Olive-sided Flycatcher perched at the top of a tree just long enough for a number of people to get on it. American Goldfinch and Waxwings were abundant with large groups of the later alighting on different trees and feeding on the mountain ash berries. Grosbeaks would occasionally join them and the tanagers could be seen following the grosbeaks. Warblers and vireos were chasing each about, with Red-eyed being the most common sighting followed by a couple of Black-throated Greens, Cape Mays and Blackpolls. A Philadelphia Vireo showed well a couple of times and the warblers consisted of a Prairie, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Yellow-rumped, Palm, Black-throated Blue and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. A female Indigo Bunting, Catbird and White-breasted Nuthatch were also added. By about 10:30 the fog began to dissipate to expose the surrounding ridge and valleys and as the passerines vanished allowing us t concentrated on the raptors.

Dennis and Anna Bert joined us on the lookout just as the raptors began to make their move. A Merlin was first, flying overhead, followed by distant Broadwings heading in the direction of Pinnacle, Owl’s Head and beyond. The local vultures began to stir and a couple of Blacks were also seen during the course of the day. Accipiters, most being Sharpies from what we could discern, made steady appearances throughout, some far and some flying at eye level to our east and close to the lookout which was nice. By late morning small kettles of Broadwings were becoming a common sight. A few even ventured close to us along the ridge and overhead for great looks. Those further away gave us a chance to work out shapes, structure, silhouettes, sizes and jizz, which helped in placing the bird(s) in a group - accipter, buteo, falcon, eagle or vulture and even Raven - we were likely looking at, which was nice because we actually got to see at least one representative of each during the day. A single Red-shouldered Hawk that never ventured close, gave us enough time to figure out what it was; Ospreys could easily be picked out at a distance and a juvenile Bald Eagle glided past us, at one time joined by a sharpie making repeated attempts to ‘bomb’ it!

Species Seen

Osprey 3
Turkey Vulture 12
Black Vulture 2
Bald Eagle 1
American Kestrel 2
Merlin 2
Sharp-shinned Hawk 45+
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Broadwing Hawk 100+
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Raven 2
Wild Turkey
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Tree Swallow
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood Pewee
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Carolina Wren
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
Swainson’s Thrush
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
American Goldfinch
Cedar Waxwing
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Redstart
Blackburnian Warbler
Northern Parula
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Palm Warbler
Prairie Warbler

Images by Adrian Binns