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Field Trip Report

October 21, 2006
BIRDING THE NATIVE GRASSLANDS AT THE PENNYPACK TRUST, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA

Leader: Shawn Kass

After a couple of days of gray skies and scattered rain and heavy wind, this morning was quite cool with scattered frost and blue skies and a consistent light breeze. As a subsitute for JoAnn Raine I was relieved with a great turn out from DVOC especially when members Paul Driver and Bert Filemyr were willing to take over the ID portion of the walk. Other members in attendence were Bob Schaffer, Andrea Bennet and friend, Sandy from Bala Cynwyd, Marty who is not a member yet, the gal from Pottstown, and Frank Windfelder with Deborah Danila who surprised the group at the confluence of the Meadow Crossing trail with their Great Horned Owl impression as they met up with us towards the end of the walk. We had decent views of most of the sparrows on the walk as well as discerning Sharp-shinned vs. Cooper's Hawk and learned from Bert to look for the diagnostic patagial mark on the leading edge of the Red-tailed Hawk wing which is present in all races and plummages. Part of the group tried for Vesper Sparrow at the end but to no avail.

Some of the botanical highlights of the walk were the warm season grasses being in their full autumn brilliance with many full of ripe seed; the amazingly bright, glowing orange Sugar Maple down near the farm pond; the Sassafras trees in bright red/orange foliage; the Tulip trees beginning to show their clear yellow leaf color; the dogwood's scattered throughout the woodlands with their maroonish/red leaves and shiny, slippery red seeds; the poison-ivy in full seed growing as vines up the tree trunks, and the Witch-hazel along creek road in full flower with its bright yellow autumn color and it's unique fragrance.

We had 55 species for the day:
Great Blue Heron
Canada Goose in flyover flocks
Mallard
Turkey Vulture
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed hawk
American Kestrel
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue-headed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
European Starling
Nashville Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch
House Finch

Images by Bert Filemyr