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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Art McMorris
Sunday May 18, 2008 - RIDLEY CREEK STATE PARK
The weather gods were kind to us as we managed to get in a good morning’s birding between the weekend storms. We birded from 6:30 AM until noon in the bridle trail area of Ridley Creek State Park, the section northwest of Gradyville Road. This section of the park is mature mixed hardwood forest with some fine, large American beech and tulip trees and areas of eastern white pine, shrub/scrub, and open field. DCNR is doing a nice job of mowing portions of the field areas every few years to maintain a mixture of successional stages. It was a cool morning with skies that varied between overcast, mostly clear, and threatening at times.
Most of the birds we found were local nesters, often seen
carrying nesting material or food or exhibiting courtship behavior or
territorial defense. Late migrants included Swainson’s Thrush and
Canada Warbler. Veeries, Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds, and Acadian Flycatchers
were abundant as usual. Louisiana Waterthrush breeds in good numbers in
this area but was not found: being an early breeder, they had stopped
singing and become secretive. In all, fifteen species of warbler were
found, including two target birds: Kentucky Warbler and Hooded Warbler.
These were both heard but managed to stay out of sight in the dense understory.
Three hawk species were found: Red-tailed, Red-shouldered and Cooper’s.
Other highlights included excellent looks at 2 (possibly 3), Pileated
Woodpeckers working over a large dead tree. The best find of the day was
a gray-phase Eastern Screech-Owl right out in the open.
Birds seen and heard (57 species):