Saturday, April 21, 2007

catchin up, scouting notes

been remiss in my blogging duties! Rob Hynson and I have gone scouting twice with Bert from DVOC's team, he's nice enough to show us some South Jersey spots.

The first benefit went well we raised about $240. Hope to raise much much more.

Today axillary team member Brian Hart and I had a great day scouting Cumberland and Northern Cape May County.

We had Blue-gray Gnatcatchers off of Railroad ave, at Belleplain SF and at Beaver Swamp WMA. We had breeding plumage Common Loons at Dividing Creek and Ludlams Pond. Bivalve the tide was too high to see much, the water levels were high due to the rains everywhere that was non tidal so we skipped on Heislerville. Turkey Point had a gorgeous male Harries, a boat load of Boat-tailed Grackles and a clicking Clapper Rail.

Belleplain on the Washington Ave entrance had 4 calling Yellow-throated Warblers --we got to see one stunning singing male and saw a Pine Warbler as well. We also heard Black and White Warblers.

The momma, poppa and baby Bald Eagle were all at Beaver Swamp WMA.

Jake's Landing was awesome, Clapper Rails starting their engines, Marsh Wrens singing, good looks at a singing Seaside Sparrow, Meadowlarks, Willets, Harriers, Osprey on nest, a Short-eared Owls was even flying about. A muskrat was walking around the parking lot. After sundown but with still a bit light we had a Peregrine Falcon take a whack at a flying Snowy Egret. The Peregrine flew off but the egret dropped away from the three others it was flying with and landed close to the dyke, definitely injured. On the way out we heard a Whip-poor Will give its call once.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Peregrine potential nest

Art McMorris who leads the PA Game Commission's Peregrine Falcon Nesting program asked me to keep an eye on the potential nesting activities of a peregrine pair that has nested on the Schuykill Expressway bridge near University of PA. This is the pair that used to nest on City Hall before the scaffolding went up. I believe it might be a new female however, as in new since the male moved to the bridge site. The female is banded and was hatched I believe four maybe five years ago on New york Presbyterian Hospital. They know it's the same male because he visits the spots on his old route through center city, including the a frame eon top of Liberty Two.

Yesterday, Art and Ed who had been monitoring the pair, took me to the site and down to the CSX offices, as we have to be near their tracks to view the nest. We saw the pair, the female is definatly hanging out on a plate where several girders meet on a flange that forms a buttress where concrete pylon meets the bridge. She was not incubating, but may be fidgeting with some eggs. Most birds do not incubate until all the eggs are laid so they hatch at once.

Today I was at the site from 4:00 to 5:10pm, although the first half of that was waiting for the two trains blocking the view to leave. I tried calling CSX's yardmaster to alert them to my presence but no one answered. At first the potential nest ledge was empty, I could hear a peregrine calling, but could not locate the bird. The female soon appeared flying in from under the bridge near west bank, She landed on the nest(?) site and tucked down for about ten minutes, she appeared to fidget with something towards the back of the ledge,she would call periodically. She left the ledge and landed on top of a cement pylon nearer to the west bank, I could see that she was banded. She preened and would lift her talons and clean? them and call. After about fifteen minutes the male flew in from below and down stream and landed on her back and copulated,flying off immediately. The female remained on the pylon for further ten minute sand I left, with her still on perch.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

April 2nd Scouting

My father and I checked out the sites around Florence in Burlington County. In Florence at Carey park we had good numbers of gulls, Laughing Gulls are back, we spotted some Lesser-blacked Backed Gulls amongst the big three. No cormorants or ducks besides mallards. We had a flyover T.V. , Red-tail and Fish Crow (calling) the park just down the road had much more numbers of gulls, we had a 2nd year Glaucous Gull that we could ID from shore. We picked out a 1st year Iceland Gull (playing with a stick)and there were many Lesser-black Backed Gulls, over a dozen, looking quite sharp. As Paul Guris pointed out nice round heads and riding low in the water. This spot looks nice considering there is some woods we might be able to pick some birds singing from on the big day. Again no ducks or Cormorants.

At the Turnpike bridge the Peregrine was on perch where the beams converge, the gusset covered in whitewash.

At Burlington Island the Osprey was on the nest and 7 Great Cormorants were on the channel marker up river. 5 were in full alternate plumage. The white flank patches screaming out the ID! Two DC Cormorants were on the marker base. A Flicker was calling on the island.

Probably not A WSB site, but my dad and I checked out Amico Island. The Red-tails were both at the nest. The Great Blue Heronry was in full swing. Lots of Goldfinches singing and Tree Swallows were in the cove.