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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A good day of birding

Male Painted Bunting
After getting a tip yesterday, I drove out to Lancaster in search of a Painted Bunting coming to a feeder. When I arrived the feeders were empty and stayed that way for about 10 minutes. Then the activity started picking up with Juncos, Cardinals and even Eastern Bluebirds appearing. I looked away for a few seconds and when I looked back the Painted Bunting was eating at the feeder. It was a male bird in gorgeous plumage. I had a special invite to visit, but unfortunately at this time, the property owner is not permitting visitors to the house.

After viewing this gem I decided to head to Woods Edge Park on Centerville Rd. A Pink-footed Goose has been hanging around on the pond there for three days now. On my arrival, I met up with Chuck Berthoud who told me the goose left the pond around 7:30 this morning. That was when I was watching the bunting. So I decided to drive around the farmlands in search of the flock. I came across a flock of 5-10 thousand Snow Geese and starting searching through them for the Pink-footed. After forty-five minutes I still hadn't found the bird. 

So I decided to get something to eat and come back later in the morning. According to eBird reports the goose usually returns to the pond in the park in the late morning hours. So when I returned it was about 11:15AM and I walked over to the pond which was now filled with Snow Geese. After a quick scan, the Pink-footed Goose was spotted and photographed. Although it was fairly easy to spot the Pink-footed Goose, it was amazing how much they resembled the gray-colored immature Snows.

Anyway, I added two new Lancaster County birds today.

Pink-footed Goose


Monday, January 27, 2020

Delaware County eBird numbers in review for 2019

Gull-billed Terns were seen in Delco this past year behind the Phila Airport
Two years have passed since I have written a summary of eBird reports in a blog. So this report covers the years 2018 and 2019.

***eBird Web Site ( Use this for all kinds of data characterizations and how to join in if you care to do so. Except for the value of time and effort involved, it is all available free of monetary charge; allowing access to a review of data submitted from all over the world, rare bird alerts, feature articles, personal lists from life lists to specific area lists, and a venue for contributing to a data-base of world-wide submissions in a "Think Globally, Act Locally" manner.

***Species reported for each month for 2011 through 2019; year total for 2011 through 2019; and All-Time totals for each month and year for all years combined back to earliest entry from 1900:
2011:      J-077, F-071, M-083, A-134, M-140, J-100, J-078, A-119, S-098, O-128, N-089, D-092, Y-211
2012:      J-081, F-080, M-084, A-134, M-135, J-098, J-084, A-102, S-124,
O-146, N-084, D-086, Y-216
2013:      J-084, F-079, M-098, A-130, M-147, J-087,
J-102, A-109, S-129, O-113, N-087, D-098, Y-214
J-093, F-089, M-100, A-135, M-155, J-098, J-099, A-112, S-123, O-130, N-097, D-097, Y-220
2015:      J-081, F-081
, M-104, A-150, M-152, J-112, J-082, A-120, S-129, O-124, N-098, D-089, Y-223
2016:      J-087, F-087, M-104, A-133, M-153, J-101, J-095, A-102, S-134, O-118, N-090, D-088, Y-213
2017:      J-093, F-087. M-115, A-153, M-152, J-097, J-105, A-131, S-156, O-124, N-099, D-097, Y-231
2018:      J-089, F-090, M-106, A-150, M-161, J-101, J-115, A-121, S-144, O-144, N-113, D-097, Y-233
2019:      J-089, F-092, M-096, A-148, M-158, J-111, J-105, A-132, S-147, O-125, N-104, D-099, Y-226
All Time: J-152, F-143, M-156, A-226, M-240, J-169, J-162, A-200, S-239, O-235, N-195, D-174, Y-233

***Discussion via Bullet Points: 
  • 333 species have been reported to eBird all-time for Delaware County. Five new species were added to the Delaware County eBird list since 2017’s Black-headed Gull. These were Ross's Goose (Media), American White Pelican (Haverford College), American Golden-Plover (Delaware River), Hudsonian Godwit (Deleware River), and Gull-billed Tern (Deleware River).     
  • 226 species were listed on eBird for Delaware County in 2019, 5 less than in 2017 and 7 less than in 2018. The 226 species seen in 2019 was due in large part to two birders who were very active in the county in 2019.
  • A new total species high count was set for 3 months out of twelve: February, August and December 2019 shown in red in the above table.
  • 100+ species have now been reported in nine out of twelve calendar months at least once, leaving only the winter months December thru February outstanding. December came oh so close with 99 species recorded.
  • 150+ species is a tough number to reach in any month. Previously, only three months have achieved that lofty number: April, May, and September.
  • 49 species have been reported for Delaware County for every one of the eBird bar chart weeks in a year.
  • Here is a list of the top 15 of 50 Delaware County eBird hotspots based on species diversity reported to date:
1.  John Heinz NWR-wetlands (Delaware Co) – 271 (one new bird added in last 2 years)
2.  Delaware River-Ft Mifflin/Hog Island Rds-227 (a remarkable twenty new birds in last 2 years)
3.  Ridley Creek SP (IBA) – 201
4. Tyler Arboretum – 188 (3 new birds added in last 2 years)
5. Springton Reservoir (Restricted Access) – 182
6. Ridley Creek SP--Bridle Trail – 180 (2 new birds added in last 2 years)
7. Darlington Tract – 174 (2 new birds added in last 2 years)
8. Crum Woods – 164 (2 new birds added in last 2 years)
9. The Willows – 160 (4 new birds added in last 2 years)
10. Haverford College (Delaware Co) - 154 (7 new birds added in last 2 years)
11. Rose Tree Park – 149 (9 new birds added in last 2 years)
12. Big Bend Farm - 148
13. Philadelphia International Airport – 144  (11 new birds added in last 2 years)
14. Hildacy Farm - 143 (6 new birds added in last 2 years)
15. Taylor Memorial Arboretum –140 (new to the list this time)
  • To view the list of the Top 100 eBirders for Delaware County in 2019, go to:
The top 100 birders in Delaware County submitted 226 species and submitted 4451 (a decrease of  49%) separate checklists. It shows a substantial lack of reporting in 2019. Why is that? I have not a clue. Perhaps the Delco birders are just getting too old to bird. I know I'm feeling the effects of too many years.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

California once again - September 2019

Watching Black Oystercatchers at Crystal Bay Point Park
         My son Chris invited Sharon and I to Disneyland in California and he paid our admissions as our birthday presents since our birthdays are only 33 days apart. We flew from Philly to the John Wayne Airport in Orange County. We would meet up with the family there and spend three days at the park. Afterward, Sharon and I would be birding in Orange County, basically along the oceanfront but a few inland sites also.
None other than John Wayne himself greeted us at the airport

Kylo Ren and a stormtrooper searching for Sharon in Disneyland
          After leaving Disney and saying our goodbyes we headed to one of the best sites in Orange County, the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, otherwise known as the wastewater treatment area. 

          About two weeks before we arrived, birders had found a Common Ringed Plover here. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, it was long gone. Instead, we had to settle for Clark's Grebe, Greater Roadrunner, Allen's Hummingbirds, Black-necked Stilts, White and Brown Pelicans, Spotted Towhees and Orange-crowned Warblers.
Clark's Grebe
Western Grebes

American White Pelican

Lincoln's Sparrow

Spotted Towhee
Snowy Egret

           The next morning we found ourselves at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve along the coast in Huntington Beach. This is a must-see preserve with great birding from a boardwalk and flat dirt pathways.  
Ridgway's Rail

Willet (western race)

Reddish Egret

Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron

Long-billed Curlew

American White Pelican

Savannah Sparrow (Belding's Race)

Western Sandpiper

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Marbled Godwits in back row. The others are Willets and Dowithchers

Great Blue Heron sunning himself
          We moved further south and found Elegant Tern, Wrentit and California Gnatcatcher plus others at Crystal Cove State Park.

Black-bellied Plover


Black Turnstone

California Gnatcatcher

California Gnatcatcher-notice black under tail feathers

California Gnatcatcher-Endangered Species
           The next day we were back at Bolsa Chica once again. We added some new birds today like Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Vaux's Swift, and Eared Grebes.

Vaux's Swift - identified by geography and nothing else

Red-necked Phalaropes

Red-necked Phalarope

Eared Grebe - head not in the greatest position for photo

White-faced Ibis-notice red-colored eye
            Finally, we headed to Huntington County park, which is located inland about 5 miles. We walked around the library for about an hour and then headed to the airport to catch our flight back to Philly. We did find some interesting birds a the park.

Scaly-breasted Munia (male on right side of the tree trunk)
This is a better photo of Munia that I took in Hawaii
          Mixed in with the thirty or so Munias was one bird that I had no idea of its identity. I finally had to ask the eBird compiler from Orange County for help with ID.

Pin-tailed Whydah (immature male)

Pin-tailed Whydah seen here with female Scaly-breasted Munia
Introduced bird from Africa  
          Although we only had two days of birding it was fun to see some new birds and birds from the west coast that I don't see too often.