I made my annual visit to the Darlington Tract this morning to make sure that the American Woodcock were displaying and therefore ensure all will be right with the world for another year. It will be.
I arrived at the parking area around 5:35 am and walked Darlington Road to the large field on the right most recently of LeConte's sparrow fame. My favorite spot for listening is directly across the road from the large house on the hill. I got there at 5:45 just about at the recommended time of 45 minutes before the 6:24 sunrise. Peenting seemed to be coming from everywhere. I very conservatively estimated 4 displaying birds but I suspect there were more. Two were very close and I got a couple nice looks at the displaying birds fluttering high above in the early morning light. Fifteen minutes later the sky was getting brighter and the morning chorus and the geese had started up and woodcock were no longer apparent. This is the third year in a row I have found woodcock at this spot.
I have always done this here in the early morning. I have never tried it in the evening. I'm sure they are there although traffic on Darlington Rd would be more of an issue. Win Schaefer has reported to me that he heard 5-6 woodcock on the Episcopal Academy grounds 3/4. Unfortunately there is no public access to the spot.
I would appreciate hearing from others where they find displaying woodcock especially in Delaware County.
I'm ready for spring now.
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