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Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Great Day of Winter Birding

Hoary Redpoll (Photo by Ann Reeves)
          In this day and age of Internet birding it is often easy to track down individual birds that you would like to pursue. That is exactly what Sharon and I did on Wednesday. We journeyed to the town of Oaks in Montgomery County in hopes of finding the reported Orange-crowned Warbler that has been hanging around for quite some time. We parked at the Oaks Expo Center and walked across the street to the access path of the Schuylkill River trail. As we meadered down the access path I spotted some Buffleheads in the river and a larger duck with them. So I continued down the trail to reach the river, meanwhile Sharon had stopped a little ways back. As I watched the Lesser Scaup that was among the Bufflehead, Sharon called to me and said "Shouldn't we be looking at the little birds in the brush?" So I turned around and the first bird that Sharon saw flitting around was our target bird, the Orange-crowned Warbler. This warbler lacks wing bars, has very light streaking on the underparts, it can resemble a fall Tennessee Warbler except for the yellow undertail coverts and the orange patch on the crown is usually not visible. They also have a thin pointed bill.

Orange-crowned Warbler (Photos of warbler by Nick Pulcinella)

          After finding the bird so quickly we walked the trail a little, but it was icy so we headed to the Limerick Outlet stores since we were in the area. Fortunately, we didn't find anything to purchase so went to Wegman's for lunch. On the way home we decided to stop at the Philadelphia Naval Yard to see if we could get a look at the Hoary Redpoll that was found by George Armistead a few days previous. I had gone the two days before with various results. The first day I found no redpolls. The next day I found three Common Redpolls, so today I was hoping for the big prize. (Please be advise that since the original writing of this post the Naval Yard now has restricted access.)
Two of the five Common Redpolls (Photo by Ann Reeves)
          When we arrived and were parking the car we noticed a lady with a camera, so we figured she must be looking for the bird also. It turned out to be Ann Reeves and she was looking for the redpolls, only she was looking for the Common Redpolls as she had already seen the Hoary with George the first day it was found.
          Well, we walked around for about a half an hour before we heard the redpolls come into the birch trees, their favorite spot on the base. We tracked them down and did some bushwhacking and found five Common Redpolls and a nice look at the Hoary Redpoll.
Hoary Redpoll (Photo by Ann Reeves)

           Both redpolls were new birds for me in Philadelphia County and the warbler was new for me in Montgomery County. So thanks to the reporting of eBird and the Internet, it was a great day to be out. Just as we were leaving the naval yard it started snowing. The timing worked out today on all counts.

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