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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Black-headed Gull at John Heinz Refuge - 12/26/16

Black-headed Gull - 1st winter

          A first winter Black-headed Gull was first reported from John Heinz refuge on Christmas Day. The eBird alerts went out to late in the day for me to get to the refuge before sunset so I was there at first light on Monday Dec 26th. When I got the the boardwalk I was a little frustrated because there were only three Ring-billed Gulls flying around among the Common Mergansers, Northern Shovelers, Pintails, Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads. So after a half hour or so the gulls started streaming into the area but still only Ring-bills and one Herring Gull showed themselves. 
          Damon Orsetti soon showed up and then came Frank Windfelter. Around 8am I finally spotted the Black-headed Gull circling around behind us and it was putting on a real exciting show giving us great looks at this European vagrant. This was a new Philadelphia County bird for me and apparently only the second record for the county.
          Later that day I headed to the the Philadelphia Naval Yard and was able to find a Black Scoter sleeping among the mixed flock of Canvasbacks, Ruddy Ducks and Greater Scaup. This was my second new county bird of the day.
Black Scoter and Ruddy Ducks

Some of the 60 Canvasbacks

           So I figured good luck was with me today so Sharon and I drove up to the Wissahickon Valley Park. We arrived just after dark and walked a little ways down the trail to get away from the road noise. We then played a tape of the Eastern Screech-Owl. Sure enough I soon saw one fly in over our heads and land on a bare branch and started calling. This was a bird that I should have had on my Philadelphia County list previously, but never made the attempt to find one. Now that I did it was my third new county bird today. What a great day!
Black-headed Gull in flight - notice black tipped primaries, red legs and bill

And finally a great photo of an Eastern Screech-Owl at night

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Hi all

       I have made a simple analysis of eBird submissions from the past 6 years and you can see it below.

2016 Delaware County eBird Years in Review

***eBird Web Site ( 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: 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, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016; year total for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016; 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
2014:      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
All Time: J-147, F-139, M-152, A-220, M-234, J-156, J-159, A-189, S-233, O-228, N-182, D-173, Y-327

***Discussion via Bullet Points:

  • 327 species have been reported to eBird all time for Delaware County. No new species were added to the Delaware County eBird list since 2013 -  American Avocet.
  • 213 species were listed on eBird for Delaware County in 2016, 10 less than in 2015.
  • A new total species high count was set for 1 month out of twelve: September 2016 and also March tied with the record set in 2015.
  • 100+ species have now been reported in eight out of twelve calendar months at least once,  leaving only the winter months November thru February outstanding.
  • 150+ species have been reported for just two months: April & May. October is the only other month which approaches 150, missing by only six species.
  • 42 species have been reported for Delaware County for every one of the eBird bar chart weeks in a year.
  • The top 15 of 41 Delaware County eBird locations based on species diversity reported to date:

1.  John Heinz NWR-wetlands(Delaware Co) – 267 (two new birds added this year)

2.  Ridley Creek SP (IBA) – 202

3.  Delaware River-Ft Mifflin/Hog Island Rds-201 (two new birds added this year)

4. Tyler Arboretum – 185

5. Springton Reservoir (Restricted Access) – 182 (four new birds added this year)

6. Ridley Creek SP--Bridle Trail – 178

7. Darlington Tract – 173 (six new birds added this year)

8. Crum Woods – 160 (three new birds added this year)

9. Big Bend Farms (restricted Access) – 146 (seven new birds added this year)

10. The Willows – 145 (eight new birds added this year)

11. Rose Tree Park – 138 (five new birds added this year)

12. Haverford College (Delaware Co)- 137 (two new birds added this year)

13. Crum Creek Reservoir –132 (six new birds added this year)

14. Hildacy Farm - 130 (New to top 15 hotspots)

15. Thornbury Township Trail – 129(Two new birds added this year)

  • To view the list of the Top 100 eBirders for Delaware County in 2016, go to:

The top 100 birders in Delaware County submitted 213 species and submitted 2433 separate checklists. Way to go!!! And I know there a several good birders whose lists aren't counted. Maybe they will add their sightings next year. (Hint, Hint)
Delaware County data sets for bar chart and other eBird status & distribution characterizations were greatly increased in 2016 by the record participation of birders by/for whom data was entered. Thanks to all of you!