Observation start time: 12:00:00
Observation end time: 18:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Larry Lewis
Observers: Kathleen Pileggi, Susan Corkran
SOUTHERN CHESTER COUNTY SPRING HAWK WATCH AT BUCKTOE CREEK PRESERVE
Visitors (4): Tom Brokaw, Susan Corkran, Kathleen Pileggi.
Thanks everyone, for coming to beautiful Bucktoe Creek Preserve Hawk
----“Raptors” seen, but deemed not to be migrating: 1-Cooper's Hawk,
1-Red-shouldered Hawk, 6-Red-tailed Hawk, 1-American Kestrel, and numerous
Black (42) and Turkey Vultures (55).
----“BUCKTOE BIRD BLOG” (BBB) - (Comments on the events & “feel” of the day
– read on, if you dare) We see birds, many of them hawks; encounter other
wildlife; discuss plants; while striving to laugh and have FUN with it all!
Notes on the raptors will be here, other birds and wildlife we notice or
discuss, and humorous (I hope) stories and anecdotes. This isn’t brain
surgery. Trust me, I know about that. I’ve already been “dead” once (it’s
overrated). So, you WILL have to forgive me, but I AM going to have the
ultimate fun with what remains of this life!
TODAY’S ‘BBB:’ ---“DO YOU SEE, WHAT I SEE?”---
We conducted a walk at nearby Longwood Gardens first this morning.
Twenty-five people enjoyed an incredibly close, docile male Yellow-bellied
Sapsucker slowly revisiting a row of previously drilled holes six feet up
the trunk of a Maple tree, and just fifteen feet ahead of us. These holes
were clearly leaking sap, a wet area streaming earthward along the bark
from each of the borings. “Our Sapsucker” was shifting from hole stream to
hole stream eating the sap and insects trapped into the attractant, as they
are want to do. Six feet above this row of holes was another row – clearly
older and not leaking sap. It was so nice to see this all, and so clearly
watch what you can read. It is so wondrous to do that, isn’t it? Of
course, we can read about this in books and watch it on videos on the
internet, but to actually EXPERIENCE it – now, THAT’S where it’s at! On
our walk, we also saw Brown Creepers, our first Ruby-crowned Kinglet and an
early-returning Green Heron.
When I got to Bucktoe to conduct the Watch, Susan Corkran was soon there to
join me. It’s so nice to see you, Susan. My favorite Susan story – and
she knows I’m recounting it here (I have her permission) – is this:
It was a wet dreary cold Bucktoe day in late spring some years ago. And it
was FOGGY. We had our regular bird walk scheduled and nobody was showing
up. Unusual, it was the height of warbler migration – but this weather was
just so miserable. Everybody realized they’d see nothing in this “soup.”
Those warblers would be safely hidden in those treetops. You could barely
see those – the tree tops, not the warblers. You definitely couldn’t see
those. I was already picturing myself folding under the sheets and
catching some unanticipated extra winks upon my return to bed, when upon
the gravel of our driveway, I hear the mournful crunching familiar sound of
a late-arriving car! Oh, no! Is SOMEONE actually coming to do a walk on
this day!? No!! But yes, it was. Horrors – much worse than that – it was
Susan and ONLY Susan! Now, I love Susan, but she is not known for, how
should we say this – her visual acuity. An example of a typical field
conversation – both then and reliving it today…follows - species name
altered to protect the innocent:
“Susan, look! A Green Heron!” I exclaimed.
“Where?” Asked Susan. A mystified look etching on her face.
“Twenty feet away, right in front of us!”
“I don’t see it.”
“On that dark tree, right there!”
“I don’t see a tree. What tree?”
“The one leaning over the creek!”
“Where? What (creek)?”
“Susan, the Green Heron is only two feet to the right of my laser pointer’s
“What laser pointer? You know that I don’t see those!”
Now, we typically conduct the walk rain or shine. I’ve certainly birded
long enough to know full-well that birding can be great on bad weather days
– but this was REALLY bad, you couldn’t see a lick. Did I mention there
was FOG?? And it was to be only me and Susan going.
“Where’s the hidden camera? I’m on ‘Candid Camera,’ right?” (Did I just
show my age? I did, right?) “I know somebody’s playing a joke! I get it.
I give up. Susan, I’d have better luck getting BOTH Stevie Wonder and Mr.
MaGoo on a Cerulean Warbler atop a tall leafed-out sycamore than I am going
to have getting you on any warbler, or bird, today!” (I definitely showed
my age with that reference…I mean, Mr. Magoo??)
“And my binoculars aren’t working properly, either.” Added Susan.
Oh, does it get any better? “Do you REALLY think it matters, Susan??”
“I don’t think it does, either! Why do you carry those binoculars,
Just perfect! Now, imagine all that conditional baggage, transposing it
from Green Heron to tiny warbler. That’s right - finding an active, small
warbler very high in a leafed-out canopy on a foggy day – just me and
Susan…. Can you say “frustrating!?” We laughed hysterically reliving it
all. We saw nothing that day, but as walks go, it was one of the walks
I’ve ever had. (written correctly – adjective withheld). Thank you, Susan
for that memory and reliving it so often with me. I don’t have many
memories…but thankfully I didn’t lose that one. One of my very favorite
stories of all-time! I truly love when things go a little bit awry, a
little off kilter – as long as nobody is hurt. That’s the things you
really remember - the spice of life. When things go as expected they
quickly vanish into the mundane experiences of life - the boredom of
normalcy. Normal is highly overrated. But when things are a bit out of
whack…the chance for a funny lasting memory is increased. That’s been my
experience, at least. Yours?
Ironically, just then Palm Warblers & a Pine Warbler flew onto the grass
mere feet away – a typical feeding posture for Palm, unusual for Pine….EVEN
more unusual - Susan saw them! BOTH! You just can’t make this stuff up!
4:20pm brought the hooting of Barred Owls from the woods near the
confluence of Bucktoe Creek and Red Clay Creek – where I usually hear
The Anchorman, Tom made an appearance late in the day. It was nice to see
you, Tom on your stroll around your amazing property. Thanks for all you,
and your family do here at Bucktoe Creek Preserve…
----My thanks to Kathleen Pileggi for posting these sightings to ebird and
for helping with this submission to “Hawk Count.” Thanks also, to the
Brokaws, for their incredible support and gracious generosity in opening
their property to the public for this watch, and oh, so very much more!
----ADDITIONAL BIRD HIGHLIGHTS: 2-Barred Owl, 1-Brown Thrasher, 1-Pine
Warbler, 4-Palm Warbler, 15-White-crowned Sparrow.
----OTHER WILDLIFE NOTED: Butterflies (2): Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur.
Dragonflies (0); Reptiles & Amphibians (1): Spring Peeper. Mammals (1):
Eastern Gray Squirrel.
----EBNT’s “Walk with Nature” ™ Program Daily Tally with our Fitbits:
This is a stationary watch, but if I stay stationary too long, I might tend
to “bulk up.” Besides, I am ever so fortunate to be walking unaided, at
all! Therefore, I keep moving (if you’ve been here, then you know that I
pace endlessly….) - my Fitbit thanks me and its part of my “Walk with
Nature” program. So, below are MY results at the watch for the day. Your
totals could all be zero, if you choose to sit and relax. You are
certainly welcome to take it easy….I simply choose not to, affording me a
panoramic view of our entire sky and a bit of exercise. So come join our
“Walk with Nature!” ™ Anyway, just for fun, here are my numbers at the site
for today (join me, if you wish): Miles: 6.76; Steps: 15,853; Floors:
----“SEASON’S BIRD SPECIES LIST” – we at Bucktoe are not just a hawk watch,
but conduct a migration tally from the site. We include it here, from time
to time (about once a week), to let you know what else we’re seeing here at
the Bucktoe Watch. Our tally board, on site, will feature an approximation
(very rough, best “guestimate,” – raptors must remain our primary focus)
for totals of each species seen for “The Watch” year.
TOTAL SPECIES – Identified from watch site: today: 45; this season: 83
NEW SPECIES ADDED TODAY TO THIS YEAR’S “WATCH SPECIES LIST (0):” none.
Come join us, folks! We’re here every day thru April 30, 9am thru 3pm (at
least). Rain or shine…. but not snow or ice…
This report is being sent individually to participants and people deemed to
be interested parties. If you wish off the list, kindly notify me and you
will be removed. However, this one mailing list is how I notify every one
of our events, our walk schedule, tours and rare birds.
The Hawk Watch at Bucktoe Creek Preserve is sponsored by ... well,
sponsored by nobody at the moment (which, I guess, means it’s being
sponsored by me, for now, right folks?), although in the past sponsored,
alternately and personally very appreciatively, by the Delaware Nature
Society & The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County. and certainly
the Brokaw family. Please contact us at <earlybirdtours...> with
questions or comments.
Report submitted by Larry Lewis (<earlybirdtours...>)
High open meadow near Red Clay Creek
Directions to site:
From Kennett Square, PA (in southern Chester County):
Take Union Street south out of town. This becomes Kaolin Road. Make a right
onto Hillendale Road. Proceed about 1.5 miles to Sharp Road and make a
left. At the second hilltop on Sharp Road, the entrance is on the left
across from Candlewyck development. (432 Sharp Rd.) Upon entering driveway,
make a right on gravel road opposite first driveway you see on left. Follow
gravel road (and the "Hawk Watch" signs for about 1/2 mile to the pavilion
on the left and the parking area in the grass to the right.