Today I went south instead of north and started the day on the bike trail along the southern border of Clarion Co, the Redbank Valley Trail at Lawsonham. Not as much singing as earlier in summer but still plenty of activity. Black-and-white warblers were everywhere with young families and adults feeding young. Redstarts were also feeding young. Best birds of course were the 5 worm-eating warblers that I found, still singing and one carrying food so able to confirm breeding. One was before the tunnel heading east towards Climax, the others were past there. The one carrying food was right across from the lean-to and picnic area just past the tunnel. I was able to see as well as hear all but one bird as they were all right along the trail or not far off.
Mid-day I made a brief trip through the Skyline Dr spot and checked on the dickcissels. Both singing males remain and are recognizable by their differing songs which I recorded separately the other day and so recognized again today. No females noted and lots of singing Henslow's sparrows still around.
From there I met up with fellow county birder Mal Hays and we visited a spot he has been watching clay-colored sparrows since last year. This is a new area for me and was first reported by him last year. The birds returned this year and have been regular since early in June. We watched a singing male today who was vocal throughout our entire 50 minute visit. No female was noted but back in the first week of June he had seen both a male and a second bird with nesting material. So they seem to be getting established here. This is at SGL 74 outside of Strattanville and north of I-80. The location is in eBird and coordinates from there are accurate to the parking area of the gamelands. Walking in the gamelands road from there, the birds are right up on the hill to the right above the parking area in the fenced in deer enclosure. According to Mal, both years they have stayed pretty steadily in this location, so with the fence they are fairly protected from predators at least. I have not found any yet this year so it was a first for me for the county this year. They are becoming much harder to locate in some of their usual spots so if anyone is interested in this area, the map from eBird should take you right to the parking area.
Just in two days of a moderate amount of time I once again proved to myself what a fantastic area Clarion County is for birds, it encompasses classic north and south birds at once, and has all the beautiful grasslands in between. It's pretty awesome to drive a few miles and go from worm-eating warblers or hermit thrush and mourning warblers to dickcissels, clay-colored and Henslow's sparrows. In 23 years of watching and learning about the birds here, I have had countless hours of happiness and learn something new every time I am out.
July is also a great month for breeding birds !! Don't quit birding too soon and give up after June, there is plenty still going on out there to learn and enjoy for another week or so..