Date: 2/1/19 7:48 am From: Alan Buriak <a_buriak...> Subject: Winter Birding Extravaganza - Armstrong County
I'm going to make a shameless plug for the birding in my native county of Armstrong. If anyone in the area is looking for a birding destination this weekend, it's hard to beat as far as winter birding in western PA goes. Here's a little summary of things that could be targeted right now with a one-day birding loop through the county:
* A Northern Shrike was found on Ankeny Rd in the SE corner of the county near the Elders Ridge area on Saturday, and although not relocated, presumably would still be in the area. That area is a huge section of reclaimed strip mines so the habitat is vast.
* A Golden Eagle was found as a rare over-winterer near the same location that it was first found around Thanksgiving, near the village of Shay. It is now known that the bird has been photographed as far west as near the mouth of Garrett's Run at the Allegheny River, so it is covering a large area between the river and the Shay area all the way up Garrett's Run Rd.
* Rough-legged Hawks are putting on a display again this winter in the county after a great showing last year. There have been multiple birds, both light and dark morph, seen in the Worthington area around Claypoole and Fox Hollow Rds. There have also been multiple birds of both color morphs found in the Pasture Rd area west of Dayton and also in the field area east of Mayport, both in the NE corner of the county. Northern Harriers are also routinely found in these same areas. Also last winter, the Peregrine Falcons that nest under the Graff Bridge near Manorville on the Allegheny River had been flying the whole way west to the fields around Worthington to hunt and were seen regularly on telephone poles etc, which was an interesting occurrence. I would assume that at any point they could be found out in those fields again this winter. Merlins are also periodically found in these field areas in winter.
* Lapland Longspurs and a Snow Bunting have been found amongst huge flocks of Horned Larks in recent days in the manured fields along Fox Hollow and Claypoole Rds in the Worthington area.
* Some nice waterfowl are congregating at the remaining area of open water above Lock 7 on the Allegheny River at Kittanning. There are currently multiple Tundra Swans, Canvasbacks, and Common Goldeneyes present.
* Bald Eagles are numerous all over the typical areas of the county, including Crooked Creek Lake and along the Allegheny River.
All of these sightings are in eBird for reference, birder credit, and location information. I cannot take credit for any of these sightings personally but I still felt compelled to share them as, in my opinion, Armstrong County is one of the best and most under-appreciated birding counties in the area (I will be moving back there in just a few months!). Thanks to those birders that braved the rough weather to make these great finds.