THE LAND CONSERVANCY FOR SOUTHERN CHESTER COUNTY’S HAWK WATCH AT BUCKTOE
Visitors (5): Jim Balint, Sharon Milner, Gerry Teig, Dorothy Bedford
Thanks everyone, for coming to beautiful Bucktoe Creek Preserve!
----“Raptors” seen, but deemed not to be migrating: 2-Red-shouldered Hawk,
4-Red-tailed Hawk, 1-American Kestrel, and numerous Black (19) and Turkey
----“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!
Jim was out early mowing our site and crooning for “field brew!” I’ll bet
you didn’t know Jim croons, did you? You wouldn’t think the “big oaf” would
croon, would you? I love Jim [don’t run with that, Buddy. Don’t pick out
a wedding gown or sets of dishes] he does a fantastic job here at Bucktoe,
but the crooning for field brew? It’s not pretty.
But what is pretty is my daily commute to Bucktoe. I thought I’d try
something different today and describe my drive. A drive I treasure, even
from my childhood, where I believe I was taught to “bird” by my mentors,
the Hurlocks in this area. So come with me, won’t you? We’ll head to
“work.” I leave my home southwest of Coatesville and head southeast, a 16
mile journey on Route 82, taking you into “another land.” It’s a journey
into the former “King Ranch” a satellite of the huge Texas ranch, where
formerly, Cattle grazed, drawing throngs of Cattle Egrets. The Egrets are
long since gone, except for a rarity from time to time, as are nearly all
of the cattle, replaced by “horse folks.” We birders have gotta love horse
folks. They keep the land as it was – undeveloped. Sure they clog up the
roads with their slow transport of horses in trailers, but this area should
be savored, not sped through. Normally, I am a big fan of diving with the
“flow of traffic’ (unless that flow has me in a stream of asses driving too
fast), but this area demands a slow drive. When you rise up and enter this
valley from Coatesville, it is like crossing the threshold in “The Wizard
of Oz,” remember? Everything was like a different world and full of color?
Well, even the color here doesn’t look real – an intense green. Just
before we cross into “Oz,” we drive by Triple Fresh grocery store/deli.
These fine folks know me by name and by sandwich, which is more critical.
They sponsor important events like the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, held
annually in West Chester. I passed by without stopping this day, soon
passing a group of 18 Black Vultures feeding on a road-killed Deer I had
noticed for a couple of days. Down the hill you enter “Oz,” crossing the
small “Doe Run” and the area I see Short-eared Owls – last year, while on
the way home from Bucktoe. Speaking of which, the sunsets here are
incredible! As we drive, you pass one postcard setting after another -
each more picturesque than the previous. We turned onto Wilson Rd., one of
my very favorite roads. Today, the small pond there held singing Bobolinks
on the fences, a relatively large number of the beautiful, but dwindling
Eastern Meadowlarks calling from the surrounding meadow, a lone Solitary
Sandpiper [is that redundant? - lol], and a group of “horse-people” getting
ready for a ride.
We make our way to Route 926, driving past the pond at Mill Rd., today
holding nothing but geese, but often with a nice assortment for such a tiny
body of water. From here, I often go to Landhope Farms which makes a fine
bagel and is another supporter of environmental events. A cup of coffee
here often will hold me until I can make my field brew – the coffee of
choice for discretionary birders. Following that, we go past a former gas
station converted into a restaurant. They owners claim you can’t get gas
there anymore, but it just isn’t true. I most certainly have gotten “gas”
there. The Brandywine Polo Fields just off Newark Road follows. This
amazing spot is good for “grass-pipers” – sandpipers with an affinity for
closely-cut plains of grass – of course, Killdeer, but Upland Sandpiper,
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, American Golden-Plover, Black-bellied Plover,
Semipalmated Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Least
Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, etc. I even had a
Wilson’s Phalarope forced down here once during a violent storm. There was
nothng of the kind on this day. Simply a collection of Starlings and
Robins yanking grubs from the good soil. The airfield at New Garden is
passed, where a glider club exists and I plan to be taken up and soared
over Bucktoe, just like our hawks. I’ll write about the experience when it
happens. You often see these gliders over Bucktoe and sometimes a man
appearing to fly nothing more than what looks like a “fan powered by a
lawnmower!” Often I take a mile detour from there, passing the Scarlet
Road wetlands which are uncommonly good for shorebirds during migration for
such a small spot. Today there were just bathing Starlings. Scarlet Rd.
YUCK! We continue past the pool along Sharp Rd. that once had an American
Avocet, but regularly has Great Blue Heron and Egrets in season. That
brings me to “my” glorious Bucktoe Creek Preserve, where just up the road I
make a left into “my” Bucktoe Creek Preserve” and one of the most peaceful
scenes in the area. How’s THAT for a commute? It is truly hard to believe
that this jewel is a scant 30 miles from the metropolis of center city
Philadelphia. When done at Bucktoe, I get to do it all over again. How
wonderful is THAT?? Did you enjoy your ride?
The weather was so much better than they had predicted and I arrived early.
A Broad-winged Hawk was up early too, at 8:51am – likely anxious for its
commute thru the same area just to our north that I just described.
I managed a walk along the meadow edge where I discovered a Red-eyed Vireo
[FOY], but the rain did finally arrive. At 12:28, the loud and sharp call
note of a Blue Grosbeak [FOY] reached my ears. It led me to a bush in the
meadow where this stunning male was calling. So nice to have them back!
Dorothy arrived after a walk at Exton where she reported a variety of
warblers and 5 Solitary Sandpipers [an oxymoron?]. She had field brew,
dubbing it “ambrosia.”
I stayed late again, but the late flight of Broad-winged Hawks did not
materialize today. A couple of singing Baltimore Orioles were in the
northern woods [my FOY], and then a calling Barred Owl and a singing
Nashville Warbler [FOY], as I finished up. The day had ended and I get to
drive that journey through ”my Land of Oz.”
---- Thanks to The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County for their
support, and especially, to the Brokaws, for not only their incredible
support, but gracious generosity in opening their property to the public
for this watch, and oh, so very much more!
----ADDITIONAL BIRD HIGHLIGHTS:
Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Barred Owl, Red-eyed Vireo,
Nashville Warbler, Ovenbird, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Thrasher, Orchard
Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Blue Grosbeak, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern
Phoebe, and White-crowned Sparrow
----OTHER WILDLIFE NOTED: Butterflies (3): Cabbage White, Clouded Sulphur,
Spring Azure. Dragonflies (0): Reptiles & Amphibians (0): Mammals (1):
----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: 6.37; Steps: 14,407; Floors: 4.
----“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,” – searching for Hawks must remain our
primary focus) for totals of each species seen for “The Watch” year.
TOTAL SPECIES – Identified from watch site: today: 61; this season: 104
NEW SPECIES ADDED TODAY TO THIS YEAR’S “WATCH SPECIES LIST (4):” Red-eyed
Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Nashville Warbler, and Baltimore Oriole..
Tomorrow’s flight looks like a miserable day with steady rain, especially
in the afternoon.
Come join us, folks! We’re here every day thru April 30, 9am thru 3pm.Rain
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 THE LAND
CONSERVANCY FOR SOUTHERN CHESTER COUNTY. Please contact us at
<earlybirdtours...> 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.