Date: 5/14/19 7:29 pm
From: Rudolph Keller <rckeller...>
Subject: Re: PAMC Report - Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Butler, Allegheny & Washington Counties
In Berks Co., PAMC was for many years an event organized similarly to a CBC,
taking much time and effort to compile. Work demands (the kind producing a
paycheck) on the last compiler ended that organization, and now a few people
go out on their own on something like a 20th century big day. Listserves
were for a time the go-to place for bird news, an improved version of the
telephone chains and hotlines that preceded them. All that fractured with
the advent of many social media channels. Also, our PAMC was centered on the
local bird club, another traditional birding institution that is waning for
lack of joiners.
Rudy Keller
Berks Co.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ryan Tomazin" <wvwarblers...>
To: <PABIRDS...>
Sent: Monday, May 13, 2019 10:47 PM
Subject: [PABIRDS] PAMC Report - Crawford, Erie, Lawrence, Butler, Allegheny
& Washington Counties


Hello All,

To begin, frankly I'm surprised that reporting on PAMC Big Days isn't a
thing anymore. Have Facebook, eBird and Twitter really just swallowed up the
whole human interaction experience???

Anyways, my day began way too early. Thanks to my apparently new inability
to sleep in a car for more than 90 minutes, I woke up at 10:10 on Friday,
managed to sit still and rest until midnight, and then headed up the road to
Custards at Geneva Marsh in Crawford County. Starting at 12:21 a.m. (not the
3:30 my alarm would have started me at), bird #1 was Virginia Rail, followed
quickly by a fledgling Great Horned Owl that was pretty close by. While
walking the spillway road, I added Sora, Swamp Sparrow, a number of beaver,
two or three Common Gallinule, and finally a screech owl, after much
calling. I ended up with 9 species there. The setting moon was beautiful,
and I saw an amazing shooting star that lasted for 5-6 seconds. After the
moon set, a heavy fog crept up.

Next was the middle part of Geneva Marsh, where I walked the main road alone
at 3:30 in the fog with beavers and muskrats vocalizing and making other
assorted noises. Another VA Rail, my first Marsh Wren, and then an American
Bittern called just once nearby. More amazing shooting starts when I could
see the stars.

The fog put a damper on the birds at McMichael Road, so I took a nap and
woke up at 5. Gary Reimer, a birder from that area, showed up, and we began
birding in the gloom while he waited for his birding friends to show. More
Sora, Marsh Wren, Gallinule and other expected birds, plus a Barred Owl that
called just once. When I went back to the car, I had a female Prothonotary,
plus a Northern Waterthrush.

Up the road, I caught up with Gary and friends. There were two singing
Veerys, a Tennessee Warbler, and more new expected species.

Miller's Ponds was partially obscured by fog, but I had an Upland Sandpiper
on a telephone pole on the way there, and another calling 1/2 mile past
that. The ponds area had Sandhill Cranes, Savannah Sparrows, Bobolinks, a
Horned Lark, and something I've never seen or heard of before: a fog-bow. It
was maybe 300-400 yards wide, very thick, and pure white. Very cool.

I moved on to the Espyville Marina, where Turkey Vultures were on the banks
of the lake. Had a Red-shouldered Hawk being mobbed by other new birds.
North Shore Road and the Manning/Tuttle area had lots of warblers, including
Bay-breasted, Magnolia and more. Got two Red-headed Woodpeckers in the
expected dead tree area there, and overall had 50+ species in that area.

Time was slipping away too fast as I made for the Spillway, where I had the
normal woodland warblers and flycatchers on the way, and Cliff Swallows,
cormorants, Common Loons, Purple Martins and my first Forster's Tern at the
parking lot at the spillway. As I counted up my species total so far, a pair
of American Wigeons (quite late ones) flew right over, and I got good looks
at the male to verify. They were species #101, and Chimney Swifts in
Linesville gave me 102 species at 10 a.m., all in Crawford County.

I shot up to Presque Isle next, knowing that my day's schedule was getting
blown up. Vista #1 had Bufflehead, Red-breasted Mergs, and other normal
migrants. The next couple of stops were uneventful, but Vista #4 got me my
lifer Eared Grebe, a continuing rarity there. As I worked through the IBA
(the flooded IBA), I added Caspian Tern, a kingfisher, and other expected
birds. The ranger's station bird feeder had no less than 7 Baltimore Orioles
on it, and in one of the photos, a Red-breasted Nuthatch was in the
background. Fun!

With the breeze picking up, and noticing how flooded everything was, I tried
to bird Gull Point from the lighthouse, but only added Common Tern. There
was no time to walk out, so I headed to Dead Pond Trail, where I saw Bob
Mulvihill and his aviary group. He gave me a few leads and off I went,
adding the Black-throated Blue Warbler, kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher
and other warblers that Bob mentioned. A few minutes birding with Michael
David helped me when he spotted a harrier that I got on. There was an
amazing, very thick, very wide rainbow "bridge" across the sky where the
harrier was. It was not a bow, as there wasn't even one degree of arc to it.
Another new meteorological phenomenon. Working my way out of the park, I
added an Ovenbird, and got my day's only House Finch at the environmental
center. I think I totaled only 19 new species in Erie.

Being so late, I caught a quick nap at The Wells at Geneva Marsh (with
gallinule, Marsh Wren and others singing in the background), and then hit
the Volant Strips in Lawrence County. Added mockingbird and Henslow's
Sparrows, plus more Bobolinks and another Horned Lark. The Shaner Gravel
Pond was great. There were 10 Short-billed Dowitchers, 2 Dunlin, 4
Semi-palmated Plovers, 5-6 Least Sandpipers (I thought a couple might have
been Semi-palmated Sandpipers, but I saw none in my photos, so I took them
off the list today), plus Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, and a vocal
female Hooded Merganser. I THINK the Lesser Yellowlegs might have been my
126th species of the day, breaking my personal record set in 2017 running a
similar route. The other shorebirds got me over 130 by 6 p.m.

Time was waiting for no man, so I rushed south, adding more Osprey and Bald
Eagles along the way. Sewickley Heights Park in Allegheny County got me
Cerulean Warbler, and at Walker Park, my only Louisiana Waterthrush. Rain
was starting to spit, giving me premature dark skies to worry about. I
jetted over to Burgettstown Road and got a Grasshopper Sparrow and my first
(and only) live turkey of the day. All the fun birds showed up at Bald Knob
pond Sunday morning, and I had almost nothing there Saturday night. Dreams
of evening-singing White-eyed Vireo and Willow Flycatcher were dashed at
Hillman State Park in Washington County, but as I made my way up Five Points
Road Extension, listening for a vireo, I was surprised by not one, not two,
but three whip-poor-wills calling in one area. The third was contesting with
an American Woodcock that was displaying, and the woodcock was species #137
for the day. A fourth whip-poor-will was calling at Haul Road and Five
Points. I had the song cued up in the car before I got to the park, and
never had to use it!

The weather was getting windier and spitting rain as I got to Robinson Mall
to see if I could get an easy nighthawk, but none appeared. I didn't bother
going to Pittsburgh to try there, and opted for home. What a day...

The numbers: in 41 hours from Friday morning to Saturday night, I slept 2
hours, 35 minutes, and drove 400 miles.
- got all the expected raptors except for Sharp-shinned
- got all three owls
- only 6 species of waterfowl, but 11 shorebird species
- all the Raillidaes
- all woodpeckers except for Pileated
- all swallows except for Bank
- 20 species of warblers
- 9 sparrow species
- big misses: the aforementioned, plus hummingbird, cuckoos, peregrine,
Blue-headed Vireo, Winter Wren, Swainson's and Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwing,
some easier migrant and breeding warblers, White-throated Sparrow, junco,
Purple Finch and Pine Siskin.

Everything I had is in eBird, if you search by county. Some second-rate
photos accompany some reports.

It was a beautiful day once the fog burned off, with a low of 38F in the wee
hours, topping out at 68F. A day that I don't expect to top, species-wise. I
hope that you enjoyed reading this, and will contribute your own tales of
the Big Day.

Cheers,

Ryan Tomazin - Bridgeville, PA
Rudy Keller
Boyertown, PA
Berks County
 
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