On Tuesday (5/23), the Mariton Birders visited Giving Pond in Bucks County. This is an old quarry, that is now managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). We had one of those magical mornings for birders. (So magical, that I forgot to take photos.) Many saw new species, and we all saw some uncommon species. Afterwards, Carole listed the 41 species of birds we saw on our morning stroll.
We started things off with the uncommon sighting of a common nighthawk. Someone saw it flying, but then we located it sleeping on a limb. It was in full view, but very camouflaged. As Carole would say, that alone was worth the price of admission. I could have gone home content right then, but that was just the beginning.
On the pond we saw great blue herons. At first it was just two, then two more. By the end, I think we had picked out at least a dozen (and possibly 20) great blue herons hidden in the trees along the edge of the water. We also saw tree swallows, but one didn’t quite match and we determined it was a rough-winged swallow. There was an immature double crested cormorant. We also saw ONE cedar waxwing. Someone commented that where there is one, there must be a flock. Then the flock of waxwings magically appeared.
We watched lots of Baltimore orioles and even found a nest. We saw lots of goldfinches and heard several indigo buntings. There were yellow warblers. There were parula warblers. There were field sparrows, song sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, fish crows, catbirds, etc., etc.
Elsa found a killdeer and was probably close to the nest. She said she was looking at something and the bird suddenly appeared at her feet. Then it scurried away doing the "broken wing trick". Killdeers make a small depression in the gravel for their nest, and their eggs blend right in with all the pebbles. When we returned to the parking lot we saw the killdeer. Then it would stop moving and disappear before our eyes. Magical.
At the next pond outlook, we heard the warbling vireo. We also found one of the empidonax flycathers. There are 5 species of empidonax flycatchers that are virtually identical except for their calls. They prefer different habitats, but each species’ preferred habitat can overlap with at least one of the other species’. We got lucky and this one was singing. It was a willow flycatcher, and we got a great view of it. (Well, perhaps it wasn’t luck.)
Then a mature bald eagle flew low above us. It gave us a long look as it headed for the cliffs in the distance and finally landed in the forest. Someone was talking about the osprey nest in Riegelsville, when an osprey magically appeared before us. It was a magical morning.