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Mariton: Blue Sky Birding

June 3, 2016

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus. 

Scarlet Tanager with a blue sky.

Scarlet Tanager with a blue sky.

We finally had blue skies on the last of our Tuesday Bird Walks. We have had some amazing bird sightings this spring, even if we always carried the rain gear along.  On our final day we ventured to a State Game Lands near Lake Nockamixon State Park.  As we walked along the gated gravel road the woods were very quiet.  Eventually, our patience was rewarded and we saw some uncommon birds.

Hooded Warbler

Hooded Warbler

Everyone got a good look at a Hooded Warbler.   This is just a gorgeous bird with a pretty song.  It is not common, but they nest here in the summer where they have good habitat.  After watching it for awhile I think everyone in the group would have been content to go home right then.  But wait…

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker

We were also treated to Red-headed Woodpeckers. We saw at least three.  We even saw a female go into a nest hole in a dead tree.  She would occasionally stick her head out of the hole and look around.  These birds are uncommon.  Many people see Red-bellied Woodpeckers and mistakenly call them red-headed.  It is understandable.  Red-bellied Woodpeckers have a lot of red on their heads, but the Red-headed Woodpecker’s head is completely red.  The Hooded Warbler and Red-headed Woodpeckers were quite the show, but we also saw Baltimore Orioles, Scarlet Tanagers, and Indigo Buntings.  Mariton has its Nesting Bird Census this Saturday, and we start Butterfly walks next Tuesday.

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