PSO Annual Meeting May 29-31, 2015

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Field Trips - Saturday - Sunday

Leave from Days Hotel West Chester

The trips are limited to 20 participants each, so please register for the trips in which you are interested. Field Trip registration will be opened on April 29. Only 18 participants will be permitted to sign up online. Two spots will be kept vacant for sign up at the Friday evening social.

Saturday May 30

Ridley Creek State Park - Al Guarente
Ridley Creek State Park is a 2,600-acre tract of deciduous woodlands and brushy fields located in the northwest section of Delaware County in Edgmont Township.The park offers excellent birding throughout the year. There are two areas of the park that are a must for visiting birders: the Bridle trail north of Gradyville Road and the Lower Sycamore Mills Road. Other areas of the park that offer good birding are: the Park Office area, Forge Road, the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, and the Blue Trail.

Grasslands of the Laurels, King Ranch and Stroud IBA - Brian Byrnes
This Important Bird Area in central Chester County is a stronghold for grassland-nesting bird species in southeastern Pennsylvania thanks to tens of thousands of acres of protected lands. Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow are typical nesting birds. Dickcissel and Blue Grosbeak are also possible. Scrub/shrub nesting species of note include Blue-winged Warbler, Field Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Brown Thrasher. The area supports at least 43 species of birds listed in the Pennsylvania State Wildlife Action Plan, many of them in significant numbers. Among our stops will be the premier privately-owned property in the IBA, generally inaccessible to the public. We will spend a lot of time on foot, but hiking will not be strenuous. Restroom facilities are scarce; we will make a gas station stop when needed. Limit to 20 participants.

Nottingham/Goat Hill Serpentine Barrens - Holly Merker
Our Serpentine Barrens region, boasting specialty birds like breeding YBCH, PIWA, YBCU, WEVI, among others. Also, an evening trip would produce the area’s only stronghold for EWPW. This area is so different in ecology than the rest of the county, and most of the state. Hence, could be interesting for visiting birders.

Longwood Gardens - Longer Trip - Carol Majors
Longwood Gardens - Shorter trip - Larry Lewis

Longwood Gardens is a renowned botanical garden, featuring acres of mixed habitats, extraordinary flower gardens, water gardens, vegetable gardens, native plant gardens, and more. The birding (and photography for those interested) there can be fantastic. They recently opened a new "Meadow Garden" which is nothing short of impressive with the thought that went into planning this garden,  keeping in mind native landscapes and specifically grassland birds. We will also visit an area not open to the public that contains an effluent pond and wetland. This will be a private tour. Leaders: Carol Majors and Bill Haldeman. Limit to 20 participants. Due to expected high demand, a 2nd trip has been scheduled led by Larry Lewis, this trip will be shorter in time and walking.  This walk will only go through the Meadow Garden and will begin at 9:00am and meet at the Longwood Gardens Visitors Center. For more information visit their website: http://longwoodgardens.org/

Great Marsh - Barry Blust
Great Marsh, located in northern Chester County, is located about 30 minutes from West Chester. The IBA is about 3400 acres of freshwater marsh, open water, ag fields, and hardwood forest. Target birds are Sora, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, and Green Heron. All the forest breeding birds of Chester County are also likely. Knee high waterproof boots are recommended. We’ll hike trails through marsh and forest. A catwalk crosses the middle of the marsh. Bathrooms may be available.

Westtown School & Exton Park - Brian Quindlen
Seated among 600-acres, the Westtown School is rich in both species diversity in addition to ornithological history. Old-growth forests, rich wetlands, and the Westtown Lake offer a variety of habitats for a well-rounded checklist which includes marsh birds and a variety of warblers. Also, the Westtown School is the alma mater of famous ornithologists Townsend, Say, and Cassin.

Featuring one of southeastern Pennsylvania’s top emergent wetlands, Exton Park is a birding gem. Exton Park’s 12-acre pond attracts a variety of both waterfowl and shorebirds, and the surrounding wetland area provides great habitat for marsh birds. Matched with sprawling corn fields lined by hedgerows, this location offers up a wide variety of habitats. Species typically include Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Indigo Bunting, Green Heron, White-eyed and Warbling Vireo, and Wood Duck.

John Heinz NWR/Tinicum - George Armistead
Nearly 1,000 acres of diverse habitats, including the largest freshwater tidal marsh in the state, sustain a huge variety of resident and migratory birds. Visitors barely realize the refuge is situated next to mega highways and a busy airport, and become immersed in the urban oasis of Philadelphia’s wildest backyard, where more than 320 bird species have been recorded. Spring bird walks highlight myriad warblers, orioles, vireos and flycatchers, as well as waders, woodpeckers, wrens, swallows and Bald Eagles engaged with their 6th consecutive nesting season at Heinz Refuge.
Meet at Heinz Refuge Visitors Center parking area, near the stone building. Bring binoculars, water bottle and trail snack. Note that the Visitor Center opens at 8:30 am, with full restroom facilities, water fountains and beverage machines. There are porta-johns on refuge trails. Heinz Refuge phone# 215-365-3118.

Mt Moriah/Cobbs Creek - Tony Croasdale
Mt Moriah Cemetery Mount Moriah Cemetery located along Cobbs Creek in Southwest Philadelphia has a unique mosaic of habitats. This historic cemetery was neglected and then abandoned. An active friends group has taken over the property and is in the process of removing vegetation from many of the graves. They are committed to maintain the valuable wildlife habitat in the cemetery. The cemetery has a creek, woodlands, old ornamental conifers, and old fields. This is a good spot for kestrel, brown thrashers, and wood ducks. The brushy secondary growth is perfect habitat for mourning warblers that migrate in late spring.

Meeting Location: 62nd Street and Kingsessing Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143

 

Sunday, May 31

Great Marsh - Rob Blye
Great Marsh, located in northern Chester County, is located about 30 minutes from West Chester. The IBA is about 3400 acres of freshwater marsh, open water, ag fields, and hardwood forest. Target birds are Sora, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, and Green Heron. All the forest breeding birds of Chester County are also likely. Knee high waterproof boots are recommended. We’ll hike trails through marsh and forest. A catwalk crosses the middle of the marsh. Bathrooms may be available.

Grasslands of the Laurels, King Ranch and Stroud IBA - Brian Byrnes
This Important Bird Area in central Chester County is a stronghold for grassland-nesting bird species in southeastern Pennsylvania thanks to tens of thousands of acres of protected lands. Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow and Savannah Sparrow are typical nesting birds. Dickcissel and Blue Grosbeak are also possible. Scrub/shrub nesting species of note include Blue-winged Warbler, Field Sparrow, Willow Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Brown Thrasher. The area supports at least 43 species of birds listed in the Pennsylvania State Wildlife Action Plan, many of them in significant numbers. Among our stops will be the premier privately-owned property in the IBA, generally inaccessible to the public.

We will spend a lot of time on foot, but hiking will not be strenuous. Restroom facilities are scarce; we will make a gas station stop when needed. Limit to 20 participants.

John Heinz/Tinicum - Debbie Beer
Nearly 1,000 acres of diverse habitats, including the largest freshwater tidal marsh in the state, sustain a huge variety of resident and migratory birds. Visitors barely realize the refuge is situated next to mega highways and a busy airport, and become immersed in the urban oasis of Philadelphia’s wildest backyard, where more than 320 bird species have been recorded. Spring bird walks highlight myriad warblers, orioles, vireos and flycatchers, as well as waders, woodpeckers, wrens, swallows and Bald Eagles engaged with their 6th consecutive nesting season at Heinz Refuge.
Meet at Heinz Refuge Visitors Center parking area, near the stone building. Bring binoculars, water bottle and trail snack. Note that the Visitor Center opens at 8:30 am, with full restroom facilities, water fountains and beverage machines. There are porta-johns on refuge trails. Heinz Refuge phone# 215-365-3118.

Nottingham/Goat Hill Serpentine Barrens - Holly Merker
Our Serpentine Barrens region, boasting specialty birds like breeding YBCH, PIWA, YBCU, WEVI, among others. Also, an evening trip would produce the area’s only stronghold for EWPW. This area is so different in ecology than the rest of the county, and most of the state. Hence, could be interesting for visiting birders.

Bucktoe Creek Preserve
Bucktoe Creek Preserve is a 297-acre privately-owned natural area located near Kennett Square, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The preserve is managed to enhance biodiversity and promote sound ecological stewardship through forest, meadow, and wetland restoration. Our primary goals are to provide a stable location for long-term environmental monitoring and ecological research, a refuge for threatened ora and fauna, and a site for educating naturalists at all levels of expertise.

Valley Forge National Historic Park - Mike Harvell & Rick Wolf
See a variety of migrating and resident birds on the northside of the park at Pawlings Farm, in the Desilting Basin and along the Schuylkill River Trail for herons kingfisher, Spotted Sandpipers, Great Blue Herons, Wood Ducks. We will also concentrate on looking for a variety of warblers. Meet Mike Harvell, President of the West Chester Bird Club & Rick Wolf retired park ranger and park service volunteer at the Pawling Farm Entrance of Valley Forge Park at 7:30A.M.

Pickering Creek Open Space - Vince Smith
Pickering Creek in Charlestown Township is a swift, clear running trout stream with Sycamore bottom lands and steep sloped Oak and Tulip Tree ridges.  Species expected include: Veery, Acadian Flycatcher, American Redstart, Yellow-throated Vireo, Scarlet Tanager, Louisiana Waterthrush, and occasional Cerulean Warbler.  In close proximity (though not directly accessible) is a Great Blue Heron Rookery and The Charlestown Farm CSA with a Purple Martin colony.

PM Trip - Bucktoe Creek shorebird/kite watch - Larry Lewis
The preserve, previously mentioned, offers a fantastic horizon and skyline to observe migrant shorebirds winging north to their northern breeding grounds from the Delaware Bayshore. Bucktoe Creek Preserve is the only location in PA, and probably the US, where an active watch goes on daily, with a skilled counter/observer on duty. In addition to the amazing spectacle of migrant shorebirds, the site is the only reliable spot in the state of Pennsylvania where Mississippi Kites are seen annual during May and early June. The watch begins at 3pm daily, and ends when it’s too dark to see.

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