Sunday, June 21, 2009

A New Birding Location for the PhillyBirdNerds

I don't know how I came across the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club website, but it has a really handy section called "monthly recommendations" which describes local birding opportunities by month. June lists a few places that I have never heard of. Never. One is a horse farm in New Jersey which has field birds and another is Hawkins Road which lists nesting warblers. The site says that Hawkins Road is best in the first part of June - but if you read my last post then you'll know that the weather has not cooperated with that. So, June 21st was the day that we decided to go explore the new place.

One of the attractions to Hawkins Road is that it's pretty close to Philly just in Medford Lakes. It only took 45 minutes from my house but of course it took us longer on the first trip. We only had vague directions from the web so we went to far North on Rt 70 and had to turn around. But we finally found the pull out for the preserve at the high tension line cut. Here is the Google map link

Don't get me wrong, we did this in the rain but at least it was light and intermittent rain. The power lines were buzzing and smelled like burnt electric. We walked along the service road under the power lines so that we could see some birds and maybe get some big tumors. The sand road and clearing turned out to be good for seeing birds like Blue-winged Warbler, Common Yellow Throat, Prairie Warbler, Indigo Buntings and lots of Catbirds. With all of the rain lately, the road had giant puddles and running water in many places. We did our best not to get too wet.

We finally found a true trail at the third power line tower and took the opportunity to get out of the rain and into the woods. We were immediately greeted by Ovenbird and Pine Warblers mixed in with Chickadees and Gnatcatchers. Then we came across an old Chevy Vega on the trail. Then we tried to track down a Black-throated Green Warbler that we could hear very close but we could just not see it. Then more Chickadees came in and another bird that sounded different. And there it was, Prothonotory Warbler for a fleeting second and then gone. It was mentioned on the DVOC website as a nesting bird in the area and we were walking along a very very small creek at the time. Unfortunately, I was the only one that got a look at the bird. Lori never got to see it although we heard it calling for 5 minutes before it went silent.

Anyway, it was great to explore a new place that turned out to be a good birding location. We got 30 birds in all which is good for us. We even got very close looks at a Broad-winged Hawk in the woods.
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