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Spring Migration in Eastern Pennsylvania

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Old Friday 16th February 2018, 20:58   #1
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Spring Migration in Eastern Pennsylvania

Hello all,

I had so much fun with last autumn's migration thread, I decided to start another one for this spring.

As the Great David Attenborough said in the BBC series Planet Earth, "Creatures are stirring" (though he referred to cicada larvae:)).

My local Green Lane Reservoir has been very active recently, with new species almost every day. New arrivals today included 2 Horned Grebes, an American Coot, and 1200+ Ring-billed Gulls. I will be more specific in upcoming reservoir updates.

Blackbirds are on the move as well. Several hundred have flown over the house today, heading north.

Here's to a great migration season!
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Old Saturday 17th February 2018, 22:24   #2
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Today I went to Peace Valley Park in Bucks County, PA.

Highlights and migrants included Green-winged Teal (2, my first of the year), Long-tailed Duck (1 drake flew by briefly, rather unusual at this site!), and Common Merganser (900+).

At nearby Pine Run Reservoir I added American Black Duck (1), Common Merganser (6), American Wigeon (2), and American Pipit (1). I also got fantastic looks at the continuing Sandhill Cranes.

Here are links to a couple pictures ("digibinned", the birds were that close!):

https://download.ams.birds.cornell.e...sfp=1013500191

https://download.ams.birds.cornell.e...sfp=1013500191

It is currently snowing outside. 3-5 inches are expected to fall tonight.
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 01:41   #3
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Another visit to Green Lane brought about 26 Snow Geese, 2 Northern Pintails, 1 American Wigeon, 4 Common Mergansers, 11 American Black Ducks, 4 Buffleheads, 230 Ring-billed Gulls, 5 Herring Gulls, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 135+ Red-winged Blackbirds, 3+ Brown-headed Cowbirds, and 40+ Common Grackles as migrants/new arrivals.
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Old Tuesday 20th February 2018, 21:58   #4
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A rather short visit to the Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve brought Ring-necked Duck (4), Common Merganser (7), Ruddy Duck (1), Killdeer (3), and a few more blackbirds.

Here's a link to a Red-winged Blackbird picture that I digiscoped today:

https://download.ams.birds.cornell.e...sfp=1013500191

As dusk fell back at home, I watched 1700+ Common Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Brown-headed Cowbirds heading north in mixed flocks.
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 20:03   #5
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Early this morning, I managed a very good variety of waterfowl at Green Lane Reservoir.

Highlights/migrants included Tundra Swan (1), Wood Duck (8, first of year), Northern Shoveler (7), American Wigeon (7), Mallard (10+), American Black Duck (1), Northern Pintail (2), Green-winged Teal (2), Canvasback (1), Ring-necked Duck (15), Common Merganser (25), Ruddy Duck (5), Eastern Meadowlark (1, FOY), Red-winged Blackbird (1), Brown-headed Cowbird (1), Common Grackle (10+), and blackbird sp (90+).

Additional visits to two locations at the reservoir later in the day added Greater White-fronted Goose (1), an additional Canvasback (maybe 2), another Ruddy Duck, 1 Snow Goose, 17 Gadwalls, and 29 more pintails.
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 22:22   #6
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Tonight's blackbird show was even better than the last one. I estimated conservatively 7840+ flying north past my house this evening!
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2018, 22:20   #7
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Had another great morning at Green Lane Reservoir. Higher numbers of ducks than yesterday, and some different variety.

Highlights/migrants included Snow Goose (16), Tundra Swan (7), American Wigeon (23+), Mallard (24+), American Black Duck (2), Northern Pintail (15), Green-winged Teal (6), Canvasback (3), Redhead (2), Ring-necked Duck (41), Common Goldeneye (1), Hooded Merganser (2), Common Merganser (14), American Coot (3), and Ring-billed Gull (likely 700+).

At a different Green Lane location I added more Ring-necked Ducks (4), Wood Ducks (2), and American Black Ducks (9).

A brief stop at the Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve yielded 7 Common Mergansers, 4 Mallards, 1 American Black Duck X Mallard hybrid, and my first of year Eastern Phoebe.
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Old Friday 23rd February 2018, 20:51   #8
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In addition to more of the ducks I've been mentioning recently, I saw four Lesser Scaup at Green Lane Reservoir today.
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Old Sunday 25th February 2018, 00:26   #9
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Highlights from Nockamixon State Park this morning included Common Goldeneye (2), Ring-necked Duck (2), Red-throated Loon (1, continuing rarity), American Wigeon (about 30), and Bufflehead (3).

Highlights from Quakertown Swamp included Hooded Merganser (2) and Rusty Blackbird (6, first of year and my personal high count!). The Great Blue Herons are active at their nests again.

A late-day trip to Skymount Park brought American Wigeon (9) and Ring-necked Duck (137, known to congregate here but still impressive).
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Old Monday 26th February 2018, 00:53   #10
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Not much new today at Green Lane, except for a flock of 19 Lesser Scaup and a flock of 22 Tundra Swans.
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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 00:35   #11
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I had two first of year birds at Green Lane this morning in the form of Tree Swallow (2) and Fox Sparrow (1).

A Common Goldeneye, Pied-billed Grebe, and a nearby Eastern Meadowlark were other migrant highlights.

We are currently in a strange storm that will bring 1-2 inches of rain and NW winds gusting up to 55 mph (about 80 kph)! I'm sure something strange will turn up somewhere in Pennsylvania (perhaps some scoters and Long-tailed Ducks blown from the Great Lakes?). I will be on the lookout tomorrow morning before the wind picks up.
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Old Friday 2nd March 2018, 23:51   #12
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Well, not as much as I had hoped for this morning. Just 4 Lesser Scaup and 9 sleeping Greater/Lesser Scaup.

Maybe it will take a while for something to blow in.

As it turns out, we didn't get quite as much rain as expected. We did, however, get more snow than expected (2-3 inches). The wind is still going strong outside. I will probably be out tomorrow morning again to see what's there.
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Old Sunday 11th March 2018, 23:57   #13
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We've had quite a lot of cold and some snow, too.

Migration has slowed down quite a bit, but temperatures are forecast to rise at the end of this week.

I saw my first confirmed Iceland Gull today, a continuing bird at Green Lane Reservoir.
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Old Sunday 18th March 2018, 23:48   #14
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Still very quiet on the migration front. I saw five Ring-billed Gulls circling very high, from the yard, then got a report of about 24 circling and heading north. Calm winds tonight will provide a brief break from near-constant N/NW?W winds. Maybe that will move some things along?

Birds are pushing through even without S winds in western Pennsylvania, perhaps they'll start doing the same here.
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Old Monday 19th March 2018, 20:21   #15
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Finally, some migration to report!

Duck numbers and variety at Green Lane Reservoir this morning were up a little from previous days.

At the Walt Rd area, Wood Duck (3), Northern Shoveler (2), Gadwall (3), Mallard (16), American Black Duck (8), Ring-necked Duck (14), Bufflehead (2), Common Merganser (4), and Ruddy Duck (2) were noted. 19 American Robins flew north after sunrise.

At the Church Rd area, Snow Goose (about 270), Canada Goose (about 330 migrants), Wood Duck (5), Northern Shoveler (2, likely same as Walt Rd), Gadwall (3, likely same as Walt Rd), American Wigeon (1), American Black Duck (2), Green-winged Teal (2), Common Merganser (2), grebe sp (1), and Tree Swallow (1) were noted.

From my house, I saw American Kestrel (2), Red-tailed Hawk (2), Turkey Vulture (3), Buteo sp (3), and raptor sp (1) migrating north on calm/light N winds.

It is supposed to get cold again with breezy NE winds and a touch of snow. Winter is on its way back...again...

Last edited by birdmeister : Tuesday 20th March 2018 at 01:03.
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Old Tuesday 20th March 2018, 23:25   #16
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One last bit of migration before the snow.

The Walt Rd area of Green Lane Reservoir didn't have much waterfowl-wise, but a Pied-billed Grebe fairly close to shore was nice. A singing Fox Sparrow was pleasant and likely a migrant.

Church Rd duck numbers increased a bit from yesterday, with highlights being Northern Shoveler (6), Gadwall (2), American Black Duck (11), Northern Pintail (1), and Green-winged Teal (8). I also saw my first Brown Thrasher of the year.

We are forecast to get up to 8 in (20 cm) of snow tomorrow, with temperatures staying cold for the rest of the week. Tentatively, the forecast calls for a bit of a warm-up after the weekend.
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Old Thursday 22nd March 2018, 00:30   #17
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Wow! We got 13 inches (approx. 33 cm) of snow dumped on us today! Very unusual for mid to late March. Temps should be cold with N/NW/W wind through the weekend.

Fortunately, it looks like it will warm up next week. Tuesday 50F (10C), Wednesday and Thursday mid 50s (about 13C). I assume there will be S winds, and rain showers are predicted on some days. I am anticipating lots of raptor movement, possibly a few shorebirds, and hopefully a duck fallout.
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Old Friday 23rd March 2018, 20:01   #18
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Highlights for me this afternoon at Green Lane Reservoir included Eastern Phoebe (1), Merlin (1), and Common Loon (1). Good to see some birds moving even with cold temperatures and N wind.
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Old Saturday 24th March 2018, 21:41   #19
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Migrants over the yard this afternoon included Ring-billed Gull (6), Turkey Vulture (2), and my first-of-year Osprey.
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Old Monday 26th March 2018, 21:40   #20
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Warmer weather is starting up, with a light E wind changing to SE tomorrow. A few more waterfowl and other migrants at Green Lane Reservoir today.

Highlights/migrants included Blue-winged Teal (1, first of year!), Northern Shoveler (6), Gadwall (12), American Black Duck (2), Northern Pintail (2), Ring-necked Duck (2), Bufflehead (6), Common Merganser (4), Mallard (2), duck sp (6), Double-crested Cormorant (3), and Turkey Vulture (7).

Hopefully something settles down on the reservoir tomorrow morning.
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Old Wednesday 28th March 2018, 00:41   #21
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Had a pleasantly busy day birding-wise. I went to various spots at Green Lane Reservoir in the morning.

Highlights/migrants at the Walt Rd area included Northern Shoveler (3), Ring-necked Duck (13), Common Merganser (9), Mallard (3), Bufflehead (2), Eastern Phoebe (1), and Fox Sparrow (1).

Highlights/migrants at Church Rd included Wood Duck (8+), Blue-winged Teal (1), Northern Shoveler (7), Gadwall (2), Northern Pintail (2), American Black Duck (6), Mallard (2), Green-winged Teal (13), and Tree Swallow (3).

Here is a link to a digiscoped picture that I got of an Eastern Bluebird:

https://download.ams.birds.cornell.e...sfp=2760813498

Highlights/migrants at the Green Lane Flyfishing Area included Wood Duck (2), American Black Duck (2), Great Blue Heron (1), Eastern Phoebe (1), Tree Swallow (1), swallow sp (1), Fox Sparrow (1), and a possible American Woodcock.

I stopped at the Wissahickon Waterfowl Preserve in the afternoon. Highlights/migrants there included Wood Duck (7+), Mallard (4), Ring-necked Duck (14+), Common Merganser (8), Osprey (1), Eastern Phoebe (1-2), and Tree Swallow (2).

There are S winds (6 miles/hour) and light rain in the forecast tonight. We'll see how that bodes for action at the reservoir tomorrow morning.
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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 23:59   #22
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Busy day today, with lots of migrants over the yard and a S wind picking up in the afternoon. By far the highlight was an Eastern Meadowlark flyover, my first seen from the yard!

Lots of American Robins over the yard in the morning, with some blackbirds, 7 Great Blue Herons, and about 40 Snow Geese noted.

Highlights/migrants in the afternoon included goose sp (about 40), Great Blue Heron (9), heron sp (1), gull sp (50+), Turkey Vulture (1), Osprey (4+), falcon sp (2), raptor sp (1), swallow sp (9), Common Grackle (46), and blackbird sp (about 95). Many birds were so far away that I was fortunate to ID them to family, let alone species.

S winds will increase tonight, with rain and a cold front pushing through late tonight into tomorrow morning. I am hoping for a waterfowl fallout.
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Old Saturday 31st March 2018, 02:19   #23
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Fallout and some passerines!

An excellent day had, mostly at Green Lane Reservoir, with lots of action for an early spring day.

Highlights/migrants at the Walt Rd area included Wood Duck (4), American Wigeon (2), Mallard (4), American Black Duck (2), Lesser Scaup (28, high count due to fallout), Bufflehead (5), Common Merganser (28), Common/Red-breasted Merganser (1), Common Loon (1), Pied-billed Grebe (2), Horned Grebe (24, high count due to fallout), Double-crested Cormorant (5), Osprey (1), American Coot (1), Belted Kingfisher (2 migrants), Tree Swallow (2), and Eastern Towhee (1, first of year).

Highlights/migrants at the Ward Rd/Knight Rd bridge area included Common Merganser (35), Common/Red-breasted Merganser (1), duck sp (2), Common Loon (1, same as Walt Rd?), Double-crested Cormorant (10), Great Egret (1, my first for the state this year), Osprey (1), Tree Swallow (2), Barn Swallow (1, FOY), and swallow sp (1).

Highlights/migrants at the Pottstown Riverfront Park included duck sp (3), Eastern Phoebe (1), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (1, FOY), Tree Swallow (1), swallow sp (5+), and Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1, possibly wintering?).

Highlights/migrants at the Church Rd area of Green Lane Reservoir included Snow Goose (3), Blue-winged Teal (2), Mallard (2), Northern Pintail (2), Green-winged Teal (4), Lesser Scaup (1), Common Merganser (5), Pied-billed Grebe (1), Horned Grebe (20, I suspect different birds than at Walt Rd!), Double-crested Cormorant (18), Tree Swallow (2), and swallow sp (1).

Finally, highlights/migrants at the Green Lane flyfishing area included Mallard (1, possible resident), American Black Duck (2), Hooded Merganser (3), Common Merganser (3), Osprey (1), Eastern Phoebe (3), Common Raven (2, not migrants but certainly highlights and my FOY), swallow sp (1), Fox Sparrow (1), Song Sparrow (likely 5+ migrants), and Rusty Blackbird (6).

Truly an enjoyable day for sure!
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Old Wednesday 4th April 2018, 20:24   #24
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I heard my first of year Chipping Sparrow on Monday, about right for their arrival time.

A cold front passed through this afternoon, so I went to Green Lane Reservoir and had some good birds.

Highlights/migrants included Snow Goose (1), Northern Shoveler (1), Mallard (2), American Black Duck (3), Ring-necked Duck (4), Lesser Scaup (2), Common Merganser (11), Common/Red-breasted Merganser (11), duck sp (2), Red-throated Loon (2!), Common Loon (20, my personal high count, I think), loon sp (1), Double-crested Cormorant (32+), Bonaparte's Gull (2, my first for the reservoir), Ring-billed Gull (4), Herring Gull (1), gull sp (1), Tree Swallow (4), swallow sp (1), and Chipping Sparrow (1).

All in all, a good day.
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2018, 01:36   #25
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Finally got around to updating again.

I haven't done much birding as of late, but expect to do more now.

Pottstown Riverfront Park yesterday held Double-crested Cormorant (1), Eastern Phoebe (4), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (2, will no longer add as migrants on this thread as they breed here), Tree Swallow (6), swallow sp (about 30), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1), and Pine Warbler (1, first of year).

I had a prodctive day at Green Lane Reservoir today.

Highlights/migrants at the Knight Lake area included Wood Duck (6, possibly breeders), Mallard (5), American Black Duck (7), Mallard/American Black Duck (1), Green-winged Teal (12), Bufflehead (2), Hooded Merganser (8), Common Merganser (2), Pied-billed Grebe (1), Double-crested Cormorant (7), Greater Yellowlegs (1, first of year), Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (1, wintering bird?), Eastern Phoebe (5), swallow sp (2), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (1, wintering bird?), Palm Warbler (3, FOY), and Yellow-rumped Warbler (5+).

Steady SW winds are predicted in a few days, with much warmer temperatures.
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