The Stroud Preserve, 15 October 2013

 SPICEBUSH Lindera benzoin (L.) Blume 15 October 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

 SPICEBUSH Lindera benzoin (L.) Blume 15 October 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Today the Stroud Preserve had the look of fall and the feel of summer, as it was quite warm and nearly windless. Bird life was listless, which could have been a factor of my late start. There seemed to be far more butterflies flying about than birds.

The bird of the day was a gianormous dobsonfly that flew past nearly taking off my head near the old farm pond. Judging from the size of it’s mandibles, which seemed to be half of the total length of the insect, I would guess that it was a male. I remember seeing many of these growing up South Carolina, but this is one of the few that I have seen in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Now that I have a fairly good grip on the birds and plants of the Stroud Preserve I think the project that I would like to undertake next year is to start an inventory of butterflies. I have a fairly large insect collection that I primarily use for educational purposes. I have only one tray of butterflies and I would like to keep it that way for two reasons, the first is that butterflies take up lots of room in Cornell trays and that gets expensive as time goes on. The second reason is that I don’t really enjoy pinning butterflies. If I forgo collecting butterflies specimens I’ll need to get a good camera so that I can document what is there. Good camera is something I’ll have to save for. So until that happens, I’ll stick to plants and birds.

SPICEBUSH Lindera benzoin (L.) Blume 11 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

SPICEBUSH Lindera benzoin (L.) Blume 11 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Speaking of plants, the photo above is the fruit from a spicebush (Lindera benzoin). These little red berries, actually a drupe, have been a long time in coming as the flowers of the spicebush (right) are amongst the first flowers to be seen in the spring, flowering far in advance of the leaves.  Spicebush along with several species of viburnum are amongst the most dominant of the native shrubs of the forest understory here in Southeastern PA. Here I emphasize “native” as the non-native honeysuckles, privet, and autumn-olive far out number the native shrubs. It is one of only two members of the Laurel family that occur in Pennsylvania, the other being sassafras (Sassafras albidum). Sassafras is quite common in most parts of Chester County, but locally on the Stroud Preserve, it seems to be few and far between. 

 

Start time: 9:52

End time: 12:09

Temp: 57-64º

Wind: 0-4 from the northeast

Skies: clear

Species Total: 39

 

  • Black Vulture – 25, I observed one kettle of 21 individuals
  • Turkey Vulture – 10
  • Canada Goose – approximately 20
  • Wood Duck – 4
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 2
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 2
  • American Kestrel – 1
  • Rock Dove – 4
  • Mourning Dove – approximately 10
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – 5
  • Downy Woodpecker – 2
  • Hairy Woodpecker – 1
  • Northern Flicker – 5
  • American Crow – approximately 30
  • Tree Swallow – approximately 20
  • Carolina Chickadee – approximately 10
  • Tufted Titmouse – approximately 10
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 2 heard only
  • Carolina Wren – 2, heard only
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 2
  • Eastern Bluebird – 5
  • American Robin – 3
  • Gray Catbird – 1
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • European Starling – approximately 40
  • Cedar Waxwing – approximately 15
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – approximately 20
  • Palm Warbler – 1
  • Eastern Towhee – 6
  • Song Sparrow – approximately 30
  • Swamp Sparrow – approximately 10
  • White-throated Sparrow – approximately 15
  • Northern Cardinal – 4
  • Red-winged Blackbird – approximately 10
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 1
  • House Finch – 11
  • American Goldfinch – approximately 10