The Stroud Preserve, 13 March 2013

SKUNK-CABBAGE. Symplocarpus foetidus (L.) Salisb. ex Nutt. 13 March 2013. Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

SKUNK-CABBAGE. Symplocarpus foetidus (L.) Salisb. ex Nutt. 13 March 2013. Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Today was a great day for Icterids with 5 species in all. I checked the field where I saw the Eastern Meadowlark first and quickly found 6 birds! I then walked along the Brandywine where I flushed a male Rusty Blackbird that was working the banks of the creek. It got as close as 15’ from me. Which was pretty nice. Icterids were flying around all during my walk. Most of them were Red-winged Blackbirds or Common Grackles. However, at least 7 were Rusty Blackbirds. There may have been others as well, but those were the only ones that I was sure of their identity. The fifth species of blackbird for the day were a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds.

 The Great Horned Owl has a major change in status today. When I looked at the nest it appeared as if part of the nest was missing! Even if the nest was still intact and functioning, the adult was certainly wasn’t on it. I decided to walk up closer and perhaps check the ground to see if anything fell from the tree. As I got to the edge of the woods, I flushed an adult owl from the understory. I decided to back off in case a nesting was on the ground or elsewhere. I’m no expert on owl nesting behavior, but my guess is that if the nestlings were missing, the adults would abandon the site. I’ll assume that as long as the adults are around, there must be young birds somewhere.

Another spring arrival was an Eastern Phoebe. It was feeding in the small trees on the right after you walk over the bridge at the entrance. Tree Swallows were numerous, but not quite in abundance.

As you can see from the banner, skunk cabbages are pushing up through the mud in the wet areas of the preserve.

Start time: 8:40

End time: 11:30

Temp: 34-40°

Wind: slight to none.

Skies: clear

Species Total: 42

  • Black Vulture – approximately 12
  • Turkey Vulture – approximately 30
  • Canada Goose – approximately 50
  • Mallard – 8
  • Common Merganser – 3
  • Bald Eagle – 2, adults
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1, adult
  • Red-shouldered Hawk – 1, adult
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 3, 2 adults, 1 immature
  • Mourning Dove – approximately 15
  • Great Horned Owl – 1
  • Belted Kingfisher – 2
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – approximately 5, heard only!
  • Downy Woodpecker – 1
  • Hairy Woodpecker – 2
  • Eastern Phoebe – 1
  • Blue Jay – 4
  • American Crow – approximately 30
  • Fish Crow – 3
  • Tree Swallow – approximately 50
  • Carolina Chickadee – 6
  • Tufted Titmouse – approximately 12
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 5
  • Carolina Wren – approximately 10
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet – 2
  • Eastern Bluebird – approximately 25
  • American Robin – approximately 100
  • Northern Mockingbird – 2
  • European Starling – approximately 50
  • Eastern Towhee – 1, heard only
  • Savannah Sparrow – 2
  • Song Sparrow – approximately 50
  • Swamp Sparrow – 1, this bird was about 30’ up in a tree. At first glance I thought I had a Brown Creeper. It clung to the side of the trunk for a moment then dropped like a rock to the brush below.
  • White-throated Sparrow – 4
  • Northern Cardinal – approximately 20
  • Red-winged Blackbird – approximately 200
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 6
  • Rusty Blackbird – 8
  • Common Grackle – approximately 100
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 2
  • House Finch – 1, heard only
  • American Goldfinch – 2