The Stroud Preserve, 19 April 2013

Virginia Bluebell Mertensia virginica (L.) Pers. ex Link, 19 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. 

Virginia Bluebell Mertensia virginica (L.) Pers. ex Link, 19 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. 

About 33% of today’s walk around the preserve was in the rain. Despite the rain, there were many birds, including three first for the year. I was trying to think of what birds should be showing up by now and the first one to come to mind was Common Yellowthroat. About 15 seconds later, I heard one singing. Other arrivals today were Yellow Warbler and White-eyed Vireo.

My most notable observation of the day was an apparent territorial Eastern Meadowlark (see more notes below). I’ll need to devote more time to the area to get a better sense on what they are doing. According to the Pennsylvania breeding bird atlas the first eggs usually appear in mid to late May, so a territorial male now, would be right on time for that to occur.

The photo above is for Betty, who formerly lived near the Stroud Preserve and told me she misses the Virginia bluebells that bloom here in the spring. They are now blooming and are indeed a sight to see. If you come fore a visit, take the “red” trail. You can’t miss them.

Start time: 8:45

End time: 11:30

Temp: 61-70°

Wind: 6-10 mph from the south

Skies: overcast with scattered rain

Species Total: 52

  • Double-crested Cormorant – 1
  • Black Vulture – 2
  • Turkey Vulture – approximately 15
  • Canada Goose – approximately 12
  • Mallard – 2
  • Northern Harrier – 1, female or immature male
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1
  • Cooper's Hawk – 2
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 2, 1 adult, 1 immature
  • Mourning Dove – approximately 10
  • Belted Kingfisher – 1
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – 6
  • Downy Woodpecker – 2, heard only
  • Northern Flicker – approximately 12
  • Eastern Phoebe – 3
  • White-eyed Vireo – 1, FOY
  • Blue Jay – approximately 35, there were many small groups (3-8 individuals), many calling and vocalizing
  • American Crow – approximately 5
  • Tree Swallow – approximately 200
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow – approximately 100, great increase in numbers. I usually see these along the Brandywine. Today they were very numerous over the open fields.   
  • Barn Swallow – 1
  • Carolina Chickadee – approximately 10
  • Tufted Titmouse – approximately 10
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 3
  • Carolina Wren – 4
  • House Wren – 1, heard only
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet – 1, heard only
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – approximately 15, many singing
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – approximately 25, as many as I have seen at the preserve
  • Eastern Bluebird – approximately 15
  • American Robin – approximately 20
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • Brown Thrasher – 1 heard only
  • European Starling – approximately 10
  • Yellow Warbler – 1, FOY
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 1
  • Common Yellowthroat – 2, FOY
  • Eastern Towhee – approximately 10
  • Chipping Sparrow – approximately 10
  • Field Sparrow – approximately 30, many singing
  • Savannah Sparrow – approximately 15
  • Song Sparrow – approximately 30
  • Swamp Sparrow – 1
  • White-throated Sparrow – at least 150. I encountered a very large flock of in the area of the recently burned serpentine outcrop. Many were feeding high in the flowering maple trees. Many scores were calling and singing at once. There were very few other birds mixed in with this flock. If the old adage “for every one Zonotrichia that you see, there are nine that you missed” is true...then the flock was very big indeed.
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 1, heard only
  • Northern Cardinal – approximately 20
  • Red-winged Blackbird – approximately 100
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 1, possibly two. An apparent territorial male was singing at the corner of Creek Road and Strasburg Road, a promising sign for breeding. I thought I heard a bird singing in the field on the north side of Strasburg Road, but traffic noise made it difficult for me to be sure.
  • Common Grackle – 3
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – approximately 10
  • House Finch – 2
  • American Goldfinch – approximately 15