The Stroud Preserve, 23 April 2013

Large field mouse-ear chickweed Cerastium velutium var. velutinum Raf. 23 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. 

With all the reports of various and sundry spring migrants from our area from the PABirds listserver, I headed out today with high hopes of seeing some newly arrived spring warblers. Instead, all the highlights of the day seem to be birds of a more wintery nature.

The biggest surprise of the day was a single flyover Red Crossbill! A few days ago I was thinking about making a post to this blog about my disappointment in not seeing any of the good winter finches that had invaded the Delaware Valley. Crossbills, Redpolls, and Grosbeaks seemed to be everywhere, except the Stroud Preserve. At about noon today, as I had my nose pointed up searching for movement I in the trees that could turn in to a bright spring warbler, I heard a familiar “kip-kip-kip-kip!” In my experience whenever I hear their call in flight, I only actually see the bird in flight one out of ten times. So, I frantically searched the skies overhead and saw the bird flying due east. It didn’t land of course and kept on going until it was well out of sight.

Earlier In the day I had an absolutely awesome look at a Merlin perched in the big sycamore tree in front of the old barn. Most of the Merlins that I see are flyovers. This one let me walk directly under it and check it out from all angles. The other winter surprise was a Winter Wren. I thought these were all gone as the last one that I saw was way back on March 21st.

Otherwise, there were no new spring migrants. All in all, it was a pretty slow day for mid April. It was pretty chilly as well! There were good numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers along the Brandywine with a few Palm Warblers mixed in. White-throated Sparrows were still congregated around the serpentine outcrop.

Lyre-leaved rockcress Arabis lytata L. 23 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. 

Early saxifrage Saxifraga virginiensis Michx. 23 April 2013, Stroud Preserve, West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania. 

The serpentine outcrop had a few blooming specialties. Lyre-leaved rockcress (Arabis lyrata), large field mouse-eared chickweed (Cerastium velutinum var. velutinum),  and early saxifrage (Saxifraga virginiensis). I have found these three species only on the serpentine outcrop and no where else on the preserve.

Start time: 9:05

End time: 1:25

Temp: 42-52°

Wind: 0-10 from the east

Skies: overcast

Species Total: 53

  • Black Vulture – approximately 15
  • Turkey Vulture – approximately 20
  • Canada Goose – 4
  • Wood Duck – 2
  • Mallard – 1
  • Red-tailed Hawk – 3 adults
  • Merlin – 1, FOY, only the second time that I have seen one perched in the preserve, as most are flyovers.
  • Mourning Dove – 5
  • [Barred Owl – The preserve manager said that he has seen Barred Owl within the last week]
  • Chimney Swift – approximately 20
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker – approximately 10
  • Downy Woodpecker – approximately 10
  • Northern Flicker – 4
  • Pileated Woodpecker – 2, heard only
  • Eastern Phoebe – 4
  • Blue Jay – approximately 25
  • American Crow – approximately 10
  • Fish Crow – 2
  • Tree Swallow – approximately 150
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow – approximately 30
  • Barn Swallow – approximately 15
  • Carolina Chickadee – approximately 10
  • Tufted Titmouse – approximately 15
  • White-breasted Nuthatch – 4
  • Carolina Wren – approximately 10
  • House Wren – 2
  • Winter Wren – 1, I thought I was done with these little guys!
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet – 3, heard only
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – approximately 15
  • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – approximately 30, these seemed to be calling from every group of trees I encountered today.
  • Eastern Bluebird – approximately 10
  • American Robin – approximately 30
  • Northern Mockingbird – 1
  • Brown Thrasher – 2
  • European Starling – approximately 10
  • Yellow Warbler – 3
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – approximately 40, only along the Brandywine.
  • Palm Warbler – 5, only along the Brandywine.
  • Common Yellowthroat – approximately 10
  • Eastern Towhee – approximately 15
  • Chipping Sparrow – approximately 10
  • Field Sparrow – approximately 25
  • Savannah Sparrow – 7
  • Song Sparrow – approximately 25
  • Swamp Sparrow – 1
  • White-throated Sparrow – approximately 75, as with my last visit, many were found in the area of the Serpentine outcrop.
  • Dark-eyed Junco – 3
  • Northern Cardinal – approximately 15
  • Red-winged Blackbird – approximately
  • Eastern Meadowlark – 3, two calling in the area of the Bobolink field. 1 calling near the intersection of Creek and Strasberg Roads. The one along creek road seems to be the only one singing in a sustained way as if defending a territory.
  • Common Grackle – 4
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – approximately 25
  • House Finch – 3
  • Red Crossbill – 1, Bird of the Day! A new bird for the preserve list. A complete and total surprise!
  • American Goldfinch – approximately 25