May 23, 2020

Field Ornithology Delta Park (Day 5)

This trip was conducted at Delta Park, along the Island Line bike path, and in Durway Park in Colchester and Burlington, VT, respectively. It was on May 22 from 6:30-12:15 and the weather was about 70-75 degrees and sunny with clear skies. The habitat was riverine, deciduous floodplain forest, marshland, mudflats, and suburban.

Posted on May 23, 2020 00:43 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 46 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 21, 2020

Field Ornithology Woodside Park (Day 4)

This trip was conducted at Woodside Natural Area in Essex, Vermont on May 21 from 6:30-11:00 am. The weather was quite hot and dry at about 70 degrees and perfectly blue skies. The habitat was primarily mature deciduous forests with some marshland with mostly cattails, a floodplain, a river, and an open agricultural field.

Posted on May 21, 2020 20:29 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 35 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 20, 2020

Field Ornithology Forest Birds (Day 3)

This trip was conducted along the Burrow's Trail at Camel's Hump State Park in Huntington, VT on May 20 from 7:15-12:00. The weather was quite sunny and warm with temperatures averaging around 60-65 degrees. The path went up the mountain and then back down the same way and consisted of upland deciduous forests, mixed hardwood and coniferous forest, dense spruce-fir forests, and bordering on the alpine zone.

Posted on May 20, 2020 23:18 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 19 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 19, 2020

Field Ornithology Grass/Shrubland (Day 2)

This trip was conducted in Geprags Park and along Lagoon Road in Hinesburg, VT from about 6:30-11:00 on May 19, 2020. The weather was around the mid-60s all day and the sky was very clear and bright. The habitat consisted of agricultural fields, grassy meadows, overgrown thickets and meadows, short shrublands, and deciduous forests.

Posted on May 19, 2020 21:09 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 37 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 18, 2020

Field Ornithology Wetland Birds (Day 1)

This trip was conducted from a canoe in the Shelbourne Pone in Vermont, USA on Monday May 18, 2020 from about 6:45-11:15. The weather was quite cloudy for most of the morning with the sun beginning to peak out as we arrived back at shore. The temperature was about 55-60 degrees. The habitat consisted of open water, marshlands dominated by cattails and other emergent vegetation, and primarily cedar bluff pond edges with some deciduous forest and grassland edges.

Posted on May 18, 2020 20:29 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 40 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 01, 2020

Field Journal 9

This trip was conducted in ChesLin Preserve in Embreeville, Pennsylvania on May 1 from 2:00 to 4:30. The weather was a mix of sunny and overcast and about 65 degrees the whole time. It was also the day after a considerable rain and wind storm that brought down numerous trees onto the trail. The habitat was mainly mature deciduous forest with a single stand of red cedar and flanked by fields and farmland.

Posted on May 01, 2020 22:59 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 13 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

April 22, 2020

Field Journal 8

For this birding trip, I went to the Stateline Wood Preserve in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania from 7:30-9:00 am on April 22. The weather was sunny and mid-40s and the habitat was open farmland, grassland, and deciduous forests. I started walking through grasslands and some brushy edge habitat and went through a forest, up a pipeline clearing, and through a farmed field.
Many of the species I observed preferred nesting in edge and brushy habitat or in cavities. I saw many different species calling from their defended territories. It was interesting to see how the relative density of the species and territory size was quite easily observable. I saw many Red-winged Blackbirds calling from the tall grass of the open fields while the sparrows mostly called from different areas of brush. The blackbirds were exclusive to the middle of the fields or high in edge trees while the Chipping, Song, and Field Sparrows were somewhere between the ground of the cleared field and edge brush while the White-throated Sparrows were in the forest or on the edge brush.
It seems that the Red-winged Blackbirds calling from the middle of the fields tended to fight with each other more, perhaps indicating that this was a more desirable habitat. This may indicate that they have higher fitness than those calling from the tops of trees along the fields. Also, the Eastern Bluebirds that I saw were gathering grass from the plowed field. Most likely to fill their tree cavity or bird box that they nested in.

Posted on April 22, 2020 23:04 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 15, 2020

Field Journal 7

I went to the Stroud Preserve in Chester County, Pennsylvania on April 15 from about 4:30 to 6:30. The weather was about 60 degrees and overcast. The day before it had been extremely raining and the rivers in the area had flooded considerably, closing several roads around the preserve. The flooding included the grass and brushy habitats around the small river in the preserve. When I went out the water had subsided from the fields except for a few standing pools.

Posted on April 15, 2020 22:38 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 09, 2020

Field Journal 6 - Migration

For my birding trip I went to the Cheslin Nature Preserve in Embreeville, Pennsylvania. The skies were very clear and it was a warm day in the mid-60s on Monday, April 6. I was out from about 5:30-7:20 to see the birds at dusk. I saw a lot of very interesting birds and heard more that I couldn’t even begin to identify.
Some of the highlights were hearing a Brown Thrasher singing a mimicking call from the top of a tree and counting 8 Ruby-Crowned Kinglets bouncing between a few Eastern red cedars. The Thrasher was singing the entire time I was at the preserve, it was in the same tree that I passed on my way in as I was leaving. There were also many year-round and short distance migrating species; including three different types of woodpeckers and one of my favorite birds, an Eastern Towhee. On such a warm spring day, it was clear that the birds were enjoying the weather and the season as much as I was!
Some of the year-round species that I saw while out on my birding trip were the Northern Cardinal, American Robin, Mourning Dove, Downy, Wood Pecker, Northern Flicker, and Pileated Woodpecker. For the first three species listed, they are generalists and have very adaptable diets, therefore, not requiring them to migrate where their preferred food source is. On the other hand, the woodpeckers have very specific food sources (despite Northern Flickers being more variable) that are present year-round.
The facultative migrant I chose to look into is the Hermit Thrush. It is leaving the its wintering grounds for the Northern United States and Canada very soon, here in Pennsylvania we lie at the northern edge of its wintering range. Their migration is marked by a change in their diets. In the winter, they rely mainly on fruit with some insects, but, as the seasons change and the northern insects begin to breed and hatch, the Hermit Thrush takes advantage of this and migrates. It has an extensive range all the way across North America and from Guatemala to Alaska. The only obligate migrate that I came across was the American Goldfinch. This bird is a partial facultative with some tendency to stay more Northern during the breeding season where the seed crops are very plentiful. In total, the migrants that I saw on my birding trip flew 4,032 miles just to see me!

Posted on April 09, 2020 02:37 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 11 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 25, 2020

Field Journal Post 3: Social Behavior and Phenology

This week I did my bird walk in the Cheslin Preserve in Embreeville, Pennsylvania. This is an extensive grassland area with a forested plot around the meadows. Today it was about 50 degrees and partly cloudy. The day before it had rained quite heavily all day and the ground was still quite wet.
I started walking through the meadows and saw numerous grassland birds including Horned Larks, Eastern Bluebirds, and Tree Swallows. I then went into a woodlot and saw many more generalist and forest species. Here, I was able to notice both species and behavioral changes. These changes were obviously linked to the forested area and sub-habitats found within the woodlot.
In terms of communication, I saw a fair amount of direct inter-species communication between the Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows as they dove at each other in competition for the few bird boxes along the meadows. This was a much more obvious communication than others. They were calling and diving, making their communication between the species abundantly clear. These two birds have relatively similar coloration as well. Both are colored with structural pigments that produce two different shades of blue. These colors are also much brighter on the males of each species, indicating that there is some sort of mating aspect to their coloration. There may also be an evolutionary advantage for these aerial insectivores to have white bellies and blue backs and wings.
I chose to focus on one male Northern Cardinal. It was perched on a branch mid-way up a tree calling out and looking around quite alert. This mating or territory call most likely greatly influences the circadian rhythm of the Cardinal because it dictates how the bird spends much of his day. In terms of circannual rhythm, the mating season is a very significant part of the year that the bird spends much of his time and energy on when it is occurring.

Posted on March 25, 2020 00:35 by lukebeeson lukebeeson | 14 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment