Notes From The Field

Voice of America MetroPark

Yesterday was almost a week since I returned from Lake Erie and when I last birded, so I felt the need last night to try my hand at Voice of America. The last time I was there I was turned back because of an expired park pass, so being prepared to buy a new one I found that no one was at the gate to sell me  one. Now the honest thing to do was to drive over to the park office and renew there, however it was getting dark and my target birds for tonight are elusive anyway, so time was of the essence.

Sitting right in the middle of West Chester this 435 acre gem has a lot to offer. A 35 acre stocked lake, a paved trail, soccer and baseball fields, and even a cricket pitch. But what attracts the birders is the Audubon Important Birding Area. A large grassy area has been set aside for several breeding grassland birds. One of them are Bobolinks.

And some of the others include Eastern Meadowlarks and Red-winged Blackbirds, which are numerous. However the prize is the most secretive Henslow’s Sparrow. So for the next hour and a half was spent listening for their faint, high pitched, hiccup of a song.

In years past there is a mowed path that birders stay on as they bird this portion of the park, however last night the grass was tall. I was still able to follow where the path normally was and after half and hour was able to make out the song of the Henslow’s Sparrow, despite the fact that I never saw any.

I normally don’t get big numbers when I bird at VOA, so I was kind of surprised when I my total for the night was 19 species. Also if I had more time I probably would find a few more.

American Goldfinch

As with most bird outings during the week this one was another short one so hardly an impressive list.

Notable birds for the evening include:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Cooper’s Hawk
  4. Killdeer
  5. Mourning Dove
  6. Willow Flycatcher
  7. Horned Lark
  8. Tree Swallow
  9. Barn Swallow
  10. American Robin
  11. American Goldfinch
  12. Cedar Waxwing
  13. Field Sparrow
  14. Song Sparrow
  15. Henslow’s Sparrow
  16. Bobolink
  17. Indigo Bunting
  18. Red-winged Blackbird
  19. Eastern Meadowlark
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