Notes From The Field

Ellis Lake/ West Chester Wetlands & Armleder Park

Spring migration for birders is like your birthday, Christmas, and bringing home the new puppy, all in one beautiful package. Did I mention that it could be a bit hectic. It’s this kind of action that keeps us coming back for more, and today was no exception. With a change in Kathy’s class schedule, Tuesday has become my new day to go birding in the late afternoon. So I made some arrangements to meet up with Jon Frodge and John Marvin at Armleder Park at 5 o’clock. That was until I read the “Sightings” list from Cincinnatibirds. Mike Busam reported that he had seen a Black-necked Stilt at Ellis Lake/West Chester Wetlands at 11:30. OK, change of plans. I called both Jon and John to see if they’d go for a little detour before heading to Armleder. Jon said no, what with traffic being bad that time of day and where he works not being very close to Ellis Lake. However John who works in West Chester was all over it, so we meet at 4:50.

The rain on both Saturday and Monday had left several sky pools in the field to the West of the dike. These pools are perfect feeding locations for wading birds. We were able to see plenty of Lesser Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, Wilson’s Snipe, Pectoral Sandpipers, and a Dunlin. The Stilt though was pretty far away as both John Marvin and John Habib (who was there to see the Stilt as well) pointed me in the general direction where to look. And there he was. Now, there’s a shallow ditch that runs Northwest to Southeast and bisects the field. The Stilt was right on the edge of the ditch moving in and out of some of the taller vegetation that grew along the edge.

This picture was taken of the Stilt at about 240 yards away.

After several minutes watching the Stilt I focused my attention on the other wading birds out in the field, returning to make sure it didn’t fly away. And it did fly, but only a few yards further down the ditch where it proceeded to enter the ditch where all you could see was it’s head. Then we lost sight of it completely. After about 5 minutes it reemerged foraging for food in some standing water that was at the foot of the dike.

Happy with our discovery we left about 5:20 and fought our way to Armleder park. Considering how bad the traffic was, we made good time as we pulled into the park about 40 minutes later. Jon hadn’t arrived yet so we made our way to the bean field to spot waders. The usual cast of characters were there, Pectoral and Spotted Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Blue-winged Teal and this nice Wilson’s Snipe.

Jon eventually joined us as the remainder of the evening was spent wandering throughout the park. The highlights of Armleder Park were the 2 Prothonotary Warblers and the Palm Warblers we saw. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was getting dark, we’d probably still be there looking for Vesper Sparrows.

Notable birds for the day include:

  1. Black-necked Stilt
  2. Lesser Yellowleg
  3. Solitary Sandpiper
  4. Pectoral Sandpiper
  5. Spotted Sandpiper
  6. Dunlin
  7. Wilson’s Snipe
  8. Semi-palmated Plover
  9. Killdeer
  10. Great Blue Heron
  11. Great Egret
  12. Barn Swallow
  13. Purple Martin
  14. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  15. Tree Swallow
  16. Field Sparrow
  17. Swamp Sparrow
  18. White-throated Sparrow
  19. Song Sparrow
  20. Fox Sparrow
  21. Chipping Sparrow
  22. Northern Mockingbird
  23. American Robin
  24. White-breasted Nuthatch
  25. Downy Woodpecker
  26. Wood Duck
  27. Mallard
  28. Blue-winged teal
  29. Green-winged Teal
  30. Canada Goose
  31. Red-tailed Hawk
  32. Turkey Vulture
  33. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  34. Palm warbler
  35. Prothonotary Warbler
  36. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  37. Eastern Towhee
  38. Carolina Chickadee
  39. Northern Cardinal
  40. American Goldfinch
  41. Mourning Dove
  42. Belted Kingfisher
  43. Chimney Swift
  44. Carolina Wren

2 responses to “Notes From The Field

  1. Interesting. My gf and I are jsut getting into birding, here in Florida.

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