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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Art McMorris

Sunday May 18, 2008 - RIDLEY CREEK STATE PARK

The weather gods were kind to us as we managed to get in a good morning’s birding between the weekend storms. We birded from 6:30 AM until noon in the bridle trail area of Ridley Creek State Park, the section northwest of Gradyville Road. This section of the park is mature mixed hardwood forest with some fine, large American beech and tulip trees and areas of eastern white pine, shrub/scrub, and open field. DCNR is doing a nice job of mowing portions of the field areas every few years to maintain a mixture of successional stages. It was a cool morning with skies that varied between overcast, mostly clear, and threatening at times.

Most of the birds we found were local nesters, often seen carrying nesting material or food or exhibiting courtship behavior or territorial defense. Late migrants included Swainson’s Thrush and Canada Warbler. Veeries, Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds, and Acadian Flycatchers were abundant as usual. Louisiana Waterthrush breeds in good numbers in this area but was not found: being an early breeder, they had stopped singing and become secretive. In all, fifteen species of warbler were found, including two target birds: Kentucky Warbler and Hooded Warbler. These were both heard but managed to stay out of sight in the dense understory. Three hawk species were found: Red-tailed, Red-shouldered and Cooper’s. Other highlights included excellent looks at 2 (possibly 3), Pileated Woodpeckers working over a large dead tree. The best find of the day was a gray-phase Eastern Screech-Owl right out in the open.

 

Birds seen and heard (57 species):

Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Canada Goose
Cooper’s hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech-Owl
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Blue-winged Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Pine Warbler
American Redstart
Ovenbird
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch