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DVOC Field Trip Report

September 10, 2011 (Saturday)
Fort Washington State Park

Leader: Jane Henderson

About 20 people turned up for the joint DVOC/Wyncote Audubon field trip at Fort Washington State Park on Saturday, September 10. We had two young birders, both accompanied by their fathers; several experienced birders, and some who were new to birding. Locating and identifying fall warblers is a huge challenge for new birders, so we offered help wherever we could.

We greeted everyone in the Militia Hill parking lot at 8:00 AM, and shortly thereafter began the walk up Ridge Road. It wasn’t long before we found a feeding flock of warblers, and people began pointing out, “Blackburnian, Black-and White, Parula, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Yellow, American Redstart!” It was a great start to the rather gloomy, humid morning. We continued up the hill, continuing to find feeding flocks.

We walked down the steep, rocky trail toward Park Avenue and stopped at the bottom where Mike and Ann saw a bird that looked like either a Mourning or a Connecticut Warbler, but the bird moved farther back in the bushes and was never seen again, though we all stuck around for a while, pishing and squeaking.

As we walked along the lower road toward the pavilion I pointed out the bench across the meadow which had been placed there by Wyncote Audubon in memory of Pam Seretny, an active Wyncote member who passed away recently.

Behind the pavilion we saw a Common Yellowthroat, and also a few Cedar Waxwings high in a tree. A Cooper’s Hawk and an American Kestrel were high in the sky.

On the way back up the hill we found additional feeding flocks. We added Canada Warbler and immature Rose-breasted Grosbeak to our day list.

Other assorted birds included Scarlet Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Pewee, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Northern Flicker, White-breasted Nuthatches, two Common Nighthawks, one Red-tailed Hawk and a few American Goldfinches.

Before the group scattered, I told them they have an assignment: learn the warbler songs and chip notes between now and the spring migration.

Around 11:00 AM some folks walked up on the hawkwatch deck, others went home or to other activities.

It was a very good day.