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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Cindy Ahern
May 31, 2014
Tannersville Cranberry Bog, PA
Click here for pictures from this trip.
Seven participants enjoyed a cool, sunny spring morning at the Tannersville Cranberry Bog in Monroe County, PA. The surrounding upland and parking lot offered many distractions before the group reached the bog via a short, but busy woodland trail.
Parking lots often provide excellent birding,
and a stunning Indigo Bunting sang on territory grabbing our attention as he
watched over the parking lot while his mate flitted about in the shrubs at the
edge of the woodland.
After starting down the trail adjacent to the main road, the remnants of an old homestead foundation surrounded by invasive plants hosted Gray Catbirds, Song Sparrows, and Common Yellowthroats. Leaving the invasives behind, the trail descended to a moist woodland rich with ferns, hardwoods, and Rhododendrons. A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers provided the cuteness factor for the trip, as they delivered dragonflies and caterpillars to their young in a nest hole visible from the trail.
The trail continued up a short section
along a rocky ridge before descending to the bog, where a number of species
were heard and observed before reaching the bog boardwalk trail. A blooming
Pink Lady Slipper orchid was a highlight, and a new plat species for a few of
the participants. A Canada Warbler singing in the thicket welcomed us to the
bog, but remained hidden in the shrubs – typical of Canada Warbler.
In the bog, the thick heath shrub layer and dwarfed trees provided a challenge for viewing birds, but patience paid off as a Nashville Warbler offered a fleeting glance and a single photograph, while Northern Waterthrush and Magnolia Warbler sang from deep in the thicket but never appeared. Black-and-White Warbler was very cooperative, and everyone enjoyed the Purple Finches perched on the tallest snags.
A few highlights occurred at the observation deck along Cranberry Creek with Eastern Kingbird on a nest, and a very cooperative Rose-breasted Grosbeak perched just overhead. In the water, an adult Spotted Turtle and hatchling grabbed everyone’s attention, and Eastern Red-spotted Newts swam about in the Bladderwort.
Unique plants observed in the bog included carnivorous Pitcher Plants and Sundews, Bog Laurel and Bog Rosemary in bloom, along with many other species that thrive in a low pH, nutrient and oxygen-poor environment.
The Canada Warbler could still be heard singing as the group exited the bog boardwalk, and he finally put in an appearance offering good looks and photo opportunities. Needless to say, this fellow was one of the target species for the trip, a life bird for at least two participants.
After leaving the bog trail, some of us continued to another location along Cranberry Creek, adding a few additional species to the trip list.
A few species known to regularly breed in the bog eluded us, including the silent Eastern Towhee and Swamp Sparrow. A complete list of species is included below:
Common Merganser (flyover creek)
Green Heron (flyover creek)
Barred Owl (heard from bog trail)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1 at bog boardwalk, 2 at creek on Bog Rd.)
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo (Bog Rd. near creek)
Blue-headed Vireo (during scouting)
Brown Creeper (2 heard counter singing from both sides of Bog Rd. near Cranberry Creek)
Eastern Bluebird (during scouting)
Black-throated Green Warbler (in hemlocks on Bog Rd.)
Canada Warbler (1 seen, a second heard singing)
River Otter (fresh scat)
Eastern Red-spotted Newt
Witchhazel Leaf Roller Caterpillar
White-striped Black Moth
Common Whitetail Dragonfly
American Emerald Dragonfly