On this morning's drive, I observed lots of Turkey Vultures, American Robins, and other smaller birds actively moving, but when I arrived at school, the birds were very, very quiet! As usual, things did not heat up on my weekly walk until the very end!
Most of the birds I observed on this Friday walk were by sound. Temperatures were unseasonably warm for January. My thermostat said 52 degrees Fahrenheit when I stepped out of the car, but the moderate winds made things feel colder and reduced bird activity. With all the recent snowmelt, the trail conditions were very muddy so I didn’t make it past the first woodland section, but I did check the trails going to the nearby neighborhoods. Good thing I did!
Trail entrance of Spring Meadow Lane, I was greeted by a flurry of bird activity! American Robins peppered the trees and nearby lawn of a neighbor’s house. They were actively moving between the lawn grass and the treetops so I wasn’t able to get an exact count, but I counted 85 birds, which I noted as a conservative estimate. There very well could have been more, but they were moving too rapidly to account for each bird! Also mixed within the flock were European Starlings, making the total size of the flock a little over 100 birds.
After walking back to my car, I was changing out of my boots and removing my binoculars when suddenly I saw a high string of fast-moving waterfowl. I quickly grabbed my binoculars and observed 18 Common Mergansers flying in the direction of the Delaware River. This observation represents the third record of the species seen at Bethel Springs Elementary School! All previous records of the species were in flyover fashion like this one, but the other two previous records were from February of 2013 with a flock of eight birds on the 2/1/13 and a flock of 12 birds on 2/28/13. Today’s observation was the first of this species in nearly four years, a high count for the property, and the first record of this bird in the month of January!
Aside from today’s walk, the only other noteworthy bird sighting from the week were two Eastern Bluebirds on 1/12! They were seen in the woodland section of the Nature Trail beyond the outdoor classroom. They were perched in the American Beech Trees next to the bridge with the railings. Keep an eye out for them next time you’re out and about as there could be more than two!
eBird List for the Day:
Bethel Springs E.S.--Nature Trail
Jan 13, 2017
All birds reported? Yes
Comments: Unseasonably warm temperatures in the low 50s, but the wind made it feel colder. Did not walk the full trail since it was very muddy, but I did walk the two side trails to the neighborhoods.
Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.4.2 Build 114
5 Canada Goose
18 Common Merganser -- Flyover flock high over school heading in the direction of the Delaware River.
2 Blue Jay
2 American Crow
1 Carolina Chickadee
2 Tufted Titmouse
97 American Robin -- Found a very active flock of about 85 birds feeding on lawns on Spring Meadow Lane. Conservative count because the flock since moving so much that there were likely more than 85 in the group. Seen foraging on lawn grass and in nearby trees in neighbors front yard - An exciting scene! Also, I observed 12 other individuals elsewhere before I met the flock.
25 European Starling -- Seen mixed within American Robin flock.
3 White-throated Sparrow
2 Northern Cardinal
1 House Finch