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BSES Nature Trail Round-Up 2023

Welcome to the BSES Nature Trail Round-Up for 2023! This is a recap of all the exciting happenings on the trail during the last year.


In 2023, we observed 101 species of birds on the trail! Among these birds were many notable sightings along with a few new birds for the trail. We also had a full roster of Trailblazers activities throughout the year.


Trailblazers was BUSY in 2023!

The Trailblazers program had its busiest year yet with five after school club sessions and three summer camp sessions! In the winter and spring, we had two clubs at once: Birding Club for grades 3-5 and Nature Club for grades K-2. In the fall, we combined both clubs for Trailblazers Buddies, a K-5 club where younger and older students were paired together to enjoy activities on the BSES Nature Trail!











First Perched Bald Eagle at BSES

On December 11th, we observed our very first ever perched Bald Eagle at BSES! We have observed Bald Eagle quite a few times over the years, but prior to this, we had never seen one perched on the school campus. A few years ago, we observed an immature type Bald Eagle perched on the water tower across the street, but this nearly adult bird on 12/11 was in a tree right on the edge of our soccer field. Also, this eagle’s appearance marked our 1,500th complete checklist for the BSES Nature Trail eBird Hotspot: https://ebird.org/checklist/S156134278


THREE New Species for the Trail

In 2023, we added three new species to the BSES Nature Trail eBird Hotspot! We are now up to 149 total species for the trail:

147th - February 23rd - American Woodcock by GVHS student Ethan Kang

148th - May 3rd - Lesser Yellowlegs

149th - June 14th - Green Heron


Noteworthy Bird Observations

In addition to the three new species added to the BSES Nature Trail hotspot, we had quite a few noteworthy observations in 2023:


Cackling Goose - On December 14th, we had one Cackling Goose among Canada Geese on the baseball fields. This observation represents a 4th all-time record of this species for BSES with this being a 1st record for the month of December. 


Worm-eating Warbler - On August 23rd, we had our third-ever observation of Worm-eating Warbler for the trail. This particular observation was the first photographed record of the species!


Great Egret - Although locally common in spring and summer around bodies of water, we had our second-ever observation of this species for the trail as one flew over on May 4th! The last and only other observation was a flyover bird on June 5th, 2018.


In addition to these noteworthy sightings, we are beginning to establish migratory windows of species that stop over here at BSES:


Swainson's Thrush - There have been 10 observations of this species on the trail, all of which occuring only in the months of May and October. On May 12th, we had an active pair that stopped here to refuel on their long migratory journey from Central & South America to their breeding grounds in New England & Canada.


Blue-winged Warbler - There have been 8 observations of this species on the trail, all of which occurring between 5/2-5/8 in spring and 8/26-9/5 in fall.


What to Expect in 2024

This past year, Trailblazers BSES Buddies Club laid down five pounds of seed in the pipeline area in hopes of creating a new wildflower meadow on the trail! We are also looking to continue with Trailblazers clubs and summer camps throughout the year. Finally, Bethel Township is currently in the process of certifying itself as a Bird Town! Trailblazers and the BSES Nature Trail are looking forward to putting their support into this initiative to bring an appreciation for birds throughout our area. Be sure to save the dates for this summer's camps:


Trailblazers High Adventure Summer Camp - June 24th-27th, 2024 - For ages 10 and up

Trailblazers Adventure Summer Camp - July 15th-18th, 2024 - For students entering grades 3-8

Trailblazers Summer Camp - July 29th-August 1st, 2024 - For students entering grades 1-5


Thank You

There are so many people to thank for our success in the last year. First, thank you to Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Papson for their amazing leadership and support. Also, thank you to James and Ethan, our Trailblazers guides who help bring fun and safety to our clubs. Speaking of Ethan, not only did you get to enjoy one of his photographs in this post, but he has an amazing website you should check out: www.bearybirding.com! He was even featured on the cover of Garnet Valley Living Magazine this past year!



Thank you to the BSES Nature Trail Committee for their dedication to the trail and their efforts in managing the trail. Thank you to Joy Services for helping maintain our trail and habitats. Thank you to the Keepers of the Trail who volunteer to keep our trail clean. Finally, thank you to Trailblazers students and families for their continued support of our program and trail!


We are looking forward to another amazing year of connecting people with nature in 2024!

-

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