3RBC Outings Revisited

Baltimore Oriole — Photo by Chuck Tague
Baltimore Oriole
Photo by Chuck Tague ©

Outings Revisited is a synopsis of the club's latest outings.

To view previous months and years, please see The Peregrine newsletters, also under Outings Revisited.

Outings in 2020

    "Dead of Winter Walk III" — Frick Park — January 25, 2020

    A good turnout of 17 people joined me on this dreary but relatively mild day. Fortunately, any rain was limited to some drizzle.

    This year I decided to explore the wetlands in lower Frick Park, an area I enjoy visiting. Our species list included the expected winter residents, but they offered interest and excitement.
    Red-tail Hawk's Nest
    A Red-tailed Hawk was perched in one of the old sycamores and eventually flew off and landed on a nest. Just before that, a few participants had been discussing the potential of a nearby nest. Later we saw another pair of Red-tails perched in a tree behind the Irish Centre of Pittsburgh on Commercial Street. A Cooper's Hawk flew but disappeared into the trees before everyone could see it.

    Two Pileated Woodpeckers American Goldfinches dressed in their dull winter plumage were feeding on the seed heads of the sycamores.

    Two Pileated Woodpeckers were vocal, and one flew over us and perched in a dead tree for all to view. The same tree held a Northern Flicker. I explained to the group that years ago the sight of a Pileated Woodpecker in the park was extremely rare.

    Carolina Wrens were singing, always nice on a winter outing, and one of the few species that sing in winter. We also heard their loud chattering and rattling calls. Song Sparrows and Northern Cardinals were also singing.

    — by leader Mike Fialkovich

    Click the link to see the complete list of 18 species seen on the FRICK PARK Dead of Winter Outing III (January 25, 2020) on eBird: Dead of Winter III List.

    Great Backyard Bird Count - Sewickley Heights Borough Park — February 15, 2020

    It has become an annual tradition for the Fern Hollow Nature Center to team with 3RBC birders to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Fifteen birders, including several who were new to the park, met in the parking lot to participate in this important citizen science project. Although the temperature was around freezing, the sun was shining, the wind was calm and everyone was warmly dressed and ready to find and count the birds.

    One advantage of the freezing temperature was that all the muddy trails I encountered while scouting previously were now frozen. This made walking on the trails a lot easier. Some of the first birds we spotted along the Pipeline Trail were Song Sparrows, Northern Cardinals, American Goldfinches, Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jays, and White-throated Sparrows.
    Downy Woodpecker
    After leaving the Pipeline Trail to walk along the gravel road, the woods seemed to come alive with woodpecker species. Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy and a Northern Flicker made for good observations as the birds were observed pecking and moving about the trees. New birders were instructed how to tell the males and females apart. Robins seemed to be everywhere as they flew overhead or were foraging on the ground. As we headed back to the parking lot via Black Cherry Trail, a Cooper's Hawk was discovered flying through the woods. It landed briefly providing everyone a chance to observe it before it flew off.

    The horse pastures along Barberry Trail turned out to be quite productive. Two Red-tailed Hawks flew overhead and Dark-eyed Juncos were discovered foraging along the grassy trail. We were surprised to count 52 Canada Geese and many robins probing the ground seeking food.

    As we headed back to the parking lot along Chestnut Path, we caught sight of a flying Pileated Woodpecker, a pair of Blue Jays, two American Crows and stopped briefly to listen to a singing pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets.

    The day ended as it began, with everyone energized by what we had seen and our fun searching for birds. A few of us went on to the Fern Hollow Nature Center to enjoy a pot luck luncheon. While watching the bird feeders, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew into view and landed in a pine tree close by.
    Barred Owl
    But there is a post script to this outing. As the birders were leaving the park, a father and his son decided to hike Spruce Run Trail to seek out a pair of Barred Owls that were observed there yesterday afternoon. Not only did they find the owls, but Malcolm, the son, got a great photograph to document his Life Bird. He showed off his photo with those who remained after the luncheon.

    The day's results were 24 species, 183 total birds and 1 very happy young birder and photographer.

    — by leader Bob VanNewkirk

    Click the link to see the complete list of 25 species for on the GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT at SEWICKLEY HEIGHTS BOROUGH PARK outing (February 15, 2020) as a PDF: Sewickley Heights GBBC List.

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Mission of 3RBC

To gather in friendship, to enjoy the wonders of nature and to share our passion for birds!

© Photo Credits:
Sherron Lynch, Tom Moeller, Brian Shema, and Chuck Tague