Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Pennsylvania Migratory Count...PAMC

Little did I know when I packed my peanut butter and jelly sandwich early Saturday morning that I would be walking the local nature center for almost 7 hours!! I arrived for the weekly 7am bird walk about 6:30 am (I like to get there early and check the blind for the screech owls)..when I noticed several bird-walk leaders arriving, as well as some of our more well known experts ( one lady who co-wrote "The Plants of Pennsylvania" and still teaches botany at The University of Penn) I found myself becoming more than just a little curious..Huh? Everyone seemed to be preparing to join the morning walk..dragging the socks up over the cuffs of their pants to keep out ticks... spraying Off on caps and sleeves...WOW! how nice to have all these people along to share that birding enthusiasm.. but what was up??? ...and then I am told this was a PAMC count/walk. A hike would have been a better word. Our purpose was to count every bird we might see... through mud and swampy areas. Places I have never visited before.. ( all voluntary of course) but in the end I lasted the whole day and was one very happy birder, having seen many new species of birds, reptiles and plants. I survived 7 hours of walking and birding!! Exhausting but fun!!
Our first sight of the morning was a real eye opener for me..the Scarlet Tanager..OMGosh..what a sight for my eyes!! He was almost at eye level and was too involved in his "aria" to bother with "we" who stood staring in awe!!


Not far from where we spotted the Tanager, we came across a flock of Cedar Wax Wings..gorgeous of course...so many colors on one bird...awe..they just made my morning!!
...this little Rose-breasted Grosbeak was playing hide and seek and just wouldn't allow me that one good shot! He was quite actively hopping around the tree.. but what a delight to see this guy!!
Mr Thrush was just the opposite..he was quite content to just sit. ..slightly turning his head to say , "Oh hi, just passing through?"This little Eastern Towhee, on the other hand, was not the least bit quiet...a bit ruffled in his appearance and very serious and intent about singing what he needed to sing!! Such a look!!


and then there are the cute little silent types ...who just sit quietly hidden in among the leaves...just letting the morning glide by..not a care in the world. Such sweet eyes on this little warbler...pine warbler, I think.

We had stopped to take a break when this beautiful Spice-bush Swallowtail butterfly landed near me..stunning me with colors that just sing so well together .. how wonderful!
This was puzzling at first...but then I realized it was a turtle...a box turtle that was hiding under water near this log...did you know box turtles can completely close the space between their shells for protection? ...I didn't, but found that pretty interesting.

and yes I know this was a bird count day but who wouldn't stop to look at this guy...a red-eared slider...not a native species to Pennsylvania. Apparently someone had them as pets and let them go in this park and they seem to be doing fine. One last cool fact, tho, they live to be 50 to 70 years old and check out those toe nails!!! Bet he didn't walk 7 hours... ouch!

21 comments:

Lynne said...

You saw so many winderful birds and other critters- it's no wonder it was such a long day!

Leedra said...

Such a wonderful day!! Great photos too....good thing you had your camera with you.

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Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Oh,Wow,sounds like a fun,albeit long day.The tiredness must have been woth it,judging by the pictures.
Blessings,Ruth

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow Tina... What a fabulous day you had. I'm so glad you had that opportunity.. You got some great pictures. That Tanager is so beautiful.

AND--you got plenty of exercise.
Hugs,
Betsy

Eve said...

Wow what a great "walk" Tina. I would have been thrilled right along with you! Great photos too! Thanks for bringing us!

NCmountainwoman said...

What a wonderful birding day with so many lovely birds to add to the count. Great photographs of the birds and the other life around.

The Birdlady said...

Wow - I would gladly walk for 7 hours for those prizes.

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

That's quite a nice hike you had, I'd say! Great birds and an underwater turtle...how fun, Tina! I'd love to see a scarlet tanager sometime. Never have, but they look stunning!

fishing guy said...

Tina: What great captures you made on your walk. Several of those birds I have never seen in our area.

Bird Girl said...

Tina, your pictures are just gorgeous!!! I love every one of them! And the box turtle under water was just a cool catch for sure!

jalynn01 said...

I think you saw as much as we did in WV... in less time!! I loved all the pictures, but I think my favorite was the Thrush looking over his shoulder at you! how cute. At the end of the day you are tired, but later when you look at all your pictures you are rejuvinated once again! Birding is such fun!

Shellmo said...

You did have a long day but it looks very productive with all your lovely photos! I really liked those turtles too! I've been looking for some around our cabin so I can take some photos.

The Early Birder said...

What a great time you had plus some FAB pictures. I'd love to know how many species you actually sighted.

troutbirder said...

Wow! What a day you had. Wish I had been there tagging along.

Abe Lincoln said...

Spicebush butterflies are really neat. You have some nice photos in this post. I have never seen some of your birds except in pictures.

Gail said...

What wonderful photos and sound like you had a glorius time!

lazyclick said...

Fantastic pictures of so many wonderful birds.

Chris said...

HI Tina,
Woow, That was THE day, wasn't it. It is so nice indeed to go out with other people. Then you usually see more than if you were on your own. Gosh you got very nice sighting and very nice pictures too.
I guess that yes the cedar waxings did your day! They would have made most of birders days. They are so cute, beautifully colored, and their song is so magnificent!! The picture is very nice, we see them in their environment.
I also really loved the butterfly shot, this beast is so beautiful. Can you send some here? :-)
have a nice week-end.

Tina said...

Early birder,
To answer your question.. it was reported that we saw 94 species on our count walk but only 15 warbler species were sited.
Thanks for asking!

dAwN said...

Tina,
Great birds..I am amazed by your photos of the birds..having just purchased a new camera...I am having such a hard time shooting these moving targets! I can now really appreciate and understand how difficult it is to photograph these little critters!
I think you did an awesome job!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

You Have Got Some Real Great Shots !! Thanks For Sharing

would like to hear your thoughts..