This morning I finally ventured outside of Grove City to do a bit of exploring in Mercer County. I had a few spots in mind to visit, including Buhl Park and Shenango Reservoir. A short, cold stop at Buhl Park (eBird Checklist) yielded a number of Canada Geese and Mallards along with a lone Mute Swan and female Green-winged Teal.
Buhl Park in Hermitage, PA on January 5, 2015. Photo by Tim Schreckengost.
I then drove to Shenango Reservoir (eBird Checklist) to check for ducks and geese using open water. I arrived to find most of the reservoir to be frozen, but Mallards and Hooded Mergansers were taking advantage of the “small” opening in the water.
Hooded Mergansers at Shenango Reservoir, Mercer County, PA on January 5, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter.
I drove along the reservoir with little success at finding any more open water. Just as I was about to leave, I noticed a decent-sized flock of geese off Rt. 846. I found an open parking lot and, fortunately, a trail leading to the edge of the reservoir with a clear line of sight to the flock. Most of the birds were sleeping, but would occasionally lift their heads. I counted 258 Canada Geese and managed to pick out one Cackling Goose (eBird Checklist). Although distant, I was able to get photos and video using my iPhone 6 Plus and Phone Skope Adapter.
Cackling Goose at Shenango Reservoir, Mercer County, PA on January 5, 2015. Digiscoped with a iPhone 6 Plus + Vortex Optics Razor HD 20-60×85 & Phone Skope Adapter.
This afternoon, I spent an hour and fifteen minutes birding Yellow Creek State Park. Snow picked up as time went on making it extremely hard to see anything through binoculars and my spotting scope. I did manage to find nine species, but nothing significant. Here is a complete list:
Yellow Creek SP (IBA), Indiana, US-PA
Feb 8, 2012 12:40 PM – 1:55 PM
Hooded Merganser 2
Ring-billed Gull 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 11
Black-capped Chickadee 3
White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) 1
Brown Creeper 2
Golden-crowned Kinglet 3
After birding Yellow Creek SP Tuesday morning, Lee (one of the Todd Bird Club members) and I headed to Two Lick Creek Reservoir to check for waterfowl. We birded the reservoir from 12:10 pm to 1:15 pm. The reservoir is deeper than the lake at Yellow Creek, therefore will freeze later in the year. There was no ice on the water and we were able to find a couple of species of waterfowl including Hooded Merganser and American Black Duck. The highlight though, was a flyover adult Bald Eagle as soon as we walked down to the water. We were only able to find eight species in the hour we were birding, but it was nice to find a new body of water to bird in the area. Here is a complete list from the morning:
Canada Goose, 54
American Black Duck, 2
Hooded Merganser, 4
Common Merganser, 2
Bald Eagle, 1
Pileated Woodpecker, 1
American Crow, 2
It was raining nonstop for most of the night, so I figured there should be a good waterfowl fallout. I had a few places in mind for the three hours of birding that I had today. I started at the DuBois Reservoir around noon. Upon arriving at the reservoir, I immediately saw the water was full of ducks. It was extremely challenging to try and scope through the flocks of birds on the water due to the constant downpour. All of the birds were too far out for photographs. Canada Geese made up the majority of the individuals tallying 150 birds. Highlights include a lone Snow Goose, 12 Hooded Mergansers, and 62 Ring-necked Ducks. The 12 Hooded Mergansers were considered a “high count” on eBird. Here is a link to the complete checklist from the DuBois Reservoir. As I was leaving the reservoir, I noticed a flock of Canada Geese flying over my car and thought I saw a Cackling Goose flying with them. Maybe I overlooked it on the water. I’m not 100% positive, so therefore I cannot count it.
I went from the reservoir to the private community of Treasure Lake. There I scoped two lakes, Biminni Lake and Treasure Lake. Neither of the lakes held any waterfowl, not even a Mallard. I was disappointed because I was hoping for a Black Scoter at Bimini Lake. I really need Black Scoter for the Pennsylvania state and year lists. Oh well, there is always next year.
After leaving Treasure Lake, I stopped by Tannery Dam in downtown DuBois to check for anything unusual. I only observed three species, Canada Geese, Mallards, and American Crows.
The last place on my list to bird for the morning was Kyle Lake. Kyle Lake is a State Fish Lands and is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and managed by the Fish and Boat Commission. Two Mallards were the only waterfowl to make their way into my scope and binoculars. I walked through the woods and found a winter foraging flock that consisted of three Black-capped Chickadees and two White-breasted Nuthatches.
I was thoroughly disappointed with the low number of individuals I observed today, with only one body of water holding the majority of the birds. Anyways, did you enter your daily eBird checklist?