Whimbrel at Somerset Lake (AGAIN!)

Andy McGann|

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Lightning struck a second time today at Somerset Lake IBA. After work, Mike Lanzone and Jeff Payne stopped by the lake, hoping for a White-rumped Sandpiper or maybe even a Red Knot. They were both shocked to find a WHIMBREL instead. This Arctic-to-Caribbean-and-back migrant is a powerful flier, and research by the Center for Conservation Biology has tracked Whimbrels regularly …


Earth Day 2015: A Reflection and a Video Clip

Andy McGann|

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Another year passes and another Earth Day comes and goes. One measly day. Twenty-four hours is essentially the blink of an eye. Compare it to the Earth as we experience it. Our planet took 4.54 billion years to get this way. For me, the attraction of Earth Day is the occasion to think beyond our day-to-day schedules and our short …


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Video! Couch’s Kingbird – Allegany County, Maryland

Andy McGann|

Andy McGann - Couch's Kingbird

With CBC season on the horizon, this reminds me of an old saying by one of my favorite compilers. “Any yellow birds?? Anything yellow on a Christmas Bird Count is a good bird!” This is a very improbable bird. What we have here is Maryland’s first record of Couch’s Kingbird (Tyrannus couchii). While November is historically a fantastic month for finding …


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Whiskered Tern – The Video

Andy McGann|

Whiskered Tern (molting adult)--3rd ABA record, Cape May Point SP, NJ (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Heads up, this video is set to (loud) music. By now, we all know the story. On Friday, September 12, 2014, a Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybrida) was found in Cape May, New Jersey by Louise Zemaitis and Alec Humann. Only the third North American record, the previous two records, in 1993 and 1998, both occurred in Cape May. The species …


Freeport Pelagic: Birds with Friends

Andy McGann|

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

  Years ago, back when the Internet was younger, Nemesis Bird sprang forth from a group of young Pennsylvania birders who met each other working field jobs and chasing rare birds. Nowadays, we find ourselves scattered across the map. We’ve always gone where the jobs were–that’s nothing new–but our increasingly adult lifestyles and (thankfully) increasingly professional work situations make it increasingly …


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See the weather in a whole new way

Andy McGann|

Grounbreaking rendering of the airflowing over the surface of the earth. This site is seriously worth exploring. It's magnificent.

Savvy birders are meteorologically astute. They keep an eye out for what may be arriving with the next airmass, wrung out of the skies by an approaching front, or even just a pop-up thunderstorm on an otherwise migration-friendly day. In the age of smartphones and apps, it’s now more convenient than ever to stay abreast of changing weather conditions. Anyone …


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NC PSO Hatteras Pelagic Trip, part 2

Andy McGann|

Mike Lanzone, Bob Fogg, and John Puschock scan the ocean! (Photo by Andy McGann)

On August 9-13 the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology had an out-of-state field trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. A total of 35 participants ventured down to NC for several days of land birding followed by two days of pelagic trips out of Hatteras, NC. Part 1 of this trip report series covered some of the land birding, this …


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NC PSO Hatteras Pelagic Trip – Part 1

Andy McGann|

Black Skimmer putting a show on for the group, it was just several meters in front of the group passing back and forth showing a juv. skimmer how to skim!
Photo by Mike Lanzone

On August 9-13 the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology had an out-of-state field trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. A total of 35 participants ventured down to NC for several days of land birding followed by two days of pelagic trips out of Hatteras, NC. This series of posts will show some of the highlights of this epic trip! …


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Photographing Roosting Owls: How To Know You’re Doing It Right

Andy McGann|

Long-eared Owl

A sleepy owl is a happy owl! Of all the potential subjects for aspiring bird photographers, roosting owls just might be the most intoxicatingly enticing subject of all.  Owls are an especially charismatic clan of birds.  Whether or not you enjoy their typecast roles in folklore, you have to admit that there is an overwhelming temptation to map our human modes of …


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Mapping the Christmas Bird Count

Andy McGann|

Purple Finch - male at Black Moshannon SP (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

I thought I would share just a little of the map prep work I did, last minute, for the Syracuse CBC. Hopefully this will help you out in your last minute planning as well. This is particularly useful when covering a new area or doing a new CBC. You might even discover that there are more areas to cover in …