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Boston Public Transportation Big Day

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With final exams looming in the week ahead, two other Harvard birders, Harold Eyster and Eamon Corbett, and I decided to attempt big day in the Boston area. For the added challenge, the reduced environmental impact, and the fact that we didn’t have a car, we decided to do our big day by walking and using public transportation. With a …

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Peregrine at Harvard

Memorial Hall

Moving from rural Pennsylvania to college in the city was a big transition for me. Part of this had to do with the birds. My yard list back home is up to 187 species, whereas my list here in Harvard Yard stands at a measly 28 species. This list does include some interesting birds: a Wild Turkey seen trotting down …

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Birding Seward, Alaska

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We started Wednesday morning by heading towards Lowell Point, a small establishment a few miles south of Seward. The road between Seward and the point ran right along the shore, giving us wonderful views of the mountains on the other side of the bay. As we approached Lowell Point, we stopped to walk along the road. A small group of …

The 17th Year Feast

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Anyone who has stepped outside in New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania this month has likely heard the cacophony of millions of periodical cicadas that have emerged from the ground and headed to the trees to breed. With their loud calls from the treetops, even a small chorus of these odd insects is enough to drown out birdsong. Luckily, this noisy …

White-rumped Sandpipers in Monroe County

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While birding western Monroe County yesterday, Michael David and I found a flock of nine White-rumped Sandpipers with a few Killdeer in a flooded soybean field near the village of Kresgeville. This was my first record of this species for the county! This location provides decent shorebird habitat only after heavy rains, so our timing was great after the big …

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Wilson’s Warblers

Wilson's Warbler

The Wilson’s Warbler is a relatively uncommon migrant warbler species in this region of Pennsylvania. In addition, their aptitude for staying in dense brush can make them difficult to find. I have discovered that the brushy edges and water sources along the edge of my yard provide excellent habitat for migrating Wilson’s Warblers. Of the seven I have observed here …

Pink-footed Goose at Lake Muhlenberg

Pink-footed Goose

Yesterday, I finally had a chance to check Lake Muhlenberg in Allentown, Lehigh County, PA for the Pink-footed Goose discovered by Scott Burnet on January 7. The fog was extremely thick at first, making it extremely difficult to sort through the geese on the water. However, I eventually spotted the bird near the far side of the lake, but the …

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Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, NJ

Long-tailed Duck

Last Saturday, I traveled to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park in New Jersey. Although slightly chilly, the sun and lack of wind made the birding conditions excellent… or at least better than most January days along the Jersey shore! Upon arriving, a small group of Black-crowned Night-Herons passed directly overhead, circling around the lighthouse several times before moving over the open …

Harris’s Sparrow in Carbon County

Harris's Sparrow

On New Year’s Day, Rich Rehrig found a Harris’s Sparrow along Whitey B. Drive in Carbon County, PA, just a few yards away from the Monroe County line. I tried in the afternoon of the 1st, but could not locate the bird. I returned to the spot on the morning of January 2nd, when Dustin Welch and I refound the …

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Storm Birding

As anyone in the United States should know, a large storm hit the mid-Atlantic last week, bringing strong winds and rain to much of the eastern United States. This powerful storm brought hundreds of seabirds inland, causing jaegers to show up on inland lakes and storm-petrels to be found flying around major rivers. Birders all over the region flocked to …

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Barn Owl Banding

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On Tuesday evening, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) held a public banding demonstration of nesting Barn Owls. The program, coordinated by Jacobsburg State Park, was held at a private farm in Berks County where Barn Owls have reportedly nested for almost twenty years. As with almost all grassland bird species, the …

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Banding American Kestrels at SGL #205

American Kestrel chicks

Today, I had the opportunity to band American Kestrels with the Pennsylvania Game Commission at State Game Lands #205. SGL #205 in Lehigh County has excellent grassland habitat and is home to numerous kestrels that require this open environment. In order to keep track of breeding success of this important grassland bird, the game commission bands chicks every year. While …