As day after day and night after night of north winds blew through the Northeast, birds were being held back – unable to smoothly migrate to our area. Needless to say, I am sure many birders in PA were just as excited as I was to hear that starting late this past Friday night, winds would shift to the south for a few days. I was pumped to get out birding yesterday morning, and we were able to find not only a Sandhill Crane but also Centre County’s first-ever Little Gull! This morning, Drew Weber and I visited a few spots around Centre County, searching for migrants. Highlights were a Blue-headed Vireo, Greater Yellowlegs, House Wrens, quite a few Vesper and Savannah Sparrows, and a Merlin over campus. When I got home and began editing my photos and entering eBird, I saw that Jim Dunn reported that he saw a possible Sedge Wren at the Mill Hall Wetlands in nearby Clinton County. Nate Fronk, Josh Lefever, Steve Brenner and I drove over and met up with Wayne Laubscher to search for the wren. After an hour of searching, Steve yelled out that he had a wren and so we all moved over to check it out. We could catch quick glimpses of the wren and saw that it was a Marsh Wren, and quite an early one! Mill Halls Wetlands also had a few other good birds such as an American Bittern plus I added 15 species to my Clinton County list!
After leaving Mill Hall, my friends and I made a quick stop at Lower Greens Run at Bald Eagle SP, on our way back to State College. Lots of fishermen and boaters meant that birds were few and far between, but we did see 13 Caspian Terns! After dropping Nate and Steve off at their cars, Josh and I went over to Toftrees to walk around and look for new migrants. At the pond, Josh spotted a beautiful Forster’s Tern which then flew around, catching goldfish and showing off. Then an Osprey flew in and soared over the pond, offering excellent looks. A few minutes later, the Osprey captured a goldfish as well!
Other interesting sightings at Toftrees included a Chimney Swift, lots of Broad-winged Hawks flying high overhead, a singing Pine Siskin, the first migrant Common Yellowthroat of the year, and Rusty Blackbirds. As far as butterflies go, there was an amazing number of Red Admirals everywhere I went today!