A Quick Tour of the Allegheny National Forest

Last Friday, I met up with my friend Josh Lefever at his field house near Irvine, PA in Warren County and we spent a few hours that afternoon birding spots around the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). Click on links throughout this post for our eBird checklist of that location. Saturday we spent all day in Crawford and Erie County’s and didn’t get back to Warren County till dark, but then had a few hours to check some more birding spots in the ANF before I had to drive back to State College. This was my first experience birding in the ANF, and it was fantastic. The ANF is really nothing like the forests I am used to in Centre County and the┬ásouth-central┬áparts of the state. The birding was great, with lots of breeding warblers and other passerines plus the added excitement of being somewhere wild enough to actually have breeding goshawks! Northern Goshawk was our first and foremost target, and we were very happy to see an adult female with one of her recently-fledged young. Nearby we stopped at an area to look for breeding Mourning Warblers and Pine Warblers, and easily found both!

Northern Goshawk – recently-fledged juvenile (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Mourning Warbler – adult male (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

On Sunday morning, we focused our efforts on finding some more breeding warbler species especially Cerulean Warbler which is known to breed along the Allegheny River. At one of the first stops Josh took us to, we had beautiful looks at an adult male Cerulean! At the same location we also had Chestnut-sided Warbler, American Redstart, and Wood Thrush. At a steep site near the Kinzua Dam, we searched for breeding Winter Wren and Black-throated Blue Warbler and found both!

Cerulean Warbler – adult male (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Winter Wren – male (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Hopefully I will have the opportunity to visit the Allegheny National Forest again soon, and explore more areas. That portion of the state is wild and beautiful and certainly one of our greatest natural areas. Below is a photo I took with my iPhone that really shows the type of habitat found in that area of PA.

A steep, forested hillside in the ANF (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)