Monday, January 23, 2017

Lehigh Valley bird sightings for week of January 20

Ross's Goose, which looks like a miniature Snow Goose
Here are the Lehigh Valley bird sightings for the week ended January 20. The list was compiled by Dave DeReamus, of the Eastern PA Birdline, which is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society.

Martins Creek Power Plant, Northampton County
(at the boat launch area)
Spotted Sandpiper, 1 to at least January 14.

Easton area, Northampton County
(along the Delaware River north of Easton)
Barrow's Goldeneye, 1 female seen sporadically to at least January 16.
Also seen: Common Goldeneye.

Lynn Township, Lehigh County
(along Kunkle's Mill Road)
Red-headed Woodpecker, 1 on January 14.

Allentown, Lehigh County
(at the Dorney Park pond)
Greater White-fronted Goose, 2 on January 18.

Green Lane Reservoir, Montgomery County
(at the Walt Road area)
Ross's Goose, 1 on January 16, January 18 and January 19.
Greater White-fronted Goose, 1 on January 16, and approximately 16 on January 18 and January 19.
Cackling Goose, 1 on January 16, 2 on January 18 and 3 on January 19.

Deep Creek/Knight Lake area, Montgomery County
Common Goldeneye.

Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County
White-winged Scoter, 1 on January 19.

Red-breasted Nuthatches continue to be reported from several sites.

To report bird sightings to Dave DeReamus, send an e-mail to becard@rcn.com with the word "Birdline" in the subject heading.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lehigh Valley bird sightings for January 14

A female Barrow's Goldeneye (rarely seen locally)
Here are the Lehigh Valley bird sightings for the week ended January 14. The list was compiled by Dave DeReamus, of the Eastern PA Birdline, which is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society.

Easton area, Northampton County
Barrow's Goldeneye, 1 sporadically to at least January 13 (a female; along the Delaware River north of Easton).
Also seen: Common Goldeneye.

Jacobsburg State Park, Northampton County
Eastern Towhee, 1 on January 8.

Fogelsville Quarry, Lehigh County
Greater White-fronted Goose, 1 on January 7.
Ross's Goose, 1 on January 8.

A female Common Goldeneye (often seen)
Henningsville, Berks County
Brown Thrasher, 1 on January 9.

Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County
Long-tailed Duck, 2 on January 6.
Bonaparte's Gull, 3 on January 6.

Green Lane Reservoir, Montgomery County
(at the Walt Road area)
Long-tailed Duck, 1 on January 13.
Also seen: Common Goldeneye.

Peace Valley Park, Bucks County
Greater White-fronted Goose, 1 to at least January 12.
Long-tailed Duck, 2 on January 6.
Common Merganser, approximately 2,000 during the week.

Red-breasted Nuthatches continue to be reported from several sites during the week.

To report bird sightings to Dave DeReamus, send an e-mail to becard@rcn.com with the word "Birdline" in the subject heading.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Lehigh Valley bird sightings for January 6

Another huge flock of Snow Geese touched down at Nazareth Quarry last week. The bird watcher estimated that 50,000 geese were seen at the quarry, one of the largest gatherings ever seen in the Lehigh Valley.


Long-tailed Duck
The biggest reported sighting of Snow Geese in a single location at the Nazareth Quarry occurred on December 18, when an estimated 100,000 created a spectacle never seen before in the valley.

This week's sighting was reported to Dave DeReamus, of the Eastern PA Birdline, which is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society. His report this week covers the two weeks that ended January 6.


Also noteworthy in his report is the appearance of Long-tailed Ducks at the Green Lane Reservoir in Montgomery County and Lake Nockamixon in Bucks County. An Eastern Phoebe and a Pine Warbler—species usually seen here only in the warmer seasons—also were reported.

Martins Creek Environmental Preserve, Northampton County

Spotted Sandpiper, 1 from December 11 to at least January 2.

Easton area, Northampton County

Barrow's Goldeneye, 1 from December 26 to at least January 4. (The bird was a female seen along the Delaware River north of Easton.)
Eastern Phoebe, 1 on December 31 (at the roadside stop north of Easton).
Also seen: Common Goldeneye.


Eastern Phoebe
Nazareth Quarry, Northampton County
Snow Goose, approximately 50,000 on December 31.
Ross's Goose, 1 on December 31.
Cackling Goose, 1 on December 31.
Canvasback, 1 on December 31.
Redhead, 5 on December 31.
Also seen: Gadwall, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe and Peregrine Falcon.

Glendon, Northampton County

(at the Chain Dam)
Iceland Gull, 1 on January 2 (an adult fly-by).

Williams Township, Northampton County

Pine Warbler, 1 from December 27 to at least January 1.

Coplay, Lehigh County

(at the Scheetz Quarry)
Greater White-fronted Goose, 2 on January 1.
Ross's Goose, 1 on January 1.

Fogelsville Quarry, Lehigh County

Greater White-fronted Goose, 1 on December 30.

Green Lane Reservoir, Montgomery County

(at the Walt Road area)
Long-tailed Duck, 2 on January 4.
Double-crested Cormorant, 2 on January 2.
Also seen: Common Goldeneye.

Lake Nockamixon, Bucks County

Long-tailed Duck, 5 on January 5.

Peace Valley Park, Bucks County

Greater White-fronted Goose, 2 on December 27; 1 to at least January 4.
Cackling Goose, up to 3 to at least January 4.
Canvasback, 1 on December 26.
Red-breasted Merganser, 2 on December 27.
Iceland Gull, 2 on December 30.
Lesser Black-backed Gull, approximately 200 on December 28.

Red-breasted Nuthatches continue to be reported from several sites.


To report bird sightings to Dave DeReamus, send an e-mail to becard@rcn.com with the word "Birdline" in the subject heading.


Learn how to identify winter waterfowl

Winter is an ideal time of year to visit lakes or reservoirs to look for waterfowl. It may be chilly outside but with the shores free of leaves, you may have clear view of ducks, geese and other species that treat the Lehigh Valley as their winter residence. 

The Lehigh Valley Audubon Society offers two programs this weekend to learn how to identify winter waterfowl. The events are meant for beginner bird-watchers and veterans alike.

On Friday at 7 p.m., the Audubon Society's habitat chair, Scott Burnet, will discuss why winter is a great time to scan the waters. He'll also tell how you can identify species correctly and more easily. The program takes place at the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary's Education Center building at 3701 Orchid Place in Emmaus. 

(The Pool Wildlife Sanctuary is located off Cedar Crest Boulevard between Hamilton Boulevard and Emmaus. Turn east onto Riverbend Road, then cross a bridge and head up a small hill. Orchard Place is on the right; the Pool Wildlife Sanctuary is less than a half mile farther, on the right.) 

Then on Saturday at 8 a.m., you'll have an opportunity to test your new skills by checking Lake Muhlenberg in Allentown to search for the species you've learned about the evening before. Meet at the east parking lot at Cedar Beach Pool. Bring a snack if you wish and a scope if you have one.

In case of inclement weather, please check the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society's website or the group's Facebook page for notification of any cancellation.

Monday, December 26, 2016

New Product: Squirrel-proof suet cage feeder

A new model of squirrel-proof suet feeders has just come on the market but this one has a twist. Instead of filling the feeder with suet from the top, this one allows you to fill from the bottom.

The feeder has a pop-out metal suet basket that enables you to place two cakes of suet inside cage. The insert at the upper right shows you how the refilling process works. The product, made by Woodlink, is patent pending.


The product is made of durable, rust-resistant, powder-coated steel construction. The 1-inch metal grid allows smaller birds such as chickadees, nuthatches and House Finches but keeps out larger suet-devouring birds such as starlings and grackles. The cage seems tough enough to keep any squirrel from chewing his way in.

Having a cage with two suet cakes is a definite benefit. You can use two different kinds of cakes for attracting a wider variety of songbirds.




Sunday, December 25, 2016

Enormous flock of Snow Geese reported in Nazareth

Adult Snow Goose
It's not uncommon to see flocks of Snow Geese at this time of year. But last Sunday's sighting of an estimated 100,000 Snow Geese at Nazareth Quarry in Northampton County was a spectacle never seen before locally.

It's not just the huge numbers. The cacophony of honking probably would have drowned out any excavation work being done by Eastern Industries Inc., which owns the quarry. 

The loud birds are not solitary creatures. They seem most comfortable in the company of a few dozen of their species. These small flocks in turn can merge into bigger flock of tens of thousands of geese.

Last Sunday's flock apparently was the biggest ever seen in the Lehigh Valley. The greatest number recorded previously was 30,000 geese seen in the winter of 2005-2006, according to Birds of the Lehigh Valley and Vicinity. That sighting also happened to occur at the Nazareth Quarry.

Black wing tips are noticeable in flight
A ban on hunting seems to have been the salvation of the Snow Goose. By 1900 their numbers had dwindled to 2,000 to 3,000 species, according to the National Audubon Society. 

Hunting ceased in 1916. Once the geese became accustomed to feeding on agricultural fields during the winter, their numbers surged. They became common in the Lehigh Valley starting in the 1980s. They are now among the most abundant waterfowl on the continent. 

Snow Geese are migratory. Their breeding area is the northernmost stretches of Canada, from the Northwest Territories to the Nunavut Territory around Baffin Island. The geese have flourished to such an extent that they pose a threat to the ecosystem of the Canadian tundra. Hunting was allowed again in 1975.

On the ground, their bodies appear nearly white, with their only other distinguishing features being their short black wingtips and a "grin patch," which looks as though they have black lips. But when the geese take to the sky, those black wingtips become very pronounced and quite striking.

Two "Blue Geese" are visible at lower left
Among the flock, you may see birds with a darker body and a white head. That's a color variant known as the "Blue Goose." The dark color is controlled by a single dominant gene. If a pure dark goose mates with a white goose, all of the offspring will be dark. If two white geese mate, their offspring always will be white.
Snow Geese forage mostly by walking in shallow water or on land. 

More information about Snow Geese is available on our December 2, 2016, posting.

The sighting on December 18 in Nazareth was reported to Dave DeReamus of the Eastern PA Birdline, of the Eastern PA Birdline, which is sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Audubon Society. Other species seen during the week ended December 23 include:

Williams Township, Northampton County
Rough-legged Hawk, 1 on December 17 (fly-by).

Beltzville State Park, Carbon County
Snow Bunting, an estimated 60 to at least December 20.

Peace Valley Park, Bucks County
Greater White-fronted Goose, 1 to at least December 22.
Cackling Goose, up to 6 at least to December 22.
Red-throated Loon, 1 to at least December 20.

Red-breasted Nuthatches continue to be reported from several sites during the week.

A little farther afield, a group of Red Crossbills was seen in the Owl Creek Reservoir along Owl Creek Road, east of Tamaqua in Schuylkill County.

Don't forget that the Christmas Bird County is scheduled for Saturday, December 31, for the Bethlehem/Easton/Hellertown area. To participate call organizers Don and Elaine Mease at 610-346-7754. You must enroll to join this annual event.

To report bird sightings to Dave DeReamus, send an e-mail to becard@rcn.com with the word "Birdline" in the subject heading.



Friday, December 23, 2016

A gift certificate is an easy last-minute choice

In a hurry for a last-minute Christmas gift and uncertain about what your favorite bird-lover would enjoy? The Bird House has gift certificates to make your shopping easy. You choose the amount. The recipient can come in at leisure at choose among our wide selection of products for backyard bird-watching.

The Bird House will be open on Christmas Eve--Saturday, December 24--from 10 a.m.to 3:30 p.m.

Have a great holiday!