Today was my annual birdathon for the Wissahickon Watershed Association, and it was pouring rain most of the day. When I woke up I was thinking we were going to have a rough day, but we ended up having a great day and finding as many birds as usual--but getting some great looks and having a blast.
Started the morning at Four Mills, and it was wet and miserable, but did manage to see the Northern Waterthrush hanging around there. A stop by the Ambler Reservoir got us three species of swallows, as well as the expected Green Heron. Then we headed over to a known rail marsh and called out two Virginia Rails--they came within five feet of us and we could see them calling. I don't think I've ever seen the inside of a Virginia Rail beak before! Very cool.
We were wet, but continued to find birds--including five shorebird species at the Morris Arboretum pond--including two parents and four baby Killdeer. Nice! We ended up having five Solitary Sandpipers at three locations today.
After lunch we went back to Four Mills, and the best bird of the day was a Prothonotary Warbler I heard singing by the bridge over the creek. Tough bird to get in these parts.
We ended the day at Militia Hill at Fort Washington State Park. Not as birdy as I might have hoped, but we did get a few more warblers including Blackpoll Warbler. We ended the day with a nice red Eastern Screech-Owl in a roost cavity. I tallied 73 (365% of Bird RDA) species for the day, and thoroughly enjoyed getting soaked in the rain. Made me remember Christmas Bird Counts in Oregon as a kid!
A Sunning Yellow-billed Cuckoo
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