Last week in the field

Had a great two days in the field. Weather was cooperative and so were the birds. I was able to finish off two sites: State Game Land (SGL) 91 off Suscon Road near Pittston and SGL 135 .

SGL 91 looks like they did a timber harvest and then a burn. One section was burned in April of this year but the ground cover has already covered.

These scorched areas had a number of dead trees that are scattered throughout. The best bird on the site was a Red-headed Woodpecker – my first north of Alabama! This plot was not on my target site list but I added it just in cases I’m hired to go back and I’ll have a nice time sequence of how birds use sites as they age. The sites I was assigned to on SGL 91 were logistically horrendous. Incredibly thick regrowth of oaks (red, bear, white) and  sassafras with some thick patches of raspberry to navigate.

SGL 135 on the other hand was a dream. These tracts still had intact canopies but the understory was burnt off. A breeze to walk through. This, of course, led to drastic differences in birds. SGL 91 was thick with Prairie Warblers and other early successional birds and SGL 135 had many forest birds. You would think that SGL 135 would be totally inappropriate for Golden-winged Warblers, which like disturbance. All it would take for SGL 135 to open up is a big gypsy moth year. I do wonder why they don’t girdle a few trees to jump start things.

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Off the tracts but within the boundaries were some goodies including a Canada Warbler and a porcupine. The warbler is cool because this is a boreal specialist. They’re common in New England but only occur in a few isolated swamps in Pennsylvania.

 

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