State College Bird Club

14 December 2011

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on 14 December 2011.  Thirty-nine members and guests attended; Nick Kerlin presided.

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Fran MacEachren gave a presentation on birding in Chile.  She and Alan did a cross-section of the country plus a pelagic trip in November 2009.  Although the country is very narrow, it incorporates a wide variety of habitats with a tremendous range in elevation.  At locations above timberline in the Andes Mountains, they saw the Andean Condor, which has a 10’ wingspan and lives up to 50 years.  

At a lower elevation around San Jose Volcano, they found Torrent Ducks which are very powerful swimmers that nest in waterside caves along very turbulent streams and rivers.  Other birds in that area included Yellow-rumped Siskins, Mountain Caracara, and Diademed Sandpiper-plover.  The latter is a key species that is considered to be threatened.  It lives in the alpine zone – about 4000-5000 meters in elevation.  

They also visited La Campana National Park, which contains one of the last expanses of native Chilean palms.  Some bird species seen there included the Moustached Turca, a secretive endemic species that builds nests up to two meters into stream banks; the Giant Hummingbird, which is 8-9” in length, and three species of Coots.  At sea level they visited the Cachagua Humboldt Penguin colony.  Other birds seen along the shore included Peruvian Booby, White-backed Stilt, and Black Skimmer.  Finally, their transect was completed with a pelagic trip out into the Humboldt Current in the Pacific Ocean.  While experiencing 10’ swells in a small boat, the saw Pervuian Pelican and Southern Royal Albatross.
Minutes taken by Nan Butkovich, Secretary