State College Bird Club

25 Jan. 2012

The State College Bird Club met at Foxdale Village on 25 Jan. 2012.  Forty-nine members and guests attended; Nick Kerlin presided.

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Nick Bolgiano gave a presentation on the birds of the western U.S.  His “tour” started at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in Kansas, which is the biggest inland marsh in the U.S. and is surrounded by high ground.  It’s managed for shorebirds, so it’s a great place to see Great and Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night-herons, Wilson’s Phalaropes, Stilt Sandpiper, American Avocet, White-faced Ibis, and the premiere bird, the Long-billed Dowitcher.
Another Kansas wetland is Quiviera NWR, which is not as marshy as Cheyenne Bottoms.  Quiviera is managed for wildlife and uses fire to maintain open areas.  Species of note varies with the water depth, but can include Northern Bobwhite Lark Sparrow, Wilson’s Phalarope, Baird’s Sandpiper, Hudsonian Godwit, American Golden-plover, Snowy Plover, and western Willet.
Eastern Colorado has the Pawnee Grasslands, of which about half the land is privately owned.  One of the most common birds observed was the Lark sparrow; Vesper Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow were also common.  Other notable species include Horned Lark, McCown’s Longspur, Burrowing Owl, Swainson’s Hawk, and Loggerhead Shrike.

The Walden Ponds area of Boulder County, CO, produced a different assemblage of bird species, including Black-headed Grosbeak, Black-billed Magpie, Stellar’s Jay, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lazuli Bunting, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, and Macgillivray’s Warbler.  Still higher in elevation, Rocky Mountain National Park produced Dusky Grouse, Clark’s Nutcracker, and Prairie Falcon.  Three-toed Woodpeckers were found in the big swaths of dead Lodgepole Pines.

Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are in the central canyonlands region of Utah.  Black-throated Sparrow, Rock Wren, Violet-green Swallow, White-throated Swift, and Juniper Titmouse call the former home, while Ash-throated Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Bushtit, and Say’s Phoebe are found in the latter park.

Nick also discussed three Wyoming sites:  Jackson, Grand Tetons National Park, and Yellowstone National Park.  Species of note included Cinnamon Teal, Brewer’s Blackbird, Black Rosy-finch, Gray Jay, American Dipper, Western Grebe, Clark’s Grebe, Cassin’s Finch, Townsend’s Solitaire, Pink-sided Junco, Harlequin Duck, and Barrow’s Goldeneye. 

The western tour ended in South Dakota, with quick looks at avian fauna, such as White-winged Junco, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Yellow-breasted Chat In the Black Hills, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, and the South Dakota Badlands.  

Minutes taken by Nan Butkovich, Secretary