Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology
2023 Birding Festival
(and Annual Meeting)
May 19-21, 2023
Ramada Hotel and Conference Center
State College, Pennsylvania
Graphics by Joshua Potter
Please note the Code for the Field Trip (Sat2, Sun5, etc.). Use these codes to quickly identify the trips you want on the registration page.
Please select a morning field trip for each day. If the capacity is reached, you will not be able to choose that particular field trip. The nocturnal trips are extra and so you can choose one of those in addition to the morning trips. There are also a few activities to sign up for in the place of regular bird walks. The trip leader will be given your contact information, email, and phone number and will get in touch with you a week or so before the Birding Festival. That person will contact you in the event that something comes up to change plans.
There is always a possibility of rain. The trip leader will be in charge of making any changes in plans due to weather (e.g., later start time, meeting at a pavilion, cancelling completely) at least 1 hour or 1.5 hours in advance of the start time. When you sign up, leaders will be given your email address and will get in touch with you a week or two before the event. At that time, you will be asked to let the leader know if you should receive a text and/or email about any changes of the event.
Alan Seeger Natural Area (Sat1 and Sun1)
Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21, 7:30 am – 11:00 am
Trip Leader: Jon Kauffman
Join Jon Kauffman for a walk at Alan Seeger Natural Area. This natural area sits in a deep and narrow valley that is best known for its old-growth hemlocks, tall white pines, tulip poplars, oaks, and a thick growth of rhododendron along the Standing Stone Creek. Participants will be lead on a paved road to an easy 1-mile loop trail that meanders through a thicket of rhododendron. This trail is often wet and soft so sturdy boots are recommended.
Jon will meet the group at the Ramada at 7:00am to drive together to the Alan Seeger Picnic Area for the 30-minute drive.
Noteworthy breeding birds can be Acadian Flycatchers, Blue-headed Vireo, Winter Wren, Veery, Wood Thrush, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Worm-eating, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded, and Canada warblers. If time permits, the group will spend time at Bear Meadows Natural Area on the return trip back to State College.
Bathroom facilities nearby at the picnic area.
The Arboretum at Penn State (Sat2 and Sun2)
Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21, 8 am to 10:30 am
Trip Leaders: Margaret Brittingham, Kevin Brant
Meet at the Overlook Pavilion at 8:00am. Plan to leave the Ramada between 7:30-7:40 for a 1minute drive. Parking is available in the Lewis Katz Building lot, just across Bigler Road from the Arboretum for a fee of $1/hour.
The walk will start at the Overlook Pavilion in the Arboretum . The 370-acre Arboretum includes approximately 10 acres of formal gardens including the Pollinator and Bird Garden (opened in July 2021 and 90 species recorded) as well as a restored prairie, mature forest, old fields, and forest-field edge (171 species). We will start the walk in the gardens and then walk down through the field and prairie and along a rails-to-trails path. Expected species in and near the gardens include Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Gray Catbird, Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, Barn Swallow, as well as a variety of resident species. Breeding and migrating warblers including Magnolia Warbler, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow Warbler and American Redstart are often found at this time of year. In the prairie and along the rails to trails we should find Field Sparrow, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher and possibly Orchard Orioles.
The walk will be easy to moderate with an opportunity to stay in the gardens if not interested in an extended walk. There will be time after the walk to explore the many formal gardens including the Pollinator and Bird Garden, Children’s Garden and Rose Garden.
Bathrooms are available at the Overlook Pavilion.
Bald Eagle Valley Wetlands (Sat3 and Sun3)
Saturday May 20 & Sunday May 21, 5:15 am or 7 am-9 am
Trip Leaders: Joe Gyekis (Saturday and Sunday) and Nash Turley (Saturday)
This trip has an an optional early segment for dawn chorus, so there will be two different meetup points.
The first meetup option is at 5:15 am at the gravel parking lot where Underwood Rd. intersects with Beaver Road (40.883196, -78.021460) in Moshannon State Forest. We will go east along Underwood Road to listen to and watch for the Whip-poor-wills, cuckoos, and various songbirds (especially the nesting Chestnut-sided Warblers) in the mature oak forests and regenerating clearcuts nearby. If you arrive later than 5:15, find us along that first half mile segment of Underwood Rd east of the parking lot. We plan to stay on the main gravel road, which is fairly flat in this section. By 6:45 we will drive the 11 minutes down into Bald Eagle Valley to meet the well-rested folk. A Cerulean Warbler might be heard out the window along Steele Hollow Road as we descend off the Allegheny Front, although there are no good pull off spots on the steep hillside that is the best area for them.
The second meetup option is at 7:00 am at Soaring Eagle Wetland. We will walk about a half mile loop around the cattail wetland and riparian corridor of Bald Eagle Creek. This loop is a wide path, partly gravel, partly grass but generally well mowed. If there is heavy rain immediately before our outing, some parts can be puddly/squelchy, so this is the one segment that might merit puddle boots. Next we will drive over to Dreibelbis Birding Area. This area has nice gravel trails and covered blinds to observe the marsh, less than half a mile of walking here. Both of these wetlands are spring migratory stopping spots for rails and other marsh birds, and breeding habitat for Willow Flycatchers, Eastern Kingbirds, and Yellow Warblers. We will likely be finished up by about 9:00 am.
No bathroom facilities. Walking is easy, but the hours do add up. Maybe bring a folding chair for some of the darker parts of the early morning.
Bald Eagle State Park (Sun7)
Sunday only May 21, 2023, 8:00 am to 11:00 am
Trip Leader: Bob Snyder
Meet at the Swimming Beach parking lot at 8:00 am. We will caravan to several locations in the main park area and take a short walk from the war memorial at the dam to Hunters Run Cove and the spillway marsh.
The habitat includes a large lake that we will check out from several observation areas to look for migrating waterfowl, wandering gulls and terns, migrating shorebirds and warblers as well as local breeding birds. Bald Eagles (3 pairs) nested within or very close to the park in 2022, and there were several Osprey nesting sites within 2-10 miles of the park in Bald Eagle valley in 2022 (on cell towers). Osprey can be seen diving for fish throughout the park from late April through October.
Bald Eagle SP is a ‘magnet’ for accidental rarities that may be pushed into the area by major storm systems. Some rarities seen in recent years at the park include: Laughing Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Caspian Tern, Forster’s Tern, Eared Grebe, Harlequin Duck, American White Pelican, Willet, Whimbrel and Marbled Godwit, and American Avocet.
For the walking part of the trip near the spillway marsh, we may explore a grassy swath that runs through secondary growth as we look for migrating warblers. Hiking boots, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, a hat and insect repellant are recommended.
Bring binoculars and, for the lake portion of the trip, bring a spotting scope if you have one. Photographers are welcome to bring their cameras.
Modern restrooms are at the visitor’s center and the swimming beach and several primitive restrooms are located around the park at the boat launches. No restroom facilities at the dam.
Black Moshannon State Park (Sat4 and Sun4)
Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21, 7:30 am to 11:00 am.
Field Trip Leaders: Julia Plummer, Susan Smith, Karen Kottlowski
We will meet at 7:30 am at the parking lot by the beach at Black Moshannon State Park (40.915958, -78.058984). The parking lot is located on Black Moshannon Road; Beaver Road turns into Black Moshannon Rd where it intersects with Rattlesnake Pike (PA-504). The parking lot is 35 minutes (23 miles) from the Ramada Inn. From there, we will travel together to other locations in the park.
Our approximate 3-mile hike will take us through landscapes dominated by oaks, black cherry, and red maple and bog areas featuring thickets of alder, Eastern hemlock, rhododendron, and highbush blueberry. Moshannon is said to be derived from moose stream or elk stream in the Seneca language. The trails can be wet so waterproof shoes are recommended. While most of the hike will be relatively level, many sections are uneven. The noteworthy breeding birds we may find include Broad-winged Hawk, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue-headed and Red-eyed vireo, Alder Flycatcher, Veery, Hermit Thrush, Canada Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, and Scarlet Tanager.
Bathroom facilities are located at the parking lot.
Canoe Creek State Park #1 Blair County Birding Hotspot! (Sun8)
Sunday only May 21, 8:00 am to 11:00 am
Field Trip Leader: John Carter
Plan to leave the Ramada Inn about 7 am and the drive of about 35 miles will take about 50 minutes. Enter from Turkey Valley Road, passing the park office, and park in the large parking lot near the lake on the far left. 40.484851, -78.283068
The walking distance will be 2 to 4 miles on pavement, boardwalk and on grass terrain. You should wear suitable hiking shoes and always need to be cautious of ticks.
Canoe Creek SP features a 155-acre lake, wetlands, grasslands and mature forests, which provide critical habitat for migrating birds and other wildlife. During the peak Spring migrating season at Canoe Creek SP there is potential for people to see between 60-90 species within a single day. This includes many warbler gems like the Blackburnian, Magnolia, Worm-eating, Northern Parula and many others. Other notable birds in recent years include Marsh Wren, White-eyed Vireo, Wilson’s Snipe. The park has many Osprey and Bald Eagles fishing over the lake which make for great opportunities for photographers and viewing.
Bathroom facilities: Yes
Detweiler Run Natural Area Rothrock Forest (Sat7)
Saturday only May 20, 7:45 am to 11:00 am
Trip Leaders: Greg and Deb Grove
Plan to leave the Ramada at 7:15 am to follow a person to the site who will be named later. 35- to 40-minute drive and about 12 miles from the Ramada Inn with forest roads. There is a parking area just down the road from the gated road. Please do not park in front of the gate.
The approximate 3-mile hike follows Detweiler Run that cascades down a narrow valley between Thickhead and Grass Mountains from 2400 feet to 1100 feet and we will start at 1350 feet. We will follow a rocky trail that may be difficult for some people. The trail becomes a stream in wet years so waterproof hiking boots are very helpful. Trekking poles can be very useful while traversing the rocks in the trail. We will return to the cars following a gated forest road.
There are towering hemlocks and white pines above the rhododendrons that flank the stream. Noteworthy breeding birds can be Broad-winged Hawk, Barred Owl, Downy, Hairy, Pileated woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Acadian Flycatcher, Blue-headed and Red-eyed vireo, Winter Wren, Veery, Wood Thrush, Blackburnian, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Worm-eating, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded, and Canada warblers.
No bathroom facilities
Lower Trail (Huntingdon County) (Sat8)
Saturday only May 20, 7:45 am to 11:00 am
Trip Leader: Nick Bolgiano
Meet at the Water Street Flea Market (4598 William Penn Highway) at 7:45 am. It takes 35-40 minutes of driving time from the Ramada Inn and Route 45 is the best way to get there. At the end of route 45, turn L on route 453. At the stoplight (1 mi), turn L on route 22 and the flea market is on the R (0.25 mi). The walk will be 1.5 mile out-and-back on flat ground. If you walk into the brushy edges, there could be a few ticks.
The Lower Trail is one of Pennsylvania’s best riparian forest sites. It is a rail-trail that follows the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River as it flows north between Tussey Mountain east of the river and a small ridge west of the river. We will walk between where these two ridges pinch in along the river. The Lower Trail is known for its high Cerulean Warbler density, although the American Redstart density is higher.
Birds that we may encounter include Common Merganser, Bald Eagle, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated, Warbling, and Red-eyed vireos, Wood Thrush, Baltimore Oriole, Louisiana Waterthrush, American Redstart, Cerulean Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager.
There is a rest room at the northern end of the Lower Trail 1 mi from the Flea Market at Alfarata Trailhead. Continue 0.5 mi past the flea market, turn L on route 4014, and R into the Lower Trail parking lot (0.25 mi).
Lower Trail (Mt Etna, Blair County) (Sun9)
Sunday only May 21, 7:55am to 10:30 am to 11:00 am
Trip Leader: Nick Bolgiano
This field trip will start from the Mt. Etna trailhead (Catherine Twp.) of the Lower Trail. It takes 40-45 minutes of driving time from the Ramada Inn. Whitehall Rd and Route 45 is the best way to get there. At the end of Route 45, turn L on Route 453. At the stoplight (1 mi), turn R onto route 22. Travel 3.3 mi and just after the westbound turns into 2 lanes, turn L onto Fox Run Rd (be in the left lane when the passing lane begins). Stay R with the river on your left to reach the Mt. Etna trailhead (2.2 mi). This parking lot often has numerous vehicles in this season, so please minimize gaps between vehicles.
We plan to start walking upstream (to the Right) around 7:55 am. The walk will be 1-1.5 mile out-and-back on flat ground. If you walk into the brushy edges, there could be a few ticks.
The Lower Trail is one of Pennsylvania’s best riparian forest sites. It is a rail trail that follows the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River as it flows north between Tussey Mountain east of the river and a small ridge west of the river. This walk is where riparian habitat spreads out along the river, with high densities of Cerulean Warblers and other riparian birds.
Birds that we may encounter include Common Merganser, Bald Eagle, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-throated, Warbling, and Red-eyed vireos, Wood Thrush, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Louisiana Waterthrush, American Redstart, Cerulean Warbler, Northern Parula, Yellow-throated Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager.
There is a rest room at the parking area.
Plummer’s Hollow Nature Reserve (Sun10)
Sunday only May 21, 5:30 am OR 7:30 am
Trip Leader: Mark Bonta
Early Bird and Leisurely options available. For Early Birds, plan to leave the Ramada at 4:3 am for a 5:30 am start time: the drive to Tyrone is 35 minutes, and it is another 15-minutes drive up the Hollow. Hot drinks and snacks will be provided for an Early Bird breakfast. We will be birding in and around First Field until the Leisurely crowd shows up by 7:30 am, at which point we will begin the first leg of a longer hike that will include sections of deep woods, but not very strenuous terrain. Be sure to bring sturdy walking gear, a water bottle, and tick repellent. The hike will end by 11:00 am but participants will be able to leave earlier, as needed. Bathroom facilities are available.
Plummer’s Hollow is particularly good for warbler numbers and diversity. Breeding warbler species to look for, on top of passage migrants, include Cerulean, Blackburnian, Hooded, Worm-eating, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Black-and-White, Northern Parula, and sometimes Kentucky Warbler. Other breeders of note include Yellow-throated Vireo, American Woodcock, Cooper’s Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Whip-poor-will (for the early birds), both cuckoos, Barred Owl, and the odd Ruffed Grouse. Overall, 173 of the 210+ species recorded in the Plummer’s Hollow ebird hotspot (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3330516) have been found there in May.
Bathroom Facilities available.
SGL 112 Huntingdon County for Golden-winged Warblers and Yellow-breasted Chat (Sun11)
Old Crow Wetlands afterwards for those interested
Sunday only May 21, 7:45 am to 11:00 am
Trip Leaders: Deb and Greg Grove
Plan to leave the Ramada at 7:15 am to follow a person to a parking lot at SGL 112 on Mill Creek Hollow Road. 35 to 40 minute drive. This is not the site where we will be walking but we will meet here before driving to the Field Trip Site.
The out and back walk will be ¾ mile out and requires walking through grassl. Ticks are a very strong possibility here. Tick spray, long pants and high boots are good measures to avoid picking them up on your clothes.
The habitat is at a double powerline area that itself is open but it is flanked by middle succession shrubby fields with patches of dense, woody stems under 20 feet. Noteworthy Warblers are Golden-winged Warblers (and occasional hybrids), Common Yellowthroat, and Prairie Warbler and Ovenbird, Black-and-White, Hooded, Redstart, Chestnut-sided, and Black-throated Green can be heard from the tree line on the west side of the tract. As many as 4 to 5 Yellow-breasted Chats can be found in the area.
Other birds in the tree line can include woodpeckers, Wood-Pewee, Yellow-throated and Red-eyed vireo, Corvids, Mimids, Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Indigo Bunting.
No bathroom facilities at Powerline.
Old Crow Wetlands can be reached at a parking area off of Rt 22 near Hoss’s Steak House in Huntingdon. Bathroom facilities can be accessed before the walk at the nearby Sheetz store at 4th street and Rt 22. 221 species have been found and the mitigated area provides not only a location for breeding birds but also a stopover for migrating birds such as Marsh Wren, American and Least bittern, shorebirds, herons and egrets, warblers, and flycatchers. Breeding birds include at least 2 species of swallows, Willow Flycatcher (Acadian and Alder in migration), House and Carolina wren, mimids, Field, Song, and possibly Grasshopper sparrows, Baltimore and Orchard oriole, and Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warbler. Chimney Swift and Fish Crow can be seen overhead. Rare species have included Ruff, Cattle Egret, Sandhill Crane, Trumpeter Swan, Virginia Rail, Common Gallinule, various shorebirds, Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egret.
Bathroom facilities near Old Crow.
Scotia Barrens (Sat5 and Sun5)
Saturday May 20 & Sunday May 21, 7:30 am to 11:00 am
Trip Leaders: Kurt Engstrom, Chad Kauffman
Meet in front of Ramada Inn and plan to leave by 7:30 am. We will carpool a short 15 minutes over to SGL 176 (Scotia Barrens) to ease parking as we will be parking at different spots and doing short walks along the Scotia Range Rd from each spot. Walking will be easy, but be prepared for mud if we have had wet weather. We will start birding the 10 Acre Pond area and move further into the Scotia Barrens. Please practice tick prevention. Fluorescent orange is recommended for Saturday as it is Turkey season.
Scotia Barrens is a pitch pine/scrub oak barrens, the largest in Pennsylvania, best known for its migrating and breeding warbler diversity. 35 warbler species have been recorded at this hotspot with more than 15 species that are known to breed here as well. Golden-winged Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chat, Black-billed Cuckoo, Alder Flycatcher, and Ruffed Grouse are some of the specialty breeders at the Barrens. If there has been sufficient wet weather and 10 Acre Pond has water, multiple wetland species are possible - American Bittern, Green Heron, Wood Duck, and Pied-billed Grebe have all bred here in recent years.
Port-a-Johns may be available at the firearms range.
Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center Beginners Walk (Sat9)
Saturday only May 20, 8:30 am to 10:00 am
Trip Leader: Doug Wentzel
Meet on the lawn outside of the visitor center at 8:30 am for a walk focused on bird watching basics. Allow 20 minutes to drive 12 miles from the Ramada over Pine Grove Mountain on Rt. 26. Please park in the designated parking area.
We’ll cover tips on identification, resources, materials and techniques to help you learn about the birds in your backyard Our leisurely walk will take us to the boardwalk area to view Lake Perez and upstream Shaver’s Creek. The trail features a variety of habitats from mature mixed forest to stream and lake edge, and we will find a diversity of breeding birds including Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Scarlet Tanager.
Visitor parking, restrooms, bookstore are available.
Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center (Sat6 and Sun6)
Saturday May 20, 8:30 am to 10:00 am Trip Leader: Dan Brauning
Sunday May 21, 8:30 am to 10:00 am Trip Leader: Doug Wentzel
On Saturday leave with Dan Brauning from the Ramada at 7:00 am to caravan to the Shaver’s Creek where we’ll meet in the designated parking at about 7:30. Sunday participants: allow 20 minutes to drive 12 miles from the Ramada over Pine Grove Mountain on Rt. 26. Please park in the designated parking area.
We will bird along the well-established trails in the vicinity of the Environmental Education center. Comfortable walking shoes will be adequate on these easy trails.
The forested and shrubby habitats will provide opportunities to see the typical breeding and migrant birds of central Pennsylvania. The boardwalk trail provides access to wetlands at the edge of Lake Perez. We’ll see or hear local breeders including Hooded and Pine warblers, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Wood Thrush and will look for a variety of passage migrants.
Bathroom facilities are available. You can visit the Environmental Ed center after the bird walk.
Scotia Barrens (IBA) Evening (Fri1)
Friday only May 19, 8:30 pm to 9:30pm
Field Trip Leaders: Julia Plummer, Diane Bierly
We will meet at 8:30 pm about 1.8 miles down Scotia Range Rd in Scotia Barrens from where it intersects with Scotia Road in an open gravel parking area (40.785170, -77.950175). This is about a 20-minute (10 miles) drive from the Ramada Inn. Scotia Barrens is state game lands so consider wearing blaze orange if you arrive earlier in the day.
Our initial focus will be on observing and listening to the display flights of the American Woodcock. Later into the night, we will listen for Eastern Whip-Poor-Wills and Barred Owls. Ticks can be an issue at Scotia Barrens if we leave the road to observe American Woodcocks along the mown paths; wear appropriate protection (e.g., long pants tucked into socks, spraying clothing for ticks). A flashlight is also recommended.
No bathroom facilities at this location.
Night Noises of Harry’s Valley Evening (Sat11)
Saturday only May 20, 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Field Trip Leader: Diane Bierly
We will meet at 9:00 pm at Jo Hayes Vista along Rt. 26 (directions will be sent to participants). This is about a 15-minute (7.5) miles drive from the Ramada Inn. Participants will be asked to carpool to reduce the number of cars.
We will make multiple stops along Harry’s Valley Road and Tram Road to listen for Whip-poor-wills, Barred Owls, and Black-billed Cuckoos in the Rothrock State Forest. This will be a listening activity which requires standing for up to 10 minutes at a time. Binoculars are not necessary, but participants might want to bring a flashlight
No bathroom facilities at this location.
Photography session at Bald Eagle SP (Sat12)
Saturday only, May 20, 8:30 am -10:30 am
Trip Leader: Bob Snyder
A photo outing is a new concept for the PSO meetings. The objective is to give photographers a chance to see new birds and improve their photography skills in the field.
We will meet at the small gravel parking lot (40.994, -77.699), just off Route 150 north of the I-80 interchange (turn right at the Bald Eagle SP sign for the Upper Green's Run boat launch, if coming from State College). The walk will follow an approximately 1.5-mile circuit from the gravel parking lot to the Bullit Run bridge or perhaps continue a short distance to Bullit Run Marsh.
The first leg of the walk will follow a grassy game swath through a secondary growth habitat as we look for Golden-winged and Blue-winged warblers as well as migrating warblers and other species of birds to photograph. The area is GWWA habitat and the both GWWA, BWWA and their hybrids can be found in this area in the spring.
Because we will walk through areas of an old overgrown meadow and along a game swath with grass and some boggy soil, we will need to take precautions for deer ticks/mosquitoes. Sturdy hiking boots, long pants (and gaiters, or have pant legs tucked into the tops of socks) long sleeve shirts (or a net bug shirt, if you have one), and a hat. We also recommend having some insect repellent along and also recommend spraying Deet on one’s trousers. If you have pyrethrin-treated clothing that would be a good alternative. Bringing a water bottle is recommended, especially if you can attach it to a fanny pack or put in a small day pack.
Binoculars and a camera are suggested. Those with a long telephoto lens, interchangeable lenses or an all-in-one zoom digital camera would be helpful. Beginners that want to learn more about what cameras to purchase may be interested in the trip. Tripods are not recommended as they will just be another thing to carry and are not necessary.
Bathroom Facilities: There are no restrooms at the trailhead, but there are commercial places just after the I-80 overpass, at the Milesburg McDonald’s or the TA Travel Center truck stop, or a primitive rest area at the Lower Green’s Run boat launch. There are also modern restrooms at the main park visitor’s center (2.3- 4.0 miles west on Rte. 150).
Photography session at Canoe Creek SP (Sun13)
Sunday only, May 21, 8:00 am -11:00 am.
Trip leaders: Mike and Susan Croyle
We will meet at 8:00 am at the Canoe Creek State Parking lot on the east side of the lake just off U.S. Route 22 at the intersection of Beaver Dam Road and Bass Court (this is the main parking lot for fishing and the boat launch). (40°29.0771'N 78°16.2386'W)
The objective is twofold:
Discuss bird photography gear needs and camera settings/skills, for the best photos.
Participants will have the opportunity to try out their photography skills in the field.
NO CAMERA? THAT’S OK. YOU WILL FIND THE INFORMATIONAL SECTION OF THE PROGRAM HELPFUL. BUT DO REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR BINOCULARS.
The morning will be a combination of discussion and photographic opportunities. The walking portion will be approximately 1.1 miles total from the parking lot and around the Beaver ponds. The pathway is grass with potential for soft and muddy spots at that time of the year. We should be able to spot several birds some of which may be: Green Heron, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Orchard Oriole, Warbling Vireo, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, American Robin.
Dress appropriately for the weather of the day as well as any additional activities you may decide to pursue at the park after the session. Please bring any bottled water and snacks you may need. There is no food or water services at the park
Discussion Topics as they relate to bird photography vs. photo documentation.
•Cameras: number of pixels, advantages of shooting RAW, handheld; monopod/tripod.
•Lenses: focal length; light gathering ability; cost vs. quality,
Understanding your camera:
Camera settings; exposure, depth of field, light, focusing
Getting focused, sharp, well-lit photos
Focus point settings, using your offset, camera’s light setting
Note: The area surrounding Canoe Creek SP consists of varied habitats from old growth forests, a rolling landscape of pervious farm fields now growing in combinations of trees, brush, marshlands, and grasses. The beaver ponds are a series of small ponds adjacent to the lake.
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND USING DEET as the substance is harmful to the materials used in the manufacture of cameras and lens bodies. Pyrethrin-treated clothing would be a good alternative as would non-DEET insect repellants.
To get the most out of bird photography, one will probably want to carry a camera with a long telephoto lens such as an interchangeable lens camera with a prime lens 300-600 mm or a 100-600 mm telephoto zoom both of which are typically used with today’s digital camera bodies. Monopods will be helpful. Tripods are not recommended as the pathway is quite narrow.
Bathrooms are located 2-tenths of a mile walk in the opposite direction from the parking lot.
Drawing Birds at Shaver’s Creek (Sat10)
Saturday only, May 20, 9 am-11:00 am
Leader: Elody Gyekis
Meet at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center 3400 Discovery Rd Petersburg, PA 16669 in the Hamer classroom. Allow 20 minutes to drive 12 miles from the Ramada over Pine Grove Mountain on Rt. 26. Please park in the designated parking area. Walking distance is easy. The activity will mostly be seated in the classroom and walking around the bird enclosures.
Local Artist Elody Gyekis will lead a bird-drawing activity beginning indoors in the Hamer Classroom and moving outside to draw the live birds within the enclosures if the weather permits. The activity will start with a brief lecture on the aspects of bird skeletal structure that will help us figure out how to draw the birds, followed by a demonstration of strategies for gesture drawing. We will then practice gesture drawing together from projected reference images. Strategies will be demonstrated for drawing from life using mounts and them the group will draw from either the mounts or live birds in the enclosures with occasional feedback and guidance from Elody.
Additional Information/Instructions about what Sketching Supplies to bring:
Participants should bring a sketchbook or a drawing board and several sheets of paper. Any kind of paper will do as long as it is suited to the drawing supplies you bring (e.g. if you bring watercolors, bring watercolor paper!) We will be doing some short gesture drawing and some longer drawings, if you wish to bring some cheaper paper and some nicer paper.
Participants should bring whatever drawing/sketching supplies they already own and are comfortable with. Charcoals and charcoal pencils are recommended, but graphite pencils, pens, markers, pastels, watercolors, or inks would all be fine. Just make sure that whatever you bring, you have the ability to make a wide mark and a fine line, and the ability to make a light mark and a dark mark. For example, if you have watercolors/inks bring both a fine brush and a wider brush, or if you like to sketch in markers, have a lighter color as well as black so you can start with some lighter sketch marks to find the proportions.
Demonstrations will mostly be done in charcoals and some charcoal supplies will be available for participants to try out. Elody will demonstrate wit
h soft vine charcoal, compressed charcoal sticks, soft and medium charcoal pencils, wide and narrow erasers, and paper towels to blend and smear.
Wear appropriate attire for the weather and for working with your art supplies. Activity will take place Rain or Shine.
Beginners are Welcome!
Bathroom facilities: provided
American Kestrel Banding (Sun14)
Tentative Sunday May 21, 1:00 pm
Leader: Steve Eisenhauer
Steve Eisenhauer is hoping to invite Birding Festival participants to join him in banding American Kestrels nestlings in one of his local boxes. Due to the hectic schedule associated with checking his 300 nest boxes this spring the event is on a tentative status. If interested, please sign up and Steve will contact you in the week before the festival if this event can be finalized.
Steve and his daughter Elizabeth wrote an article about the program that can be found in the spring issue of Pennsylvania Birds Vol 36 Issue 2. This American Kestrel nest box program was started in New Jersey in 2014 and expanded to central Pennsylvania through initial sponsorship of Penn State’s Shavers Creek Environmental Center.