Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 2002

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Compiled by Peter Robinson    

A number of unusual species of birds were found in the state during 2002, many of them staying long enough to become additions to birder’s PA and County Life Lists. A Snowy Owl found along the Lycoming/Union County border on the Allenwood Prison Camp property during a Christmas Bird Count was reported 12/24/01, then was seen from behind the White Deer Baptist Church by a number of people until at least 2/9. On 1/1 three Pine Grosbeaks were reported near Mansfield, Tioga County, where they appeared regularly until 1/5, and were seen by a number of birders. A female Harlequin Duck that was found 1/29 at Presque Isle State Park in Erie County stayed until at least 4/8, and was seen by many birders. On 2/28 a Eurasian Collared-Dove was re-found in Fairview Twp., Erie County, remaining until at least 6/18. Another Eurasian Collared-Dove was in SE York County from late April until at least 5/26. Lancaster County’s Conejohela Flats hosted a Piping Plover 5/31-6/1.

A Curlew Sandpiper was at the Penn Warner Tract in Bucks County on 7/25, seen that day only by a few fortunate birders. At a small pond at the Imperial Grasslands, Allegheny County, a Snowy Plover was found the morning of 8/6. Telephone calls resulted in the plover being seen during that day by about 30 area birders. The plover was at the pond as darkness fell, several birders drove overnight from the eastern side of the state, but the plover was not to be found at daybreak 8/7. A Ruff was at Bristol, Bucks County, 9/27-10/5. Some birders got to see a Yellow Rail that was at the Penn Warner Tract, Bucks County, from 10/2 to 10/4.

A Clapper Rail was found at Bristol on 10/4 only, but long enough for several birders to get there to see it. Two King Eiders visited the state – one 10/30-31 at Lake Nockamixon in Bucks County, and second one 10/31 at a small pond in a residential area in Chester County that stayed until at least 11/6. In Juniata County, a Green-tailed Towhee found 11/10 coming to a feeder near the village of Centre was seen until 11/31 by many birders.

A Purple Sandpiper spent 11/16 at Peace Valley Park, Bucks County, long enough for some to get to see it, but was not found 11/17. On 11/18 a California Gull was reported at Presque Isle State Park, Erie County and was seen by a number of birders until at least 11/24. A hummingbird that had been coming to a feeder in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, since 11/5 was identified 11/26 as a Calliope Hummingbird and was seen last on 11/28.

A Northern Gannet was seen 11/30 flying off shore at Presque Isle State Park. A few birders made it through a bad snow storm to see the Gannet on 12/1 and 12/2, then two Gannets were seen 12/3. A Black- headed Grosbeak that showed up 12/10 at a feeder in southern Lancaster County was seen until 12/17 by about 50 birders.

There are 54 birders now whose Pennsylvania life lists are 300 or more, an increase of one (John Salvetti) from 2001. At 250 species or more, there are now 112 birders, up 4 from last year’s108. Six birders are above the 300 mark in the PA Life List- Unassisted category — species that the person found by themselves, or that they saw right after a bird was spotted by another person in the party with which they were birding, but not including “chase” birds.

The top PA Annual List reported for 2002 was Devich Farbotnik’s 294. Joyce Hoffmann was a close second at 290. Devich was very busy birding in Bucks County and elsewhere in the state in 2002. Not only was his 294 species the top PA Annual List reported, but his 275 species for Bucks County is a new all-time high county annual list for any county. All but 19 of the species that he saw in the state were found in Bucks County! This birding effort also resulted in a 19 species increase in Devich’s PA Life List during 2002, moving him to 7th place with 348, and an 18 species increase in his Bucks County Life List for a total of 300.

Jason Horn decided to update his list numbers this year, the first time since 1995, and his PA Life List moves into first place with 371 species. Jason’s PA Life List – Unassisted is also in first place in that category with 321 species. He now has, as well, first place County Life Lists of 271 for Lehigh and 275 for Montgomery. Other notable gains accomplished during 2002 included Michael Schall’s 27 new state species for a PA Life List total of 292, Steve Farbotnik’s PA life List increase of 16 species for a 10th place total of 346, and Steve’s 14 species gain for Bucks County for a new high county life list of 302.

Last year it took 258 species to be included in the top 50 PA Annual Lists, and this year 261 is the 50th. There are now 11 birders with County Life Lists over 300 species – 7 for Lancaster, 2 for Bucks, and 2 for Erie. Randy Miller’s 316 for Lancaster is the highest County Life List. It now takes 263 species to be included in the top 50 County Life Lists. The two new top 50 County Annual Lists were Devich Farbotnik’s 275 for Bucks and Jerry McWilliams’ 232 for Erie. It now takes 230 species to make the top 50 County Annual Lists.