Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 2003

Return to the Birdlists Reports Menu    Return to the Birdlists Home Page

Compiled by Peter Robinson

A number of unusual species of birds were found in the state during 2003. Many of them stayed long enough to become additions to state and county life lists. The first opportunity occurred January 1 when a Varied Thrush was seen at a feeder in McKean Twp., Erie County. It stayed the January 1st and 2nd, then returned Feb. 4th & 9th, so it must have found another feeder in the area. A very cooperative Snowy Owl was found January 11 in Brodheadsville, Monroe County, and stayed at the same location until at least March 13.

In Huntingdon County a female Harlequin Duck was identified January 26 on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, where it stayed until February 9 or longer. A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was found May 8 along the Loyalsock Creek next to the Williamsport airport (Lycoming County), where it was seen again May 9.

On May 31 a few birders got to see a Black Skimmer on the Susquehanna River in the vicinity of Columbia, Lancaster County. It was seen several times during that day, but was not found the next day.

An American White Pelican that arrived July 8 at Presque Isle was there until at least July 13. A Long-tailed Jaeger was at Lake Nochamixon, Bucks County, on August 31 and September 1.

The passage of Hurricane Isabel through the state presented a golden opportunity September 19 & 20 to see rare species that would not have been in the state without the hurricane. Those that were “chase-able” included 3 Pomerine Jaegers – one on the Susquehanna River at Marysville (Dauphin County), another at Somerset Lake (Somerset County), and a third at Kahle Lake (Venango County). Other “chase-able” rarities included a Black Skimmer at Shawnee State Park (Bedford County), a Sabine’s Gull at Yellow Creek State Park (Indiana County) where those looking for the Sabine’s Gull also found a Leach’s Storm-Petrel, a Band-rumped Storm- Petrel at Bald Eagle State Park (Center County) where birders looking for it also found an adult Sabine’s Gull and an Arctic Tern, and a Royal Tern at Columbia (Lancaster County). The other storm-assisted rarities were fly-by’s, brief visits, or were not reported soon enough for others to go look for them.

The year’s final listing opportunity was a Franklin’s Gull that was found October 20 in fields at Millers Pond, near Pymatuning Lake (Crawford County). It stayed until at least November 4.

There are 56 birders now whose Pennsylvania life lists are 300 or more, an increase of two (Dave Kyler and Ronald Leberman) from 2002. Eight birders now have PA life lists of 350 species or more, with Randy Miller entering that category.

Ronald Leberman makes the seventh birder above the 300 mark in the PA Life List-Unassisted category — species found by the individual, or by another person with whom they were birding at the same spot at the same time, but not including “chase” birds. The top PA
Annual List reported for 2003 was Deuane Hoffman’s 295.

Bruce Carl’s 301 for Lancaster County brings the total to 12 County Life Lists of 300 or greater. There were several lead changes among the County Life Lists. For Forest County, Deuane Hoffman now has the highest life list at 174, an increase of 31 species since 2000.

In Huntingdon County, Dave Kyler has taken the lead with 242 species, a 13 species increase since 1996. John Fedak now has the largest McKean County life list at 256, a 27 species increase during the past year.

The Montour County leader is now Deuane Hoffman, with 232 species. Deuane Hoffman also added 25 species for Northumberland County since 2000 for a new high of 236. Jerry Skinner is now the Susquehanna County leader at 198.

In the past year John Fedak added 25 species to his Warren County list for a new high of 247.

Six new species for 2003 gives Mark McConaughy the lead at 228 for Westmoreland County.

There  were  new  annual  high species counts for 8 of the 67 counties: Geoff Malosh’s 190 species for Allegheny, Deuane Hoffman’s 246 for Dauphin, John Fedak’s 222 for McKean, Michael Schall’s 160 for Monroe and his 236 for Northampton, Deuane Hoffman’s 224 for Northumberland, Jerry Skinner’s 170 for Susquehanna, and John Fedak’s 204 for Warren.