Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 2007

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Compiled by Peter Robinson

It was a very good year for rare species found in the state that stayed long enough for others to see, including four potential first state records, should they be accepted by PORC.

The Lark Sparrow first found 10/14/06 at Maple Knolls Farms, Bucks, stayed until at least 5/1/07. The Ash-throated Flycatcher found 12/27/06 in Lititz, Lancaster, was seen through 1/3/07, and the Western Kingbird found 12/29/06 near Morgantown, Berks County, was there until at least 1/11/07.

A Townsend’s Solitaire that showed up 12/31/06 at a residence in Fairview Twp., Erie, was seen there through 2/3, then returned from 3/1 to at least 3/19. The female Painted Bunting found 1/5 at the John Heinz NWR, Philadelphia, was reported last on 2/3. A Black-headed Gull found 1/6 at Tulleytown, Bucks, was seen until 1/17.

An adult male Scott’s Oriole (first record) was reported 2/20 in a residential neighborhood in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland, where it was seen by many birders until 4/8. On 3/4 a Lazuli Bunting was found near Pennsburg, Montgomery, where it was seen through 4/10.

In Adams, a Loggerhead Shrike was found 2/28 in Freedom Twp., where it and probably a second Loggerhead were seen through the end of the year. A Yellow-headed Blackbird was seen at the edge of the Philadelphia airport property from 3/23 to 4/1.

In Dauphin, a Black-headed Gull was found 3/30 on the Susquehanna River, then was seen again 3/31 and 4/1.

An American Oystercatcher was a one-day wonder at Nockamixon State Park, Bucks, 4/19–but about 30 birders got there to see it. Also in Bucks, a Black Rail was found 4/28 at an undisclosed location where it stayed for several days. A first state record Yellow-billed Loon was identified 5/4 on the Susquehanna River (Dauphin) at Wormleysburg, where it was seen by many birders through 5/7. On 5/13, a Black-necked Stilt was found in Lehigh near Fogelsville, where it was reported last 5/21.

Six birders were able to see an immature White Ibis at a Northampton residential pond when it was there 8/7-8. Another immature White Ibis was reported 8/8 on the Susquehanna River just south of Wade Island, Dauphin, seen only by the initial two observers. Then from 8/29 to 9/12 an immature White Ibis (the 8/8 bird?) was in the shallow area of the Susquehanna River at West Fairview, Dauphin. In the village of Oakland Mills, Juniata, an adult male Bullock’s Oriole was identified by 12-year-old Steve Troyer on 11/23, then was seen by hundreds of birders through the end of the year. The state’s first record of Long-billed Murrelet occurred on 12/14 at Lake Nockamixon, Bucks. The large group that saw it that day until daylight faded were fortunate, because it was not found the next day. Another state first, a Slaty-backed Gull, was identified 12/21 in Bucks at the Tulleytown landfill by a group of four birders, was found again 12/22 after a lengthy search by a group of seven others, and was seen briefly on 12/27 by one of the original group of four.

The number of birders whose Pennsylvania life lists are 300 or more increased by two this year to a total of 65, and 18 birders now have PA life lists of 350 species or more. There are eight birders above the 300 mark in the PA Life List-Unassisted category, the same as last year. There are 13 County Life Lists of 300 or greater, one more than last year: one for Berks, two for Bucks, two for Erie, and eight for Lancaster, with Berks being the new one.

A “big year” friendly contest between Devich Farbotnik and Mike Weible, with each helping the other, resulted in a tie at 292 species in the state. Geoff Malosh did not set out specifically for a “big year”, but accomplished one anyway with a very nice total of 289. Deuane Hoffman reported 313 species for the year, quite a surprising number considering that a preliminary count of species reported in the state by all birders was 319, some of which were fly-by’s and others that were one day wonders. (The official 2007 state total is pending the final reports for December from compilers, which will appear in the next issue of this journal.)

There were three lead changes among the County Life Lists. Mathew Spence now has the lead for Berks, Deuane Hoffman for Clearfield, and Eric Witmer for Lancaster. There was a new high County Annual List for Crawford: 222 by Ronald Leberman. Devich Farbotnik’s 324 for Bucks and Eric Witmer’s 323 for Lancaster puts them at the top of the Top 50 County Life Lists.