Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 2015

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Compiled by Peter Robinson

The following people submitted list information for 2015: Timothy Becker, Chuck Berthoud, Gerry Boltz, Dick Byers, Brian Byrnes, Bruce Carl, Dick Cleary, Michael David, Michael Defina, Dave DeReamus, Gary Edwards, Devich Farbotnik, Mike Fialkovich, Ian Gardner, Deb Grove, Greg Grove, Al Guarente, Barb Haas, Frank Haas, David Hawk, Carol Hildebrand, Chad Hutchinson, Roy Ickes, Chad Kauffman, Andy Keister, Arlene Koch, Dave Kyler, Trudy Kyler, Wayne Laubscher, Ken Lebo, Geoff Malosh, Paul Mauss, Mark McConaughy, Jerry McWilliams, Randy C. Miller, Ted Nichols II, Richard Nugent, Bill Oyler, Brian Quindlen, Peter Robinson, Michael Schall, John Snarey, Russ States, Shannon Thompson, Mark Vass, Eric Witmer.

Please contact the compiler ( if you have any questions or comments.

There are now 87 birders whose PA Life Lists are 300 or more. Twenty three have PA Life Lists of 350 species or more, and six are at 375 or more. Devich Farbotnik is now a co-leader with Barb Haas with PA Life Lists of 387. There are nine birders at the 300 mark or more in the PA Life List-Unassisted category. This year’s high PA Annual List was the 285 for Ted Nichols II.

Bird of the Year for 2015

There were votes for a total of 25 species — quite a variety. Last year the bird of the year vote was a tie for first place, and the same thing happened this year. Anhinga and Brown Booby tied at 21 points each. In second place with 11 points was Ruff and Western Tanager was third with 8 points. Six points, two first place votes, were earned by Rough-legged Hawk, and Wilson’s Plover got 5 points. At 4 points were Kelp Gull and Pacific-slope Flycatcher. Gulls were well represented. Franklin’s, Little, and Glaucous Gull each got 3 points. At 2 points were: Great Black-backed Gull, Parasitic Jaeger, Pacific Loon, Cackling Goose, Tri-colored Heron, Avocet, Mississippi Kite, and Rufous Hummingbird, With one point were Red-throated Loon, Marbled Godwit, Chuck-will’s-widow, Mountain Bluebird, Prothonotary Warbler, and Dickcissel.

 (New PA life list species, Bird of the Year, and other comments)
Roy Ickes
Bird of the year: Glaucous Gull, Great Black-backed Gull. My vote for bird of the year goes to either of the Gulls, Glaucous or Great Black-backed, that were new species for the county and spurred me on to try for a new Washington County yearly record.
Richard Nugent
New Life Bird: Pacific Loon
Ian Gardner
Bird of the year: Ruff, Mississippi Kite, Prothonotary Warbler
Dave DeReamus
New Life Birds: Anhinga at John Heinz N.W.R. On 9/25/2015, Brown Booby near Tullytown on 11/15/2015
Bird of the Year: Brown Booby, Anhinga, Mountain Bluebird
Al Guarente
New Life Bird: Brown Booby
Bird of the Year: Brown Booby, Pacific Loon, Tri-colored Heron
I was finally able to get one of my nemesis birds for Delaware County, a Tri-colored Heron
Barb Haas
New Life Birds since 2013: Brown Booby, Anhinga
We have been missing and hoping for the Anhinga for years. The Brown Booby was most unexpected, but there were rather unusual sightings of the species across the nation, including Alaska.
Frank Haas
New Life Birds since 2010 included this year’s Brown Booby and Anhinga
Timothy Becker
New Life Birds: Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Willlet, Anhinga, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit
Bird of the Year: Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Anhinga, Marbled Godwit
Mark McConaughy
New Life Bird: Cattle Egret
The Cattle Egret that I found on the migration count was a new PA life bird, a new one found on my own, and a new Westmoreland county species.
Michael David
New Life Birds: Lark Sparrow, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Tricolored Heron, Ruff, Anhinga, Western Kingbird, Western Tanager, Northern Bobwhite, Pacific-slope Flycatcher Bird of the Year: Anhinga, Ruff, Tricolored Heron,
Bill Oyler
New Life Birds: Snowy Egret, Ruff, Marbled Godwit, Western Tanager
Bird of year: Ruff (my own county!), Western Tanager, Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Eric Witmer
New Life Birds: Anhinga, Brown Booby
Bird of the Year: Brown Booby in Bucks County, Wilson’s Plover at Erie, Anhinga at Tinicum
Geoff Malosh
New Life Birds: Kelp Gull, Wilson’s Plover, Ruff, Western Tanager
Bird of the Year: Little Gull, Western Tanager, Kelp Gull
Despite seeing such rarities as Kelp Gull, Ruff, Wilson’s Plover, Pacific-Slope Flycatcher, and many others, by far my top moments (plural) of 2015 were when I established *two* records of Little Gull at Dashields Dam, Allegheny County in March and April. Since 2004 I have been monitoring the spring waterbird migration at Dashields, and Little Gull has always been the primary target. It only took 12 years to get one! These were the first Little Gulls for my home county since 1973 and just the second and third overall. Honorable mention goes to the remarkable Western Tanager in State College, one of the most cooperative and photogenic rarities I’ve seen in a while, and unlike most of the other Western Tanagers in Pennsylvania’s history, this drive-up bird was present for weeks on end.
Mike Fialkovich
New Life Birds: Anhinga, Western Tanager
Bird of the Year: Kelp Gull, Anhinga, Western Tanager
The Anhinga was a nice addition because you have to be lucky to be at the right place at the right time, usually at a hawk watch in the extreme eastern part of the state. This bird lingered for such a long time I had to take the opportunity to add it to my state list. The Western Tanager was another one that I never had the chance to see in the state. It was great that it was an adult male and that it was cooperative.
Arlene Koch
New Life Bird: Brown Booby
Chad Kauffman
Bird of the Year: Franklin’s Gull, Brown Booby, Western Tanager
Chad Hutchinson
New Life Birds: 60 species
Bird of the Year: Rough-legged Hawk, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-throated Loon
Ken Lebo
New PA Life Bird: Brown Booby
New Berks Life Bird: Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Michael Defina
Bird of the Year: Rough-legged Hawk, Cackling Goose, Dickcissel
This year I was able to add 16 species to my PA life list. One of the more exciting species was a Rough-legged Hawk that I saw at Exton Park. My friend George Tallman let some friends and me know it was there and most of us ran off to Exton (some of us blowing off work) to see it. I arrived at the park to watch my friend Andrew Leidig (aka Bert) running across the parking lot to look at a raptor. Sure enough, that was the Rough-leg. We managed to get some decent photos during out observations. The hawk disappeared for a while only to return for another look about 20 minutes later.
Shannon Thompson
New Life Birds: Ruff, Anhinga, Western Tanager
Bird of the Year: Anhinga – such a cool bird and available to all, love Michael David’s pics. Gettysburg Least Flycatcher – great study bird and ID skills challenger. Western Tanager – awesome host and awesome bird
Paul Mauss
Bird of the Year: Ruff, Avocet, Chuck-Will’s-Widow
Devich Farbotnik
New Life Birds: Parasitic Jaeger, Anhinga, Brown Booby Bird of the Year: Brown Booby, Parasitic Jaeger at Bradford Dam, Anhinga
Ted Nichols II
Bird of the Year: Anhinga, Brown Booby, Wilson’s Plover
Peter Robinson
New Life Bird: Anhinga
Bird of the Year: Brown Booby, Wilson’s Plover, Anhinga
It took four trips to Tinicum, but I did get to see the Anhinga soaring for five minutes or more. What a strange looking bird. Unfortunately, the Brown Booby did not wait for me to return from a trip to Idaho.