Birding at Washington Crossing Park

On March 24th, I spent the evening in Washington Crossing Park along the Delaware River in Pennsylvania. I was there from 4:40 pm to 6:48 pm. It was a beautiful day, sunny, calm, and around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This park has a great diversity of habitat. I started off in a sparsely wooded area along the Delaware River. Then I moved toward field edge habitat, followed by marshland and lake habitat. I observed 31 species, most notably a Red-headed Woodpecker which was being reported from that location.
Another interesting bird that I got to see, and one that I love to see no matter how many times I already have, was the Brown Creeper. One of the reasons I love seeing Brown Creepers is because of how cryptic they are. I first heard the bird and had a very difficult time locating it from just that. Its very high-pitched call made me question over and over again which exact direction the sound was coming from. Then, when I finally got a glimpse of the bird, it still did a great job of hiding. Their cryptic coloration is some of the best camouflage I have seen. The various browns on their back make them blend seamlessly into a tree trunk. However, cryptic coloration is not the only plumage type that can provide good camouflage.
I also observed a few Dark-eyed Juncos feeding along the dark, paved roads going through the park. Their countershading plumage is a perfect example of energy efficient camouflage. The entire top half of these birds are a dark slate color which, on certain surfaces, provides great camouflage. However, the belly of these birds is white. This saves energy because they don’t have to make pigments for these feathers. A final plumage type that can provide defense against predators is disruptive coloration.
The Red-headed Woodpecker that I was lucky enough to see that day was a great example of disruptive coloration. This bird can be broken into just a few major blocks of color: a completely red head, a white belly, and a majorly black back with a large white patch in each wing. While this won’t directly camouflage the bird into its surroundings, it breaks up the general outline of a bird, so it may be more difficult for a potential predator to identify as food.
Another species that I was happy to observe was a large group of Yellow-rumped Warblers. While a few individuals will winter over in PA, this group was likely a migratory flock on its journey to breeding grounds. They had started their pre-alternate molt and were singing their full songs rather than their typical call note which can be used to pick them out in the winter. Since the whole migratory process is very taxing on birds, these Yellow-rumped Warblers were constantly foraging and pausing occasionally to sing. Since I was so excited to see warblers (almost) in breeding plumage, I pished for a little bit to see if I could get a closer look. I think most of the individuals were too preoccupied with their feeding to care about my pishing, but a few came down briefly to see what was going on. I imagine that this sound is so enticing for small birds because it somewhat imitates an alarm call. Since many small birds are preyed upon by tactics of surprise, identifying the location of potential predators helps their survival. So, they may come in to see why the noise is being made.

Posted by phil_stoll phil_stoll, March 26, 2020 02:03

Observations

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Red-headed Woodpecker Melanerpes erythrocephalus

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Description

Rare observation for the area. This bird was being reported previously from the location. I was lucky enough to get good, long looks at it.

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Yellow-rumped Warbler Setophaga coronata

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Description

Large flock that I assume was a breeding flock moving up to breeding territory

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Robin Turdus migratorius

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Brown Creeper Certhia americana

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Brown-headed Cowbird Molothrus ater

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

House Finch Haemorhous mexicanus

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Fish Crow Corvus ossifragus

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Description

Distinguished from American Crow by the very nasally "caw caw"

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Canada Goose Branta canadensis

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

Photos / Sounds

No photos or sounds

What

Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii

Observer

phil_stoll

Date

March 24, 2020

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