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Field Guides Tour Report
Pennsylvania's Warblers & More: from Cerulean Warbler to Henslow's Sparrow 2019
May 21, 2019 to May 26, 2019
Tom Johnson

Though we were initially deterred by passing thunderstorms, a bit of patience led to a memorable sighting of this Henslow's Sparrow near Punxsutawney, home of Groundhog Day! Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

The third annual spring Pennsylvania tour underscored the impressive diversity of breeding songbirds in this beautiful, largely forested state. Our group birded from the banks of the lower Susquehanna River to the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains to the grasslands near Punxsutawney and the varied forests of the state's northern tier. We found 29 species of wood-warblers and were fortunate to see many of these fine birds singing and engaged in other breeding behavior.

Some highlights of the adventure included Prothonotary Warblers, Cerulean Warbler, Golden-winged Warblers, Canada Warblers, Mourning Warbler, and Kentucky Warbler. Oh, but wait - we saw more than "just" warblers: Sandhill Cranes, Henslow's Sparrow, Willow and Alder flycatchers, Brown Thrasher, and Orchard Oriole come to mind, too! For more details on particular species, check out the annotated species list below.

Thanks to our excellent group for your enthusiastic collaboration in the field during this exploration of the Keystone State!


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
CANADA GOOSE (Branta canadensis) – A common sight along rivers and in parks.
WOOD DUCK (Aix sponsa) – These widespread, skittish ducks were along several rivers we visited. Our highest count - 26 - was in the evening at The Muck as birds foraged in a flooded field and then flew overhead to roost.
MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) – A widespread duck in the state.

In the mixed forests of Bear Meadows, we visited with gems such as this male Magnolia Warbler. Photo by group member Kim Nelson.

BUFFLEHEAD (Bucephala albeola) – A lingering female accompanied other ducks on Galeton Lake. The species is rare in PA during late May.
HOODED MERGANSER (Lophodytes cucullatus) – A female with tiny, fuzzy chicks paddled around on Galeton Lake in Potter County.
COMMON MERGANSER (Mergus merganser) – We saw these big diving ducks on multiple occasions in the northern part of our route. At Owassee Road in Tioga County, we even heard the grunting calls of a few individuals as they flew past us along Pine Creek.
RED-BREASTED MERGANSER (Mergus serrator) – This female "sawbill" was a surprise on Lake Nessmuk in Tioga County. The species migrates through Pennsylvania but becomes rare in the state after the beginning of May.
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
WILD TURKEY (Meleagris gallopavo) – We enjoyed several sightings of these huge, beautiful birds strolling along forest edges and in open fields.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common around towns and cities. [I]
MOURNING DOVE (Zenaida macroura) – This native dove is still plentiful in Pennsylvania.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus americanus) – This "rain crow" was calling at several locations we visited, and even showed itself a few times.
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) – On our evening visit to the Scotia Barrens, we found a lovely adult at the edge of the same second growth habitat that hosted Golden-winged Warblers and Eastern Whip-poor-wills. This species is always a prize sighting.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor) – Kim pointed out about a dozen of these long-distance migrants bounding overhead during our evening outing at The Muck in Tioga County.
EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL (Antrostomus vociferus) – Despite its loud, impressive voice ("WHIP-POOR-WILL!!!"), this nightjar can be difficult to spot. However, we visit one of the best places to see this species, and this year we again met with success, hearing several individuals and seeing one particularly well during our evening outing at Scotia Barrens. A male flew in and showed off his white tail corners and cryptic plumage at close range as he sang.
Apodidae (Swifts)
CHIMNEY SWIFT (Chaetura pelagica) – Fairly common over larger towns including Harrisburg and State College
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus colubris) – This is the only hummingbird species that occurs regularly in Pennsylvania in spring.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
VIRGINIA RAIL (Rallus limicola) – A few of these beautiful, furtive rails showed reasonably well as they snuck through the cattails at our feet in The Muck.
SORA (Porzana carolina) – We heard the high "perwee" and whinnying calls from these small rails at The Muck. [*]
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus) – We saw several of these nesting plovers, including along the shoreline of Galeton Lake.

One of the highlights of our night birding excursion at the Scotia Barrens was this handsome American Woodcock. This bizarre and amazing shorebird froze in the headlights of our van and walked around with his curious, bobbing gait for several minutes before returning to display from the brush. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
AMERICAN WOODCOCK (Scolopax minor) – Yip yip! We heard several males displaying at the Scotia Barrens near State College, but the star of the show was one individual "bog sucker" that froze in the headlights of our van and posed for several minutes, eventually showing off his odd rocking walk as he slowly moved to the side of the road and then flew off. Outstanding!
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – These widespread shorebirds were at Colyer Lake, Galeton Lake, Lake Nessmuk, and along Pine Creek.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax auritus) – Three were on some snags along the shoreline at Lake Nessmuk in Tioga County.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT BLUE HERON (Ardea herodias) – A few widespread sightings of these large herons.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – These egrets were mostly seen along the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg.
GREEN HERON (Butorides virescens) – One called as it flew over at night at the Scotia Barrens, and another was at Swatara SP.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea) – We visited an urban colony in Harrisburg where these fine herons nest in large sycamore trees right above city streets.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Common; seen every day.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – These striking fish hawks were nesting at Prescot Road in Lancaster County.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (Accipiter striatus) – Larry spotted one of these small hawks flying past the van as we were driving out of Mansfield.
BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) – Two were flying along Pine Creek at Owassee Road - one carried a fish in its talons.

After we heard the loud "Three-Eight!" song of this Yellow-throated Vireo, it took a few minutes to actually spot the bird since it was singing from its nest! Photo by group member Nick Winograd.

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus) – An adult gave its squealing call several times as it soared overhead in the Stony Creek Valley near Harrisburg.
RED-TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis) – Seen on every day of the tour.
Strigidae (Owls)
BARRED OWL (Strix varia) – We enjoyed the loud chorus of calling pairs at the Scotia Barrens and also along the Swatara Creek in Union Deposit. [*]
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
BELTED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle alcyon) – Memorable were the agitated pair along the Pine Creek in Tioga County and a single bird that was showing off a prize native Brook Trout that it had just extracted from a small stream.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus varius) – Several of these northern woodpeckers drummed and showed off for us in the vast patches of mature forest in northern PA.
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) – A striking adult posed for us in a treetop along Shunk Rd. in Centre County. This species has declined significantly in Pennsylvania.
RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes carolinus) – Several sightings in the Harrisburg area, both at the beginning and the end of the tour.
DOWNY WOODPECKER (Dryobates pubescens) – This is the most common small woodpecker across Pennsylvania.
HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus) – Our best sighting of this stocky, sharp-calling woodpecker was along Treaster Kettle Rd. at Bear Meadows.

Our eyes were regularly seared by close views of colorful warblers such as this male Blackburnian Warbler. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

PILEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus pileatus) – These large woodpeckers were seen and especially heard regularly in the northern part of Pennsylvania.
NORTHERN FLICKER (YELLOW-SHAFTED) (Colaptes auratus auratus) – These mid-sized, striking woodpeckers were found repeatedly along our route.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – One was along Sandy Ridge Road while we were enjoying grassland sparrows.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus) – An adult was perched next to its nest site on the Rachel Carson Building in downtown Harrisburg on our first evening. We scoped it from the parking lot of our dinner spot, the Appalachian Brewing Company.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
EASTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus virens) – This is a common and widespread flycatcher in forest and edge habitat across the state.
ACADIAN FLYCATCHER (Empidonax virescens) – We spotted a few along Stony Creek north of Harrisburg. This Empidonax was singing its emphatic "pizZA!" song and showed off its greenish coloration and large bill.
ALDER FLYCATCHER (Empidonax alnorum) – Excellent sightings of singing birds at Scotia Barrens, at Bear Meadows, and along the Pine Creek at Owassee Road.
WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii) – We studied a stubbornly quiet bird near the railroad tracks at The Muck for a little while before it began to sing and confirmed its "fitz-bew" Willow Flycatcher identity.

A highly skilled Belted Kingfisher was busy subduing this Brook Trout when we spotted it. Photo by group member Kim Nelson.

LEAST FLYCATCHER (Empidonax minimus) – This forest Empidonax was fairly commonly heard in northern forests. We saw it well at Bear Meadows and along the Pine Creek Gorge.
EASTERN PHOEBE (Sayornis phoebe) – This tail-dipping flycatcher was nesting under small bridges at Bear Meadows, Bald Eagle SP, and several other sites we visited.
GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus crinitus) – The only Myiarchus flycatcher that breeds in Pennsylvania - they usually announce their presence with loud "wheep" calls.
EASTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus tyrannus) – Good views along the edges of lakes and rivers - that white tail tip really stands out.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO (Vireo flavifrons) – One of the most amusing birds of the tour was the adult Yellow-throated Vireo that sang loudly and persistently while sitting on its nest along Stony Creek.
BLUE-HEADED VIREO (Vireo solitarius) – As we reached the northern forests of PA, this became one of the common vireos that we encountered. It sings a slightly higher, sweeter-sounding song than that of the Red-eyed Vireo.
WARBLING VIREO (Vireo gilvus) – These "Rambling Vireos" were singing in riverside trees at Prescot Road in Lancaster County, along the Juniata River at Millerstown, and at Colton Point SP.
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – One of Pennsylvania's most common and conspicuously vocal songbirds - they are just about everywhere in forested habitat across the state.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
BLUE JAY (Cyanocitta cristata) – This beautiful jay is common in the state - seen on each day of the tour.
AMERICAN CROW (Corvus brachyrhynchos) – Fairly common in most habitats we visited - the only crow found across the north woods.

A male Canada Warbler stared at us as we passed through his nesting territory along the Pine Creek in Tioga County. Photo by leader Tom Johnson.

FISH CROW (Corvus ossifragus) – These were giving their nasal "uh-uh" calls at several locations near water in the Harrisburg area.
COMMON RAVEN (Corvus corax) – These big corvids (the largest of our songbirds) were scattered across the central and northern portions of our tour route.
Alaudidae (Larks)
HORNED LARK (Eremophila alpestris) – A stop in barren agricultural fields in West Milton turned up a few singing Horned Larks. One even got up and performed some extending bouts of skylarking from far overhead!
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) – These brown-backed swallows are common along rivers and lakes in Pennsylvania - many were seen in the Harrisburg area.
TREE SWALLOW (Tachycineta bicolor) – Common and widespread.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – This is another swallow that is nearly ubiquitous in Pennsylvania in summertime.
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) – This species is widespread but localized in Pennsylvania. It was wonderful to watch them gathering mud on their bills to build their nests at the roadworks shed near Bald Eagle SP.
Paridae (Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice)
CAROLINA CHICKADEE (Poecile carolinensis) – These southern chickadees were at Prescot Road in Lancaster County. We visited the hybrid zone north of Harrisburg and found chickadees there - though it's difficult to be sure of hybrid identifications from field observations, studies from Bob Curry at Villanova University suggest that the majority of chickadees within the narrow hybrid zone ARE in fact hybrids.
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE (Poecile atricapillus) – North of Dauphin County (so for the majority of our tour), this was the chickadee that we encountered.
TUFTED TITMOUSE (Baeolophus bicolor) – This is a common and noisy denizen of forests across PA.
Sittidae (Nuthatches)
WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta carolinensis) – These forest songbirds were "yank"-ing in several spots we visited across the state.
Certhiidae (Treecreepers)
BROWN CREEPER (Certhia americana) – We found a responsive individual along a stream in the wilds of Potter County.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon) – Common and widespread - we had a few great views of singing birds at the Scotia Barrens.

A male Mourning Warbler offered his "churry-churry-churry-churry-churry-o" proclamations from a treefall gap near Colton Point State Park in Tioga County. This scarce warbler was a nice highlight for many in the group. Photo by group member Nick Winograd.

MARSH WREN (Cistothorus palustris) – Three were singing and calling near the blind at The Muck, and we managed some nice views as they scampered furtively in the cattails.
CAROLINA WREN (Thryothorus ludovicianus) – After hearing these common wrens at several sites, we finally had a nice view at our final birding site, Swatara State Park.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER (Polioptila caerulea) – These sprites wheezed and whined above us in several water-side locations, but the most memorable was the bird visiting its hummingbird-like cup nest at Bald Eagle SP.
Regulidae (Kinglets)
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET (Regulus satrapa) – One sang and showed off its flared yellow-golden crown in a patch of Norway Spruces near Colton Point SP in Tioga County.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
EASTERN BLUEBIRD (Sialia sialis) – These classy thrushes were seen in yards and second growth habitats around the state.
VEERY (Catharus fuscescens) – We found this butterscotch-tinged thrush along the Pine Creek at Colton Point SP.
SWAINSON'S THRUSH (Catharus ustulatus) – A migrant was feeding quietly along the forest edge at Ellendale Forge along the Stony Creek.
HERMIT THRUSH (Catharus guttatus) – Breeders were collecting insects as they hopped along the road through Colton Point SP.
WOOD THRUSH (Hylocichla mustelina) – The ringing, ethereal song of this spotted thrush rang out through most of the forests we visited on the tour; good views came with patience on several occasion in northern PA, including at Bear Meadows and Colton Point SP.
AMERICAN ROBIN (Turdus migratorius) – Very common.
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
GRAY CATBIRD (Dumetella carolinensis) – The loud, varied songs of these mimids sometimes drown out other birdsong, and they are almost everywhere in PA outside of the forest interior.
BROWN THRASHER (Toxostoma rufum) – The singing individual that we scoped at Shunk Rd. in Centre County offered an excellent look.
NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus polyglottos) – Fairly common in the Harrisburg area; we also saw one in the parking lot of our Mansfield hotel.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) – Common in towns and open areas.
Bombycillidae (Waxwings)
CEDAR WAXWING (Bombycilla cedrorum) – Especially common along rivers and lake edges.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
HOUSE FINCH (Haemorhous mexicanus) – Just a few were noticed in the Harrisburg area. We spent most of the tour in undisturbed habitats away from people, so we didn't see many!
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Spinus tristis) – Common and widespread.
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW (Ammodramus savannarum) – These sparrows were buzzing in the grasslands of Sandy Ridge Road.
CHIPPING SPARROW (Spizella passerina) – These small sparrows were trilling in many locations along our route, both in forests and open habitats.
FIELD SPARROW (Spizella pusilla) – This sweet-sounding sparrow showed off nicely at the Scotia Barrens and Sandy Ridge Road.
DARK-EYED JUNCO (SLATE-COLORED) (Junco hyemalis carolinensis) – A few of these northern sparrows were taking food to their young along the Pine Creek at Colton Point SP.

Grasshopper Sparrows were some of the many fine grassland birds we studied near Punxsutawney. Photo by group member Kim Nelson.

WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Zonotrichia albicollis) – A lingering individual responded to pishing near a small stream on Shunk Road in Centre County. Though the species does breed patchily in northern Pennsylvania, it's not common along our route.
HENSLOW'S SPARROW (Centronyx henslowii) – This beautiful midwestern specialty was the main reason for our visit to the grasslands of Sandy Ridge Road near Punxsutawney. Though we were initially sent hustling back to the van by a swift-moving line of thunderstorms, we returned and found a few Henslow's Sparrows singing from short shrubs sprinkled through the open grasslands. They threw their large heads back vigorously as they flung their pink bills open to belt out a surprisingly meek song: "t-slick!" The species was named by John James Audubon to honor John Stevens Henslow, mentor of Charles Darwin.
SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia) – Common and widespread.
SWAMP SPARROW (Melospiza georgiana) – Our best views of these gray-and-rust beauties were in marshy habitats at Bear Meadows and The Muck.
EASTERN TOWHEE (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) – This large, handsome sparrow was most common in the short stature forest at the Scotia Barrens.
Icteriidae (Yellow-breasted Chat)
YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT (Icteria virens) – We scoped a bird that was singing from a tall snag at the Scotia Barrens, and heard another in the regenerating clearcut at Second Mountain on our final day. Though this one used to be found in the wood-warbler section of the field guide, it has recently been moved into its own single-species family, Icteriidae.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
BOBOLINK (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) – A few striking males performed their stutter-winged flight display as they sang their bubbly, R2-D2-esque songs from the grasslands of Sandy Ridge Road.
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – These pale, stocky blackbirds with the bright yellow underparts and lovely whistled song were in the grasslands of Sandy Ridge Road.
ORCHARD ORIOLE (Icterus spurius) – These slim orioles were chasing each other around in the big sycamore trees along the Juniata River at Millerstown.
BALTIMORE ORIOLE (Icterus galbula) – We saw these familiar, handsome orioles in many locations along the edge of water, most memorably along the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers.
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (Agelaius phoeniceus) – Abundant, especially around wetlands like The Muck.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD (Molothrus ater) – Seen in varying numbers each day. The breeding season is a busy one for cowbirds as the females search for songbird nests in which to lay their eggs.
COMMON GRACKLE (Quiscalus quiscula) – Found just about everywhere in open habitats in Pennsylvania in springtime.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
OVENBIRD (Seiurus aurocapilla) – It took a bit of moving around, but we eventually had nice views of this thrush-like warbler at Bear Meadows and again at Swatara SP. We heard them in every large patch of forest that we visited through the tour - it's quite a common bird in PA.
WORM-EATING WARBLER (Helmitheros vermivorum) – On our final morning, we found this dry-trilling warbler along the southern slope of Second Mountain in Lebanon County. We even got to see it as it foraged in hanging clusters of dead leaves.
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia motacilla) – These eyebrowed warblers of forested, fast-flowing streams put in nice appearances along Stony Creek and at Bear Meadows.
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (Parkesia noveboracensis) – A migrant was singing unseen from the riverside forest at Prescot Rd. in Lancaster County. [*]

This Eastern Box Turtle was crossing a busy road in Lebanon County, so we stopped, examined it for a minute, and then carefully placed it off to the side of the road in its original direction of travel. Vehicle traffic is tough on reptiles, so it's a good idea to help them whenever you get the chance! Photo by group member Kim Nelson.

GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora chrysoptera) – At least two males paid us close visits at the Scotia Barrens near State College, and we found another one at Upper Greens Run at Bald Eagle SP. This gorgeous warbler has declined in recent years and has become quite localized in Pennsylvania.
BLUE-WINGED WARBLER (Vermivora cyanoptera) – We found our first of these fine warblers "bee-buzz"-ing on a forest road west of the Pine Creek Gorge. Then, on our final day, another was in the same stretch of forest as our Kentucky Warbler at Swatara State Park.
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (Mniotilta varia) – These stripey nuthatch-warblers were climbing around on trunks at many of our birding stops in northern PA.
PROTHONOTARY WARBLER (Protonotaria citrea) – On our first morning of birding, we found a pair of "Golden Swamp Warblers" visiting a nest along the banks of the lower Susquehanna River in Lancaster County.
TENNESSEE WARBLER (Oreothlypis peregrina) – A few singing individuals were tricky to spot as they moved through the canopy of forest in Stony Creek Valley and at Scotia Barrens.
NASHVILLE WARBLER (RUFICAPILLA) (Oreothlypis ruficapilla ruficapilla) – We heard one singing its simple, two-part song in the forest at Bear Meadows, but were unable to lay eyes on it. [*]
MOURNING WARBLER (Geothlypis philadelphia) – A male sang lustily in a regenerating forest gap near the Pine Creek Gorge in Tioga County. This secretive warbler is usually one of the highlights of our tour, and this year was no exception.
KENTUCKY WARBLER (Geothlypis formosa) – Brilliant! An olive, yellow, and black male singing on territory in the Carolinian forest of Swatara State Park was the final new bird of the tour - what a way to end things!
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis trichas) – Common and widespread.
HOODED WARBLER (Setophaga citrina) – These stunners were singing at many of our birding sites, but we laid eyes on them at Stony Creek and Swatara SP.
AMERICAN REDSTART (Setophaga ruticilla) – Common and widespread.
CERULEAN WARBLER (Setophaga cerulea) – We found a singing male in the forest subcanopy along Stony Creek, eventually getting nice looks at his blue and white plumage and long, dropped wings. Those long wings carry him from the northern Andes to Pennsylvania and back each year.
NORTHERN PARULA (Setophaga americana) – A singing bird at Prescot Road in Lancaster County offered us a nice view.
MAGNOLIA WARBLER (Setophaga magnolia) – Remember the male that posed at eye level at Bear Meadows? Wow! We ended up seeing this amazing warbler on several occasions in the northern reaches of PA.
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER (Setophaga castanea) – We had good fortune to come across several migrants this year. Though they always stayed high in flowering oaks, we were able to enjoy the peculiar combination of peach, bay, gray, black, and white that adorns this uncommon long-distance migrant.
BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER (Setophaga fusca) – We visit several forested sites in northern PA where this is one of the most common bird species, and we saw it well, and repeatedly! My favorite was the one that foraged at eye level at the edge of the parking lot at Hyner Run SP.
YELLOW WARBLER (Setophaga petechia) – We found these widespread warblers repeatedly in open habitats in the northern tier of PA.
CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER (Setophaga pensylvanica) – Very common in open forest habitats in northern PA. This is one of the most common breeding birds at the Scotia Barrens near State College.
BLACKPOLL WARBLER (Setophaga striata) – Singing migrants showed nicely after a bit of a hunt at the Falmouth boat launch in Lancaster County. We also heard their very high-pitched song on a few other occasions.
BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER (Setophaga caerulescens cairnsi) – The males that appeared out of the dark thickets at Bear Meadows were particularly memorable.
PINE WARBLER (Setophaga pinus) – This widespread eastern warbler trilled above us in a few isolated pines at the Scotia Barrens.

Common Yellowthroat is one of the most abundant species of warblers that we encountered. These familiar beauties are frequently found along field edges and near wetlands. Photo by group member Nick Winograd.

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER (ALBILORA) (Setophaga dominica albilora) – This "Sycamore Warbler" was singing from very tall sycamore trees along the Susquehanna River at the Falmouth boat launch in Lancaster County. The sycamore-breeding subspecies has more white in the lores and a smaller bill than the yellow-lored, large-billed birds that nest in pine forests.
PRAIRIE WARBLER (Setophaga discolor) – Since this isn't a forest species, we sought it (and found it) in a regenerating clearcut near Second Mountain in Lebanon County. The bright yellow body, black bridle, reddish streaks on the back, and extensive white in the tail make this one of the sharpest looking warblers.
BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLER (Setophaga virens) – We heard many singing in northern forests, and our best looks came when we spotted a male in the canopy at Bear Meadows.
CANADA WARBLER (Cardellina canadensis) – Incredible, close views on multiple occasions - first, we saw a male in a dark thicket at Bear Meadows, and then later, we spotted a male and female defending a nesting territory along the Pine Creek at Owassee Road.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
SCARLET TANAGER (Piranga olivacea) – Perhaps our best view of this red and black beauty was along the gravel road lined with tulip poplars along Stony Creek.
NORTHERN CARDINAL (Cardinalis cardinalis) – Common and widespread.
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus ludovicianus) – We watched a singing male high in the trees along Pine Creek in Tioga County.
INDIGO BUNTING (Passerina cyanea) – These remarkably blue songbirds are quite common in Pennsylvania, especially in edge habitat.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Common around humans.

VIRGINIA OPOSSUM (Didelphis virginianus) – One crossed the road at night while we were driving near Harrisburg.
EASTERN COTTONTAIL (Sylvilagus floridanus) – This was the only rabbit of the tour.
PLAIN EASTERN CHIPMUNK (Tamias striatus) – Common in many forests we visited - they often make disconcertingly bird-like noises!
WOODCHUCK (Marmota monax) – A few of these "Pennsylvania Marmots" were seen grazing along roadsides.
EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL (Sciurus carolinensis) – Very common and widespread.
FOX SQUIRREL (Sciurus niger) – We found just one of these big, rusty-bellied squirrels on our first full day of birding together.
MUSKRAT (Ondatra zibethica) – This aquatic mammal was carrying building materials in its mouth and then clambering around the edge of the cattail marsh at The Muck.
WHITE-TAILED DEER (Odocoileus virginianus) – Daily sightings of these large mammals - they are overly abundant in Pennsylvania, and their food browsing habits have negative consequences for ground-nesting forest birds.


Totals for the tour: 138 bird taxa and 8 mammal taxa