Painted Bunting and Yellow-headed Blackbirds! – Lancaster County, PA

Alex LamoreauxBird Finding Tips, Bird Sightings, Birding, Chase, General News and Info, Photography, Rarities, Trip ReportsLeave a Comment

This morning Drew Weber and I met up along Water St in Lancaster County, to search for the immature male Painted Bunting that was first discovered by Justin Bosler on the Lancaster CBC. Drew and I spent only 35 minutes searching for the bird, without success before deciding to drive around some farmland and see if we could find some blackbird flocks and then come back later in the day and try again for the bunting. Drew and I were able to quickly find a massive blackbird flock along Goshen Mill Rd and within 5 minutes of scanning through the hundreds-of-thousands of birds, I spotted an adult male Yellow-headed Blackbird and Drew spotted a female Yellow-headed Blackbird. We estimated there to be at least 100,000 Red-winged Blackbirds, 75,000 Brown-headed Cowbirds, 40,000 ‘Purple’ Common Grackles, 10,000 ‘Bronzed’ Common Grackles, 25,000 European Starlings, and at least the 2 Yellow-headed Blackbirds; which made for a truly amazing and massive flock of birds. After that we headed back to the bunting location. Drew and I split up to cover more ground, and began searching for the lime-green bird. After a few minutes, I could see Drew down the railroad track from me, waving his arms that he had found the bird. I ran down to where he was standing, just in time to see the bird fly farther away and disappear from view. We searched around where the bird had disappeared and just couldn’t find it. Luckily, about 20 minutes later we found the bird again, this time perched on a branch right along the southern edge of a patch of bamboo. The bird then flew down and perched in a tangle of brush for about 10 minutes, before we decided to head home.

Painted Bunting - immature male (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Painted Bunting - immature male (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Painted Bunting - immature male (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yellow-headed Blackbird - adult male that was mixed in with a massive blackbird flock (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)