This morning Josh Lefever, Mark Mizak, and I began what will be a weekend-long birding trip throughout eastern PA and NJ. We first visited the Green-tailed Towhee at Berks County, PA and were able to see it after a few minutes of waiting in the howling wind and extreme cold. Next we tried for the juvenile White Ibis in Hamburg – as usual the bird was standing in the small stream and was easy to find. Next up was the nearby Harris’s Sparrow along Old Philly Pike. We had to stand and watch for quite a while but sure enough, this large sparrow walked out and foraged alongside House Finches and White-crowned Sparrows, offering better views than my previous visit, but quite distant for photography.
Our next bird on the list was the big one – the Common Chaffinch in Union Township, NJ. We arrived at the house at 12:00pm. There were only two other birders present. Josh, Mark, and I had planned on having to spend multiple hours here to get good looks, but our plans changed when the chaffinch flew in to the feeders at 12:03 and foraged in full view for about a minute. We waited, and hoped it would show itself again. Then at 12:35pm, the chaffinch flew back to the feeder and was in full view for a whopping four minutes! The bird then flew up, perched temporarily in a tree and then disappeared into the forest. Below are my best photos of the Common Chaffinch – it was really overcast and dark, but we were pretty close to the bird. After the chaffinch, the three of us visited the nearby Snowy Owl at Merrill Creek Reservoir. This was my third visit, and it was still as beautiful as the first visit!