Bald Eagle State Park 12/14/10

Today Drew Weber, Josh Lefever, and I birded Bald Eagle State Park from 12:00pm until 3:45pm. It was my last day birding in Centre County for this year and I really wanted to find a few more species I hadnt seen yet in the county. The State Park was pretty exciting with a nice assortment of waterfowl in decent numbers and plenty of other species. A massive raft of 252 Common Mergansers was neat to see along with 9 other waterfowl species. Two Golden Eagles were also a treat. They were seen at quite a distance migrating south along the Bald Eagle Ridgeline. Below is our full species list from today with highlights in red font:

Common Merganser (female)

Snow Goose 105 – 3 flyover flocks, heading southeast over Bald Eagle Ridge
Canada Goose 175 – 1 GreylagXCanada Goose Hybrid; all at swimming beach
American Black Duck 2
Mallard 1 adult male
Redhead 37 – 34 adult male, 3 female-type
Bufflehead 2 – 1 adult male, 1 adult female
Hooded Merganser 18 – 7 adult male, 11 female-type
Common Merganser (North American) 252 – 87 adult male, 165 female-type
Red-breasted Merganser 4 – 2 adult male, 2 female-type
Ruddy Duck 16 – 6 adult male, 10 female-type
Great Blue Heron 1 adult
Bald Eagle 2 – 1 adult male, 1 adult female; local pair
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 7
– 4 adult, 3 juvenile
Golden Eagle 2 both were most likely adults

American Coot 6 – 5 adult, 1 juvenile
Killdeer 3
Ring-billed Gull 75 only 1 was a juvenile, all the rest were adults
Herring Gull 1 adult
Rock Pigeon 2
Mourning Dove 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
American Crow 30
Common Raven 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) 2
Eastern Bluebird 30
American Robin 30
European Starling 218
American Pipit 8
American Tree Sparrow 26
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 125
Northern Cardinal 2 – 1 male, 1 female
American Goldfinch 30

I added 2 new county bird for myself at Bald Eagle State Park; American Tree Sparrow and Snow Goose. On the way home we tried to find a Rough-legged Hawk that had been reported near State College and we were successful, adding another new species for me in the county. I tried to get some photos of the RLHA, but it flew pretty far away and it was getting dark out, the photo below is the best photo I could get.

Rough-legged Hawk

My Centre County year list is now up 179, nothing compared to Drew’s 210, but I consider it pretty good for only birding in the county for 3 and a half months, and only on weekdays. In 2011, I won’t be able to start birding in the county until the fall again, but I am gonna try to shoot for 200 next year.