Early December at Shawnee State Park

The past five days, I have been down in Bedford County, PA birding and hawk watching. It was miserably cold most of the time, especially since the house I stay at doesnt have heat in the bedrooms. With enough layers on, going outside is tolerable though. Shawnee State Park is only about a quarter of a mile away from the house I stay at, so I tried to get over to the park as often as possible to keep track of what species are coming and going. Shawnee State Park is a 4,000 acre park, 451 of those acres are covered by a large lake. The proximity to the Allegheny Front Ridge flyway makes this a very important stop-over lcocation for many migrant birds.

I managed to check out the park a total of 10 times over the course of five days. The birding was good. The highlight of my sightings at Shawnee this past week were three Cackling Geese that mixed in with the large flock of Canada Geese at the swimming beach area of the park. Friday morning (the 3rd) there were two Cacking Geese there, but the next morning more Canada Geese arrived and with them was a third Cackling Goose.

Canada Goose and Cackling Goose

Over the course of the five days, I was able to find 12 species of waterfowl at Shawnee State Park, including: Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, Gadwall, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, and Ruddy Duck. Other interesting birds were a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (the first of this species I have seen at Shawnee), Horned and Pied-billed Grebes, lingering Double-crested Cormorants, and 4 American Pipits. Below are some photos I took this weekend at Shawnee.

Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk

American Pipit

Belted Kingfisher

Ruddy Ducks