Storm Birding 8/28/11

With ‘Hurricane Irene’ moving up the east coast, and coming in it’s closest contact yet with Pennsylvania today all of us Centre County birders were excited to see if it would cause any interesting birds to stop at Bald Eagle State Park or any of the other water bodies in the county. Anna and I got to Bald Eagle early this morning and although there weren’t any crazy pelagic birds flying over the lake, we did find two Sanderlings and one Semipalmated Sandpiper at the swimming beach. The Sanderlings were Centre County year bird #224 for Joe Verica, which means Joe is currently tied with the all-time Centre County Big Year record! The juvenile Bonaparte’s Gull that was found yesterday was still present and we also saw another Bonaparte’s (a 1st winter bird) fly past. Soaring very high and very far away, we saw two larger gulls that had very white undersides and light-gray upperparts. I assumed they were probably Herring Gulls, but they were a little too distant to tell for sure. Anna and I checked other spots around BESP and didn’t find anything interesting, except for a female Ring-necked Duck near the dam. Later in the morning, Drew was able to find a Caspian Tern at Lower Green’s Run.

One of two Sanderlings at the BESP swimming beach

Sanderling and Semipalmated Sandpiper - BESP swimming beach

Bonaparte's Gull (juvenile) landing at the swimming beach

Bald Eagle (juvenile) flying over the swimming beach; we also saw two adults and one other young eagle.

After BESP, Anna and I checked out Coyler Lake. There was the continuing Great Egret as well as a Solitary Sandpiper and three Semipalmated Sandpipers.

One of three Semipalmated Sandpipers that was at Coyler Lake

Great Egret flying over Coyler Lake