This morning, my dad and I decided to make a trip to Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, a reserve 23 minutes away from my house (and also the headquarters for the Audubon Society of Western PA). I had never been before so I was interested to see what it would be like.
We arrived there and I got out of the car to start birding. The first birds I noticed were the many tufted titmice in the area. As I began walking towards the trails, I realized it was because of the bird feeders that were by the window of the reserve office. Also, at the feeders were black-capped chickadees, mourning doves, some house finches, a couple dark-eyed juncos, and, much to my surprise, a red-breasted nuthatch! Also, I could hear a red-shouldered hawk calling from across the road. I then began to walk the trails.
Beechwood has five miles of trails on the refuge that span many different habitats. There is coniferous forest, deciduous forest, meadow, a pond, and edge habitat. Therefore, it is a great place that attracts many birds. One of the first I noticed (besides the omnipresent titmice and chickadees) was a red-tailed hawk. However, two crows that were flying from their nightly roost spotted it and it fled (honestly, I would too). Continuing on, I encountered many more titmice, and a white-breasted nuthatch. I soon however, came to a fork in the trail. Looking at my map, I decided to head left to a different trail which would loop back to the one I was on. As I walked down that trail, I heard a strange sound in the distance. Stopping to listen, I realized that it was the sound of red crossbills! However, they were moving away from me and behind a large number of trees so I was unable to actually get a visual on them. Still, it was great to hear their distinctive flight calls and I am glad to have found crossbills during this historic irruption year.
Moving on, I came quickly to a place where there was a platform that jutted out over a hill and therefore allowed a view of the treetops. As I admired the view, the red-shouldered hawk I had heard earlier started calling again. I must admit it was really cool to be at the level of the treetops and hear a red-shouldered hawk calling in the distance. As I moved on, I quickly came to a fast flowing stream which I paused to photograph for a moment.
Stream at Beechwood
I then began to head back to the car. On the way, I added hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, mallard, and Peliated woodpecker (a species I have barely seen this year) to my list from today.
Terrible Photo of a Peliated Woodpecker
I then returned to the car. However, I ended up going out again to try to see a little bit more of the refuge. On my second walk, I found three white-throated sparrows and the first cedar waxwing of the day.
So, I returned home, very content with a good days birding.