Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Exploring Pennsylvania

I have just returned from a weekend trip spent in the beautiful mountains and hills of Pennsylvania.  The landscape is so much different from what I am used to here in Ontario.

Birding and exploring was not my primary purpose down here, but I did have some time to do just that and had some interesting observations.

I was introduced to the persimmon tree while down here, not something that I see back in my area of Ontario.  Later in the season, it will be covered in large orange persimmons.

The tree has a very distinctive bark.

Birds were numerous and it was on this trip that I saw my first mockingbird.  Mockingbirds are very common down there and I saw plenty of them.  The species does occur in southern Ontario, but few seem to make their way up to my area. 

Another special species for me was carolina chickadee.  This species is extremely difficult to distinguish from the black-capped chickadee based on sight alone although there are subtle differences which  Brandon's recent post   highlighted .  Pennsylvania is an area where both black-capped and carolina could occur so I wanted to be cautious with any chickadee identification.  On the last morning in the area while picking through the usual birds, I heard a chickadee.  The song sounded a bit fast for black-capped.  I finally found it among the leaves and believe that I have photos of a carolina chickadee.  Once back home, I researched the subtle differences online which makes me feel more confident in identifying this bird.  I'm still no expert on them, so if anyone wishes to correct me please feel free to do so.

Even when away from home, it's great to see the familiar species.

Now that I'm back in Ontario, I am anxious to get out and see what is showing up closer to home.
White trilliums here at home.

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