My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Along the Allegheny River during the CBC

After working in section 3 during our Christmas Bird Count last Saturday, I ran into Tim starting the second part of his section along the Allegheny River. I was excited to join him and I just knew that being down along the river that I would be doubling my species (as I did).

Allegheny River

We hiked through the riparian old field with hopes of waterfowl or anything else unusual!! Of course it was unusually quite with no birds!! Then, as we were getting closer to our vehicle we heard a flurry of birds! Hard to decide which way to look first – over there it’s a woodpecker! Quickly we identified it as a male Red-bellied Woodpecker – cool!! We were able to check off; 5 Black-capped Chickadee – 2 Blue Jay – White-breasted Nuthatch – Downy Woodpecker – 2 Hairy Woodpeckers!! Wonderful – there is not just one but a pair of Cardinals! It is about time that the birds started getting good!! Then, we come across another woodpecker! Isn’t that the Red-bellied?? We discuss how we saw it fly away – could it be the same bird?? Nope, female – red only on back side of its head! Another check – 2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers!

It is funny how within a matter of seconds we are finding all these birds together where we were hiking in very suitable habitat for an hour without a single peep. During the winter months, there are many birds that almost seem to follow the chickadees around as if they were the pied piper. Why might you ask? Hard to tell but these birds are working together as a team with each bird filling a different ecological nitch. As the nuthatch is looking under the bark, the chickadee is at the end of the branches and cardinals are feeding on the seeds on the ground – ect… It is easier to work together as a team than when by yourself! This can also be true as humans who have different skills. Next time you’re out birdwatching this winter, just check out the chickadees and I bet there will be other birds flying around with them.

Muscles in the Allegheny Eagle Food

As we changed directions along the Allegheny, we come across many other wonderful birds like the White-throated Sparrows, Tree Sparrows, Red-tailed Hawk, and even a Great Blue Heron! But, what I truly enjoyed was exploring this section of the river without 2 feet of snow on the ground. We saw many mussels on the river bottom and could have almost picked up this Bald Eagle bait (I think it’s a sucker) along the rivers edge. It was reinsuring this river system is doing so well after seeing all this out in the field after discussing the Upper Allegheny River Basin at the Nature Conservancy meeting last week.

White-breasted Nuthatch Skunk Cabbage

While avoiding stepping on the numerous Skunk Cabbage plants poking out of the ground, we had a wonderful afternoon. Although the birds didn’t appear as we had anticipated but we saw a wonderful diversity of wildlife along the Allegheny River. I would love to see this area during the summer months.

10 responses

  1. Looks like you and the birds had a wonderful day, Tom! Your pictures are simply beautiful, too. 🙂

    18 December 2006 at 2:18 pm

  2. Randy

    Very nice day outside.

    I’m pretty sure the sucker in the picture is a Redhorse. My first inkling is that it’s a Golden Redhorse, but it’s difficult to tell for sure.

    Was that picture taken with a polarizing filter?


    18 December 2006 at 5:18 pm

  3. Thanks Ladybug!! Love your visits my friend!
    Randy – never heard of a Redhorse so I wonder if they are around this area! Will do my homework on Redhorse tomorrow! Thanks for the heads up!! No polarizing filter – I don’t use any filters with this camera! Just a good angle!

    18 December 2006 at 7:07 pm

  4. Randy

    I did a little searching and found that Redhorse are a popular native fish in the Allegheny River. I hope you don’t mind links posted, but here’s one to check out.

    18 December 2006 at 9:28 pm

  5. thehendricksreport

    Hey Mon@rch,

    Alan Gregory’s Conservation News had a piece about the barred-owl. I put your link up in a cooment urging everyone to check out what you are doing. Hope you don’t mind.

    Cheers and congratulations on a good bird count;)

    18 December 2006 at 9:45 pm

  6. Randy, wow, great link and sure does look like the Redhorse Sucker!! Thanks a million!

    19 December 2006 at 9:06 am

  7. Jeremy

    Tom, sounds like a great outing. This summer we should go find some dragonflies on the river.


    19 December 2006 at 5:58 pm

  8. No doubt – sounds like a real fun time! Very shallow section to go searching! Lets do it!

    19 December 2006 at 10:56 pm

  9. Mary Richardson

    Hi Tom,
    I have never ever looked at a blog before. I really enjoyed reading your words & sharing your excitement. But, more than anything – love the photos. Wow. That bear, on your tree!!??!!##
    I’d like to hear more about that.
    Makes me want to get outdoors more. Did take a few nice walks on the Westside Overland trail recently. Lovely, but very little wildlife observed.
    Have a great day – sun is shining here in Ashville. Mary and p.s. I do not know how this works. We’ll see.

    29 December 2006 at 8:56 am

  10. Thanks for visiting Mary and your such a sweetheart! Yep, that is a bear on my tree! Don’t you have any problems with them at your house? And, you must get out and spend more time outside! Make it your New Years Res! You did wonderful on commenting!

    29 December 2006 at 7:04 pm

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