Trip Report – Rookery Hike at Oak Orchard WMA – Apr 18

     This was a 4-mile, 4-hour hike at the Oak Orchard WMA, led by Ed & Jan Kramer on April 18th. It rained all the way out to the meeting place with not much better in the forecast. We met at 10:00 am, and were pleasantly surprised when 16 hikers showed up in the rain. Amazingly, the rain stopped and shortly after it was clear blue sky for the rest of the day. Early into the hike it was exciting to see a pair of immature Bald Eagles soaring above and then an adult mated pair at the nest, appearing to be feeding young. Also, we saw a nesting pair of Osprey using one of the Heron nests at the rookery. It seems this is causing the Herons to stay away from the rookery. The Osprey retreated to a nearby tree as we approached the rookery.

     Conditions were excellent for soaring and the birds did not disappoint us.  We spent much of the day looking up at the aerial displays of turkey vultures, red-tailed hawk, heron, osprey, and of course, eagles. It was a great day.

Field Sightings: (in order of sighting)

Red-Winged Blackbird, Canada Goose, Tree Swallow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Mallard,  Garter Snake

Bald Eagle (mated pair on nest / 5 juveniles – 1 to 4 years old), Turkey Vulture

Osprey (mated pair on Great Blue Heron nest), Great Blue Heron, Red Tailed Hawk

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Wood Duck, Green Frog, Painted Turtle, Cormorant, Black-Capped Chickadee, Water Snake

Thanks to Mary Jo Graham for the sightings list.

Submitted by Ed and Jan Kramer

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