First Non-paved-trail Bird Walk at Marsh Creek State Park

Kelley NunnRecovery Big Year

Marsh Creek State Park
Marsh Creek State Park

Marsh Creek State Park

I was very excited to have the chance to go on a bird walk led by Larry Lewis at Marsh Creek State Park today! This is the first non-paved-trail bird walk (besides the walks at Longwood Gardens, which are on paved paths) that I have been able to attend. The walk started beside the lake and continued up into the bordering woods. Unfortunately, the winds were strong, keeping most songbirds down and quiet.

We started walking along a gravel pathway that bordered the lake edge. There were very few birds seen or heard, but we did manage to encounter a Brown Thrasher and Palm Warbler. As we got to the end of the path, the trail turned to the left, leading up a relatively steep hill. Now, flat surfaces are generally very manageable for me, because they don’t make me too exhausted; however, I’ve only walked up 3 or 4 hills since being out of bed. Larry was kind enough to ask if the hill would be too much for me, but I was up for it. We made our way up the hill and were treated to a pair of Blue-Headed Vireos at the top.

[Now, I’ve started to notice a pretty awesome in trend in which I’m rewarded with interesting or especially gorgeous birds when I challenge myself to reach a new capability landmark. For example, my first time driving alone, I went to the Longwood Gardens Abbondi property and observed both a Canvasback and Cackling Goose in the waste water treatment pond– both great birds for that location. I don’t know if this is actually true– that I see good birds when I push myself to accomplish these goals– or if I’m so elated that I’ve achieved a milestone that any bird makes me wildly happy.]
Canvasback + Cackling Goose - Longwood Abbondi Property - 6 January 2015
Cackling Goose & Canvasback at Longwood Gardens WWTP

Anyways, Blue-headed Vireos have to be one of my favorite species, with their stunningly gorgeous plumage; dark blue heads with white spectacles, bright yellow sides, green back, and pure white bellies. The one BHVI I saw in October, 2014 was on top of the hill at the Ashland Hawk Watch. I had been driven up the hill, back when I still could barely walk and was diagnosed with a brain infection. Amazing to think how far I’ve come since the last time I saw one.

Also on the Marsh Creek walk, we saw an adult male Pine Warbler, a Black-and-white Warbler, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers, and some migrating raptors. The way back down the hill to the parking lot was quick and easy, which I was thankful for, because I had started feeling a little bit wobbly.

In the parking lot, a few of us made plans to visit Kerr Park in Downingtown to see the local Yellow-throated Warbler. Unfortunately, we dipped on the warbler (I guess it was too windy and late in the afternoon for it to be singing), but we did enjoy the wildflowers that were scattered in the park grass.

Wild Violet

Wild Violet

It feels so good to be able to bird with other people again! I can’t wait for the next bird walk. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to attempt a more physically challenging one like the Ashland Nature Center walks, or even the walks at Bucktoe Creek Preserve.


The eBird checklist for birds seen today:

Marsh Creek —

Kerr Park —