Did our final Millersville Bird Walk this week and documented the arrival of our winter residents. Saw and heard large numbers of white-throated sparrows, been seeing small flocks of dark-eyed juncos and got to hear a partial song of a winter wren.
(image from allaboutbirds.org; dwaynejava)
On Monday October 27, Dr. Haines and three of his undergraduate researchers, majoring in Environmental Biology from Millersville University, attended the 21st Annual Conference of the Wildlife Society in Pittsburgh.
During this meeting, Millersville students Tristan Conrad, Meta Griffin and Andrew Wolfgang presented the results of their research. In addition to presenting their research, Tristan, Meta and Andrew attended a number of informative scientific presentations and attended a student Professional mixer in which they met potential employees in their field of study, colleagues they have worked with as well as Millersville Alumni that are now professionals in the wildlife field. Dr. Aaron Haines volunteered with the Wildlife Society to help supervise the student professional mixer, which is an excellent opportunity for students to network. Dr. Aaron Haines also presented a talk on the need for more research in regards to Wildlife Law Enforcement to help wildlife conservation officers mitigate poaching and the illegal wildlife trade via wildlife crime prevention strategies.
On Saturday, September 27th 2014, the Lancaster Master Naturalist Program and Students from Millersville University both participated in mammal trapping efforts. We caught 2 short-tailed shrews, 2 white-footed mice and an Eastern Chipmunk. We also got great remote camera pictures of foxes.
On September 20th and 21st, Millersville University students were involved in collecting and recording data for the Lancaster County Conservancy Climber’s Run BioBlitz. A BioBlitz is a complete bio-inventory of all species found in a defined area, in this case the Climber’s Run Preserve. Educators, Scientists and the General Public alike, work together to find and document different species. Below are some of the results from the mammal survey effort.
On the morning of September 16th on the Millersville Biological Preserve, we got to see our first species of migratory birds making their way through campus. We saw small flocks of red-eyed vireos, black-throated green warblers, eastern wood pee-wees, Yellow-throated vireos (picture below by Ryan Schain, MA, Groveland, May 2012), chestnut-sided warblers as well chimney swifts flying overhead. We also got good looks at cedar waxwings.
Today we had our first bird walk for the 2014 Fall season. We are beginning to see blackbirds flock up, but we did not see anything in regards to flocks of neotropical migrants. The following is a list of birds we did see: Tufted Titmouse, Chickadee, Gray catbird, Great Egret, Northern mockingbird, Red-eyed vireo, Carolina wren, Common grackle, Red-bellied woodpecker, Downy woodpecker, Northern flicker, Red-winged blackbird, American robin, Northern cardinal, American crow and Hairy woodpecker.
Interestingly, Dr. Jean Boal did find a very young Cedar Waxwing outside of a late season nest.
Today, students from the Conservation Biology Class, with guidance from myself and Professor Emeritus David Zegers, set up small rodent traps and remote cameras at the new Climber’s Run Preserve in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This was part of a Service Learning project with the Lancaster County Conservancy (LCC) Bio-inventory Survey Effort for Climber’s Run Nature Preserve. The civil service performed by these students will help the LCC determine the diversity of mammalian fauna found on their new property.
On Tuesday August 19th, Millersville University, including myself and Angela Fetterolf, helped Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in taking and recording habitat measurements at Broad-winged Hawk Nest Sites. Habitat measurements included taken diameter breast of height of nest trees, nest tree height, amount of overstory and understory cover around nest trees, the amount of understory rock cover at nest trees, the diversity of tree species around the nest tree sites and the size of these tree species.
Matt Zak, Millersville Graduate in Environmental Biology 13′, is now a migratory bird banding assistant working on Kiawah Island in South Carolina.
Finished up the final week with the Conservation Biology Class at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. This week we discussed population modeling to guide management strategies for species conservation and also discussed adaptive management. We then went snorkeling at the clear waters of the Chincoteague Bay eelgrass beds and then ended the week kayaking around Greenbackville to discuss habitat restoration planning and monitoring. Had a great time with the students and hope to return next year.
Click here to see the eel grass beds from atop a flat-bottomed stable vessel, The Monitor.
Below are a few great photos taken by Conservation Biology student Heather Smith which include a Red-headed woodpecker, Delmarva Peninsula Fox squirrel and a pair of Piping Plovers.