Hurricane Birds at Shawnee State Park, Bedford County, PA
The passage of Hurricane Sandy 30 October brought reports of costal and pelagic birds across Pennsylvania. The ornithological
story of the storm is very long and the subject of a more detailed treatment in a future issue of Pennsylvania Birds.
Suffice to say here that the remnant eye of the storm passed very close to Shawnee State Park in Bedford County during the
day on 30 October, and it dumped several notable species on the lake in its wake. I was able to see a number of these
and photographed to of the most significant: American Oystercatcher and Leach's Storm-Petrel.
The identification of American Oystercatcher is trivial, but the storm-petrel at Shawnee that day caused a great deal
of confusion. On several occasions, the legs apparently could be seen extending beyond the tail, which is characteristic of
Wilson's Storm-Petrel, not Leach's. I personally saw this once, on one occasion when the bird was in flight and the legs appeared
to extend beyond the end of the tail. Regardless, too many other features of this bird were simply incorrect for Wilson's
and more indicative of Leach's, to the point that those of us who saw the bird that day agreed in the end that the bird was
indeed a Leach's. Certainly most of the photos I obtained that day (the single best of which is below) seem to show a good
more Leach's characters than Wilson's. This record will be the subject of a P.O.R.C. review. Several more photos are available,
contact me if you would like to see them.
|Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x TC III, 1/1600 sec. at f/13 (manual), ISO 1250, tripod
|Canon 1DMkIV, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x TC III, 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6 (manual), ISO 1250, tripod