dinsdag 13 september 2011

State hopping

Monday, our day-off! In the Powdermill Visitor's Centre a conference was held this morning about the conservation of the Golden-winged Warbler by Jeff Larkin and Marja Bakermans. It is part of of a 2 day workshop about the Golden-winged Warblers. The Golden-winged Warbler has been declining severly and Pennsylvania is one of the places where it has its stronghold in the US. Furthermore, this species is known to hybridize at some places with the Blue-winged Warbler. These hybrids are called Brewster's Warblers. The second generation backross is called Lawrence's Warbler, but this rarely occurs. Therefore, conservation of this species is really important. So this morning some talks were being held, for example about how to manage forest in a way so that it attracts and holds this species.
Around noon me and Brandon drove to Morgantown, situated in West-Virginia, to pick up his rubber boots...because it is quite wet at the banding area at the moment. Morgantown holds about 40,000 citizens of which about 30,000 are students. So it is a real student town! It is because there is the West-Virginia University here. Brandon graduated at this university some years ago and his sister lives here as well. While driving through Morgantown there were students everywhere and I soon saw something that reminded me of the American Pie movies: a PI BETA PHI house, with some (fat) geeky american girls entering the house.
The Pi Beta Phi house!

In these American Pie movies you have these Alfa and Beta clubs etc. So the university was fun to see, especially because it is totally different from the Netherlands, haha. We went to his sister's appartment where we succesfully picked up his boots.
At West-Virginia University

West-Virginia is really hilly so there is great scenery everywhere. After the visit to Morgantown we went to Cooper's Rock. This is a State Park and there are some great overlookings right there. Some pictures of the beautiful surroundings of Morgantown:
View from Cooper's Rock, amazing!
The Cheat river flowing past Cooper's Rock
Me @ Cooper's Rock

We also observed some good birds. There were plenty of Turkey Vultures around, we found a Black Vulture, quite an unusual sighting! Furthermore there we saw some Ravens, a few Red-tailed Hawks and a migrating Merlin which was a nice surprise. Warblers seen at Cooper's Rock included Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warbler (which I saw at Powdermill this morning as well). On our way back to Powdermill I observed my first Green Heron (first one since my stay), seen fishing along a river.
Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture

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