WBNC Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club, southwestern Pennsylvania
Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club

Birding and nature observation
in Westmoreland County
southwestern Pennsylvania

About the club || Meetings || Field Trips & Outings || Newsletters & other Docs
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Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club

The Westmoreland Bird and Nature Club is a natural history organization serving Westmoreland County and surrounding areas. The WBNC is primarily an outdoor club averaging about 30 field trips a year for birds, butterflies, flowering plants, dragonflies and damselflies, trees and general ecology. Outings can be hiking, canoeing or cycling in nature. Sometimes impromptu field trips are organized over the internet. In addition, members participate in the Audubon Christmas Bird Count and the Pennsylvania Annual Migration Count in early May. Field trips are sometimes held in conjunction with the Botanical Society of Westmoreland County (BSWC), and the Three Rivers Birding Club (3RBC). Several members also belong to the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club. There are three general membership meetings a year including a summer picnic. All meetings are held in the Barn at the Donohoe Center, 218 Donohoe Road, Greensburg. The 10-18 page newsletter entitled The Syrinx is published four times a year summarizing past field trips, upcoming events, natural history information, and recent bird sightings. The Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club (formerly Westmoreland County Bird Club) formed on Feb 26, 1981 to promote interest in birds and conservation and to provide field trips in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The first newsletter, Vol. 1 No. 1, was for March 1981. In that newsletter five field trips were scheduled. Seven people were listed as paid charter members.

Club Membership: $7 individual/family. Paid memberships currently stand at 217. All Membership Dues are due in January, unless you joined after September 1st. See Join for details.

facebook: Westmoreland Bird and Nature Club Find us on a facebook page
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red trillium

Current officers of the club

Executive Committee - Dick Byers, Tom Pearson, Tom & Billie Moser, Dale Matusa, Joe & Arlene Kalinowski, Rose Tillman, Len & Linda Hess
Secretary/Treasurer - Rose Tillmann
Newsletter Editor - Dick Byers
Bird Records - Karen Jackson
Archives Scrapbook - vacant
Website and facebook - Tim Vechter

History of club officers

Great Blue Heronry, 2014     Great Blue Heronry, 2014
Great Blue Heron colony, April 1 2014. Photos by Tim Vechter.

Great Blue Heronry     Great Blue Heronry, 2014

Great Blue Heronry
Great Blue Heron, April 1 2014.

Black-crowned Night-Heron, 2014     Black-crowned Night-Heron, 2014
Black-crowned Night-Heron at Loyalhanna Creek downtown Latrobe, by the Rt981 (Lloyd Ave) bridge, March 27 2014.
"In Pennsylvania, the black-crowned night-heron is listed as state endangered and protected under the Game and Wildlife Code." Photos by Tim Vechter, 2014.

Gray Screech Owl, 2013     Red`Screech Owl, 2013
Screech Owls, gray and red phase, photos by Dick Byers, 2013.

Fox Sparrow, 2013
Fox Sparrow, photo by Dick Byers, 2013.

Harlequin Duck - Keystone State Park, Nov. 19 2008
Harlequin Duck at Keystone State Park, Nov. 19 2008.
Reported by Linda Huber & Ken Byerly.
Photo by Dick Byers.

Pine Siskin - Latrobe PA - 21.Jan.2009
Pine Siskin in Latrobe PA, Jan. 21 2009.

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Sandhill Crane

Lake Ethel in Derry, PA
Mid December 2007 to last week of April 2008.

Sandhill Crane Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane Sandhill Crane Sandhill Crane

More Sandhill Crane info is at wikipedia || Middle Creek || Platte River Nebraska || Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge || International Crane Foundation

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Upland Sandpiper Upland Sandpiper
Hutter's Farm
Mammoth-Kecksburg PA
May 25 1996
Sedge Wren
3rd Bridge
Loyalhanna Creek
Latrobe PA
June 7 1997
Sedge Wren

Both species are listed as threatened in Pennsylvania by the PA Department of Natural Resources. A threatened species may become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout their range in PA. An endangered species is in danger of extirpation throughout their range in PA.
Endangered & Threatened Species of Pennsylvania: PA Game Commission (Animals, Birds) || DCNR (Plants) || Fish & Boat Commission (Fishes, Turtles, Snakes, Lizards)

Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania


Club Picnic

Keystone State Park Pavilion #2
Sunday August 9, 2015, 4 p.m.

See details in the Field Trips & Outings below.

Club Meeting

Dick Byers will speak on Charles Darwin, the man.

Tuesday September 22 2015
Donohoe Center Barn
218 Donohoe Rd, Greensburg, PA 16501
7:00 p.m. Doors open 6:30

Program: The life of the World's Greatest Naturalist - Charles Darwin. No nature club should exist without some knowledge of the scientist who discovered how animals and plants become adapted to changing conditions. See the Field Trips & Outings below for details.

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Click for Latrobe, Pennsylvania Forecast

Field Trips for July - September 2015

Cancellation Policy: In the event of inclement weather, please call the field trip leader in advance to confirm if the outing is on or canceled. The leaders have the right to cancel. Please check weather reports and road conditions. If there's any question, please call the leaders for confirmation. Car pooling is a good idea. Field trips are free and open to the public.

Weather for Latrobe (weather.com) || Weather for Westmoreland County || Weather(underground) for PA

Sun. July 5 Ferncliff Peninsula
Meet Mark Bowers at the bike trail parking lot on your right just before crossing the bridge into Ohiopyle at 10 A.M.

Sat. July 11 MCP Wetlands
Sue Miller will guide you through this small wetlands just outside Murrysville Community Park at 9:30 a.m. Directions: Going west on Rt. 22 past the Cozy Inn, turn right at the first light onto Cline Hollow Road right across from the Walnut Hollow Plaza. Follow Cline Hollow Road 1.7 miles to Hills Church Road. Turn left and continue on Hills Church Road .4 miles to where you'll bear straight ahead onto Weistertown Road. Continue straight ahead 1.1 miles and rum right into the wetlands parking lot.

Sat. July 18 Walter Reserve
Meet Dick Byers at the Walters parking lot at 10 A.M. If lot is full, we'll work a car shuttle from the MCP lot. Directions are the same as for MCP wetlands above except you go another mile further on Weistertown Road and turn left into the parking lot.

Sat. July 25 3rd Bridge Wetlands
Meet Tom Pearson at the wetland parking lot at 1 P.M. Directions: From Latrobe, follow Rt. 981 out of town. About a mile past the railroad underpass (just past some townhouses called Holiday Acres) turn left onto Derbytown Road. Follow Derbytown Road to a T-intersection and turn right onto McFarland Rd. The wetlands are just ahead on the right. From Route 22 in New Alexandria, Derbytown Road is 5.5 miles on the right. Or, when coming though Latrobe, turn northwest on Ligonier Street (toward the train underpass) and follow it straight out of town until you come to the wetlands. It joins onto McFarland Rd.

Sat. Aug 8 McGinnis Reserve
Westmoreland Conservancy walk over the McGinnis Reserve for the black cohosh bloom. Directions: At the McDonald's light on Route 22 in Murrysville, turn north onto Vincent Hall Road. Continue straight ahead at the first light onto Sardis Road and continue for about 5 miles passing Mamont Road. Look for Hunter Drive, the 3rd road on the right past Mamont. Turn right and follow Hunter Drive onto Wallace and look for the small parking lot on your right. If you miss Hunter Drive, take the next right (Wallace Lane) and continue on Wallace to the parking lot.

Sun. Aug 9 Club Picnic
Program details on first page. Before the picnic, some may want to explore the Loyalhanna Access Trail from the Rt. 981 parking lot - 2:45. We'll do the Old Beaver Pond loop trail after dinner. No mothing later.

Sat. Aug. 15 Shenango Reservoir, Miller's Pond (Presque Isle optional) for shorebirds.
Meet Mark McConaughy at the rest stop on 1-79 between Slippery Rock and Grove City at 9:00 A.M. Mark will also have his sun scope if there is an opportunity to observe sunspots. Cancelled if there are heavy rains raising water levels prior the outing. Check with Mark (724-733-5299). There is also a star-gazing party that evening with the Pittsburgh Astronomers at Kunkle Park a mile west of the state police barracks on Rt. 66 before heading into Apollo in Westmoreland County. Mark will be attending.

Sun. Aug. 23 Cunkleman Garden Show Potluck Picnic 1 P.M.
Bring a covered dish to share and a chair. No perfume or hair sprays to protect Marcy's daughter who is severely allergic. Drinks, except diet, paper products, table service & insect propellent will be provided. RSVP 724-459-7229. Marcy is a master gardener and monarch butterfly bander. Directions: Mapquest or Google Maps address is 292 SwiscoRd. Clarksburg 15725. From Blairsville on Route 22, follow Route 217 north to Newport Road which breaks off 217 at a sharp bend, maybe a mile north of 22. Follow Newport Road (3009) to Clarksburg Road (3007) another sharp turn to your left. Follow Clarksburg Road to Barkley Rd. on your right. Follow Barkley 1/2 mile to the first right (Swisco) and drive .2 miles to where you'll see Marcy's 292 mailbox.

Wed. Sep. 16 Westmoreland Heritage Trail
for migrating warblers and other passerines. Meet Ken Byerly (724-468-8594) at the Delmont Mac Donald's Restaurant on Route 22 just west of the Route 22/66 crossroads on the north side of the highway at 8:00 A.M. for his expertise on the confusing fall birds.

Tues Sep. 22 Club Meeting
Dick Byers will speak on Charles Darwin, the man. This is not a talk about the theory of Evolution. This will be a biographical sketch of the world's greatest naturalist and how he came upon his theory, not the theory itself. Creationists have been demonizing Darwin since the publication of the Origin, calling him evil without knowing a thing about his moral character. This is the Darwin you never knew, from his birth to the publication of his third major book, The Origin of Species, and you can't help but be surprised.

Wed. Sep. 23 Allegheny Front Hawkwatch
for the peak movement of the fall broadwinged hawk migration, which usually falls sometime between the 16th and 28th of September. Last year it came early, on the 16th. This year we'll gamble on the first official day of autumn. The sun will arrive at the autumnal Equinox at 4:22 A.M. EDT. Plan to arrive at the hawkwatch around 10-11 A.M. Bring a chair, something to drink. For directions, email or snail mail Dick Byers. Contact info on first page.

Sat. Sep. 26 Caywood Reserve
This is a Westmoreland Conservancy outing to a small 44 acre reserve off Hills Church Road in Murrysville, formerly owned by club member Jane Caywood and willed to the conservancy on her death. It is the midway property on the 5-mile Don Harrison Community Trail. We can work a shuttle and hike to the Walter Reserve on Weistertown Road to prevent back tracking. Meet at the Caywood Reserve parking lot at 9:30 A.M. Directions: From Route 22 in Murrysville heading west past the Cozy Inn, turn right at the next light onto Cline Hollow Road. Travel 1.6 miles on Cline Hollow to a T-intersection with Hills Church Road. Turn left onto Hills Church Road and travel 1.8 miles to a three-way intersection. At the intersection, Hills Church Road continues to the right (Windover Road goes to the left). Continue on Hills Church Road traveling 1.3 miles to Caywood Reserve parking lot on right. Caywood Reserve parking lot is directly opposite a blue street sign reading: Beulah Lane. You'll see the conservancy kiosk beside the parking lot. Caywood entrance

Sat. Oct. 10 The Big Sit
Come for a day of bird watching without having to move around. Can't make it any more on the long club hikes? Need a cane? Like to eat and shoot the bull with fellow birders? Then the Big Sit is for you! Join club members anytime from midnight to midnight. Come anytime and stay as long as you like. This will be our 8th year. We have a record count of 46 species to break and 728 individuals. It gets tougher to outdo ourselves every year. This data collecting event is always under attended. Ideally, we'd like to arrange for a continuous coverage in three or four teams and have people there from sunrise to sunset so there's no gaps in the surveillance. More details will come in the fall newsletter.

Note: for the email addresses replace "_AT_" with "@", and "_DOT_ with ".", without the quotes. This is done to help foil spamming programs.

Bookmark outings.htm on a mobile device for quick download of scheduled outings for a text only listing of outings.

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Samples of recent newsletter and Christmas Bird Count results:

The Syrinx, Voicebox of the Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club, Vol. 34 No. 3, July - September 2015
SyrinxJulySep 2015 B.pdf

The Syrinx, Voicebox of the Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club, Vol. 34 No. 2, April - June 2015

The Syrinx, Voicebox of the Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club, Vol. 33 No. 1, Jan. –Mar. 2014

40th BUSHY RUN S.P. CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT 2013 (114th) [Can open in Wordpad]
BushyRun 2013 Syrinx.doc

Click for Syrinx Newsletter          Click for Syrinx Newsletter

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Links to other web sites about nature and birds seen locally. These links can become inactive at any time.

Links to external websites will open in separate windows

Photos by Mark McConaughy:

Pine Siskin, White-winged Crossbill at Bushy Run Battlefield, Westmoreland Co., Feb. 2009

WBNC outing to West Lebanon, Indiana County, Feb. 24 2008.

Common Redpolls at Bushy Run Battlefield Park

Sandhill Crane at Derry Lake, Dec. 31 2007.

Herring Gull Nest in Armstrong County, 29 May 2005.

Short-billed Dowitcher at Mammoth Wetlands and Mammoth Lake, Sat. May 14 2005.

Hays Bald Eagle Cam in Pittsburgh || University of Pittsburgh Falcon Cam || Pittsburgh Gulf Tower Falcon Cam || Osprey Cam southeast PA

Westmoreland Botanical Society

Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club

Three Rivers Birding Club

Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh

Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Birding News at ABA || Birding mailing lists at ABA

Archives of PABIRDS@LIST.AUDUBON.ORG, Bird discussion list for Pennsylvania, Login required. || To subscribe or unsubscribe to the PABIRDS discussion list

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pink lady's slipper

To join Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club

Please send check or money order, made out to Westmoreland Bird & Nature Club to:
Rose Tillmann
PO Box 188
New Derry PA 15671
$7 individual/family. $20 supporting membership.
Include your name and address for the mailing list. Phone number, Email address, etc., is optional.

All Membership Dues are due in January, unless you joined after September 1st.
You can print and use an online application form by Clicking here.

current club patch

previous club patch

WBNC Bumper Sticker

Bookmark outings.htm on a mobile device for quick download of scheduled outings. outings.htm is a text only bare bones web page.

For a more interactive online interface:
facebook page: Westmoreland Bird and Nature ClubFind us on this facebook page
facebook group: Westmoreland Bird and Nature ClubFind us as this facebook group

Web page, and photos (unless otherwise noted), by Tim Vechter.

For places to bird in Westmoreland County click here

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