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.

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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 Meeting

Club member Glenn Davis will speak

Thursday April 23 2015
Donohoe Center Barn
218 Donohoe Rd, Greensburg, PA 16501
7:00 p.m. Doors open 6:30
Club member Glenn Davis will speak and illustrate his latest exploits in his quest to visit every U.S. national park. This one will be on the national park of American Samoa with a side trip to New Zealand. Join us for what promises to be an interesting evening.

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Click for Latrobe, Pennsylvania Forecast

Field Trips for Spring and early Summer of 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. Mar. 22 Rock Hollow Run in the Loyalhanna Gorge
Meet Dick Byers and Tim Vechter at the Longbridge Station parking lot along Darlington Road, just off route 30 before crossing the bridge on the left side at 10:30 a.m. We'll carpool from there, if necessary to Rock Hollow. This is an uphill walk and treacherous downhill descent along Rock Hollow Run that will test your agility. Wear good hiking boots and bring a strong walking stick. It is a beautiful mountain stream (though strewn with discarded truck tires) with impressive rock outcrops at the headwaters. Bring water and snack food. Outing cancelled if the hollow is snow covered. Snow will make both the ascent and descent too slippery. If in doubt call 724-593-3543 or 724-216-8218. It's a tough walk, but one of the most scenic places in the Loyalhanna Gorge. Note: the outing date of Mar. 18 as stated in the Newsletter is incorrect.

Sun. April 12 Roaring Run Recreational Area
Join the Botanical Society of Westmoreland County for a walk in this very scenic area along the Conemaugh River and up Roaring Run Trail. Directions: From Delmont, follow Rt. 66 north to Apollo. Cross the bridge into Apollo and turn right at the traffic light immediately after the bridge onto Kiski Ave. Follow thisroad 0.8 miles to a fork. Take the right fork onto Canal Road which dead-ends at the Roaring Run Trail parking lot. Meet at 1:30 p.m.

Fri. April 17 Woodcock Stalk at PV Park
Join Tom Pearson at the PV Park parking lot at 7:30 p.m. Directions: From the McDonald’s light in Murrysville, turn south onto Trafford Rd. Cross over the bridge and railroad tracks, then bear left onto Pleasant Valley Road. Continue on this road for 1.2 miles. There is a diamond shaped entrance sign on the right just before your left turn into the parking lot.

Sun. April 19 Earth Day Celebration at Saint Vincent College
Drop in between 11 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to see our WBNC Earth Day display or volunteer to help man our booth. Contact info for Rose Tillmann, who is recovering from knee surgery, is on the front page. This year the celebration will take place at the Fred Rogers Center right beside the parking lot. Westmoreland Earth Day

Thur. April 23 Club Meeting
Directions: the Rt. 30 traffic light at the overpass to Westmoreland Mall, turn north onto Sheraton Drive. Bear right at the 1st intersection onto Donohoe Road. Go straight through the next light, and look for the Donohoe Center sign on your right at 0.7 miles from Route 30. Details above.

Sat. April 25 Indian Creek Gorge
This is a Mountain Watershed sponsored wildflower walk at 10:00 a.m. Come early to get a parking space. Directions: From the Donegal Turnpike Exit, turn left and follow Route 31 to Sarnelli’s Market (about 2 miles). Turn right onto Route 381 and follow it past the Mill Run Reservoir Bridge. Look for the Camp Christian sign, and turn down the road toward the camp. At the Y, turn right and you’ll see a small parking area on the right.

Sun. April 26 Enlow Fork Extravaganza
Birding begins at 8 o'clock, wildflowers at 10 o'clock, insects and other phenomena in the afternoon. Directions: From Pittsburgh, travel I-79 south to Washington to pick up I-70. Travel I-70 east to Exit 6 Claysville. Take US 40 east to Claysville. In Claysville turn right onto PA 231 south. Travel PA 231 south approximately 3 miles to the “Y" in the road; stay right towards West Finley on SR-3029. Travel SR-3029 approximately 7.5 miles to a "T" in the village of West Finley. Turn left onto SR-3037 and travel approximately 3 miles to the first road past the closed iron bridge on right. (Note that the iron bridge at the bottom of Walker Hill Rd is closed.) Turn right onto Iams Road and travel uphill. At the top make a right onto Nebo Ridge Rd. Travel a short distance and Walker Hill Rd will be on your right. Turn right onto Walker Hill Rd, then turn left on to Smoky Row Rd. Proceed down Smoky Row Rd, going under a new coal conveyor, follow to the end of the road, you will see the tents and parking. The GPS coordinates for the parking lot are 39.960781--- 80.463546

Sat. May 2 Deadman's Hollow
Meet Jim Pemberton at 8:00 a.m. for birds and wildflowers. We have not been here since 2005. Directions: Follow Route 48 south from Irwin through Versailles across the Boston Bridge. Immediately turn right at the end of the bridge and follow the street into the Yough River Bike Trail parking lot. Consider wearing an orange cap.

Sun. May 3 Harbridge Run Hollow
for birds and an old quarry at 9:00 a.m. Directions: From Rt. 217 south of Blairsville and south of Pizza Barn Rd turn east onto Gray Station Rd at a bend in Rt217. Follow Gray Station Road for 1- 1.25 miles beyond the RR tracks in Gray Station to the parking lot which is on the left after a sharp turn in the road. We'll follow a well worn trail up the side of the ridge, following Harbridge Run Hollow, to the quarry. Leader: Tim Vechter (724-216-8218).

Sun. May 3 Buffalo Creek
Join Larry Helgerman at the intersection of U.S. 40 and SR 221 at 7:30 a.m. We will be taking a nice walk through a variety of habitats. Focus will be on early spring migrants, but also on other aspects of nature. Directions: I-70 to exit 11 Taylorstown.. North on SR-221 to the intersection of SR221 and US-40. Parking area on left just past the SBridge. May outings on Saturday are during turkey season! Wear an orange cap. If on game lands, you'll need a vest too. Sat. May 9 Annual Pennsylvania Spring Migration Count Contact Dick Byers (contact info on front page) for an assignment or where you'd like to do the counting. He can email you a tally sheet or mail it if you don't have email. This count covers the entire county, so if you're only interested in doing a feeder watch, your only requirement is to be living in Westmoreland County.

Wed. May 13 Westmoreland Heritage Trail
for spring warblers. Join Ken Byerly (724-468-8594) at the Delmont McDonald's at 8:00 a.m.

Sat. May 16 Picnic Trail Bird Walk
at Laurel Summit State Park No leader. Directions: Take Linn Run Road from Rector to the picnic pavilion on top of the mountain and park behind the pavilion. Take the picnic trail that branches off from the trail to Spruce Flats Bog. Meet at 8:30 a.m.

Sat. June 6 Charles F. Lewis Natural Area
for snakes, resident birds, salamanders, and wildflowers. Join Jim Pemberton in the natural area parking lot at 10:00 a.m. The trail through this scenic reserve is ultra steep and slippery in places, not for those with a heart problem. Wear substantial footwear and bring a walking stick. Directions: Head east from New Alexandria on Route 22. Turn south on Route 403 past the Armaugh exit. Follow Route 403 two miles through Cramer. Just past Cramer, look for the parking lot to your left. Or follow Route 30 to Ligonier. From Ligonier follow Route 711 north to Cramer. Turn right in Cramer and look for the parking lot on your left just out of town. Sat. June 13 PV Park for general ecology. Join Tom Pearson and Jim Pemberton for birds, butterflies, snakes, amphibians, and wildflowers in the reserve parking lot at 9:00 a.m. Directions: From the McDonald’s light in Murrysville, turn south onto Trafford Rd. Cross over the bridge and railroad tracks, then bear left onto Pleasant Valley Road. Continue on this road for 1.2 miles. There is a diamond shaped entrance sign on the right just before your left turn into the parking lot.

Wed. June 17 Skena Kellman Nature Reserve
Join Dick Byers for a general data collection walk for the club book at this nature reserve in Murrysville at 9:30 a.m. Directions: At the McDonald's light in Murrysville, turn north onto Hall Road. At the next light, turn right, go about 100 yards and turn left up the steep North Hills Road. Follow North Hills Road past MacArthur Drive on your right and park on the right just past Skena Lane.

Sat. June 20 Evening Vespers
Dine at the Darlington Inn Buffet at 5 p.m. RSVP Karen Jackson (724-668-7421) by Wednesday June 17 before our annual trip to Spruce Flats Bog to hear the hermit thrushes and veeries sing on this primarily social outing. Directions: From Latrobe, follow Route 30 toward Ligonier. Just before crossing the bridge at Long Bridge Station, turn right onto Darlington Road. Drive about a mile to the Darlington Inn parking lot on your left. If you miss the turn at the bridge, turn right at the top of the hill and follow the road down to Darlington Road. Turn right and drive to the restaurant parking lot on your right.

Sat. June 27 Mountain Streams Trail in Forbes State Forest
Meet Dick Byers at the 2nd Donegal Lake parking lot at 9:45 a.m. to arrange a car shuttle for this hike from the top of Laurel Hill down to Sky View Road - about 5 miles. Bring lunch. Object is a general nature hike to collect data for the club book. Anyone with specialty expertise is especially welcome. All others come anyway to get a feel for this part of Forbes State Forest and learn some natural history, a rapidly disappearing subject in today's high tech world. Directions: From the Pennsylvania turnpike exit in Donegal, turn left from the pay booth onto Route 31, drive about 100 yards and turn north on Route 711. Drive about 2 miles on 711. In a half mile after descending a steep hill, look for the Fish Commission sign to Donegal lake on your left and turn left onto Donegal Lake Road. Drive another mile to the second parking lot on the right. Park near the porta-John.

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. 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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