Overview and Activities

Quick Look

Next Meeting: Monday 23rd September - Non-Native Insect Pests and Their Effects on Birds
Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: Friday 13rd September - Lake Heritage


Unless indicated otherwise, all SMAS Programs are held at the Adams County Agricultural Resource Center, 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Gettysburg, PA at 7:30 pm (refreshments at 7 pm). A room number for the SMAS meeting will be posted on the front lobby entry inner door.

Bonnie Portzline is happy to give her presentation ‘Birds with a Gettysburg address’ to interested parties. The presentation is based on her wonderful photographs of local birds.

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, 1st September to 31st October. Registration is open for the 2019 Pick Up Pennsylvania, a fall cleanup program supporting the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. See Flyer for details.

Friday 13th September, Bird Walk at Lake Heritage. Meet at 8 am at Sheetz, Heritage Drive and route 97. If you have any questions, contact Linette at 717-495-8137 or at southmountainaudubon@gmail.com

Thursday 26th September, Bird Walk at Gettysburg National Historical Park. Meet at 8 am at Ampitheater Parking Lot. If you have any questions, contact Deb Siefken (717-677-4830; siefkend@embarqmail.com).

Monday 23rd September, Dr. Kevin Chase of the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory will present on Non-Native Insect Pests and Their Effects on Birds.

Saturday 5th October, Rocky Ridge Hawk Watch with Andrew Wolfgang. Car pool from Burger King, route 30, Gettysburg. Meet at 8:30 am. If you are going directly take route 24 north from route 30 on the east side of York. Turn right on the top of the hill (about a mile from route 30) and proceed to Rocky Ridge County Park. Continue on the road through the Park until it dead ends at a large parking area. The hawk watch is a short walk to the north. Bring chairs and a lunch. Contact Deb Siefken (717-677-4830; siefkend@embarqmail.com) if you are interested in participating.

Saturday, 19th October American Chestnut Society: Annual Fall meeting in Gettysburg. See Society’s Web site for details.

Monday 21st October, Dr. Alex Trillo, Assistant Professor of Biology at Gettysburg College will speak about amphibians. Details to come.

Friday 25th October, Bird walk at Oakside Park, Route 394, 1 mile east of Biglerville. Meet at 8 am at parking area. For further information contact Mike at 717-809-3911 or SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Monday 11th November, Duck Drive to the 3 Hanover reservoirs - Long Arm, Impounding Dam and Lake Marburg. Contact Deb Siefken (717-677-4830; siefkend@embarqmail.com) if you are interested in participating.

Monday 18th November, Kristi Allen, Program Coordinator, will speak about the Pennsylvania Plant Conservation Network.

Thursday 28th November to the 1st December, Thanksgiving trip to Chincoteague, VA. We plan to bird in the Chincoteague area and at other nearby venues - the weather report will determine our daily locations. Contact Deb Siefken (717-677-4830; siefkend@embarqmail.com) if you are interested in participating.

Saturday 14th December, Christmas Bird Count.

Citizen Scientists Wanted!


The Pennsylvania Amphibian & Reptile Survey is looking for interested citizen scientists to participate in their survey in this area. Willingness to record and report amphibian and reptile observations is needed. The 2 websites listed below provide more information on the project, the opportunity to sign up, and links to help with identification of herps: PARS and Pennsylvania Herp Identification

For more additional information contact the Adams County coordinator Sue Muller. Her email address is: adams@paherpsurvey.org

The South Mountain Audubon Society aims are to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity focusing on Adams County, PA.

The Society works towards those aims with meetings, birding trips, and conservation activities.

There are 2 Important Bird Areas locally:

Click here to join National Audubon and the South Mountain Audubon Society. Please select U17 as the Chapter code from the drop down menu on the form.

If you only want to join the South Mountain Audubon Society only then sign up at the next event you attend. The annual membership is $15.

The Society can be contacted in the following ways:

email: SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Tel.: 717-809-3911

Mail: SMAS, P.O. Box 3671, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Local Bird Sightings in 2017 and 2018

2017 and 2018 were very productive years for new and rare species being recorded in the area:

South Adams Grasslands Important Bird Area (covering part of Adams County) -

2017 First Reports: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Trumpeter Swan, Mississippi Kite, Northern Shrike, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Canada Warbler.

2018 First Reports: Red-necked Grebe, Dunlin, White-rumped Sandpiper, Red-throated Loon, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Black-throated Gray Warbler.

2017 Rare birds: Olive-sided Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher (first sighting since 2009).

2018 Rare birds: Loggerhead Shrike (first sighting since 2008), Evening Grosbeak, Kentucky Warbler.

South Mountain Important Bird Area (covering parts of Adams, Franklin, and Cumberland Counties)

2017 First Reports: Sandhill Crane, Herring Gull, Northern Harrier, Barn Owl

2017 Rare birds: Great Egret, Northern Goshawk (first sighting since 2009), Connecticut Warbler

2018 Rare Birds: Evening Grosbeak (first sighting since 2002).

Adams County (excluding sightings in the IBAs already noted)

2018 First Report: Orange-crowned Warbler

Further details including lists of all the bird sighted can be found on the Bird Lists page. See map for the definition of the IBA areas.

Field Trips

FIELD TRIPS - Field trips will be announced in the quarterly newsletters (when possible) and on this website.  Each field trip will list a contact person and a meeting place.  Please be sure to notify the  listed contact person of your planned attendance so that you can be alerted to any changes in the schedule or meeting place. 

Bird Arrivals and Departures

The Fall migration competitions are open. If you are interested in participating or just want to know what is going on contact Mike Bertram at 717-352-7936.

The state of Adams County sitings can be found in the Arrivals and Departures spreadsheet. The progress of migrations can be seen at eBird.org by going to the explore section and looking at the species’ recent sightings.

Kayak Trip to
Beaver Creek,
Gifford Pinchot SP

On the 12th July there were 12 particpants in a kayak trip up Beaver Creek in Gifford Pinchot State Park. 31 species were observed.

photo by Linette Mansberger

Wood Ducks
photo by Kathy King

Bird Walk at Old Country Club, Gettysburg NMP.

On the 26th July, 12 participants birded along the golf course trails, at the Old Country Club, off route 30. 36 species were identified, including a groups of Orchard Orioles and Wood Ducks.

Wood Ducks and Canada Geese

female Monarch Butterfly
Photos by Linette Mansberger

Kayak Trip to
Conejohela Flats,
Susquehanna River

On the 8th August there were 13 participants in a kayak trip on the Conejohela Flats area of the Susquehanna. 39 species were observed including Baird's Sandpiper, 1 of 5 Sandpiper species, and a Short-billed Dowitcher.

Short-billed Dowitcher

Forsters Tern
photos by Linette Mansberger

Oakside Park

On the 30th August 27 species were observed at the Park including the first sighting at that locality of a Scarlet Tanager.

Opposum Lake

On the 3rd September 27 species were observed while kayaking at Opossum Lake.

Immature Bald Eagle

Painted Turtle
photos by Linette Mansberger