Overview and Activities

Quick Look

Next Meeting: Monday 17th June - Hiking and Kayaking in the State Parks
Next Bird Walk / Field Trip: Friday 24th May - Michaux Camp


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.

Friday 24th May Bird Walk near the Michaux Prisoner of War Camp; Take Michaux Road off route 233 (1 mile south of Pine Grove Furnace State Park). Camp Michaux parking area is about a mile up the road on the right. time: 8 am. Alternatively, meet at the Mike & Kathy’s house; time: before 7:45 am. Any questions - contact Mike at 717-809-3911 or SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Saturday 1st June, Green Gathering at the Gettysburg Rec Park, Long Lane, 11 am - 4 pm.

Friday 7th June, Bird walk at State Gamelands, #249. Meet at Twin Bridges Road, off Old Harrisburg Road, south of Heidlersburg 7:30 am. Any questions - contact Mike at 717-809-3911 or SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Friday 14th - Monday 17th June Breeding Bird Blitz. See Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology

Monday 17th June, Marci Mowery, President of the Pennysylvania Parks and Forests Foundation - hiking and kayaking in the State Parks.

Friday 5th July, Bird walk at Big Spring Creek. meet at parking area at Springfield and Big Spring Creek roads near Newville.

Thursday 11th July, Kayak trip to Gifford Pinchot State Park. Further details to follow. For further information contact Mike at 717-809-3911 or SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Friday 26th July, Bird walk at Old Gettysburg Country Club. More details to follow.

Monday 5th August, Annual Picnic - Kathy & Mike’s house. Pot Luck dinner. Arrive at 5pm, eat at 6 pm. For further information contact Mike at 717-809-3911 or SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Thursday 8th August, Kayak trip to Conejohela Flats, Susquehanna River to look for early Fall migrants. Meet at Blue Rock Boat launch, Blue Rock Road (off River Road) Lancaster County. For further information contact Mike at 717-809-3911 or SMAS@southmountainaudubon.org

Friday 30th August, 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 23rd September, Dr. Kevin Chase of the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory will present on Non-Native Insect Pests and Their Effects on Birds.

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

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

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 Spring competition is closed. The Fall migration activity is being planned and ideas on the format of the competition.

The progress of migrations can be seen at eBird.org by going to the explore section and looking at the species’ recent sightings.

Global Big Day

On the 4th May SMAS participated in Global Big Day birding at the Harrisburg Old State Hospital Grounds. A record 71 species were observed.

Black-billed Cuckoo

Cape May Warbler
photos by Linette Mansberger

Field trips to Oakside Park, Biglerville

The monthly bird walks at Oakside Park, Biglerville continue (see left column for future walks). 42 species were observed in April including a number of additions to the Park bird list. Many birds were building nests, including this Bluebird which was building a nest in the pipe at the top of the Home Sweet Home sign.
Pine Warbler

Photos by Kathy King

International Migratory Bird Day

On the 11th May, South Mountain Audubon counted birds around Spangler’s Spring, Gettyburg Battlefield, as usual at this time of year. 62 species were found.

Scarlet Tanagers
by Bonnie Portzline

Bird Walk near the Pennsylvania Monument, Gettysburg NMP.

On the 17th May, South Mountain Audubon birded some of the roads and trails near the Pennsylvania monument. 40 species were identified, but the most interesting were a wader and a flycatcher, neither of which were identified.

Field Sparrow

Eastern Kingbird