On the way back to Philadelphia International Airport after a week near Cape May, New Jersey, we stopped for a final burst of birding at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tanicum. The refuge is only one mile from the airport, yet it’s home to more than 300 species of birds throughout the year. Eighty species have been recorded nesting within refuge boundaries.

None of us were expecting the birding here to be so good, especially in the middle of the afternoon. In less than 45 minutes, we saw 19 species, including incredible looks at northern parula, black-and-white warbler, and a white-breasted nuthatch feeding young in a nest cavity.

If you want to see some great birds and you have a layover in Philly, consider checking out John Heinz NWR.

Checklist (May 11, 2012)

Wild turkey

Ruby-throated hummingbird

Downy woodpecker

Northern flicker (yellow-shafted)

Eastern phoebe

Great crested flycatcher

White-breasted nuthatch

House wren

American robin

Gray catbird

Northern parula

Yellow warbler

Black-throated blue warbler

Black-and-white warbler

American redstart

Northern cardinal

Baltimore oriole

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