Important Bird Areas

State Line Barrens

Pennsylvania

The State Line Barrens, including Nottingham, Goat Hill, and Chrome, are a chain of oak-pine barren communities along the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. The Barrens are characterized by small savannas, prairies, and grassy meadows with dry soils, and harbor some unique plant communities that contain many rare plants, including the Serpentine Aster, Glade Spurge, Hairy Chickweed, Pink Milwort, Round-leaved Flameflower, and Prairie Dropseed. Significant serpentine outcrops occur in the U.S. only in California, Oregon, and along the Pennsylvania/Maryland border.

Nottingham County Park is by far the most accessible of the sites. The park's extensive hiking trails give visitors a great chance to see several breeding bird species that are difficult to find elsewhere in the Philadelphia region, including Prairie and Pine Warblers, and Yellow-breasted Chat.

Ornithological Summary

State Line Barrens area hosts many birds that are associated with early succession forests and grasslands and that have declined elsewhere because of development and forest succession. Northern Bobwhites, Prairie Warblers, White-eyed Vireos, Common Yellowthroats, Brown Thrashers, Gray Catbirds and Yellow-breasted Chats are typical species. Scrub pines and oaks attract Pine Warblers. This location supports breeding Northern Bobwhite.

Conservation Issues

Eastern serpentine barrens are an endangered ecosystem that supports unique communities.There has been an active effort by various conservation groups to maintain and manage the State Line Barrens. The rare biological communities found in this area are maintained by fire and organically poor mineral soil derived from the underlying serpentine rock. Natives grasses are important constituents of this habitat.

There is a need to control invasive, exotic vegetation and to protect barrens flora. On June 6, 1997, goats were released in a contained study area in Nottingham County Park to help control invasive plants such as this program. Acquisition of surrounding land continues to be a primary conservation effort. Chester County has an active Open Space Preservation Partnership Program.

Habitat

A chain of oak-pine barrens characterized by small savannas, prairies, and grassy meadows with dry soils.