Reports, comments, questions
|March 4, 2014
Audubon Naturalist Society of the
Central Atlantic states (independent of NAS!)
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This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting February 25 and was completed on Tuesday, March 4 at 3 pm.
Top bird this week is SNOWY OWL throughout the region.
Other birds of interest this week include waterfowl, grebe, RED-THROATED LOON, AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, hawks, SANDHILL CRANE, shorebirds, gulls, alcids, MERLIN, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, AMERICAN PIPIT, SNOW BUNTING, sparrows and blackbirds.
SNOWY OWLS continue to fascinate both birders and the general public alike throughout the area although the number of sightings has declined.
OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST
Spring continues to try to arrive ( with some setbacks) this past week as was shown by displaying AMERICAN WOODCOCKS , hunting TREE SWALLOWS and PINE WARBLERS in a variety of locations.
A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was by the Bulle Rock water tower on Bulle Rock Parkway close to Havre de Grace, Cecil Co, MD on March 1. A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was in a field on Martinsburg Road near Wasche Road, Montgomery Co, MD on March 2. A ROSS’S GOOSE was in a flock of SNOW GEESE in fields off US 13 south of Exmore, Northampton Co, VA on February 26. A ROSS’S GOOSE was on Slaughter Beach Road, Sussex Co, DE on March3. A CACKLING GOOSE was in Mountain Lake, Garrett Co, MD on March 1. Seven CACKLING GEESE were at the Georgetown Reservoir on March 2.
The TRUMPETER SWANS along US 50 near Big Mill Pond, Vienna, Dorchester Co, MD continued to be seen throughout the week.
A EURASIAN WIGEON was along the causeway to Assateague Island, Worcester Co, MD on March 2. Two KING EIDERS were seen again at Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co, MD on February 26 accompanied by a single COMMON EIDER. A pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS was on the Potomac River between Pennyfield and Violette’s Locks, Montgomery Co, MD on March 1. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, LONG-TAILED DUCKS and RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS also continued to be seen throughout the area.
A RED-THROATED LOON was at North Point SP, Baltimore Co, MD on February 25. RED-THROATED LOONS were seen on the C&O Canal at both Violette’s and Riley’s Lock, Montgomery Co, MD on February 28 and March 2. Another RED-THROATED LOON was at the boardwalk area of Piscataway Park, Prince George’s Co, MD on March 1. A RED-THROATED LOON was at the Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co, MD on March 2.
RED-NECKED GREBES were seen in many locations throughout the reporting area.
At least forty AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were at Blackwater NWR, Dorchester Co, MD on February 26. The AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN previously reported at Hog Island, Surry Co, VA was seen again on March 1. An AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN circled above Hog Island, and then flew over the hawkwatch at College Creek, James City Co, VA on March 2.
A GOLDEN EAGLE was at Heron Point, Talbot Co, MD on March 1 and another GOLDEN EAGLE was at North Point SP, Baltimore Co, MD on the same day. A ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was on Old National Pike by Mt. Tabor Road, Frederick Co, MD on February 25. Another ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK was at Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co, VA on February 27.
As another harbinger of spring struggling to arrive, OSPREYS were seen in several spots in the area.
Two SANDHILL CRANES were seen February 25 in a cornfield along Pfeffer Rd near Kingsville, Baltimore Co, MD.
Early shorebirds began to be seen this week, including: WILSON’S SNIPE at Algonkian Regional Park, Loudoun Co, VA on March 2; SANDERLING at Sandy Point SP, Anne Arundel Co, MD on March 2 and LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Tanyard Marsh, Caroline Co, MD on March 1.
One to five THAYER’S GULLS were at the Port of Wilmington, Peninsula Compost Company, New Castle Co, DE on March 1. A juvenile ICELAND GULL, seven LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS and a second year GLAUCOUS GULL were all at the Salisbury Landfill, Wicomico Co, MD on February 25. All were in the pond off Naylor Mill Road across from the landfill. The ICELAND GULL and the LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were seen again on February 26. The ICELAND GULL was seen again on March 2. Two LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS were playing with a fish at Downs Park, Anne Arundel Co, MD on February 27.
A pelagic trip into Maryland waters on March 1 recorded DOVEKIE, COMMON MURRE and ATLANTIC PUFFIN.
A MERLIN was flying over Turney’s Pond on Harford Creamery Road, Harford Co, MD on February 26. Another MERLIN was at Manassas National Battlefield Park, Prince William Co, VA on February 28 and March 2.
A BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE returned to a feeder in Woodstock, Howard Co, MD on February 27.
Twenty-six AMERICAN PIPITS were at Hughes Hollow, Montgomery Co, MD on February 26.
SNOW BUNTINGS were at Swan Creek dredge containment facility, Anne Arundel Co, MD on February 26, 27 and 28.
The CLAY-COLORED SPARROW at the Bayside Campground on Assateague, Worcester Co., MD was seen February 26 and March 1 and 2. Two VESPER SPARROWS were on Levin Dashiell Road, Assateague Island on March 2. A LINCOLN’S SPARROW was at Vessey’s Orchard, Somerset Co, MD on March 2.
A YELLOW-headed blackbird visited a yard in Newark, DE on February 27. A female YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), Prince George’s Co, MD on March 2.
RUSTY BLACKBIRDS also turned up at a variety of locations this past week. Three BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS were seen Feb 21 and 22 at Irvine Nature Center, Owings Mills, Howard Co, MD.
Huge groups of COMMON GRACKLES (a plague of Grackles?) and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS have been seen during the week.
This week's report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers via the ABA Internet links, and on eBird records.
The Audubon Sanctuary Shop (301-652-3606, http://www.audubonnaturalist.org/index.php/support-ans/shop ) is an excellent source for guidebooks and many other nature-related titles.
To report bird sightings, e-mail your report to email@example.com. Please post reports before midnight Monday, identify the county as well as state, and include your name and a Tuesday morning contact, either e-mail or phone.
Thank you for calling, and GOOD BIRDING.
*Of interest to the records committee
The Voice of the Naturalist is written and recorded on Tuesday mornings. If you email your reports, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday midnight to make sure they are received in time.
Reports prior to the preceding Tuesday will not be considered.
The area covered is (with rare exceptions) DC, MD, VA, and southern DE; all other reports should be sent to the appropriate rare-bird alert for the area in which the birds were observed.
Be sure to report only those birds that you actually saw, not ones that someone else told you about.
And please remember to include a phone number where you can be reached on Tuesday morning; if you can't be reached to verify a rare bird, your report will almost certainly not be used.
There are two main circumstances in which a bird sighting will not be reported on the Voice as a matter of policy. The first is if the report would jeopardize the bird's welfare:
Reports of species that are threatened or endangered at the state or federal level are generally not used, especially during nesting season--local Loggerhead Shrikes are an example; similarly, owls are not listed, with two exceptions--Snowy Owl and Short-eared Owl; and rails are also generally not mentioned; the rails at Huntley Meadows Park, VA, are an exception because birders stay on the boardwalk.
The second circumstance concerns private property: If the property owner does not want birders, the sighting will not be reported--at least in a way that identifies the location.
Please keep your reports concise (no lengthy trip reports, please), and provide the following information:
Full SPECIES NAME.
NUMBER of individuals of each species (estimates for big flocks are fine).
Age and sex, if relevant (important for gull observations, for example).
Location, including COUNTY and STATE (there are four Middletowns in MD).
DATE of observation ("today", "yesterday", "Saturday", etc., are not as helpful).
TELEPHONE NUMBER where you can be reached on Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
DIRECTIONS to little known places (your favorite local hot spot may not be familiar to the Voice compiler or to other nonlocal people); page numbers and map coordinates from the DeLorme atlas/gazetteer are extremely helpful.
Access limitations, if any; and, for birds that are on private property, whether the owner does not want birders, if you know.
Unusual behavior seen.
For RARITIES, a description of features YOU ACTUALLY SAW (not what is in the field guides).
Thanks in advance for your reports. You can be sure that they will be read. Don't be disappointed if your sighting isn't mentioned; when there are a lot of reports, summary comments sometimes have to be made. There are times, however, when every report is used in writing the Voice, for example, during the hot days of summer. -- Voice of the Naturalist