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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments,
   questions (email):  

May 24, 2016
MD/DC/VA central and southern DE/WV panhandle

Helen Patton
Audubon Naturalist Society of the
   Central Atlantic states (independent of NAS!)
Steve Cordle

Reporting Guidelines  |  Archives 

Please consider joining ANS, especially if you are a regular user of the Voice (Individual $50; Family $65; Nature Steward $100; Audubon Advocate $200). The membership number is 301-652-9188, option 35; the address is 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, MD 20815; and the web site is http://www.anshome.org.

This is the Voice of the Naturalist, a service of the Audubon Naturalist Society. This report covers the week starting Tuesday, May 17 and was completed on May 24 at 4:00 p.m.

The Top Bird was PURPLE GALLINULE in VA.



A PURPLE GALLINULE* was on the impoundments at the Beasley Tract at Princess Anne WMA, Virginia Beach, VA seen during the week.


On May 19 five SNOW GEESE were seen again near St. Mary Anne's Episcopal Church in Cecil Co, MD.

A BRANT was seen in Ocean City on Skimmer Island on May 22 and on the 4th Street Flats on May 23. Another BRANT was at the Cheriton Landfill, Northampton Co., VA on May 24.

Two TRUMPETER SWANS continue in a restricted area at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Anne Arundel Co, MD, with the latest sighting on May 23. A TUNDRA SWAN was at Cameron Run, Alexandria, VA on May 18. Another TUNDRA SWAN was at Hurlock WWTP, Dorchester Co., MD on May 20.

Small numbers of many migratory duck species were seen during the week. Among them were 2 NORTHERN PINTAIL, 5 NORTHERN SHOVELERS, 12 GREEN-WINGED TEAL and a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER seen at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co., MD on May 18. A GREEN-WINGED TEAL and 2 GADWALL were on Elliott Island Road, Dorchester Co., MD on May 24. Three CANVASBACK and six RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS were in Hooper's Island, Dorchester Co., MD also on May 24. A WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was at the Chestertown WWTP, Kent Co., MD on May 17. Another WHITE-WINGED SCOTER was at the Swan Creek dredge containment Area, Anne Arundel Co., MD on May 19 and 20.

A NORTHERN BOBWHITE was at the Stone Bridge, Manassas Battlefield NP, Prince William Co., VA on May 21. A RUFFED GROUSE was drumming at Finzel Swamp. Allegany Co., MD on May 19.

Migrating SOOTY SHEARWATERS were spotted from points on the Atlantic shore with a high count of29 seen from Assateague Island, Worcester Co., MD on May 21.

A LEAST BITTERN was on Haul Road, Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co., VA on May 18. Two LEAST BITTERNS were on Elliott Island Road, Dorchester Co., MD on May 24.

Twenty GLOSSY IBIS were at Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co., MD on May 18. A GLOSSY IBIS was at Blackwater NWR, Dorchester Co., MD on May 23.

A MISSISSIPPI KITE was on a farm on Wolf Trap Road, Halifax Co., VA on May 22. The Dorchester County, MD May Count on May 24 reported 138 BALD EAGLES for the county.

A COMMON GALLINULE was seen in the C & O Canal west of Mile Marker 167 in Allegany Co, MD and at Wiles Branch Park, Frederick Co, MD both on May 17. A continuing COMMON GALLINULE was most recently seen at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD on May 23. In Virginia, a COMMON GALLINULE was seen at Princess Ann WMA, Virginia Beach on May 17, 19 and 20.

On May 18 a SANDHILL CRANE flew over a backyard in Arlington, VA. On May 20, a SANDHILL CRANE was at the Patuxent Research Refuge, North Tract on May 20.

Twenty-six SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS were at Herrington Manor, Garrett Co., MD on May 17.

On May 17 a WHIMBREL was on the mudflats in Hunting Creek in Fairfax Co, VA. Another WHIMBREL was at Middle Run NA, New Castle Co., DE on May 19. A visit to Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co., MD on May 18 noted 12 shorebird species including 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS, 3 PECTORAL SANDPIPERS and 37 SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. The Swan Creek dredge containment facility, Anne Arundel Co., MD hosted 9 shorebird species on May 20, including 86 SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, 56 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 20 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS, 571 LEAST SANDPIPERS and 2 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS. A RED-NECKED PHALAROPE was at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co., DE on May 19 and 20.

A BLACK TERN was at the C&O Canal, North Beach, Allegany Co., MD on May 22. Another BLACK TERN was at College Creek, James City, VA on May 20. SANDWICH TERNS were reported from several sites, including: Fort Monroe, Hampton VA on May 20; Grandview NP, Hampton, VA also on May 20 and the CBBT, Northampton Co., VA on May 21.

A BLACK SKIMMER was at Eastern Neck NWR, Kent Co., MD on May 17. Another BLACK SKIMMER was at Sandy Point SP, Anne Arundel Co., MD on May 18.

During the week reports of COMMON NIGHTHAWKS became more numerous. A CHUCK-WILLS –WIDOW was at Patterson Park, Baltimore City, MD on May 18.

Four RED-COCKADED WOODPECKERS were at Piney Grove Preserve, Sussex Co., VA on May 18 and 22. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at Ashland Nature Center, New Castle Co., DE on May 19. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was at Sky Meadows SP, Fauquier Co., VA on May 20. A RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was on the Gambrill Mill Trail, Monocacy National Battlefield, Frederick Co., MD on May 21.

A PEREGRINE FALCON flew over the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River, the dividing line between Maryland and Virginia and dove under the bridge, probably to a nest site on May 20.

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHERS were reported from many locations during the week. A LEAST FLYCATCHER was at Patterson Park, Baltimore Co., MD on May 20. Another LEAST FLYCATCHER was at Fairhill NRMA, Cecil Co., MD on May 22.

A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was at Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co., DE on May 18. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co., VA on May 20. A PHILADELPHIA VIREO was at Belle Haven and another at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co., VA on May 20.

CLIFF SWALLOWS were on the Rte. 328 Bridge with birds in both Caroline and Talbot counties, MD on May 19 and 21.

During the week birders routinely recorded double-digit sightings of warbler species at many migratory hot spots, including popular Monticello Park in Alexandria, VA and Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, but warblers and other migrants could be seen anywhere, from suburban back yards to isolated trees on city streets. Highlights of the over 30 recorded warbler species included NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, BLUE-WINGED, MOURNING, KENTUCKY, CAPE MAY, BAY-BREASTED and BLACKBURNIAN WARBLERS. CERULEAN WARBLERS were reported from several places including: Eden Mill Road, Harford Co., MD on May 19; Thompson WMA, Fauquier Co., VA on May 21; Patapsco Valley SP at Henryton Center two in Carroll Co and one in Howard Co., MD on May 24.

A SALTMARSH SPARROW was at the DuPont Nature Center, Sussex Co., DE on May 23. Five SEASIDE SPARROWS were at New Point Comfort NAP, Matthews Co., VA on May 22. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was at the Chester River Field Research Center (private), Queen Anne's Co., MD on May 18, 22 and 23. Another WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW was at the Pleasant Valley GC, Fairfax Co., VA on May 20.

A SUMMER TANAGER was at the C&O Canal, Pennyfield Lock, Montgomery Co., MD on May 18 and 20. Another SUMMER TANAGER was at Milford Neck WA, Big Stone Beach, Kent Co., DE on May 20.

Two DICKCISSELS were at Antietam National Battlefield, Washington Co., MD on May 20. Three DICKCISSELS were found at the intersection of Keysville Road @ Sixes Bridge Road, Carroll Co., MD on May 23. Two DICKCISSELS were on Grassdale Road, east of Remington, Fauquier Co., VA on May 23.

Late winter residents included small numbers of DARK-EYED JUNCOS and PINE SISKINS among other species.


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://anshome.org/shop)is an excellent source for guidebooks and many other nature-related titles.

To report bird sightings, e-mail your report to voice@anshome.org. Please post reports before midnight Monday, identify the county as well as the state, and include your name and a Tuesday morning contact, e-mail or phone.

Thank you for your interest, and enjoy the birds.

*Of interest to the records committee.

Reporting Guidelines

The Voice of the Naturalist is written and recorded on Tuesday mornings. If you email your reports, please email voice@anshome.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:


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


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