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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

October 14, 2014
MD/DC/VA/DE/WV panhandle

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

Reporting Guidelines  |  Archives  |  Naturalist Sightings

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 12; 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, October 7 and was completed on Tuesday, October 14 at 12:45 p.m.

The top birds this week were SWAINSON'S HAWK* in VA, WOOD STORK in MD, SEDGE WREN in MD and NELSON'S SPARROW* in MD and VA.

Other birds of interest this week included waterfowl, AMERICAN BITTERN, hawks, COMMON GALLINULE, shorebirds, RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, flycatchers, thrushes, sparrows and PURPLE FINCH.


A SWAINSON'S HAWK* was observed along Route 13 near the Sunset Beach entrance road, Northampton Co, VA on October 10.

A WOOD STORK soared past the Cromwell Valley Park Hawkwatch, Baltimore Co., MD on October 12.

A SEDGE WREN was at the Howard County Conservancy, Howard Co, MD on October 10 and 11.

A NELSON'S SPARROW* was at the Howard County Conservancy, Howard Co, MD on October 9, 10, 11 and 12. NELSON'S SPARROWS* were at the Cedar Creek Boating Access, Sussex Co., DE on October 10. The NELSON'S SPARROW* reported last week from Hydes Road Park, Baltimore Co, MD was seen again on October 12. Another NELSON'S SPARROW* was at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center on October 11 and 12. NELSONS SPARROWS* were at Pleasure House Point, Virginia Beach, VA on October 9, 10 11 and 12.


A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was at Gap Run Road, Fauquier Co., VA on October 12. A SNOW GOOSE was at Broadford Lake Park, Garrett Co., MD on October 13. A CACKLING GOOSE was at the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, Prince George's Co., MD on October 9. Another CACKLING GOOSE was at Saddlebrook East Community Park, Prince George's Co., MD on October 10. An adult, female COMMON EIDER was in the Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co., MD on October 12.

On October 10 an AMERICAN BITTERN was spotted at the pond at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD

Last week's reports from the Hawkwatches emphasized falcons; this week's reports showed an increase in migrating accipiters – SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER'S HAWKS.

A COMMON GALLINULE was seen from Haul Road at Dyke Marsh, Fairfax Co., VA on October 12.

Four AMERICAN AVOCETS were in a stormwater pond at the corner of Ora Glen Drive and Hanover Parkway in Greenbelt, Prince George's Co, MD throughout the week. A high count of 59 AMERICAN AVOCETS were at the Craney Island Disposal Area, Portsmouth, VA on October 11. An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was at the Swan Creek Wetland, Anne Arundel Co., MD on October 7 and 10. Three HUDSONIAN GODWITS were at Bombay Hook NWR Kent Co., DE on October 9. WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERs were also at the Swan Creek Wetland, one on October 10 increasing to two on October 13. The shorebird survey at Chincoteague NWR on October 11 recorded 10 species including AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER, SEMIPALMATED PLOVER, RUDDY TURNSTONE, SANDERLING and WILSON'S SNIPE. A RED PHALAROPE was at the Oakwood Drive Pond, Rockingham Co., VA on October 13.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS continue to be seen in migration, so keep those feeders up! A RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was at a private yard in Kent Co., DE on October 10 and 13.

EASTERN WOOD-PEWEES were seen at a great variety of sites in the region during the week. A FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER came to a feeder in Monroe Co, WV on October 8.

GRAY-CHEEKED, WOOD, HERMIT, VEERY and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES were all at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD on October 10. A SWAINSON'S THRUSH was at Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve, Loudoun Co., VA on October 11.

Noteworthy warbler sightings included double-digit warbler species including TENNESSEE, ORANGE-CROWNED, HOODED and CAPE MAY at Rock Creek Park, DC during the week and 18 warbler species including NASHVILLE, ORANGE-CROWNED, HOODED and CAPE MAY at Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD on October 10. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were seen in quite a few places on October 11 including: a pond in Greenbelt, Prince George's Co, MD; with a CANADA WARBLER at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA and Sands Road Park, Anne Arundel Co, MD. Another ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was at Difficult Run Stream Park, Fairfax Co., VA on October 13. A CONNECTICUT WARBLER was at Point Lookout State Park, St. Mary's Co., MD on October 12. A MOURNING WARBLER was at the Island Club x Avalon, Talbot Co., MD on October 12. Three CAPE MAY WARBLERS were at Rock Creek Park, DC on October 8. Several CAPE MAY WARBLERS and a CERULEAN WARBLER were at Leesylvania State Park, Prince William Co, VA on October 8. A TENNESSEE and a CAPE MAY WARBLER were in a NW DC yard on October 11.

A CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was seen along the Chesapeake Farms Wildlife Loop, Kent Co., MD on October 7 and another CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was at Sky Meadows State Park, Fauquier Co, VA on the same day. Another CLAY-COLORED SPARROW was in Sands Road Park, Anne Arundel Co, MD on October 11. A VESPER SPARROW was at the Manassas NBP, Prince William Co., VA on October 12. Migrating LINCOLN'S SPARROWS were seen at numerous locations, while a small number of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS joined other returning winter residents.

PURPLE FINCHES were observed at several locations, including a private yard in Carroll Co., MD on October 13; another private yard in Kingsville, Baltimore Co., MD also on October 13 and yet another private yard in Huntingtown, Calvert Co., MD on October 13



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.

Audubon Naturalist Shop (301-652-3606, www.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 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

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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