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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

February 24, 2015
MD/DC/VA/DE/WV panhandle

Bob Hartman
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 was completed on Tuesday, February 24, 2014 at 9 am.

Top birds this week: TRUMPETER SWAN in MD, VA, and WV, and WHITE-WINGED DOVE in DE.



The TRUMPETER SWAN at Black Hill Regional Pk, Montgomery Co MD, continued with sightings on Feb 17, 18, & 23. Also continuing was the TRUMPETER SWAN at Cumberland Terminus, Allegany Co MD, sighted on Feb 23. Another MD TRUMPETER SWAN was spotted Feb 20 & 21 on a pond along Ball Rd near Ijamsville, Frederick Co. In VA, a TRUMPETER SWAN was present Feb 18 & 19 on Silver Lake in Rockingham Co, and not too far away, one was seen Feb 20 in WV at Moulton Pt, Jefferson Co.

A single WHITE-WINGED DOVE was present in a back yard in Kent Co DE Feb 20.

OTHER BIRDS OF INTEREST On Feb 20, a single GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was spotted near Hunting Creek Bridge in Alexandria VA. CACKLING GEESE were thinly scattered around MD and VA, with a high count of 4 in Westmoreland Co VA on Feb 22. TUNDRA SWANs are fairly common at this season, but hugely impressive was a flotilla of at least 1000 on Feb 22 in Cecil Co MD at the north end of Chesapeake Bay, between the mouths of the Susqehanna and North East Rivers. The lonely BLUE-WINGED TEAL continued Feb 18-20 & 23 at Schoolhouse Pond in Upper Marlboro MD, Prince George’s Co. The HARLEQUIN DUCK continued at Cumberland Terminus on Feb 18, and up to 5 HARLEQUIN DUCKs were present near Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co MD, with sightings almost every day. A single AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN was present Feb 21 & 22 at Blackwater NWR in Dorchester Co MD.

Two widely separated GOLDEN EAGLEs were spotted on Feb 23, one along Stone Bridge Rd, Warren Co VA, the other over Beauvue Ponds, St. Mary’s Co MD. Single ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKs continued Feb 18 at Irvine Nature Center, Baltimore Co MD, and Feb 20 at Stull Rd & Mountaindate Rd, Frederick Co MD. In addition another ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK showed up Feb 20 & 23 along Wiltshire Rd in Bardane WV (Jefferson Co), and up to 3 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKs were seen by many Feb 20-23 in Prince George’s Co MD around Konterra Dr, near the intersection of I95 and MD200.

The SANDHILL CRANE continued Feb 23 northeast of Baltimore, with a sighting over I95 near Pfeffers Rd. Another SANDHILL CRANE was present Feb 22 & 23 in Worcester Co MD just north of US50 between MD113 and MD589 (across from Advance Auto Parts). A GLAUCOUS GULL was seen Feb 20 at the Salisbury Landfill pond, Wicomico Co MD.

A few LAPLAND LONGSPURs were seen in MD: on Feb 17 along Indiantown Rd in Brighton (Dorchester Co), on Feb 20 at Trout Run WWTP (Garrett Co), and on Feb 21 along Mason Branch Rd (Caroline Co). Also on Feb 21, four individuals were seen along Leverage Rd , Queen Anne’s Co MD. A single LAPLAND LONGSPUR was seen Feb 22 in Jefferson Co WV along Smith Rd. SNOW BUNTINGs seem to have been less common, but on Feb 17, one was seen along Indiantown Rd, Brighton MD, and at least 3 were present Feb 19 along Parkgate Dr, Nokesville VA (Prince William Co).

Somewhat out-of-season were a GRASSHOPPER SPARROW present at Soldiers Delight Natural Area (Baltimore Co MD) on Feb 22, and a BREWER’S BLACKBIRD at Onancock VA (Accomack Co) on Feb 17.

COMMON REDPOLLs continued in MD: one at Black Hills Regional Park on Feb 17 & 18, and 3 at Sunset Park, Ocean City MD on Feb 17. In addition, two showed up Feb 19 at Shoreham Beach near Annapolis MD (Anne Arundel Co), and another Feb 21 along Laurel Hill Rd in Greenbelt MD (Prince George’s Co). In Northampton Co VA, several COMMON REDPOLLs were seen around Cape Charles on Feb 17, 18, & 20. PINE SISKINs seem to be present throughout the reporting region, with counts sometimes in the dozens.


This week's report was based on reports on the DE, MD, VA, and WV list servers, 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 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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