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Voice of the Naturalist

Reports, comments, questions

April 22, 2014
MD/DC/VA/DE/WV panhandle

Joe Coleman
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 April 15 and was completed on Tuesday, April 22 at 10 A.M.


The male GREEN-WINGED TEAL (EURASIAN) at Bear Swamp Pool, Bombay Hook NWR, Kent Co, DE was seen again on April 17. Another EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL was seen the same day at the Riley Roberts Rd turnoff at the Deal Island WMA, Somerset Co, MD. A KING EIDER was seen April 17 and 18 at the Ocean City Inlet, Worcester Co, MD. A female HOODED MERGANSER was seen April 21 with her 11 young at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA.

The PACIFIC LOON at the Kerr Reservoir, Mecklenburg Co, VA, was seen again on April 20; it was well-seen from the elevated overlook across from the visitor's center above the dam.

Several RED-NECKED GREBES continued to be seen throughout the area.

Two AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS were seen April 19 at the Belmont Bay Marina, Prince William Co, VA.

An AMERICAN BITTERN was briefly seen April 18 at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA. An AMERICAN BITTERN was seen during the April 21 trip to Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD.

Three CATTLE EGRETS turned up in West Potomac Park, SW DC on April 15. A WHITE-FACED IBIS was seen April 18 with a flock of GLOSSY IBIS at 873 Ocean Hwy, Rte 13, Pocomoke City, Worcester Co, MD.

Rails were reported from several locations including a CLAPPER RAIL on April 16 in the Rowe Blvd median strip at Taylor Ave, Annapolis, Anne Arundel Co, MD. Three VIRGINIA RAILS were at North Point SP, Baltimore, MD on April 18 while both VIRGINIA RAILS and KING RAILS were observed the same day at the Occoquan Bay NWR, Woodbridge, Prince William Co, VA. A SORA was at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax Co, VA, on April 15 and 18. A COMMON GALLINULE was seen and photographed April 17 and 18 at Lake Shenandoah, Rockingham Co, VA.

SANDHILL CRANES were reported from several widely scattered locations this past week including Barren Ridge Road in Augusta Co, VA on April 16; from the Tom's Cove Visitor Center, Chincoteague, on April 18; and on April 15 at Fishersville, Augusta Co, VA.

A BLACK-NECKED STILT was found April 17 in a pond along Airport Rd by the Salisbury Airport in Wicomico Co, MD. BLACK-NECKED STILTS and AMERICAN AVOCETS were also seen at Poplar Island, Talbot Co, MD on April 21. AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER were among the shorebirds at Tom's Cove, Chincoteague on April 18. An AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER was one of several different shorebird species seen during the April 21 trip to Hart-Miller Island, Baltimore Co, MD. The Chincoteague VA NWR shorebird survey on April 17 found 5,094 shorebirds including 9 PIPING PLOVERS and over 4,000 DUNLIN, and the first LEAST SANDPIPERS of the year. Two WHIMBRELS were reported in the flats of Tom's Cove at Chincoteague on the 16th.

An adult summer LITTLE GULL was seen April 20 at the Cox's Point Park, Baltimore Co, MD, flying near the Rte 150 Bridge.

A FORSTER'S TERN was seen April 20 in Washington Co, MD from the C&O Canal near Harper's Ferry, WV.

A pair of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES was seen April 19 at Mount Solon Pond, Augusta Co, VA.

Three EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILLS were heard early the morning of April 19 on Breckenridge Rd, Prince William Co, VA.

CLIFF SWALLOWS have returned to their colonies on the Rte 50 and Rte 7 bridges over the Shenandoah River in Clarke Co, VA.

The overwintering SEDGE WREN at Occoquan Bay NWR, Prince William Co, VA was seen again on April 18. A SEDGE WREN was at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Anne Arundel Co, MD, also on April 18.

Sightings of warblers increased throughout the area this past week. Fourteen warbler species, including six SWAINSON'S WARBLERS, were observed April 17 during a walk along Jericho Ditch at the Great Dismal Swamp NWR, Suffolk, VA.

A VESPER SPARROW was seen April 20 at Kenilworth Park, NE DC.

The overwintering SUMMER TANAGER at a private residence in Bethesda, Montgomery Co, MD, was seen again on April 20.

A singing sub-adult male YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD was seen the afternoon of April 21 at 124 Peach St, Cape Charles, Northampton Co, VA.

RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were reported from a number of locations this past week.

A few PURPLE FINCHES continued to pop up at widely-scattered feeders in the area this past week.

Four RED CROSSBILLS were found April 19 at Briery Branch Gap, Rockingham Co, VA.


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 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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